A PERSHORE petrolhead who raced in the original Chateau Impney Hill Climb in the 1960s will realise his lifetime dream when he makes a return to the modern event in a world-famous race car.
Roger Fowler entered the 1964 and 1965 hill climb in his Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite and a Lotus SII BMC, but at this weekend’s event on Saturday (July 9) and Sunday (July 10), the 70-year-old motorsport enthusiast will hope to reign victorious for the first time in his breathtaking fully restored Lotus T60.
During the 1964 race, Mr Fowler came into contact with the Lola-Cosworth SCA T60 Formula 2, an internationally renowned race car which had burnt rubber throughout Europe by acclaimed drivers including Chris Amon, Richard ‘Dickie’ Attwood, Jo Bonnier and Frank Gardner.
Mr Fowler fell in love with the historic vehicle and considered himself lucky to have been able to work on ‘Lola’ as a junior mechanic, which went onto race to success in the Gold Cup at Oulton Park, the Rome Grand Prix and Solitude in Stuttgart.
In 1966 Lola changed hands and began its adventures overseas, first in Northern Ireland and then in New Zealand and Australia, where it continued to race until 1989 before being put into storage by its then-owner, Don Black in New South Wales.
Discovered as a ‘barn find’ 12 years later, Lola featured in Classic Cars Magazine in 2001 and once again caught Mr Fowler’s eye.
He secured his ‘pride and joy’ at an auction in 2013 and shipped it back to the UK from Australia, before painstakingly rebuilding it to its former glory.
Chateau Impney’s Hill Climb will be the duo’s first competitive race together, as well as being Mr Fowler’s first race since 1989 and Lola’s first competitive appearance in England for 50 years.
Recalling his experiences of racing at Chateau Impney, Mr Fowler said: “It was thrilling for me as a young man, stepping out for the first time amidst a big selection of exotic cars. To be involved with it all was both exciting and nerve-racking.
“I did put an entry in for the 2015 hill climb, but I was much too optimistic about how long Lola’s restoration was going to take, so unfortunately the car was nowhere near ready.
“I went along though and I thought the event was very good. I think resurrecting the hill climb is a marvellous thing and I’m sure it’s going to become quite a landmark event in the Midlands.”
Tickets are £20 on Saturday, £25 on Sunday or £40 for the weekend, and under-16s go free when accompanied by a ticket-holding adult. Visit www.chateauimpneyhillclimb.com or call 0845 017 0637 to buy tickets.