This past weekend saw the 12th installment of the annual Simola Hillclimb in Knysna, with old rivalries making their return and new records set.
Dozens of cars made their way up the famous hill this weekend to fight for top honours, but only a few went home with something to show for it.
Modified saloon cars
The winner of the 2022 modified saloon car category was Franco Scribante in the infamous multi-winged 2016 R-35 Nissan GT-R, with a time of 38.129 seconds for the 1.9-kilometre track.
Scribante narrowly beat a new challenger this year, Reghard Roets, which moved up from the road car category to compete in the tougher segment with a multiple King of the Hill-winning BB Motorsport 2013 R-35 Nissan GT-R.
“The two leading contenders traded fastest times throughout the practice and qualifying sessions, but Scribante held an advantage of 0.7 seconds going into the Class Finals,” said the event organisers.
“The eagerly anticipated contest ultimately faded as the Roets GT-R picked up electronic issues that had previously plagued this car. He had to settle with runner-up position in Class B5, and didn’t start the King of the Hill Top 10 Shootout.”
Road cars and supercars results
Jean-Pierre van der Walt took home two trophies in the 2022 Simola Hillclimb by winning both the road cars and supercars, as well as the Class A4 categories.
He achieved these results with a 2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S, taking the supercar up the hill in a time of 44.562 seconds – 1.3-seconds better than last year when he drove a Porsche GT3 RS.
Farhaad Ebrahim followed Van der Walt with a time of 45.916 seconds in his Toyota Supra, also winning Class A3, while Gordon Nicholson sat in third with a time of 46.032 seconds in his Audi R8 V10 Plus, along with the Class A6 win.
Single-seater and sports prototypes results
Andre Bezuidenhout secured his fifth consecutive single-seater and sports prototypes victory in 2022.
This marked his fourth victory in a row in the purpose-built 2007 Gould GR55 hillclimb racer, finishing the climb in an astonishing 34.161 seconds – 0.8 seconds faster than his record from last year – at an average speed of 201.18km/h.
“I thought that we could go about two-tenths quicker than last year, but the team has done an amazing job with the car and we’ve been testing for the last six weeks,” said Bezuidenhout.
“It was the right moment today as the car was perfect, the heat was ideal, and everyone went faster in the final heat. I had a great run and I’m glad that we could win for the fifth time, as I’m not getting any younger.”
“With that 34.1 second time a 33 must be possible, so I’m definitely coming back,” he said.
Spirit of Dave Charlton award
Every year the Simola Hillclimb recognises a person that “reflects South African race legend Dave Charlton’s spirit of impeccable attention to detail, meticulous preparation, and commendable performance.”
Pieter Zeelie received the award this year for winning the overall King of the Hill competition in 2021, and for shipping his Toyota MR2 Super GT, powered by a turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 Toyota engine, to Europe to compete in the FIA International Hillclimb Cup.