Red marley hill climb Great Whitley, Worcestershire
Sometimes an event is so simple it takes your breath away… take Red Marley Hill Climb for instance. There’s a start line, then 400 yards or so away there’s a finish line. Four riders line up at a time, the gate drops and the first two over the finish line go through to the next round. As that cute – other points of view are available – furry creature on UK telly ads is fond of saying “simples!” And it really is that simple to do. The bit which makes it difficult is it’s up a hill which gets progressively steeper nearer the end... and then gets really steep very quickly at the end... oh, and there are three other riders, none of whom will back off, aiming for the spot where you are. It is a very levelling experience and just because you’re mounted on a hyper bike which sups methanol like it’s going out of fashion doesn’t mean you’re bound to get through each round.
Take this writer for instance… not noted as a speedster and mounted on a road bike with scrambles tyres on and the lights off – though for 2017 a smart small capacity alloy tank was fitted instead of the huge steel one standard on 650 Triumphs – I actually made the quarter finals one year thanks to a series of flukes and luck. The flukes were to be drawn in a class with only two riders in (yes, I was second but both of us went through), then was drawn against a really fast bloke who hit ‘The Pimple’ – as the top bit is called – at a zillion miles an hour, took off like a moon probe and landed with his bike in one county and him in another, which let me through. Then next time one lad didn’t make the start and another broke on the line… all of a sudden I was among fast lads wondering how that happened... but that is the beauty of this event, things like that can happen.
Another year I drew really fast guys in each of my first runs and went out after one go. Yes, there are a few riders who will be vying for the win, but there are many more, like me, who go along for the ride. We don’t tootle up and we’re keen to do our best but I know the only way I’ll win is if everyone else drops out, but it doesn’t stop me, or those like me from lining up… concentrating on that gate and grabbing a handful of throttle when it drops.
Tom Crump flies high on his Jawa.