Records shattered at 2018 Jaguar
The 2018 Jaguar Simola Hillclimb delivered an enthralling mix of thrills and excitement, with some stunning new records being set - both amongst the competitors’ times and the number of spectators attending the three-day event.
More than 17 000 people attended the ninth edition of the Hillclimb, held in Knysna from 4 to 6 May, around 2 000 more than last year’s record-breaking attendance.
When the action drew to a close on Sunday 6 May, new King of the Hill records had been established in all three categories, with times between the top contenders closer than ever, which kept the fans fascinated right to the end.
Apart from the battle between competitors, throngs of fans enjoyed the daring antics of Jaguar’s worldrenowned stunt driver and multiple record-holder Terry Grant. The British ace entertained the crowd by driving up the 1,9km Simola Hill in the Jaguar F-PACE - on two wheels all the way! He had celebrities, including singer Bobby van Jaarsveld and Springbok rugby captain Eben Etzebeth, as passengers along on the hair-raising rides.
SINGLE SEATERS AND SPORT CARS
André Bezuidenhout was the undisputed King of the Hill last year in his 1989 Dallara F189 Formula 1 car. His aim for the 2018 event was to go quicker in a recently acquired Gould GR55 – a specialist Hillclimb singleseater built in the UK.
He was quick throughout the weekend and wrapped up the qualifying sessions with a best time of 36,006 seconds over 1,1 seconds quicker than his best time last year.
Bezuidenhout established a new official Hillclimb record during the onelap Class Finals with an impressive time of 36,428 seconds. He destroyed the current lap record with a time of 35,528 seconds in the King of the Hill Top 10 Shootout. That translates to an average speed of 192,52km from a standing start.
“I felt confident that a time of 35 seconds was possible but was slightly worried when the temperature dropped in the late afternoon for the final run,” he said. “The Gould is an amazing car and my supporting team was superb."
Robert Wolk was another prominent presence throughout the two days of racing, competing in a Ferrari V8powered A1 GP car. He finished second with a best time of 37,691 seconds during the Top 10 Shootout.
Another talking point was Stuart White. At just 16 years, he became a strong contender for a podium slot, but his hopes were dashed when his Formula Renault V6 failed on his Top 10 run. He had to take solace in a Class Final time of 40,497 seconds. The final podium slot went to Garth de Villiers, in a Formula VW in a time of 42,013 seconds.
André Bezuidenhout was the undisputed King of the Hill for 2017, and also for the 2018 edition of the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb. Here he celebrates atop his Gould GR55 – a specialist Hillclimb single-seater built in the UK.