1972 classic shatters Simola record
By: Yolande Stander and IOL Motoring Staff
Knysna - One hill, two days, 83 very fast cars, 802 runs up the two-kilometre course and one new King of the Hill was crowned on Sunday afternoon at the 2014 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb.
But the weekend's drama started on Friday when a car built more than four decades ago proved that age is only a number, even in motor racing, by setting the fastest time yet up the hill.
Franco Scribante and his 1972 Chevron B19 set a blistering time of 41.811 seconds up the steep, twisty Old Cape Road in Knysna - shaving more than a second off the previous fastest time of defending King of the Hill Jade Gutzeit, set in a modern Nissan Skyline R34.
What makes Scribante's win in the classic car category on Friday so impressive feat is that his time was faster than any modern, exotic or supercar has posted ince the event was introduced in 2009.
Nobody could come close to Scribante's time, with Ross Lazarus in his Ford GT40 second on 47.170 and Peter Lindenberg third in a Shelby Daytona Coupe in 49.302.
The Classic Conqueror title goes to the fastest car up the hill on Classic Car Friday.
Six categories competed in 2014; the H1 class, for pre-war cars, saw Roy Jones and his Riley TT Sprite replica in first, ahead of Robert van Zyl's Bugatti Type 37 and Brian Bruce's Ford Model A Speedster third.
The Sprite's winning time of 1m15.584 might not threaten the sound barrier, but they certainly brought style to the proceedings.
H2 was the class for pre-1966 road cars and here the Sunbeam Tiger of Malcolm Uytenbogaardt took the win in a time of 56.618sec with Ron Hollis in his Jaguar E-Type and MG A driver Chris Champion second and third respectively.
Road cars built before 1975 qualify for H3 and the Jaguar E-Type of Jason Furness proved quickest with a 55.449-second run, beating Dr Ivan Marx' Ford Shelby GT500 CR and Ashley Ellis' Jaguar XJ6 into second and third respectively .
Race cars dated earlier than 1966 make up the H4 class and of these the MG Spider of Heyns Steed was the fastest up climb the hill in 1m08.331 with Clive Winterstein hot on his heels in a Porsche Elva. The MG Special of Roger Lewis rounded out the top three.
Race cars built prior to 1975 fall into the H5 category with Scribante's Chevron B19 finishing ahead of Graeme Nathan's BMW CSI and the Porsche 911R of Kobus Brits.
Re-created cars, effectively cars which feature the silhouette of the original but making use of modern running gear, form class H6. Here Lazarus' Ford GT40 proved unbeatable with Lindenberg and his Shelby Daytona Coupe taking second ahead of the Lotus 7 of Antony Ashley.
RUNNING ON PURE ADRENALIN
But on Saturday morning a wet and slippery track greeted competitors in the fifth open-class Simola Hillclimb event at Knysna. Overnight rain had made conditions highly unpredictable and racers started their weekend cautiously.
Sunday, however, dawned with not a cloud in the sky and temperatures steadily rising - but it wasn't until the sun sat low in the sky, the shadows grew long and temperatures began to drop that the serious business of the weekend started.
After two qualifying sessions on Saturday and five on Sunday, just 10 racers made the cut - one run per car, one chance to become King of the Hill.
And one of them was the 42-year-old B19, resplendent in its 1970s Team Gunston livery (who cares that tobacco advertising is frowned upon in the new millennium - you can't buy Gunstons these days anyway!), still unbeaten and the top qualifier for the finals.
Would he be able to match that time under pressure from the country's top hillclimbers in state-of-the-art sports-cars?
No, he bettered it, scorching up the hill in 41.159 seconds to beat Desmond Gutzeit (father of Jade) and his spectacular Nissan Skyline GT-R by 0.546sec, with Darron Gudmanz in another Skyline GT-R just 0.195sec slower.
And in the process he made history by becoming the only competitor to win both the Classic Conqueror and King of the Hill titles, as well as the holder of the outright course record.
Garden Route Media and IOL