800KBH when new
On the hill 2004
BUCKLERS LEAD - OTHERS FOLLOW
Magical day at a Magical Hill
The write up of the days Hillclimbing in 800 KBH Simon
and Keith Ambrose.
Duncan Rabagliati, Colin Rawlinson and The 500 Owners
Association had kindly invited Bucklers along to their
meeting on the 8th of May 2004 at Wiscombe Park.
My father Keith had decided that I should drive 800 KBH
at Wiscombe hill climb. I was over for a wedding and
could stay on a little longer to allow a visit to Devon.
Stan had sent the application forms for an MSA licence.
I was a little late with the application so I had to pay
extra for the express service which processes the form
and posts off your licence within a week.
The following week my National Speed B licence arrived
with a package of stuff including 'The Blue Book' of
rules and regulations.
The application to the 500 Owners club day had been
returned. We were entered in the Road Going Sports and
Saloon Cars pre 1970 class.-
Vigorous reading of the blue book....
Finally we found the relevant page to discover that the
car was almost up to spec. - all we needed was an oil
catcher attached to the crankcase breather- we found and
old windscreen washer bottle and a piece of pipe,
drilled a hole in the bottle to accept the large pipe
and stuck it in a space just behind the radiator- and a
timing strut - constructed by myself from a handy piece
of aluminium from the back of an old fridge neatly cut
to the specified size and sprayed matt black.
Then we drove to Merlin Motorsport and purchased the
racing numbers, 4 quid, a Proban suit for 80 and an
up-to-date helmet for 50. (The regs. state the helmet
must be post 2002 vintage, Dad's is a Cork model dated
Then off to a quiet country pub. We emerged after lunch
to find we had a puncture. First one for years Dad
reckons. On our return to Bristol we stopped off at a
quick fit tyre place to discover that they don't sell or
repair tubes any more, something to do with an EU
directive ?... so a quick trip round various tyre shops
eventually found us a new tube for two pounds. A lesson
to be learnt here, carry a spare tube if heading off on
a decent journey in your Buckler!
We loaded Dad's van with some spare parts and a thermos
of coffee, not forgetting Malcolm's nearly fully
restored Kart and stand, put on our coats and set sail
for Wiscombe very early the following morning. I was
driving the van and could hardly keep up with Dad as we
made the most of the early start.
When we arrived Mike Furse showed us the ropes. We stuck
on the numbers and attached the timing strut to the
Next minute the scrutineer arrived and did his stuff. We
were picked up on two very important safety items that
(as far as I can ascertain) are not mentioned in the
section of the afore mentioned Blue Book.
The quick release filler cap had no locking device to
prevent it opening in the event of an accident, this,
the scrutineer kindly suggested could be fixed with some
tie wire. Dad raced back to the van to procure a piece
from the tool kit. The other item was a large label to
indicate to any marshal, how to turn off the electrics
including the fuel pump. Mike seemed to have the
appropriate sticker in his pocket and whilst he dealt
with cutting it out, I donned the smart new overalls and
we were off. 800KBH proudly wearing her scrutineers
The first practice run was about to start. The whole
arrival had been rather hectic so I had no time to be
nervous. Dad I fear did all the worrying. I just
concentrated on getting up the hill cleanly. This I
achieved and I was rather pleased with myself apart from
one crunch of the gears no problems.....
I should tell you a little about the track. It is 1000
yards of smooth tarmac, leaving Major Chichester's
beautiful country house, over a stone bridge (the start
line is virtually on the bridge,) then a hard left in
second. up a long straight (ish) hill to The Gate, this
stone gate is right on a right hander I managed to take
in third, then up the revs to take me through the esses
to Sawbench Hairpin.
Down to second, the loud pedal hard to the floor... oh
no wheelspin... lift then floor it again, up the
straight in to fourth. Hard on the brakes, down to
third, round Martini hairpin as wide as poss... Third
wasn't the right choice... down to second in a bit of a
panic a crunch of gears as I didn't get the revs quite
right and I'm over the finish line !!
