LOVE IT - LIVE IT - DRIVE IT - RIDE IT!
Are you ready to get more active or try something adventurous with your heritage vehicle? Well, there are plenty of options for you to consider.
There are activities suitable for all levels of budget, skill, speed, leisureliness or downright craziness for you to choose from.
It's time to put away the polish - get out there and enjoy!
Have you heard of the "Welsh Terror"? It was one of the test hills used from the 1920's to the 1940's to test new car and motorcycle models, and by intrepid rally riders and drivers. Back then it was a hair-raising gravel road.
Located in Mid Wales, Bwlch Y Groes averages a one-in-seven gradient, but some parts are much steeper. The road starts at 305ft above sea level and climbs to 1790ft. It is the second highest public mountain pass in Wales and much of it is single track.
If you fancy getting away from the main roads and trying your hand at something less usual, let us introduce you to It's My Classic's inaugural Classic Trail.
Autotesting and AutoSOLO
For road-legal cars: these are all about control - can you navigate a low-speed, memorised course as quickly as possible without hitting any obstacles? Autotesting involves both forward and reverse manoeuvering, AutoSOLO has no reversing.
Some events simply require an appropriate club membership, but some regional events require a Non-Race National B Competition License (no test is required for this license). At the local, club level, many events do not publish times and are therefore categorised as non-competitive, so it is just possible you might not even need to inform your insurer - but, please, do check first!
Hillclimbs and Sprints
These sports are very similar. A sprint involves one vehicle starting a timed run around a track at a time (though there may be more than one vehicle on the track at any one time). Hillclimbs, as the name implies, involve a timed track with a hill.
The Hillclimb & Sprint Association has produced such an excellent guide to getting involved in this sport that we wouldn't presume to try and compete with it! View it here. You will require a at least a Non-Race Class B license.
Racing heritage vehicles can be a expensive pastime but, as with any sport, there are numerous levels and not all of them will cost an arm, a leg and your spare kidney. However, you will require as a minimum the following safety equipment:
Race seat and harness
You will also need approved fireproof clothing and a helmet. Racing in the UK is governed by Motorsport UK, so make them your first port of call for detailed, up to date information.
Autocross is generally regarded as being one of the most accessible way to get a taste of competitive motorsports. It usually involves a temporary (often stubble or dirt field) short course and a race against the clock.
You will need a a Non-Race National B Competition License. You can find the full list of requirements for getting involved here.
One of the simplest (and least costly) ways to get closer to the action and see first-hand and close up what's involved in motorsports, you might try becoming a marshall. According to the BMMC you "don’t need any special skills or qualifications to start, just common sense and a reasonably developed sense of self-preservation".
Something less formal?
If your taste runs to something more sedate, you could consider Scenic Tours - (single or multiple day) they come with a variety of route-finding techniques, from full-on Tulip navigation to simple directions, and can include meal stops and sometimes even a bed for the night.
You might also enjoy treasure hunts or scavenger hunts.
There are four historic vehicle categories, depending on when your vehicle was built.
Cat. 1 : Before January 1st 1968
Cat. 2 : Jan 1st 1968 - Dec 31st 1874
Cat. 3 : Jan 1st 1975 - Dec 31st 1981
Cat. 4 : Jan1st 1982 - Dec 31 1985
Events are further classified by engine size, so that vehicles can compete on a level playing field. Classes that involve navigation are sometimes further split by experience levels, such as Novice, Master and Expert. Only period modifications are permitted.
The Historic Rally Car Register has a detailed explanation of how to get started in historic rallying here.
Road rallies - typically single day events, taking to the open road and navigating a route. You will need the appropriate road rally license, your vehicle will have to meet the category standard, and have event insurance.
Endurance rallies - these are akin to standard road raliies, but take place over several successive days and frequently include night stages. This type of event is not of the faint-hearted!
OTHER USEFUL LINKS
Motorsports licenses - it's worth being aware that racing licenses run from January 1st to December 31st, irrespective of when you buy or renew.
This is a general introduction to heritage motorsports, intended to provide a brief overview of activities that might interest you. Please confirm the necessary requirements with the relevant sports bodies, insurers, etc., before making any decision as to the suitability of any activity for you.
Classic Trails - "The Welsh Terror"
It's been called the Welsh Terror and even the Hellfire Pass. It was one of six infamous test hills across the UK in the first half of the twentieth century. Locally it's known as Bwlch y Groes - the mountain pass that connects Bala to Dinas Mawddwy in Mid Wales.
Austin, BSA, Rover, and Jaguar, to name a few, used Bwlch y Groes to test new car and motorcycle models from the 1920's onwards. The RAC used it as part of some of their rally routes, even into the 1950's.
As you can see from the picture of a Humber tackling the hill during a 1930's RAC rally, it was little more than a gravel track. These days the road surface is a whole lot better, but it's still mostly single-track and just as steep as ever. Fancy giving it a go?
BWLCH Y GROES
Grid Ref.: SH85871488
Lat./Long.: 52.7190068, -3.6911151
The average gradient is around on-in-seven, but the steepest parts are probably closer to one-in-four (25%).
Mobile phone reception is patchy at best, though there was a fairly good signal at the top of the pass on the day It's My Classic did its own Welsh Terror run.
It's My Classic has produced two videos to give you a taste of Bwlch y Groes today. Enjoy the road less travelled.
Check your brakes before you go, pack a picnic (there's a decent parking area at the top with signposted footpaths), and keep your eyes on the road!
The gradients on this road may make it tough going for some older vehicles, especially ones prone to overheating or brake fade. Bwlch Y Groes can also be subject to extreme weather. It's My Classic cannot make any recommendations as to the suitability of this route for you or your vehicle.
It's My Classic - the online classic car and motorcycle magazine for people with a passion for heritage vehicles.