‘Uphill’ battle to recreate historic race

How the Melton Times covered the Kettleby Hill Climb in July 1910 EMN-170215-120620001
How the Melton Times covered the Kettleby Hill Climb in July 1910 EMN-170215-120620001
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Plans are being discussed to bring back an historic motor race on the A606 near Melton.

The Kettleby Hill Climb featured an international field of classic cars being driven up Nether Broughton Hill, between 1901 and 1910.

Organiser David Groom has already spoken to members of Leicestershire County Council’s Melton Highways Forum about the prospects for closing the road for 12 hours for the event.

He has also addressed County Hall’s network maintenance team earlier this month.

Highways forum members are set to discuss again the proposals for the hill climb being resurrected at their meeting on Monday afternoon.

Chairman Alan Pearson said: “This was a world-renowned event in its day.

“I think it would be absolutely brilliant if we could re-start it and see those lovely old classic cars racing up the hill once again.”

Winner of the first Kettleby Hill Climb, in July 1901, was Percy Richardson in an 18hp Daimler. He took just over five minutes to make it up the steep, one mile course.

Other vehicles to triumph in the annual Nether Broughton Hill race, which was attended by big crowds, included a Napier 80hp, an Ariel 40/50hp and a Crossley 20hp, with Frank Bolton a four-time winner in his Daimler.

The Kettleby event was part of an international series of climbs, which also included races in locations such as the south of France, Barcelona, Geneva, New York and San Francisco.

If approved, the Kettleby climb would go ahead in late spring or early autumn, with a road closure between 6am and 6pm.

When Mr Groom spoke with network maintenance representatives he was advised that although the A606 was a fairly quiet A-class road, its closure could have a considerable impact on the network.

This was particularly the case, he was told, if there was an accident on the nearby A46 and emergency services diverted traffic on to the A606.

He told the meeting, though, that there could be an option to allow traffic through in an emergency.

Mr Groom was also advised that road diversions would need to be agreed by local authorities and a team of stewards should be appointed to marshal the anticipated big crowds.

Members of the highways forum will consider next week advising Mr Groom to set up a safety advisory meeting to address any concerns.

This would need to include representatives of both Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire County Councils, Melton Council, police, fire service and air ambulance.