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800KBH when new

On the hill 2004


A 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 1960.)
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 front numberplate.

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 approval sticker.
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 Practice !!

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 weather.
Off again. This time it's for real... another second off !!! Wow. I'd gone quicker than that beautiful black XK120.
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 class)
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 fantastic day.
 Let's hope that some more Bucklers can attend the next event.



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