Knysna's annual Simola Hillclimb has been cancelled for 2020. Picture: SUPPLIED
Knysna's annual Simola Hillclimb has been cancelled for 2020. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Covid-19 lockdown has claimed its latest motoring victim, leading to the Simola Hillclimb being postponed to 2021.

The popular motorsport event will take place in Knysna from May 6-9 2021.

The news comes as the latest blow to a town that is heavily reliant on tourism, and follows the cancellation of the Oyster Festival and Knysna Motor Show.

The Hillclimb, held in Knysna over the past decade, has become a premier motorsport lifestyle event with approximately 17,000 people from around the globe attending, and more than 250,000 livestream views over the weekend.

“It is with a great deal of sadness that we have been forced to make this decision,” said the organiser, Knysna Speed Festival. “It was our intention to run the event in September, and we had put plans in place to do so, but it has become apparent in our ongoing discussions with all role players that it will not be possible to host the event during that time.

“As things stand there is no certainty as to what the situation will be in September but all indications are that mass gatherings will still not be allowed by then. Our local authorities have informed us that they expect the effects of the virus to remain significant in September, and they therefore cannot support the event taking place.

“The uncertainty also impacts our international competitors and visitors who may not be allowed to travel, sponsor partners who would not be able to host staff and guests if the health risk is high or if leisure travel is still banned, and the Simola Hotel which is unsure if it will be allowed to open by then.

“With so much uncertainty, combined with the real health risks that visitors to the event could still be exposed to, there is unfortunately no other option but to postpone the event to 2021. The health of our employees, sponsor staff, competitors and their support crew, spectators, suppliers and the Knysna residents is the most important issue to consider at this time.”