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All systems go for the 2019 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb!

2019-04-10 10:00

BACK TO RACING: The Jaguar Simola Hillclimb returns for the 2017 edition. Image: MotorPress

Every automotive enthusiast has a special car they have dreamed about from a young age, and usually aspire to drive or own.

Whether it was the fleeting sight of an evocative Jaguar E-Type speeding past, hearing the thundering roar of the Le Mans-winning Ford GT40, or growing up with an iconic Porsche 911 in the family, legendary cars such as these fuel our passion for all things motoring.

Now imagine all these fabulous cars, along with many more, not only being gathered at a single event, but also been driven to the absolute limit by some of the country’s top drivers. This is the peerless formula that has made the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb South Africa’s must-attend motoring event of the year!

As South Africa’s premier motoring and motorsport lifestyle event, the Knysna-based Hillclimb is truly unrivalled for the show it produces, both for the competitors and the spectators that descend on the beautiful Garden Route town each year.

jaguar simola hillclimb

                                                              Graeme Nathan - 1972 BMW CSI. Image: MotorPress

Diverse entries

Nowhere is the exceptional diversity of the entries more evident than in the line-up for Classic Car Friday. For the 2019 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb, 28 marques will be taking to the starting line with drivers competing in eight categories for individual class honours, as well as for overall glory.

The very successful format adopted for Friday’s action remains unchanged from previous years, with drivers given three practice runs and three qualifying runs up the 1.9km Simola Hill course.

From the qualifying result, the three fastest competitors in each class proceed to the Class Finals - a single-run shootout that determines the final podium positions.

The intensity and excitement build throughout the day, culminating in the Top 10 final shootout. The 10 drivers that posted the fastest times during qualifying go head-to-head in a single-run dash that ultimately determines the overall winner, who earns the Classic Conqueror title.

jaguar simola hillclimb

                                                  Neels Vosloo and Jan Vosloo during the JSHC parade. Iamge: MotorPress

Classic car Friday

Franco Scribante is the undisputed king of Classic Car Friday, having won this event four times in his immaculately prepared and exceptionally quick 1970 Chevron B19, powered by a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated Ford Cosworth BDG engine.

It is entered in Class H5 for pre-1990 race cars, which encompasses sports cars, single seaters and GT cars. Scribante’s first win came in 2014, and he has taken the honours for the past three years in succession.

His winning time in 2018 was 42.196 seconds, achieving an average speed from a standing start of over 162km/h!

READ: A thrilling legacy inspires the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb in May 2019: it’s the 10th Edition!

Scribante says: “This is the same Chevron that I have raced previously, and we don’t have any new tricks on the car. It is an original B19 so there’s not much we can do with it, but it is very well sorted. The B19 can be beaten, as there were cars from the era that were faster, such as the Formula Atlantic single-seaters, but none of these have been in the right hands to be in contention for the win at the Hillclimb in recent years.”

Prophetic words indeed, as Scribante will be facing a new but highly experienced rival this year in the form of Andre Bezuidenhout, who happens to be the overall record-holder with the fastest-ever time of 35.528sec at last year’s Jaguar Simola Hillclimb – albeit in the King of the Hill challenge.

jaguar simola hillclimb

                                                     Franco Scribante in his 1970 Chevron B19. Image: MotorPress


Bezuidenhout is entering the fray with a 1976 Lola T460 single-seater, which is powered by a similar Ford Cosworth BDG engine to that used in Scribante’s Chevron sports racing car – thus setting the scene for an almighty battle for overall Classic Car Friday glory.

According to Lola heritage records, this T460 was one of 20 cars built in 1976 for Formula Atlantic racing in the UK, as well as the Formula B category in the US.

The car was originally supplied to US agent Carl Haas who sold it to Tim Coconis for racing in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Pro and Club events up to 1979.

While Coconis ultimately became Operations Director of the famous Skip Barber Racing School in the US, the Lola was sold into the UK and then imported to South Africa where it was fully restored by Steve Humble of Harp Motorsport.

The Lola was part of the collection of Fred Phillips from whom Andre acquired the car earlier this year.

jaguar simola hillclimb

                                                          Ron Hollis in his 1966 Jaguar E-Type. Image: MotorPress

Tough affair

Bezuidenhout mentions: “Formula Atlantic cars made a huge contribution to the South African single-seater racing scene in the 1970s and I am privileged to drive the Lola at the Hillclimb this year. Early testing indicates that the car will be competitive, and I cannot wait to mix it up with Franco Scribante and the other competitors. It is going to be a tough affair.”

Peter Jenkins will also be amongst the challengers once again in his 1971 Chevron B19 on his third outing at the Hillclimb.

Aside from these specialised racing machines, there will be plenty of other thrilling and intriguing other cars to keep fans enthralled. The ‘golden oldies’ in Class H1 for pre-war cars includes the oldest vehicle in the field in the shape of Greig Smith’s 1928 750cc Austin Seven, along with a 1931 Ford Model A from the esteemed Parnell Bruce Collection in Knysna, which will be driven by Callum Price.

READ: Build-up begins for the 10th Jaguar Simola Hillclimb in 2019

Rodney Green is one of a select group of drivers that have completed in every Simola Hillclimb held to date, and this year he will be driving a 1934 Riley Ulster Imp. He will be joined by German driver Alexander Krahe who is importing a rare 1937 MG TA Q-Type Special specifically for the Hillclimb.

A regular favourite in H2 for pre-1965 road cars is the 1966 Jaguar E-Type 4.2, enthusiastically driven by Ron Hollis. Hannes Pickard will be taking to the start line in a sleek 1964 Alfa Romeo Sprint Speciale and Jan Vosloo in a Porsche 356 SC from the same year.

The 2019 edition of the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb takes place from 3 to 5 May.

jaguar simola hillclimb

                                                                           Scrutinising at the JSHC. Image: MotorPress


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