The exciting Watergate Sprint near Newquay in Cornwall has been hailed as one of the best motorsport events of the year by spectators and competitors as over 100 cars blasted along the B3276 coast road last weekend (18/19 September) in a new-look to the unique closed-road event.
First run in 2018, the event has grown in stature year on year and had previously run as a Hillclimb, winding its way up the ascent from Watergate Bay. The Truro and District Motor Club, Newquay Auto Club and Plymouth Motor Club organised event was forced to change its format due to proposed works in the bay and the flagship event would see a new look for its 2021 return.
The all-new 820-metre course started near Trevelgue and headed towards Watergate Bay, with a fast and flowing section mixed with a technical element that included a tight ‘90-left’ turn before the finish, challenging even the most experienced competitors.
Drivers from across the UK flocked to the region in a wide variety of machines which included almost standard road cars, to fully modified racers, all eager to sample the new layout and stamp their mark at the top of the timesheets for their respective classes.
Spectators were able to take advantage of the new format as the new track offered unrivalled views of the entire course with bumper crowds flocking to the venue to witness the racing. The on-track action was scintillating all weekend and coupled with a range of displays, trade stands and access to the drivers and cars in the paddock, there was something to entertain the entire family.
The Sprint would mean that not only were class honours all to play for, but the coveted “Fastest Time of the Day” was also up for grabs, and it was a familiar name who took the accolade. Dorchester based Rodney Thorne thundered his powerful five-litre Pilbeam MP43 to the fastest time on both days of the event adding to his 2019 victory on the hillclimb layout.
Thorne grappled with the raucous machine to take a with a time of 24.71sec on Saturday and was equally never headed on the Sunday’s runs with a 24.87sec over the course, ensuring he remains the man to beat for next year’s event.
Class awards were given for both days, with some local drivers taking the honours. Liskeard’s Sam Perring taking the Rally Car class victory as Matt Ewer from St Austell scooped the Modified Production Car Class win.
The event wasn’t without its drama, however, as several drivers were caught out by the tricky course layout. Richard Travail’s BMW MINI came off the worst during the weekend after an impact with the protective bales was caused by a high-speed spin in the “s” bend, with just cosmetic damage to the car as the result.
Local charities will also be able to benefit from the weekend, with all profits being donated to the Cornwall Air Ambulance and the Watergate Bay Surf Lifesaving Club. With £11,000 being donated to date, organisers will announce this year’s addition to that total in the near future.
“We are delighted with how the weekend has gone and all the feedback we have had has been sensational,” says Deputy Event Director Dave Brenton.
“Despite having run the hillclimb for two years, we almost had to press the reset button and start from scratch, so it’s been a huge effort from the team to get the Sprint off the ground this year. We knew the competitors and fans would enjoy the new format, but everyone has been so very enthusiastic about the Sprint style of event. We have had many comments across the weekend from people that have said it’s been the best event they have done in some time. That of course is encouraging for the future.”
“We would like to extend our thanks to all the sponsors and backers that have made the event possible and look forward to seeing what 2022 holds.”
More information and full results (available shortly) can be found here:
https://www.watergatebaymotorsport.co.uk/spectators/You can catch up with all the latest news from the event on its social media feedshttp://www.twitter.com/watergatehill
The exciting Watergate Sprint closed-road motorsport weekend enjoyed a welcome boost this week as it was granted its track permit from the sport’s governing body, Motorsport UK.
The ground-breaking Watergate Bay Speed Hillclimb which first ran in 2018, was forced to switch format this year, due to building works taking place in Watergate bay itself during September. Switching from its traditional Hillclimb, the event has been revamped in 2021, re-launching as Watergate Sprint.
Scheduled to take place on 18th and 19th September, the popular closed-road event will see competitors tackle the B3276 coast road between Newquay and Padstow, starting near Trevelgue, with an 820-metre course in store for the estimated 100 competitors on both days of the event.
Obtaining the fully ratified Track Licence from Motorsport UK has enabled organisers from the three promoting motor clubs, Truro and District Motor Club, Plymouth Motor Club and Newquay Auto Club to push ahead with plans for the event, with regulations now set to be released on July 18th with entries opening on the on 25th of the month.
