Supercar Fest

Only a few weeks after Goodwood had finished another somewhat similar event was on the horizon. Supercar Fest at Shelsey Walsh hillclimb, the world’s oldest continuous motorsport venue!!

I say a similar event purely because of the hillclimb action that the day was focussed around. This was clearly on a much smaller scale to Goodwood but I had high hopes nonetheless. This was the very first year for Supercar Fest but with the Shelsey Walsh hillclimb being a well established track it had great potential.

This one was a very early start for me, leaving home just after 4am to get to the show for 7am. The event opened to the public from 8am but thankfully I had an hour before the crowds arrived to get my bearings and see what cars had arrived in the paddock overnight. Anyhow, got myself signed on, grabbed my tabard and a coffee and went exploring.

Sadly the majority arrived later in the morning but the low morning sun made for some nice shots of the cars that had arrived overnight like this Lancia Stratos!

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Most cars started arriving just after 9am and I was really surprised by the mix of cars that showed up. For the first year they certainly drew some interesting cars. For me the star of the show was hands down the stunning Lamborghini Miura that rolled in. This is not a car you see every day and to see it being driven to an event like this and actually took up the hill was a sight to behold!

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From a very authentic looking Ford GT40 replica and very much authentic Jaguar XJ220 to lots of stunning Astons and plenty of Lamborghinis of course, including an unusual amount of Murcielagos there was something for everyone! Murcielagos will always have a special place in my heart after a very dear friend treated me to a drive in one for my 30th birthday a few years back :)

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After a good look around the paddock as cars were arriving thick and fast now I decided to have a quick look around the market stall areas to see what was on offer there. Again, such a great turn out for the first year, lots of traders of all kinds and some fantastic supercars on display in the owners clubs areas as well.

The hillclimb was about to get underway so I got myself set up around the start line to see what was running first. The atmosphere here was fantastic with cars flying up the hill and leaving plenty of tyre smoke in their wake!

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After the first set of cars had headed up the hill I began to make my way up and see what the rest of the track had to offer. As with a lot of hillclimbs there was only one way up and down meaning the cars had to turn around at the top and make their way back down the hill again which allowed us time to get across the track and up the hill.

If I had one small criticism it would be the sheer volume of photographers at the event, it seemed they granted media access to anyone with an instagram account and it made the track quite dangerous at times with inexperienced young lads hopping across the track while the cars were running. I lost count of how many times they mentioned dangerous photographers over the tannoy throughout the day.

That being said I met a few friendly photographers and we all certainly bonded over the common pain of climbing that hill!! 

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Half way up the hill and it was time to stop for some lunch. The track closed for around half an hour for a lunch break as well so it was the perfect opportunity to grab a burger and a drink and relax for a little while.

After lunch I managed to get across the track again and to a great vantage point after the chicane and the exit of the final corner before the long run to the finish line. The only slight downside was the overhanging trees giving some harsh reflections on the cars that not even my Hoya Nano HD polariser could deal with. Even so, it was still a good location for some panning shots as the cars flew by!

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Another nice surprise was the convoy of Abarths coming up the hill to celebrate 70 years at Shelsey Walsh with the owners club. Any followers of mine will know how much I love Abarths and to see so many coming up the hill together was a real treat!

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With the day drawing to a close it was time to head down the hill and see what else was going on around the paddock area. 

I couldn't believe how much busier the paddock area had become, crowds of people around every car and a constant stream of cars and drivers preparing for their run up the hill. Despite the crowds the event was still flawlessly organised. The marshalls clearly knew what they were doing and it all ran like clockwork.

Quite a few new cars I hadn't seen in the morning had showed up but it was a great experience to see all these cars running and everyone having such close access to the cars before they began their runs.

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As I had a nearly 3 hours journey home I left the event around 4pm just before the last cars started the run up the hill. Thankfully managed to beat the traffic out as well!

Overall this had been a fantastic event and certainly another one to add to the calendar for future years. The organisers did an amazing job with the mix of cars running and just the general feel of the show was great. Looking forward to 2020 already!


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