25 years of Wiscombe 5-Clubs

The first event took place on 8th May 1976.

It came about as the result of an invitation from ASWMC’s then Championship Secretary, Frank McKenna, to Charles Lambton to come to ASWMC’s AGM on 12th October 1975. Charles, with his great friend Richard Chichester the owner of Wiscombe Park, had been responsible for the introduction of hillclimbing there in 1950.

Charles Lambton explained that the future of the venue was uncertain as, of the various clubs who had run events there over the years, only AMOC and MGCC were committed for 1976. Unless other clubs came forward to take up the additional two or three weekends on offer, it was likely the venue would close. Just two events per year could not generate sufficient income to cover the costs of preparation and upkeep to the necessary standard.

By the time the AGM had closed there were two proposals on the table, both from consortia of clubs. One was from a group originally comprising Bristol, Plymouth & Taunton. The other from what was then the Bournemouth Sub Centre of ASWMC.

Chris Bigwood and yours truly were the permanent Bristol delegates to ASWMC at the time and we seized the opportunity of a possible return to hillclimbing, which we had been out of since the demise of Dyrham Park some years previously, so we put the Bristol name forward. Neither Plymouth nor ourselves however were in a position to ‘go it alone’, because of the distances involved between the venue and our respective areas of operation. Taunton were close enough, but had irons in other fires at the time, principally Cricket St Thomas. A consortium therefore looked the most viable proposition.

We stayed behind after the meeting to discuss the idea further and were joined by delegates from Burnham and Haldon. Within another half an hour we had agreed to endeavour to set up a consortium of five clubs to run in 1976.

Meanwhile, in the other grouping, Woolbridge were very keen, but the anticipated support from other clubs in the Bournemouth Sub Centre failed to materialise and so Woolbridge elected, bravely, to go it alone and have never looked back. Neither have the Five Clubs for that matter.

Before leaving Ilminster we all agreed to lobby our respective clubs to back the idea, and set a date for a proper meeting the following month. That meeting duly took place and responsibility for the various aspects of the organisation was divided up between the five.