Big boost for Si­mola Hill­climb

WIN­NERS: EN­TRY INTO THE FIA HILL CLIMB MASTERS EVENT IN POR­TU­GAL IN OC­TO­BER

The Citizen (KZN) - - Motorsport - Racing Cor­re­spon­dent

SA will be the first-ever non-Eu­ro­pean team in event.

Two win­ners of South Africa’s premier mo­tor­sport lifestyle event, the Si­mola Hill­climb, will be guar­an­teed an en­try into a bi-an­nual round of the FIA Hill Climb Masters event to be held in Braga, Por­tu­gal from 9 to 11 Oc­to­ber.

The FIA Hill Climb Masters is a bi-an­nual in­vi­ta­tional event es­tab­lished in 2014 with the aim of bring­ing to­gether the win­ners of na­tional hill­climb cham­pi­onships through­out the world.

With South Africa not hav­ing a Hill­climb se­ries or cham­pi­onship, Mo­tor­sport South Africa and the or­gan­is­ers of the Si­mola Hill­climb have come to an agree­ment with the FIA to al­low cer­tain win­ners of the an­nual Knysna event to qual­ify for the Hill­climb Masters.

Qual­i­fy­ing driv­ers will be the win­ners of the King of the Hill’s Mod­i­fied Sa­loon Car and Sin­gle Seater/Sports Pro­to­type cat­e­gories.

Com­peti­tors will not only com­pete for in­di­vid­ual hon­ours for gold, sil­ver or bronze medals but will also rep­re­sent South Africa in the Na­tions Cup against an ever-in­creas­ing num­ber of coun­tries.

In 2018, driv­ers from 20 na­tions were rep­re­sented.

This will be the first time that a coun­try out­side of Eu­rope will con­test the FIA Hill Climb Masters.

“To have South Africa as the first-ever non-Eu­ro­pean team en­ter­ing in 2020 would be quite a coup for the FIA Hill Climb Masters event,” said Vin­cent Caro, the FIA’s Head of His­toric Mo­tor Sport, Hill Climb.

“We know, through the track­ing of the live stream­ing of the race on so­cial net­works, that in­ter­est in the Masters ex­tends be­yond Eu­rope’s bor­ders. The par­tic­i­pa­tion of non-Eu­ro­pean com­peti­tors would be a new step in the young his­tory of the event,” Caro added.

“It is clear that the Si­mola Hill­climb is raced in the same fes­tive spirit as the Masters and we have also been able to ap­pre­ci­ate the qual­ity and level of per­for­mance of the cars and driv­ers that stand out there each year.”

Adrian Scholtz, CEO of Mo­tor­sport South Africa, com­mented that this would be a sig­nif­i­cant boost for the lo­cal event.

“The Si­mola Hill­climb is al­ready up there as one of the an­nual high­lights of the South African mo­tor­sport cal­en­dar and the links be­ing es­tab­lished with the FIA Hill Climb Masters can only add to the event’s stature,” he said.

“The at­mos­phere off the track at the Si­mola Hill­climb matches the on-track ac­tion and I can see the event only go­ing from strength to strength in fu­ture years.”

The or­gan­is­ers of the an­nual Si­mola Hill­climb, which fea­tures the 11th edi­tion this year, see the tie-up with the FIA Hill­climb Masters as a ma­jor boost for South African com­peti­tors.

“We are de­lighted that, to­gether with the FIA and MSA, we can of­fer this in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity to com­peti­tors in the Si­mola Hill­climb,” says Ian Shros­bree, manag­ing di­rec­tor of the Knysna Speed Fes­ti­val.

As the Hill Climb Masters is an in­vi­ta­tional event there is no en­try fee payable by com­peti­tors, but the Si­mola Hill­climb win­ners that qual­ify will be re­quired to cover the cost of ship­ping their cars and flights them­selves.

The 2020 edi­tion of the Si­mola Hill­climb is sched­uled to roar into life from 7 to 10 May, mark­ing the start of the sec­ond decade of this ex­cep­tional au­to­mo­tive ex­trav­a­ganza.

Since en­tries opened on 1 Oc­to­ber, the or­gan­is­ers have al­ready re­ceived over 160 ap­pli­ca­tions to com­pete in the event.

En­tries close on 31 Jan­uary, so com­peti­tors wish­ing to com­pete are re­quested to register on­line as soon as pos­si­ble at www.simo­lahill­climb.com.

Pic­tures: Sup­plied.

MOD­I­FIED,CER­TAINLY. Franco Scrib­ante’s monster-winged Nis­san GTR won last year’s Mod­i­fied Sa­loon Car cat­e­gory at the Si­mola Hill­climb in Knysna.

SIN­GLE. An­dre Bezuiden­hout’s Dal­lara took the Sin­gle Seater and Sports Pro­to­type King of the Hill vic­tory.

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