Redundant Venues – Part 4

The latest part of the Redundant Venues series sees us heading further South stilll to the coastline of the English Riviera and surely one of the least likely hillclimb venues ever, from the beach front to the cliff tops, this one was different!


Since first running in the early 1960s, the coastal road from Babbacombe beach in Torbay made for a spectacular and incredibly challenging club hillclimb venue.

The hill zig-zagged along the route of Babbacombe’s popular funicular railway from the beech right up to the top of the cliff via four hairpin bends and was a real test of courage

Problems in gaining the necessary road closures, required for the venue to have a top holding paddock, caused the last event to be held there in 2000, but few who attended events there will forget the sight of drivers such as Roy Bray, Jonathan Williamson & Richad Earle charging up the seaside venue.


Richard Earl Reynard SF79
The ‘Earl of Portwrinkle’ (seen here at Tregrehan) was an FTD winner at Oddicombe


(Incidentally the Outright Hill Record at Oddicombe was held for many years by Cornishman Kevett Payne driving the Ensign F3 car currently hillclimbed by Fyrth Cross)

Please let us have your memories of these hills, it would be great to build an online record of events there.


  1. Art Tidesco says:

    My friend Alan Spencer took me to Oddicombe after we completed on the Exeter Trial yesterday. He used to run a Mini with which he took part in the last Oddicombe Hillclimb.

    Spence seemed to think the course record is now held by a Ford Cosworth of some description that was running on road tyres.

    We had a blast up the hill the Ford Kent powered Parsons trials car, lovely track shame, the ground beneath the surface is so unstable and a permit for the holding area has been denied, must have been a great crowd pleaser and have pumped some useful revenue into the local economy. I guess there is no accounting for stupid.

  2. James says:

    Good Afternoon,

    Thanks very much for your email and interest in Oddicombe Hillclimb, it is an amazing hill isn’t it?

    The Outright Hill Record was set by Ed Hollier with his 1100cc Kawasaki powered Terrapin in the early noughties and is somewhere around a 35.8 second run.

    You mention a Cossy on Road-Tyres which would either have been Roy Bray (Escort Cosworth) or John Meredith (Sierra Sapphire) who were both mega-quick there over the years.

    Oddicombe is a much missed part of the South West scene, but realistically with modern tolerances of noise & disruption as they are was probably unsustainable in the longterm anyway.

    Kindest Regards,

  3. Brian Preston says:

    Sad to hear that Oddicombe hill-climb is no longer a venue, as I have many happy memories going way back to 1964 when I first used a road mini in the 850cc class. And later in a 998cc and then a 1293 which gave FTD, and then the hill record in 1970. I held that for 5 years until Ray Walker phoned me to tell me that it had finally gone. Explosive was the word after we feathered off the line; and I well remember, looking at the Dunlops on the front after parking at the end of one run, to note that the tread was completely covered by small pebble like stones due to the rubber ‘melting’ during the climb. It was always a pleasure to attend, at both the beginning and the end of the season too.

    Kind regards to all who remember,

  4. Brian Preston says:

    Oddicombe you know, could quite easily revert to the original 650 yard hill. It was a wonderful climb, and we used to park in line on the left after the last bend. From there we would queue to turn at the exit from the hill, with hardly any intrusion upon the road above. I see no problem with this; and I would mention, that there was very little evidence of noise above when cars were ascending the hill.

    Kind regards,

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