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Event Director Roger Hargreaves is positive about this year’s motorsport carnival weekend on the North Cornwall coast.
“It’s a major step forward for the organisers that we now have the full track licence from Motorsport UK, meaning we can really push ahead with the very first Watergate Sprint,” he says.
“They have fully approved the safety measures we have in place and also the layout of the track itself, so now we know exactly what we are working towards. We are now in a position to announce that regulations will be available on 18th July and we will be able to open entries on 25th July. We would encourage our competitors to enter early as we anticipate demand to be extremely high once again this year.”
The all-new course will start on the Newquay side of the B3276 coast road at Trevelgue and cars will tackle the road towards Watergate Bay, with a fast and flowing section mixed with a technical element that includes a tight 90-left turn before the finish. The paddock, trade and display area and spectator viewing will all be located together, offering the perfect motorsport weekend for fans and competitors.
Watergate Sprint will also continue to donate profits to local charities, Cornwall Air Ambulance and Watergate Bay Surf Lifesaving Club.
More information on the event will be released closer to the time.
Image: Livelight Photography
The ground-breaking Cornish motorsport event Watergate Bay Speed Hillclimb will be re-vamped in 2021, re-launching as Watergate Sprint.
Scheduled to take place on 18th and 19th September, the popular closed-road event will see a new look for 2021 as it changes from the previous Hillclimb format to utilise a different section of the B3276 coast road between Padstow and Newquay.
With building works scheduled to take place in Watergate Bay itself during September, the lack of suitable start and car parking at the base of the course has meant that the traditional hillclimb format would not be able to go ahead as planned in 2021.
However, the forward-thinking organising team from the three promoting motor clubs, Truro and District Motor Club, Plymouth Motor Club and Newquay Auto Club moved quickly to seek an alternative format, creating the Watergate Sprint which will see the coastal road surrounding the traditional Boardmasters venue play host to around 100 cars and competitors tackling the new course against the clock.
First run in 2018, the Newquay based event became the first hillclimb in the country to take advantage of new legislation allowing public roads to be closed for motorsport. Attracting a bumper entry of over 100 drivers each year, the event has drawn significant interest from motoring fans and competitors across the UK, bringing many enthusiasts to the region as the traditional tourist season ends in the county. The event has also raised over £11,000 for Cornish charities.
Despite the format change, event organiser Roger Hargreaves believes Watergate Sprint will offer competitors and motorsport fans another fantastic weekend of action.
“Of course we are disappointed that we are unable to run the Watergate Bay Speed Hillclimb again, especially as we were forced to cancel in 2020 due to COVID-19,” he says.
“We have dedicated a lot of energy into making this event happen for Cornwall over the years, it means a lot to the community and sport in the region. Whilst it was a blow to find out that the hillclimb may not happen, we were eager to find an alternative and we believe that we have come up with an event that offers something for everyone and are very excited to share our plans for September”.
In a mirror image of the Hillclimb, the course will start on the Newquay side of the B3276 coast road, at Trevelgue and cars will tackle the 820-metre sprint towards Watergate Bay, with a fast and flowing section of the road mixed with a technical element including a tight 90-left turn before the finish. The paddock, trade and display area and spectator viewing will all be located together offering the perfect motorsport weekend.
“Effectively we will run the event in exactly the same way as we ran the Hillclimb, but without the ‘hill’ element and so by definition, we have to call it a sprint” continues Hargreaves.
“We will be returning to the more traditional hillclimb format in 2022 but for this year, we are confident that it provides a great challenge for competitors as well as good viewing for spectators. That means we can continue being one of the biggest motorsport events in the South West. We would like to thank all our supporters and backers for their faith in the event and look forward to welcoming everyone back to Cornwall in September”.
Watergate Sprint will also continue to donate profits to local charities, which for 2021 have been named as Cornwall Air Ambulance and Watergate Bay Surf Lifesaving Club.
More information on the event will be released closer to the time.
Main image courtesy Livelight Photography