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10w ago

Last week I posted an article about the 2021 Knysna Speed Festival and the King Of The Hill shoot-out that took place on 4-5 September. I missed the classic car Friday on 3 September since I was at work. Please check out that article here:

I mentioned how I was going to write this follow up article on a few high's and low's of the event and this is it.

Down: Suzuki sponsorship bends rules on Classic Car Friday for Franco Scribante.

Suzuki was a major sponsor alongside Castrol and they entered a couple of Suzuki powered cars like Radicals with Hyabusa engines and buggies with GSXR 600 engines in them. But then. Closer to the hillclimb Franco Scribante who usually drives a BDA powered Chevron B19 on Classic Car Friday was entered with a +- 400hp 2.6L Hyabusa V8 powered Chevron. Despite this engine being based on a design from around 2010 and not ever being used in a 70's Chevron, it was deemed legal due to later Chevron's like the B31 having fully fledged 3L DFV Cosworth V8 from a F1 car and they produced around 450-500hp. The car was reliable and extremely fast dipping into the 39 second barrier. Franco went on to win Classic Car Friday for the 5th time. However, this victory would not go unpunished.

Up: Franco Scribante doesn't win King Of The Hill in his GTR.

Franco Scribante had all sorts of issues with his GTR. Broken driveshafts, throttle position sensor issues etc etc. When the car worked it, was fast but it didn't work often. Then in the shoot-out Pieter Zeelie nailed his quickest run in the finals stealing victory away from Franco. For those who don't know, Franco Scribante is to South African Motorsport what Ric Flair and Ted Dibiase (Million Dollar Man) is to wrestling. He can buy whatever he wants, hire the best crews, rent tracks whenever etc. He is a brilliant driver, but the money advantage is ridiculous. Pieter Zeelie showed us that the more down to earth car can still win big with a bit of luck. All the money and technology in that GTR is exactly what held it back this year.

UP: Andre Bezuindenhout shattering his record

Andre Bezuidenhout has proven to be unbeatable in his Gould GR55 hill climb special, but this year he out did himself. He was close to his record of 35,528 from 2018. On his final run in the shoot-out with fresh tires he did a 34,965 on the 1,9km course which calculates to a average speed of 195,62km/h (122,27 mph) becoming the first person to do a sub 35 second run. The next goal I imagine would be to do a average of 200km/h which would be a 34,2. There would need to be serious upgrades for that to happen I reckon.

Up & Down: No spectators allowed.

Motorsport without spectators suck. A event like this is not only awesome to behold, but is a massive boost to Knysna's economy. The amount of money spent in a week during and after the hillclimb is eye-watering. There is one good thing however, covid is still a big problem in South Africa and several drivers / pit crew have been diagnosed with covid shortly after the event. With the usual 17000 strong crowd, this could have been a disaster.

Thankfully the hillclimb was saved with a excellent livestream on Facebook and YouTube on both the Cars.Co.Za and Simola Hillclimb pages. There was very little if any technical issues and enough cameras to show a dual screen of the car taking of and the the other nearing the finishing line. There was also great aerial footage shot with a drone. Commentary and banter was on point with in studio and in-pit personnel. A big thumbs up here.

Down: Crashes for days.

Imagine sneaking into the livestream at work on Classic Car Friday and seeing this.

My pic - Cars.co.za youtube channel - All content © Cars.co.za 2021.

My pic - Cars.co.za youtube channel - All content © Cars.co.za 2021.

Sadly this wasn't the only car to meet its demise. It is said that John Deacon saw into the future and wrote 'another one bites the dust' after watching this event. A Lotus Europa rolled completely, Franco DiMatteo suffered a broken steering column and went farming and then there was the Chris Hollis crash. The red GTR driven by Chris Hollis had power-steering issues whole weekend. There were many leaks that left a trail of hydraulic fluid on the course and yet the car was allowed to race every session. Then Chris kept hitting the gravel on the entrance of turn 2 bringing lots of dust onto the track in a section where you are rolling into power. This in my opinion is a no go. Not only is it completely the wrong line through the corner, but he ruined the track for others. Rear wheel drive cars with loads of power can be a handful through there when the track is good so this was not needed. Then in Quali 6 on Sunday morning of 5 September he went up the hill, car looked good and he buried the GTR in the embankment of turn 6 at extreme speed. He said he went to fast into the corner which caused him to run wide. Q6 was then abandoned to dig out his car and clean up the track for the shoot-outs. In my opinion, the car should never have made it past the start line with any sort of leak. The track gets ruined which puts drivers including his own life at risk and a fatal crash could potentially put an end to the Simola Hillclimb and other races like it. (see the videos below).

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Q4 - All content © Cars.co.za 2021.

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Q5 - All content © Cars.co.za 2021.

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Q6 Crash - All content © Cars.co.za 2021.

That's all for this years event. My next article will be about what car I would build with a Franco Scribante level budget.

Thanks for reading, please drop a bump and comment what you think of the ups and downs I mentioned.

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