Old guns get ready for Jaguar Simola Hillclimb
Competition ramps up for Classic Conqueror Title at the May event in Knysna
Every automotive enthusiast has a special car they have dreamed about from a young age, and usually aspire to drive or own.
Whether it was the fleeting sight of a Jaguar E-Type speeding past, hearing the thundering roar of the Le Mans-winning Ford GT40, or growing up with an iconic Porsche 911 in the family, legendary cars such as these fuel our passion for all things motoring.
Now imagine all these fabulous cars, along with many more, not only being gathered at a single event, but also being driven to the limit by some of the country’s top drivers. This is the formula that has made the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb SA’s must-attend motoring event of the year.
The Knysna-based Hillclimb takes place from May 3 to May 5 and 28 marques will be taking to the starting line on Classic Car Friday.
Franco Scribante is the undisputed king, having won this event four times in his 1970 Chevron B19, powered by a 2.0l naturally aspirated Ford Cosworth BDG engine. It is entered in Class H5 for pre-1990 race cars, which encompasses sports cars, single seaters and GT cars.
His winning time in 2018 was 42.196 seconds, achieving an average speed from a standing start of more than 162 km/h.
Scribante will be facing a new but highly experienced rival in 2019 in the form of Andre Bezuidenhout, who is the overall record holder up Simola’s 1.9km hill with the fastest-ever time of 35.528 seconds at the 2018 Hillclimb — albeit in the King of the Hill class.
Bezuidenhout is entering the fray with a 1976 Lola T460 single-seater, which is powered by a similar Ford Cosworth BDG engine to the one used in Scribante’s Chevron.
Peter Jenkins will also be among the challengers once again in his 1971 Chevron B19 on his third outing at the Hillclimb.
Aside from these specialised racing machines, there will be plenty of intriguing golden oldies in Class H1 for prewar cars, including the oldest vehicle in the field in the shape of Greig Smith’s 1928 750cc Austin Seven, along with a 1931 Ford Model A from the Parnell Bruce Collection in Knysna, which will be driven by Callum Price.
A regular favourite in H2 for pre-1965 road cars is the 1966 Jaguar E-Type 4.2, enthusiastically driven by Ron Hollis. Hannes Pickard will be taking to the start line in a sleek 1964 Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale and Jan Vosloo in a Porsche 356 SC from the same year.
Class H3 caters for pre-1985 road cars, and features Brian Bruce in his stunning 1964 Ford GT40, along with Ivan Marx in the spectacular 1967 Shelby Mustang. Chris Champion will be flying the British flag in the 1968 MGB GT Sebring.
A noteworthy entry is the ex-Jody Scheckter Lola T200 Formula Ford from 1969 entered by Peter Gillespie.
Class H6 for pre-1990 four-cylinder saloon racing cars includes the likes of the 1975 Ford Escort RS2000 driven by Johan Pretorius, Trevor Tuck’s 1969 Alfa Romeo Guilia GT Am, the two Fiat 500 Abarth entries of Anita Cusens and Chris Knez, and a 1990 Porsche 944 Turbo driven by Michelle Hambly-Grobler.
The large-capacity saloon racing cars are grouped in Class H7, which in this edition includes Willie Hepburn in a thunderous 7.0l V8 Opel Rekord from the WesBank Modifieds era. Charles Arton is back behind the wheel of his 1972 Datsun 240z, along with burn-out ace Graeme Nathan in the 1972 BMW CSI, Richard Evans in a 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster and a bevy of Porsche 911 machines of Neels Vosloo, Peter van der Spuy and Rui Campos.
• Online ticket sales for the 2019 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb are available on www.jaguarsimolahillclimb.com.