THE ORGANISERS of the Chateau Impney Hill Climb have announced the 2019 event was the last in the series and it would not be returning for 2020.
The move comes just a few weeks after the extravaganza was named ‘Best Competitive Event in the annual Royal Automobile Club’s (RAC) Historic Awards.
It will come as a shock to many as on January 1 a post was put on the event’s Facebook page wishing followers a happy new year and saying there were ‘a very busy few months ahead preparing for this year’s event’.
But then, in a statement on Friday, the event team confirmed it would not be returning for 2020, adding it had been amazing hosting the Hill Climb in the last five years and, having set out to create memorable experiences, the event had consistently exceeded expectations.
The statement added: “We have achieved all of the above and it is now time for us to bow out in style and focus on the exciting next chapter for Chateau Impney.
“We would like to thank all the partners, team and guest for their support over the years, as we couldn’t have done it without you, and we look forward to involving you in our future.”
It added the team would look back at the past five years through visitors’ and competitors’ testimonials encapsulating their passion for motorsport.
One said it was the best hill climb they had done in 40 years of competing while another added every year the event had managed to surpass the previous one.
Rod Spollen, the hotel’s managing director, told the Standard said while ‘there was a long time in the future’ it would not be taking place this year or next.
“It has certainly had the impact we hoped it would have but it is time to move onwards to the Chateau Impney’s next exciting chapter.”
The news is a massive blow for Droitwich as well as motorsport fans.
When it was brought back in 2015 after a gap of more than 50 years, the organisers said the hill climb weekend generated more than £1million for the Droitwich economy.
Local firms had benefited by being enlisted to resurface the track and build the grandstand, virtually every hotel room in the area was filled and local food and drink vendors were invited to sell their wares and ensure the hungry and thirsty spectators were offered everything from pig roasts, pizza and ice cream to ales, ciders and other refreshments.
The hill climb attracted a crowd of more than 10,000 in its inaugural year (2015), rising to 14,000 in 2016 and 18,500 by last year’s events.
Chosen charities benefited too, including the Midlands Air Ambulance and Cauldwell Children.