Ra­cing le­gend is Grand Mars­hal

George Herald - Auto Dealer - - Jaguar Simola Hillclimb -

South A­fri­ca has pro­du­ced a long list of le­gen­da­ry ra­cing and ral­ly d­ri­vers o­ver the y­e­ars, but few ha­ve been as success­ful and in­flu­en­ti­al in both the mo­tor s­port a­re­na and the lo­cal mo­tor in­du­stry as Ar­nold C­hatz. “With a proud le­ga­cy span­ning ne­ar­ly six de­ca­des in the au­to­mo­ti­ve bu­si­ness and mo­tor s­port fra­ter­ni­ty, it is in­deed an ho­nour and pri­vi­le­ge to an­noun­ce that Ar­nold C­hatz will be ful­fil­ling the ce­re­mo­ni­al ro­le of Grand Mars­hal for the 2018 Ja­guar Si­mo­la Hil­l­climb,” says Ian Shros­bree, ma­na­ging di­rec­tor of the Knys­na Fe­s­ti­val, which or­ga­ni­ses the Ja­guar Si­mo­la Hil­l­climb (JSHC).

“As a kid I re­mem­ber fol­lo­wing his ca­reer be­hind the w­heel and being a­ma­zed at his success ra­tio. The­re was a­not­her link in that my fat­her was al­so a Nis­san and Al­fa de­a­ler, so I al­ways roo­t­ed for him on the track,” adds Shros­bee.

A true gent­le­man, con­sum­ma­te pro­fes­si­o­nal and in­spi­ra­ti­on to ma­ny, C­hatz is de­lig­h­ted with the ap­point­ment, which will see him flag­ging off the first com­pe­ti­tors for Clas­sic Car F­ri­day, and han­ding the win­ner the Clas­sic Con­quer­or trop­hy. He will be track­si­de a­gain for King of the Hill on Sa­tur­day and Sun­day, and proud­ly pre­sen­ting cer­ti­fi­ca­tes of a­chie­vement to com­pe­ti­tors who ha­ve com­pe­ted in fi­ve, and all ni­ne Hil­l­climbs, as well as the Clas­sic Car F­ri­day and King of the Hill S­pi­rit of Da­ve C­har­l­ton a­wards.

“I con­si­der my ap­point­ment as a com­pli­ment and a ple­a­su­re, as I am a­wa­re of the re­cog­ni­ti­on that the JSHC en­joys as a highly re­spected mo­tor s­port e­vent,” C­hatz says. “I ha­ve been pri­vi­le­ged in the past to ser­ve as the ap­poin­ted Mo­tor­sport SA ste­ward in na­ti­o­nal and in­ter­na­ti­o­nal e­vents af­ter my re­ti­re­ment as a dri­ver. I ser­ved as the Ste­ward of the last two For­mu­la 1 e­vents held at Ky­a­la­mi, and at all the In­ter­na­ti­o­nal A1 GP e­vents which we­re held in Dur­ban. Being ap­poin­ted as the Grand Mars­hal of this e­vent is e­ven mo­re of a pri­vi­le­ge, as it has been con­vey­ed to me that my du­ties are far less of­fi­ci­ous and stress­ful than t­ho­se who are tas­ked with the dif­fi­cult job of run­ning and ad­mi­nis­te­ring this pres­ti­gi­ous e­vent.”

A self-con­fes­sed car nut, C­hatz be­gan his ca­reer in the mo­tor tra­de in 1959 af­ter obtai­ning a Borg­ward fran­chi­se, fol­lo­wed by Dat­sun in 1961. His bu­si­ness ra­pid­ly ex­pan­ded with the ad­di­ti­on of Al­fa Ro­meo the sa­me ye­ar, quick­ly be­co­ming one of the brand’s lar­ge­st and most success­ful de­a­lers­hips in the coun­try. Alt­hough now en­joying his re­ti­re­ment, this he­ri­ta­ge con­ti­nues to­day with the success­ful de­a­lers­hip that car­ries his na­me in Jo­han­nes­burg.

C­hatz’s ra­cing ex­ploits we­re e­qual­ly no­te­worthy, ha­ving com­pe­ted in and win­ning his class in his first ra­ce in 1962 be­hind the w­heel of a Ford Ang­lia be­lon­ging to his friend and a­not­her SA ra­cing le­gend, Ba­sil van Rooy­en.

The fol­lo­wing ye­ar he ra­ced a Re­nault Gor­di­ni 1093, clai­ming no less than 17 out of 19 ra­ce wins, and took se­cond pla­ce in both the Mo­di­fied Sa­loon Car and Stan­dard Pro­ducti­on Car cham­pi­ons­hips. In 1964, C­hatz ce­men­ted his en­du­ring re­pu­ta­ti­on by fi­nis­hing fourth o­ver­all in the In­ter­na­ti­o­nal 9-hour en­du­ran­ce ra­ce at Ky­a­la­mi in a Re­nault 8 1100 - in the pro­cess cros­sing the li­ne as the first South A­fri­can dri­ver, and fi­nis­hing a­he­ad of so­me of the fas­test Eu­ro­pe­an sports cars of the ti­me.

C­hatz has a s­trong af­fi­ni­ty with Hil­l­climb e­vents too, af­ter es­ta­blis­hing an out­rig­ht re­cord for sa­loon cars at the fa­mous Kru­gers­dorp Hil­l­climb in the Re­nault R8.

He la­ter swit­ched to ra­cing Vol­vos and then en­joy­ed a long as­so­ci­a­ti­on with Al­fa Ro­meo as a fac­to­ry dri­ver, com­pe­ting a­gainst so­me of the big­ge­st na­mes in the s­port, in­clu­ding Jo­dy S­check­ter, Ba­sil Van Rooy­en, Ge­off Mor­ti­mer, Pe­ter Gough, Sa­rel van der Mer­we and Ser­ge Dam­seaux. He built up an ex­cep­ti­o­nal re­cord of ra­ce wins and tit­les, in­clu­ding the Sa­loon Car Cham­pi­ons­hips in 1972, 1975, 1979 and 1980.

For mo­re in­for­ma­ti­on on the e­vent and on­li­ne tic­ket sa­les, vi­sit www.ja­guar­si­mo­la­hil­l­climb. com - Sup­p­lied

The Win­gels/C­hatz Vol­vo cor­ners in cha­rac­te­ris­tic fashi­on.

C­hatz en­joy­ed a long as­so­ci­a­ti­on with Al­fa Ro­meo as a fac­to­ry dri­ver.

Ar­nold C­hatz

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