Many moons ago, while stuck in New York ice storm with Bryn Musselwhite, we came up with the mantra: ‘Drive Fast, Take Chances, Talk To Strangers’. Although lockdown put the talking to strangers part of life on pause for a while, it’s a saying I still try to live by today.
Players Classic was a killer event to celebrate the end of lockdown 3.0 here in the UK, and it was great to catch up with old friends. Dare I say, it was even nice to see Mark and Ryan in real life.
On Saturday we were at the Quick60 Hillclimb Shootout Challenge, which is the prequel to Retro Rides Gathering 2021. Both events are held at Shelsey Walsh, a beautiful hill in Worcestershire, which is quintessentially British. In fact – Wikipedia tells me this, so it must be true – Shelsey Walsh is one of the oldest motorsport events in the world, and it’s the oldest to have been staged continuously on its original course, having first been run in 1905.
One hundred and fifteen years; you don’t need me to tell you that’s a long time. It feels like the early 1900s since I last drove my 106 Rallye, so when I picked that piece of French tin up on Friday night, it felt like a dream to be back behind the wheel of the little hatchback again.
So, what’s the Quick60 all about? Quite simply: Cars. Going up a hill. Very fast. If, like me, you’ve invested countless hours of your life into the HillClimb Monsters’ marvellous YouTube channel, then cars climbing hills is going to be relevant to your interests.
As Ryan brought his camera along, we thought it would be cool to put together a gallery and a few words about our favourite cars of the day. As I write this, I’m sitting in a pub drinking a pint, with Ryan opposite me editing his photos. Since I’m two beers in and ready for dinner, I have no shame in choosing another Peugeot 106 as my pick of the event.
This car is owned and expertly driven by Olly Wright. Everyone at the event was super friendly and Olly was more than happy to remove the bonnet and show us around his hillclimb tool. There’s 195hp on tap here courtesy of Satchell Engineering throttle bodies, cams and a custom engine build all put down via a shortened final drive and a Gripper diff. Olly has owned the 106 for five years and was leading his class when we left for the day.
I’ve got a Citroën AX GT in storage whilst I gather parts to build it how I want, and Olly’s build has given me a proper kick up the backside to get moving with my second French project.
Over to Ryan for his favourite car of the Quick60…
Picking one favourite car of the day is tough, as there was so much variety. Just on cars alone, I’d be hard pushed to pick between the purpose-built monsters at the event.
The turbocharged Metro 6R4 has modernity and nostalgia rolled into one, and the plucky Fiat 500 alongside had a wonderfully prepared Swiftune A-series engine stuffed into the back of it. Then there’s Wacky Mick Wilkes’ legendary C20LET Bedford van…
I’m not picking any of those though. My favourite car came down to the general vibe delivered by the gentleman with the stripy shirt and canvas tool roll fixing his Ford Falcon. Seeing him wrestle the big Ford up the hill in the wet, then just get amongst the engine bay is pure car joy.
We’ll be bringing you coverage from Retro Rides Gathering this week, but in the meantime, feel free to let us know your favourite car from this gallery in the comments section.