Franco Scribante yet again stamped his authority on the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb’s Classic Car Friday event winning his fifth Classic Conqueror title, and fourth in a row, in thrilling fashion. The 10th edition of the legendary Knysna event dawned wet and cold, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the 61 competitors that lined up for the start, nor for the thousands of fans that turned up for the action.
When it came down to the Classic Conqueror Top 10 Shootout, Josh Dovey was 10th quickest in his diminutive 1965 Ginetta G4 R (49.549 sec), finishing just behind Johan de Bruyn in his Porsche 911 R replica from the same year (49.189 sec). Graeme Nathan was as spectacular as ever in the Peter Kaye-Eddie owned 1972 BMW 3.0 CSL to finish eighth (48.149 sec), with Rui Campos claiming seventh place with an impressive 47.664 seconds in his 1969 Porsche 911 RSR. Robert Wolk used his extensive single-seater experience to secure sixth place in his 1987 Reynard Formula Ford (47.638 sec). Peter Jenkins slotted his bright yellow Chevron into fifth place with his best run of the day at 45.904 seconds. Peter van der Spuy powered his mighty 1972 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Turbo into fourth place with a time of 45.575 seconds. Having made the switch from King of the Hill to Classic Car Friday, V8 racing legend Willie Hepburn caused a stir in the thunderous ex-WesBank Modified 7.0-litre 1981 Opel Rekord, the 77-year-old rounding off the shootout with a run of 44.050 seconds which gave him a well-deserved third place overall.
Scribante appeared to be in a class of his own through most of the day in the impeccable 1970 Chevron B19. His closest challenge, as expected, came from Andre Bezuidenhout in a 1976 Lola Cosworth Formula Atlantic single-seater. Bezuidenhout completed his last run in 42.651 seconds, an outstanding 0.755 sec faster than his previous best. Then it was all up to Scribante. After a somewhat flustered start with a missed shift into second gear, the iconic orange Chevron crossed the timing beam at the top of the Simola Hill on the ragged edge, finishing a scant eight-hundredths of a second ahead of the Lola with a time of 42.574 seconds.
Well-earned class titles went to Roger Lewis in H1 (1934 MG Special Hedgehog), Malcolm Uytenbogaardt in H2 (1965 Sunbeam Tiger), Gavin Rooke in H3 (1970 Porsche 911), Johan de Bruyn in H4 (1964 Porsche 911 R replica), Trevor Tuck (Alfa Romeo Giulia GTAm) and Peter van der Spuy (Porsche 911 RSR) claiming H8.
The ‘Spirit of Dave Charlton’ Award recognises the person who reflects the SA racing legend’s spirit of attention to detail, meticulous preparation and commendable performance went to Ron Hollis. He heads up Bodge Engineering, a specialist classic car service centre that focuses on 1950s and 1960s British sports cars. Ron has played an important role in the development of the classic car cottage industry in Knysna.
Franco Scribante made the weekend a double-celebration by taking his first King of the Hill title in the extremely competitive Modified Saloon Car category, powering his radical 2016 Nissan GT-R to a new Class B record time of 39.274 seconds. He ousted 2018 winner Wilhelm Baard who had to settle for second place in the final Top 10 Shootout. In the Single Seater and Sportscar category, Andre Bezuidenhout fought off a strong challenge from Robert Wolk (2009 A1 GP Ferrari) to secure his third win in a row. He powered the specialist Gould GR55 Hillclimb car to a winning time of 36.764 seconds. It was a similar story for Reghard Roets who made it a hat-trick of victories in the Road Car and Supercar category, after setting a new Class A record of 44.094 seconds in his Nissan GT-R.
Over 17 000 spectators attended the 2019 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb over the three exhilarating days of Hillclimb action.