Wiscombe has no return road so cars are held at the top
paddock ready to drive down again. Mike was already
there to help me out of the car. I was a bit shocked
that it was all over so soon. We walked over to the
fence at the Martini hairpin to watch the rest of our
batch attempt to get round it smoothly. This was very
educational and Mike was very helpful, it's also a great
place to gossip with all the other drivers about how it
should best be approached. We all seemed to agree on the
correct line... very few of us achieved the ultimate
line. When someone did manage it they would shoot over
the finish line like a rocket.
I was engrossed, next thing Mike was tapping me on the
shoulder and we were off again. A slow procession of
wonderful machinery made its way back down the hill to
the delight of the audience and marshals.
Dad and I went to the sausage sandwich van for a feed
and water (tea actually). We watched the 500s and the
Supercharged Austin Sevens head up to the line. Where
was Colin?? Seconds later it was our turn again - second
I was enjoying it now. I knew I'd done better than the
first time. Mike congratulated me and told me the time
he had heard announced over the tannoy.
I had improved by 2 seconds !!
I must have been grinning from ear to ear. Back down
again this time for lunch.
My sister Jane had arrived with a huge picnic fit for a
king. I was too nervous to eat much, so a scotch egg and
a small glass of grape juice was consumed next to the
Kart, proudly displayed. It's stand's legs buried in the
grass to prevent it tipping over in the now quite windy
Off again. This time it's for real... another second off
!!! Wow. I'd gone quicker than that beautiful black
Back down again. Much fuss was being made by all the
competitors now checking tyre pressures etc. My pit
crew- Dad, Graham and Jane had headed towards the beer
tent so I just left the old girl alone.
Colin Rawlinson, in the meantime, had suffered a minor
technical hiccup with his spark. This was eventually
fixed with the help of one of his friends who just
happened to have a spare JAP magneto. Colin only managed
to get one run as a result, but by all accounts it was a
very quick run. I missed seeing it as I was being yelled
at by Mike....
It's my turn again.... My last turn...
YES... faster again... not by much admittedly but enough
to still be quicker than the AC Aceca and the Jag.
I was just beaten by the Porsche 356 and the Volvo rally
cars. (Not enough Bucklers showed up to have our own
Mike Furse did better than all of them in his RaceCorp,
his Buckler calling in sick the day before.
What a day! The DD2 managing 63.21 on her first hill
climb since the early sixties. Dad was so pleased he
might give her an engine rebuild for Christmas.
We met lots of very interested people. Peter Tutthill
was very excited when he found out KBH was Buckler
based. He had once decided to purchase a DD2 frame and a
AKS MK1 body in 1960 . He wrote to Bucklers for a quote
and still has the reply. I donít have any contact
details for him as we met at the top paddock and I
didn't have a pen - a note should be made to all Buckler
competitors at these events, - always carry a pen and
piece of paper (for lightness it could be a pencil cut
down to a just manageable length). He is the author of a
book about The Cornish Davidstow Motor Racing Circuit.
Also a couple of other interesting chaps. One who has a
friend (who he hasn't seen for years !!!) who happened
to be a Stunt Driver and had - or may still have - a
Buckler. He had it for years and lived in Devon near
Sidmouth. He says he will look him up and get in touch.
After much chinwagging it was sadly time to leave. So
off to Jane's for supper. Dad drove 800 KBH up over the
Quantocks - the car not complaining once.
The next morning we opened the bonnet for the first time
to check the oil and water. Nothing added, we closed her
up again and after breakfast drove back to Wiscombe to
spectate at the VSCC day. A lovely day was had by all.
Unfortunately we missed Bob Halls and the Boyce's, I
don't know how, I stood by the beer tent for the
majority of the day!
Keith and I would like to thank Colin, the 500 Owners
Association and Mike Furse for making this such a
Let's hope that some more Bucklers can attend the next