"A branch of motorsport in which drivers compete against the clock to complete an uphillcourse"
Hill climb racing (or Hill climbing) is the oldest and most wide spread form of motorsportpractised globally. Born in Nice in the South of France in 1897 its popularity spread quickly dueto the intrinsic simplicity of both organisation and running of events. This has led to hill climbingbecoming the most popular form of grassroots motorsports on the planet. Many clubs as closeto home as Sicily organise events on a weekly basis as it requires minimal intervention fromlocal authorities.
The format of a hill climb is simple; competitors are lined up at the start line and given the allclear signal by the Start Line Marshal. The driver then proceeds to start his run in his own time.A timing device is initiated once he crosses a laser as the car starts moving; this is then stoppedonce the competitor crosses a second laser at the finish line.
The driver that completes the course in the shortest time is declared the winner.
The Local Hillclimb scene began in March 1950 when the then Malta Motorcycle & Car Club (MMCCC) presided by Mr. Salvi no Mangion, Director of Public Works organised a Hillclimb at Ghar Lapsi . This was followed by unofficial events organised by enthusiasts at Kuncizzjoni Hill in Rabat where spectators witnessed Jaguar XK140s, Triumph TR2's & TR3's, MGAs and Austin Healeys . These events were extremely popular and attracted almost the entire country's stock of sports cars. This era came to a close after a serious accident occurred due to inadequate safety measures.
Hillclimbing all but vanished for the following decade till the mid 1970s, when an event was organised at Ghajn Znuber Lts of Manikata, where Minis, Ford Escorts, Lotuses and Alfa Romeos competed for top honours. This revival shaped the future of the local Hillclimb scene as homebuilt purpose built single seat race cars appeared on the scene. These days the local Hillclimb Championship is organised by the Island Car Club (ICC) in accordance to strict rules and regulations that are based on the regulations of the European Hillclimbing Championship which is controlled by the FIA, the highest global authority as regards to Motorsports.
All competing cars are regularly scrutinised and tracks are secured with a compliment of security staff in charge of crowd control as well as marshals in charge of managing competitors whilst on track. Gone are the days where winning required both skill and a slice of luck, as timing depended on the timing marshals reflexes in stopping a handheld stopwatch, these days timing is fully automated using state of the art computerised systems.
The above mentioned safety standards means that serious accidents are a thing of the past as apart from well trained staff no two cars are allowed on track at the same time, eliminating the possibility of competing cars coming into contact with each other. The ICC is recognised as the foremost entity as regards to motorsport related events and has been entrusted with the organisation of the Valletta Gran Prix, PaqPaqli ghal l-Istrina, Mellieha Motorsports Festival & the Rabat Motorsports Festival amongst others.
Many ICC members also compete abroad on a regular basis with great success, often impressing their foreign counterparts with their professionalism, skill and sportsmanship