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5th Jul, 2022

Former Droitwich schoolgirl follows in father's footstep

Droitwich Editorial 5th May, 2015 Updated: 17th Oct, 2016

A FORMER Droitwich schoolgirl who used to watch her dad compete in the Chateau Impney Speed Trials will be lining up at the start when the Hill Climb returns to the Spa in the summer.

And as well as following in her father’s tyre tracks, Shirley Monro will be driving her Cooper 500 Mk IV on July 11 and 12, which records show was driven by racing legend Stirling Moss.

Donald Monro competed at the Chateau many times in the 1960s in his distinctive blue AC Ace Bristol, alongside some of the leading drivers of the day such as Phil Scragg, Doc Taylor and British Hill Climb champions Tony Marsh and David Good.

Shirley, who now lives in Hull, was a pupil at the nearby Droitwich boarding school and used to make the short journey to the Chateau to see her dad in action. She became captivated by the roar of the engines and the smell of the motor oil.

She treasures a photograph of one of her father’s appearances at the Chateau and following his death, was inspired to begin competing herself more than two decades on.

It was in 1990 when she bought the Cooper 500 Mk IV and recent research into the car’s history shows it was originally driven by Moss during the 1953 season at the French, German and Italian Grand Prix.

Shirley has made a name for herself in historic motorsport, competing all over the world in her trademark red lipstick and pearls.

And the need for speed clearly runs in her family – her dad was related to famous motorcycle racer Burt Monro which biopic The World’s Fastest Indian, starring Anthony Hopkins, was based upon.

Shirley said: “To drive a course that my father raced all those years ago when I was so small, it’s going to be thrilling but emotional for me – the memory of it is so sharp.

“The sad thing is he’s not there to see it, but I’m sure he’ll be helping me get round those corners.

“The whole weekend will be very special.”

Rod Spollon, chairman of the Chateau Impney Hill Climb Club, said he was delighted to be welcoming Shirley back as a competitor.

“It will be fantastic to see her set off from the same start line that her father often did, and her presence is sure to bring back many memories for anyone attending who competed alongside Donald in the 50s and 60s.”

There will be a variety of classic cars competing on the brand new course and there will also be 100 stalls and a major classic car auction.

Tickets for the Hill Climb start from £20 per adult. Children under 16 go free with a paying adult. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.chateauimpneyhillclimb.com or calling 01905 774411.

Above – Donald Monro competing at the Chateau Impney in the 1960s. s

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