The big news coming out of Knysna last week is that Andre Bezuidenhout, in his purpose-built 2007 Gould GR55 hill climb racer, managed to shave a whole 0.8 seconds off his previous time to set a new record for the 1.9km dash at a scintillating 34.161 seconds.
That’s quite something, what with an average speed of 201.18km/h through the bends, making it his fifth consecutive win in the Single Seater and Sport Car category. If there was any doubt before, Andre is definitely the man to beat.
Robert Wolk was again the closest competitor, in his 1989 Pillbeam MP58, also a specialised hill climb car but one with four manual gears to wrestle as opposed to the Gould’s six-speed paddleshift.
Wolk’s team made crucial gear ratio changes over the weekend to help a crucial drop in times from the 38-second mark all the way down to 36.335 in the Top 10 shootout.
It was not all smooth running over the Simola Hill Climb weekend, with rainy weather on the Friday and Saturday introducing new challenges for traction, but the Sunday cleared up and Andre’s final no-holds-barred push up the hill in the top 10 Shootout got the crowds wowed to say the least.
The Modified Saloon Car crown was reclaimed by Franco Scribante, setting a new record of 38.129 in his Nissan R35 GT-R, the one with 1600 horses and crazy aerodynamic package.
There had been a proper rivalry developing between Franco and Reghard Roets, who moved up from supercar category to drive the trophy-guzzling GT-R previously driven by Wilhelm Baard.
The two traded times throughout qualifying but Reghard ultimately picked up electronic issues and had to settle for runner-up position and didn’t compete in the final shootout.
In the Road Car and Supercar category, it was Jean-Pierre van der Walt pushing a 2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S to a 44.562 second blitsvinnig run that earned him the title. Still, he was half a second off the record.
So ja, if you’ve got a ton of cash and the will to go fast, no better or more prestigious place to do that in the country than at the Simola Hill Climb.