KNYSNA NEWS - The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb is justifiably regarded as SA's premier motorsport and motoring lifestyle event – and you only need to look at the line-up for Classic Car Friday to understand why.
After all, where else would you find 64 immaculately prepared road and race cars spanning everything from original 1930s Grand Prix single-seaters to some of the most iconic cars from the 1960s and '70s gathered at one event? And they aren’t just parked for show – they’re race-ready to take on the 1.9km hill course, with many of these cars specially prepared for the event, and a number are virtually priceless and irreplaceable.
1957 Cooper Coventry Climax T43 F2
A prime example, and one of the most significant cars in this event’s history, is Rodney Green’s extremely rare and valuable 1957 Cooper Coventry Climax T43 Formula 2 racer, which has been painstakingly restored over the last 10 years. It is scheduled to race for the first time since the 1960s in this year’s Classic Conqueror up Simola Hill and will be competing in Class H4 for pre-1970 race cars.
“Over the past decade, it has been the subject of a meticulous nut-and-bolt restoration,” Green says. “The car was fortunately complete and still has the original chassis, engine, aluminium body, magnesium rims and brake drums, and the transverse leaf spring suspension.”
Roger Pearce was tasked with rebuilding the 150 hp (112 kW) Coventry Climax FPF gear-driven twin overhead camshaft engine – a process that took four years. Various other specialists have been involved in the comprehensive restoration and, without a doubt, this will be one of the major highlights of Classic Car Friday in 2018.
1930 Austin 7 Special
The oldest cars in this year’s starting line-up will be the two 1930 Austin 7 Special entries, built by father-and-son team Rod and Greig Smith, competing in Class H1 for pre-war cars.
“Very few of these cars or engines remain, as they became uncompetitive when the more powerful 997cc BMC engine came out in the 1960s and the cars were either extensively modified or abandoned,” says Greig Smith.
Pre-1965 road cars
Class H2 caters for pre-1965 road cars, with two of its most noteworthy entrants being Hannes Pickard’s extremely rare and valuable 1963 Ferrari 250 GTE, along with Franco Scribante’s immaculate 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, and as usual, Ron Hollis will also be in the mix in his beautiful 1966 Jaguar E-Type.
In Class H3 for pre-1985 road cars, one of the notable competitors is American racer Steve Kimpton, an Inde Motorsports Ranch member, who made his Jaguar Simola Hillclimb debut last year in King of the Hill. He will be driving a 1968 Lotus Europa being hired for this event from Knysna resident and renowned classic car collector Brian Bruce.
All eyes on Scribante
Three-time winner Franco Scribante is once again expected to be the favourite to take the Classic Conqueror title in his 1970 Chevron B19, which currently holds the Classic Car Friday record of 41.432 sec from 2016. Scribante’s car was damaged in a crash at the Killarney circuit in Cape Town and has been rebuilt for the 2018 season.
“We are hoping to take a fourth Classic Conqueror title this year and are aiming to break the current Classic Car Friday record,” Scribante says. “A lot of time has been spent on the B19, and it has been stripped down to its bare chassis for a thorough inspection. It’s our intention to top the time sheets.”
His main challengers for Class H5 (pre-1990 race cars) and the overall title will once again be Peter Jenkins in a similar 1971 Chevron B19, and Ian Schofield in the 1977 March 77B.
Class H6 for pre-1990 racing saloon cars features the likes of Peter Kaye-Eddie (1967 BMW 2002) and Trevor Tuck in the stunning 1970 Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Bevy of V8 Fords
A bevy of fast V8-powered Fords will be challenging for Class H7 glory, including Peter Lindenberg (1965 Shelby GT350) and daughter Paige (1968 Ford Fairlane), along with Djurk Venter in the famous 1972 Capri Perana, and Nick Sheward in a Sierra XR8. They will be going head-to-head against Charles Arton in the Datsun 240z, Graeme Nathan’s BMW 3.4 CSI and the Porsche entries of Neels and Jan Vosloo.
As always, the ex-Tony Viana 1988 BMW 325i Shadowline from the iconic Group N era will be a popular attraction – this time driven by Geoff Goddard Junior, a former kart racer, and son of Simola Hillclimb sporting director and former BMW Production Car driver, Geoff Goddard.
Big guns in on the action
Class A8 hosts several Hillclimb big guns. For the first time, current King of the Hill in the Single Seater and Sports Car category, and overall Hillclimb record-holder, Andre Bezuidenhout, will be joining the Friday action in his fast and furious 1975 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Turbo.
Bezuidenhout’s RSR is just one of four original and replica versions of this car competing in Class A8, joined by David Catlin’s Lexus V8-powered Ferrari P4 recreation, Brian Bruce’s thunderous Ford GT40, and a Lola T70 replica driven by Vance Kearney from the UK.
Find out more: www.jaguarsimolahillclimb.com
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