As the first green shoots appeared on the wooded slopes of Prescott
hill in the spring of 1938, those responsible for the transformation could, with justification, take pride in what they had accomplished.
For here was the first purpose-built speed event venue to come on stream since the sport on public roads was outlawed some fourteen years before. In a little over four months Prescott
had been made ready for action, the result of careful planning, much hard labour and inspired project management. A full season was mapped out with four events organised by the Bugatti Owners’ Club and one by the Vintage Sports Car Club.
The first of these was really just an informal rally. On Sunday April 10th 1938
the BOC Spring Rally came to Cheltenham
where 130 members and guests lunched at the Queens Hotel. They then drove in convoy to Prescott
, led by Col. Godfrey Giles in his Type 18 Bugatti ‘Black Bess’, to have a look at the new hill and try some informal timed runs. Ian Craig was fastest in his 5-litre ‘Bachelier’ Bugatti in 55.58 ahead of long-time Prescott
competitor Ronnie Symondson in his Type 57S with 57.83.
The first meeting proper was an ‘invited clubs’ event on May 15th with Midland Automobile Club, Derby
and District and Brighton and Hove
among the guests. However the layout for the early events was very different from later years. The paddock was in what is now the orchard car park, and the viewing area on the opposite side of the track extended only as far as the footbridge. Arthur Baron was fastest in his Type 51 Bugatti and his time of 50.70 seconds was just 0.04 seconds ahead of the similar car of Jack Lemon Burton.
Thus the first hill record was established but it was not to last long. At the first ‘open’ meeting on July 3rd George Abecassis (Alta) set a new benchmark of 47.85. In a spirited defence, Baron recorded 48.14 and eleven drivers in all bettered the 50.70 target.