Throaty, carbureted idles lined the makeshift pitlane alongside the opening stretch of tarmac for the Simola Hillclimb—no EVs in sight. Here is a recap of the opening day of racing in Knysna.
“They don’t make them like they used to” – words that echoed in and around the 1,9 km stretch of road that comprises the Simola Hillclimb. For many that share this sentiment, Classic Car Friday is the day to attend, enjoying carbureted, rich air-fuel mixtures rattling into life and bringing the tranquil scenery of Knysna alive.
This was the day that pre-war cars would share the hallowed piece of road with some more familiar-looking models, particularly to South Africans. Part of the vibrant and diverse lineup are the local icons from BMW including a 530 MLE, 333i and the 745i super saloon prepared by Pablo Clark Racing. Further down the pitlane were creations from Italy in the form of Alfa Romeo, with a Giulia and GT Junior challenging the field as well as a squadron of Fiat’s and an Abarth with its rear-mounted engine proudly displaying while it competed its sprint. Several Porsches and Ford-powered creations reverberated throughout the hills too, some qualifying into the Classic Conqueror category.
Despite their age, the fastest time posted for the title was just over 40 seconds.
- Andre Bezuidenhout (Lola Cosworth T460) – 41,715
- Andrew Schofield (March Ford BDG 77B) – 44,024
- Charles Arton (March Cosworth BDA 79B) – 44,763
- Josh Dovey (Chevron Ford t/cam B20 F3)- 46,182
- Rui Campos (Porsche 911 RSR) – 46,221
- James Temple (Shelby Ford V8 Daytona Coupe) – 47,834
- Clive Corder (Lola Chevy Mkr 3B) – 49,208
- Robert Wolk (Van Diemen Ford RF) – 49,921
- Craig Wessels (Porsche RSR) – 50,633
With racing coming to a close in the mid-afternoon, the King of the Hill competitors ahead of the weekend strutted their stuff during a parade at the picturesque waterfront of Knysna. So too did Petter Solberg who hooned his 2018 Championship-winning WRC Polo around the cordoned-off waterfront, performing breathtaking theatrics on the narrow road lined with spectators.
Saturday is the day for qualifying for these behemoths, while Sunday is the one that will count for King of the Hill title. Stay tuned for coverage!