DEZZI IS KING OF THE HILL
HE does not like to be called KZN’s humble king of motorsport, but after his weekend win, Desmond Gutzeit is now officially the King of the Hill.
Gutzeit raced his 1 000 kW Nissan GT-R fastest around the twisty 1,9-kilometre track, riding on 16-inch Avon tyres which he described “as sticky as hell”.
The 61-year-old KZN businessperson powered his machine up the hill in just 40,14 seconds, to lower the Jaguar Simola Hill climb record by a full second. As in all racing, tyre choice makes or breaks the podium. Gutzeit Senior had set the tone throughout the two days of intense competition in his explosive 1 400 hp (over 1 000 kW) Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R, tussling during the practice and qualifying sessions with son Jade in the newly built Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7.
The Port Shepstone-based duo dominated the six qualifying rounds spread over Saturday and Sunday, with Des leading the charge on 40,210 seconds, blitzing Franco Scribante’s existing 2014 record of 41,159 seconds by almost a full second.
Jade was second overall in the qualifying with a time of 41,366 seconds. Both fastest qualifying times were set on Saturday afternoon. More than 12 000 spectators — a record total — attended the three days of adrenaline-fuelled racing, including Classic Car Friday. Those that made it to the Jaguar Simola Hill climb on Sunday in particular were treated to plenty of thrills and even a couple of spills.
Des continued to set scintillating times, but unfortunately Jade only completed one Sunday qualifier at full tilt before the clutch packed up on his second run in the 800 hp (600 kW) Evo 7. He and the rest of the Dezzi crew worked feverishly to remove the engine and gearbox in order to replace the clutch, finishing just in time for the class finals after a truly exceptional team effort.
Toby Venter had his best run of the weekend to cross the line on 42,098 seconds to qualify third in his Porsche 911 GT2RS Le Mans — a time matched by Darron Gudmanz in the Nissan R35 GT-R. Reigning champion Franco Scribante (Chevron B19) took fifth on 42,215 seconds, ahead of Sav Gualtieri (BMW 335i) a tenth slower and Jacki Scheckter (Nissan R35 GT-R) on 42,699 seconds. Duane Galloway (R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R) qualified eighth on 44,181 seconds, just ahead of Craig Czank (Nissan R35 GT-R) on 44,237 seconds, while another Gutzeit, Jade’s younger brother Shane, rounded out the top 10 in his R32 GT-R with 44,244 seconds. What next for the king? “I’m not sure if I can go any faster, but next year we’ll definitely try to break the 40-second barrier,” Gutzeit said. — WR.
Second time lucky, Dezzi Gutzeit is a happy man after he took a whole second off the Simola Hill climb record.