Knysna -The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb is already regarded as the premier event on South Africa’s motorsport calendar. It is now set to gain even more illustrious status with the introduction of new trophies inspired by two of SA’s top motorsport legends, as well as the creation of the all-new honorary position of Grand Marshal.
Starting in 2016, the King of the Hill Shootout contenders will be racing to win ‘The Jody’ – the newly-named and specially carved modern-overalled racing mannequin for being the outright fastest up the daunting, twisty 1.9km Simola Hill.
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Honouring Jody Scheckter
Ian Schrosbee, Hillclimb’s director and founder, says: “We are delighted that Jody Scheckter, South Africa’s only Formula 1 World Champion, has given us the permission to nickname the winning trophy ‘The Jody’ from this year’s event onwards.
Local sculptor and wood-carver Johan Nel has specially incorporated the iconic ‘Jody’ signature into the full-face helmet on the King of the Hill trophy, carved and turned from indigenous woods of the Knysna forests. From 2016 onwards, each winner will get to take-home-and-keep his iconic and unique version of ‘The Jody’. The winner of the all-new SuperCar Shootout will also receive a unique hand-carved trophy.
Schrosbee adds: “The unique array of five different shapes of trophies for class and overall wins have already rapidly become unique symbols in South African motorsport.
“Adding ‘The Jody’ to the top of the list greatly increases the iconic flavour of this event.”
Apart from his world championship title won in a Ferrari in 1979, Jody achieved global renown for his spectacular and forceful driving style while racing for McLaren, Tyrrell and Wolf, and then joining Ferrari. He retired from Ferrari, and F1, after the 1980 season. He was the last driver to win a drivers' championship for Ferrari until Michael Schumacher in 2000.
He now spends his time as one of the UK’s largest and best known biodynamic farmers, having bought Laverstoke Park Farm, near Overton, Hampshire, 64 km west of London.
Spirit of Dave Charlton awards
Special new floating trophies have been introduced to both the Classic Car Friday and King of the Hill competitions.
Schrosbee states: “The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb isn’t just about winning, but also the appeal of the wide range of cars and drivers that descend on Knysna, and make it a real tribute to South Africa’s proud motorsport legacy.
“Accordingly, we have introduced the ‘Spirit of Dave Charlton’ trophies, with kind permission from his family, which will be awarded to competitors who best exemplify Dave’s revered professionalism, determination, commitment to the sport.”
TThe ‘Spirit of Dave Charlton’ will be awarded for both Classic Car Friday (CCF) and King of the Hill (KOH) over the weekend, with each winner receiving one of the trophies – actual cups won by Dave while racing in the last F1 event held in Salisbury (now Harare) in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia).
The ‘CCF Spirit of Dave Charlton Award’ and the ‘KOH Spirit of Dave Charlton Award’ will be awarded to:
‘The driver or team member who most reflects the Dave Charlton spirit of attention to detail and meticulous persistence across the full spectrum of car and team preparation leading to produce and deliver commendable performances in competition, or to the competitor or team member showing exceptional spirit and sportsmanship.’
Dave Charlton won his first race at the age of 24, a late start for a racing driver, at the wheel of his own Austin Healey 100/6 in a supporting race for the 1960 South African Grand Prix at East London. He went on to take over from his great rival, Rhodesian John Love, as South African champion racing driver in the days when the championship was still contested in F1 cars.
He won the first of his six successive titles (emulating Love’s performance between 1963 and 1969) in an ex-Jo Bonnier Lotus 49C. The same year he finished 12th in the SA GP at Kyalami and later, driving for Aldo Scribante and with sponsorship from Lucky Strike and Sasol, he contested the French, German and British rounds of the 1972 F1 world championship. Throughout ‘Charlie’ was well-known along the pit lane for his meticulous attention to detail and cleanliness in car preparation and the operation of his racing team.
We now have a ‘Grand Marshal’!
Ian Scheckter – older brother of Jody and himself a South African multiple single-seater title holder and grand prix competitor, has become the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb’s first ‘Grand Marshal’.
In this newly-created role, Ian will be flagging off the first competitors in both the Classic Car Friday and King of the Hill competitions, he will attend all pre-race drivers’ meetings and move between the Pits and the Jaguar VIP Lounge during the event and attend both prize-givings.
Most importantly, Ian will be on hand trackside to make the first presentation of ‘The Jody’ to the winner of the King of the Hill at the climax of the event on the Sunday afternoon.
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Schrosbee says: “It is an honour to have Ian Scheckter as the first-ever Grand Marshal for the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb. Not only is he a racing legend from the 1970s and 80s, but he’s also been a regular competitor and supporter of the Hillclimb.”
Ian Scheckter made his grand prix debut in the 1974 South African Grand Prix, and competed sporadically until landing a full season with a works Rothmans March in 1977. He returned to South Africa at the end of that year and won the Formula Atlantic title for three years in a row and added two more in the early 1980s to bring his tally to six national titles.