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WATCH: Sparks fly in thrilling King of the Hill

A new King of the Hill was crowned and saw the reign of two others extended today with a thrilling finale at #JaguarSHC.

8 fast cats score trophies at #JaguarSHC

The 10th Jaguar Simola Hillclimb was a successful affair for Team Jaguar, with a total of eight podium finishes for all eight entries across various categories.

2019 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb ready to roar into life

2019-04-26 08:54
jaguar hillclimb

Image: MotorPress / Rob Till

With exactly one week to go before the 10th edition of the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb roars into life, from 2 to 5 May 2019, spectators and competitors alike are eagerly anticipating what is sure to be the most thrilling and competitive field yet for South Africa’s premier motorsport lifestyle event.

There will be special interest in Class C, the Single Seater and Sports Car category, which is home to the Simola Hillclimb’s outright record-holder – none other than racing aficionado Andre Bezuidenhout.

READ: Mike Briggs, Deon Joubert and Shaun Watson-Smith set to electrify race fans at Jaguar Simola Hillclimb 

After winning his first King of the Hill crown in 2017 in the stunning 1989 Dallara Formula One car, Bezuidenhout returned in 2018 to defend his title in the purpose-built Gould GR55 hillclimb racer.

And he did so in spectacular fashion, slashing more than two seconds off his 2017 time with an all-time record of just 35.528 seconds for the 1.9 km course. From a standing start, he completed the sprint at an astonishing average speed of 192.52 km/h – having only briefly tested the Gould before the event.

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                                                                                             Image: MotorPress / Rob Till

As a result, the question on everyone’s mind will, first and foremost, be whether he will set a new record in 2019.

"Records will always be broken, and it all depends on the weather, the car and your emotions on the day,” Bezuidenhout says.

"My final run last year was just about perfect, but I will certainly try and repeat it this year."

The second question is whether anyone will be able to take the fight to the double champion in 2019? Robert Wolk has provided the most competitive challenge thus far, and his 2009 Ferrari-powered single-seater from the ill-fated A1 GP series is no slouch.

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                                                                                            Image: MotorPress / Rob Till

However, he had to be content with runner-up status in the Top 10 Shootout last year, ending 2.1 seconds off Bezuidenhout’s time – but there’s no doubt Wolk will use his extensive single-seater experience as a multiple Formula Ford champion to give it his best shot.

Putting a completely different spin on the single-seater category is the extremely rare and valuable McLaren M10B entered by Chris Knez.

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                                                                                               Image: MotorPress / Rob Till

This legendary car, chassis number 17, was raced by 1969 Formula 5000 champion John McNicol in the early 1970s and is reputed to be the last original F5000 car, and the only original McLaren from this series, remaining in South Africa.

"In an era when the South African Driver’s Championship saw Formula One and Formula 5000 cars competed together, McNicol powered this McLaren to an identical qualifying time to six-time SA champion John Love in an F1 car at a race held at Kyalami, so it has great history," Knez says.

"I purchased the car from Andrew Thompson in 2015 while he was in the process of doing a full restoration, and it is currently kept at The Checkered Flag Museum owned by Steve Koterba in Benoni.

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                                                                                            Image: MotorPress / Rob Till

"The McLaren has been driven on demonstration laps at the Passion for Speed historic racing festival at Zwartkops Raceway for the last two years, and it’s great to see the attention this truly historic car gets."

All three of these rapid single-seaters all compete in Class C3 for vehicles with five cylinders and above. Class C2 for four-cylinder cars includes three Formula VW cars powered by 2.0-litre engines, driven by Shane Helberg, Wayne Jardine and Garth de Villiers who finished third last year.

Mac Odendaal will be competing in a VW Formula GTi car from the series that provided an important stepping stone for many of South Africa’s motorsport champions in the 1980s and 1990s, including the likes of Deon Joubert and Mike Briggs, both of whom are competing in this year’s event.

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                                                                                             Image: MotorPress / Rob Till 

Ian Schofield joins the fray again in his 2018 Mygale Formula Ford, while Cornel Smit will be behind the wheel of an ARO MkI Formula M machine powered by a high-revving Suzuki GSX-R600 motorcycle engine.

There’s sure to be plenty of interest in the sports car categories too, particularly in Class C6 which will see the debut of Alan Dike’s sleek 2003 Pillbeam MP91 LMP2 – a Le Mans Prototype-class car that uses a Judd F1-derived 3.4-litre V8 engine. He will compete alongside Knysna resident and Hillclimb regular Mike Verrier in the Nissan-powered Shelby CanAm, as well as Craig Harper in the Alfa V6-engined Harper Type 5 Turbo.

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                                                                                             Image: MotorPress / Rob Till 

Class C4 features four-cylinder naturally-aspirated sports cars and will present an intriguing battle between two fierce Volkswagen Polo Cup rivals. As the reigning Polo Cup and Lotus Challenge champion, Jeffrey Kruger (2000 Lotus 7 1.6) will be going up against Devin Robertson who will be driving a rapid 2000 Radical SR1 Clubsport that uses a 1.3-litre Suzuki Hayabusa superbike engine.

Tom Barrett is the third entry in the class in a 2.0-litre Lotus 7.

If you haven’t already booked your tickets for the 2019 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, be sure to do so soon as Pit Access, Turn 2 Grandstand Seating, as well as Pit Priority Parking tickets are almost sold out! Online ticket sales are available here.

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