Kings of high oc­tane

Destiny Man - - WHEELS -

In June 2017 deadly fires caused havoc in the coastal hol­i­day town of Knysna, de­stroy­ing prop­er­ties and re­sult­ing in im­mense loss. Many were left doubt­ing whether the an­nual speed fes­ti­val, the Jaguar Si­mola Hill­climb 2018, would take place. But, thanks to the or­gan­is­ing team, this year’s in­stal­la­tion was big­ger, louder and much more dar­ing –a tri­umph for a town that, just 11 months ear­lier, was al­most de­clared a disas­ter area

A record-break­ing 17 000 mo­tor­ing fans de­scended on Si­mola for the three-day fes­ti­val which cel­e­brates all things au­to­mo­bile. While speed is at the core of this event, with the King of the Hill be­ing the ul­ti­mate ti­tle at its end, it’s also a spec­tac­u­lar show­case of all classes of ve­hi­cles that dare to take on the 1,9km steep road set on one of the most scenic lo­ca­tions in the coun­try.

Dur­ing the fes­ti­val weekend, the peace was shat­tered by the roar­ing of engines rang­ing from For­mula 1 cars to mus­cle cars, re­stored oldies and ev­ery­thing else, all the way to clas­sic automobiles. This year there was even an ap­pear­ance by an elec­tric ve­hi­cle, the Nis­san LEAF, also seek­ing to con­quer the hill and show off its “rac­ing” stripes.

The com­pe­ti­tion kicked off on the Fri­day, with an im­pres­sive fleet of 64 clas­sic ve­hi­cles cruis­ing through the town in a pa­rade be­fore tak­ing on the bends of the hill-climb at vary­ing speeds. Among them were some spe­cial cars with an out­stand­ing his­tory. One was a 1972 E-type that was once owned by Czech roy­alty and had trav­elled from the USA to Switzer­land be­fore find­ing its way to SA.

The rest of the weekend be­longed to loud automobiles of vary­ing sizes as they raced up the hill to make best times in their re­spec­tive classes, much to the glee of fans. From the on­set, the ear-split­ting Nis­san GT-Rs were firm favourites, cre­at­ing rap­ture among the crowds.

As the high-oc­tane weekend drew to a close and scores were tal­lied, it was clear that the cov­eted

King of the Hill ti­tles for both road-go­ing saloon cars and su­pers, and mod­i­fied saloon cars, would be re­turn­ing to Ross­lyn in Pre­to­ria, the home of Nis­san, thanks to the tal­ented driv­ers who’d en­thralled spec­ta­tors with their skills.

When the in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful engines were fi­nally si­lenced, in­ter­na­tional stunt­man Terry Grant per­formed dare-devil stunts that had all reach­ing for their phones to cap­ture them. The au­di­ence was par­tic­u­larly as­ton­ished when he took on the race­course in a Jaguar F-Pace driv­ing on only two wheels. On his sec­ond spec­tac­u­lar two-wheel drive, Grant even had a pas­sen­ger tak­ing videos in­side the ve­hi­cle.

If the rap­ture of the crowds at this year’s Jaguar Si­mola Hill­climb is any­thing to go by, next year’s race – which will also be the event’s 10th an­niver­sary – will be some­thing to be­hold, just like the scenic town host­ing it.

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