A recent change in UK law has allowed motorsport to take place on closed public roads, and a new hillclimb in scenic Cornwall is one of the first to benefit

The first closed-road hillclimb event in mainland Great Britain since the creation of the 1988 Road Traffic Act will take place in Cornwall on September 15-16.

The Act prohibited competitive motorsport events from taking place on public roads from its creation until last year when an amendment was made to allow the Motorsport Association, the UK's motorsport governing body, and the affected local councils to choose when to grant closed-road permits.

An exploration of the UK's hillclimb history...

The Watergate Bay Hillclimb will become the third closed road event to take place since the amendment, following Coventry's MotoFest and Britian's round of the World Rally Championship in Wales, and if successful may pave the way for more hillclimbs and other motorsport events such as the proposed Formula E race in Birmingham.

Cornwall set for first closed-road British hillclimb of the 21st century

The landmark event, which is being jointly organised by Truro and District Motor Club, Newquay Auto Club and Plymouth Motor Club and was formally announced in June, will see competitors tackle a 720 metre section of the B3276, the coast road linking Padstow and Newquay. The stretch of road will be temporarily closed to normal road traffic for the duration of the event.

Watergate Bay, one of Cornwall’s most popular tourist destinations, marks the start of the course. On each day of the event, a maximum of 90 cars will be allowed to participate. Entrants will race in the direction of Newquay, with the breathtakingly beautiful North Cornwall coastline to their right.


There was previously autocross, another motorsport event in which drivers tackle a course one at a time, in the Cornwall area before the Road Traffic Act and was organised by the same Truro and District Motor Club.

All profits from the inaugural running of the hillclimb will be donated to the Cornwall Air Ambulance and the Cornwall Food Foundation, which includes an apprenticeship scheme set up by TV chef Jamie Oliver.

Cornwall set for first closed-road British hillclimb of the 21st century

The original idea for the event was put forward in 2013 by Dave Brenton, competition secretary at Truro Motor Club, in a letter outlining his proposal to the Watergate Bay Hotel, which is adjacent to the start of the new course. The event received the full support of the luxury hotel from the outset.

'We have been inundated with requests for regulations and entries for several months now so it’s all set to be a momentous event for Cornwall and the UK,' Benton said.

Cornwall set for first closed-road British hillclimb of the 21st century

'It has taken many years of planning and we are indebted to the assistance of local businesses, councils and landowners for their support in getting the event off the ground.'

To find out more, visit Watergate Bay Hlillclimb's website.