21 May Jaguar Simola Hillclimb
The weekend after the Knysna Motor Show, the ninth Jaguar Simola Hillclimb took place in the Garden Route town. Acknowledged as South Africa’s premier annual motoring and motor sport lifestyle event, this year the hillclimb attracted a record number of applications before organisers narrowed down the final selection to just 64 slots for Classic Car Friday, and 84 for the weekend’s King of the Hill challenge.
Once again Classic Car Friday provided a superb mix of competitive racing and camaraderie. After a busy days’ schedule of practice runs followed by qualifying runs, class winners were; Heyns Stead 1950 MG Spider, Ron Hollis 1966 Jaguar E-Type, Craig Wessels 1968 Pontiac GTO, Peter Hollis 1964 MG Midget, Franco Scribante 1970 Chevron B19, Trevor Tuck 1970 Alfa Romeo GTV, Graeme Nathan 1972 BMW 3,0 CSL and Andre Bezuidenhout 1975 Porsche Carrera RSR Turbo.
The Classic Conqueror Top 10 shootout was won by Franco Scribante in a time of 42,196 seconds with Ian Schofield’s 1977 March 77B second (45,433 secs) and Peter Jenkins’ 1971 Chevron B19 third (45,882 secs). Behind these came Bezuidenhout’s Porsche, Nathan’s Beemer, Charles Arton’s 1972 Datsun 240Z, Peter Lindenberg’s 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350, Josh Dovey’s 1965 Ginetta G4 R, Mike Ward’s 1969 Lotus 23 and Tuck’s Alfa.
The two-day King of the Hill part of the event has become a far more intense affair with massive investments being made resulting in a mouth-watering array of high-performance machinery. From Peter Lindenberg’s monster Ford Ranger Savage 660 bakkie to Antony Ashley’s diminutive Ariel Atom, the non-stop action kept the weekend’s record crowd of over 17 000 fans enthralled throughout.
Last year’s overall champion Andre Bezuidenhout returned with a new car, a Gould GR55 hillclimb special and what a buy it proved to be. His 2017 winning time in a Dallara F189 Formula 1 car was 37,695 seconds but this year in the final shoot-out Andre set a staggering new course record for the 1,9-km hill with a time of 35,528 seconds – from a standing start – at an average speed of 192,52 km/h! Wilhelm Baard won the Modified Saloon Car shootout in his Nissan Skyline GTR R35 with a time of 39,463 seconds, and Reghard Roets won the Road/Supercar shootout with a time of 44,892 seconds in his GTR R35.
Finally, for his dedication and professionalism to motor sport, 76-year-old Willie Hepburn earned the 2018 King of the Hill Spirit of Dave Charlton floating trophy, which recognises the person that reflects South African race legend Dave Charlton’s spirit of impeccable attention to detail, meticulous preparation and commendable performance.