Based on the outskirts of East Belfast overlooking Samson and Goliath the Craigantlet hillclimb is set to be the only round of the 2021 British Hillclimb Championship to run on closed public roads.
With the cancellation of its rounds in both Jersey and Guernsey, the only other events which allow contenders the chance to experience closed public road courses, Craigantlet hillclimb is now the only chance drivers will get to leave mainland Great Britain for the 2021 season.
Traversing the Irish Sea is an annual springtime occurrence for some of the fastest cars and drivers in this specialised form of racing. However, drivers will have to wait until autumn this year as the Ulster Automobile Club event has been rescheduled in the hope that lock down and travel restrictions will have eased enough for the event to run successfully.
Craigantlet hillclimb was first held in 1913, it’s course 1,460 yards in length, also hosts a round of the ANICC Northern Ireland Hillclimb Championship alongside its British championship doubleheader every year, giving local drivers the chance to demonstrate just what it takes to be successful on closed public roads.
That said, the pace of the machinery that travels to Belfast each year is hard for local drivers to touch, with ‘our best’ just managing to feature in the top-10 of this event in previous years.
A statement posted on the British Hillclimb Championships Facebook page reads, “The BARC have announced a calendar change to the British Hill Climb Championship presented by Avon Tyres for the Craigantlet Hillclimb rounds originally scheduled for 1st May 2021.
“In conjunction with the Ulster Automobile Club, a new date has been agreed for Saturday 11 September to avoid any uncertainty surrounding potential travel restrictions due to the current pandemic.
“This historic hillclimb, on the outskirts of Belfast, is one of the fastest and most challenging venues in the calendar and attracts an increasing number of BHC competitors keen to experience the thrill of competing on closed public roads.
They continued, “We continue to work with Ulster Automobile Club and Motorsport UK regarding travel requirements to Northern Ireland post Brexit.”
Words & Photos: GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY
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