Scotland’s oldest motorsport venue roared into life earlier this month for the adrenaline-filled historic motorsport festival that is the Bo’ness Revival. Opening in 1934, the venue on the Kinneil Estate was Scotland’s first purpose-built motorsport venue and became a prominent feature during the heyday of British motorsport, attracting the likes of Jim Clark and Sir Jackie Stewart. Motorsport ended on the Kinneil Estate in 1966, but eleven years ago a team of volunteers brought motor racing back to Bo’ness with the Revival.
The cost of staging a hillclimb event is constantly rising, so the organising team’s next innovation to help keep it viable was to promote the Bo’ness Revival Classic side of the event, which has grown into one of the major events on the Scottish Classic Car scene. As a result, the weekend event has become bigger and better every year since, and such is its popularity that this year the show field was fully booked in advance. The Saturday saw classic cars of all types opt to take part in either a laid-back road run or the more competitive regularity and auto-test stages of the Bo’ness Saltire Trophy run by the Saltire Rally Club.
Sunday at the Bo’ness Revival saw record numbers of classic car enthusiasts converging on Borrowstounness (to give the town its full name) on the south bank of the Firth of Forth from all over the UK and abroad. They brought with them over 300 classic cars arranged in displays from over 100 car clubs. Families and enthusiasts were entertained by a series of fun presentations on the history of various car makes in the show field arena, including a celebration of the anniversaries of the Jaguar XK and XJ6. There were over 100 Triumphs in attendance too, supporting the inaugural Scottish Triumph Weekend held as part of the Bo’ness Classic.
Meanwhile, on the hillclimb, over 100 racing cars threaded their way along the track lined with straw bales in the best classic tradition. The course includes the notoriously tricky S-bend called the Courtyard, where drivers must test their mettle by judging the tight twists between two stone-built dwellings and the competition can be won or lost by tenths of a second here. One of the great attractions for spectators is that Bo’ness has a great level of access for motor racing fans. You could opt to either stand trackside, or wander around the pit paddock as the likes of early Austin 7 specials, Bentleys, MGs, Jaguars, Triumphs, Porsches and more fiercely compete against the clock for the fastest time up the hill, across 10 varied classes representing every era of motorsport history.
Times on the hill were affected at various points across the weekend by slightly damp conditions and the odd rain shower, but the Lola T70 of George Coghill took Fastest Time of the Day honours on the Saturday in the invitation class for 1974-1983 sports cars with a stunning 28.34 seconds.
Sunday’s fastest time was provided by the Lotus 61 FF1600 of Andrew Paterson pulling out the stops to achieve 30.12 seconds in Class 8 for single-seater racing cars 1966-1973.
It was a weekend filled with celebration, and whether you were a dyed in the wool petrolhead or simply enjoying a great day out with the kids, there was something for everyone at this celebration of a racing venue with national importance. All pictures courtesy of Alastair Peacock.