KING OF THE CLASSICS

Ian Schofield (2)-m

Ian Schofield secured his first Classic Conqueror title today after dominating Classic Car Friday at the 12th edition of Knysna’s Simola Hillclimb. Schofield was the leading driver through most of the sessions, and also made it count when it mattered by guiding his 1977 March Ford 77B Formula Atlantic single-seater to a winning time of 42.302 seconds in the all-or-nothing Top 10 Shootout – which was also his best run of the day up the 1.9 km Simola Hill.

As the first edition to welcome spectators since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, fans were treated to an exciting duel with Rui Campos taking second place in the all-or-nothing Top 10 Shootout in his 1974 Porsche 911 RSR. Third place went to Josh Dovey in a 1972 Chevron B20 F3 single-seater, following a nail-biting finish that saw him knock Robert Wolk in an ex-Jody Scheckter 1969 Lola T200 Formula Ford off the podium by a mere one-thousandth of a second.

In an unexpected turn of events, three of Classic Car Friday’s top competitors were ruled out of contention. Six-time winner Franco Scribante’s 1970 Chevron B19, along with the similar 1971 car of Peter Jenkins, didn’t pass the pre-event technical inspection during scrutineering on Thursday, and were sidelined before the action even began.

32 - Johan de Bruyn - 1968 Porsche 911R - photo Rob Till (2)-m

Then a bit of drama unfolded immediately after the first practice session when Andre Bezuidenhout’s 1976 Lola Cosworth T460 was accidentally hit from behind by the 1959 Chevrolet Corvette driven by Richard Evans during the return run down the hill to the pits. While Evans managed to eventually repair his car in time for the final qualifying session, Bezuidenhout was forced to retire, prematurely ending his challenge for the title.

Along with the overall win, Schofield also won Class H8 for single-seaters, ahead of Dovey and Wolk. “It was quite an eventful day,” an elated but relieved Schofield said. “First, we had a problem with the clutch and thought we would be packing up early, but it landed up just being an adjustment issue. Then the car caught fire at the top of the hill after we stopped, but fortunately there wasn’t any significant damage. I saved the best till last, and really gave it everything in the Top 10 Shootout after a cracking run during the Class Finals, so it was great to achieve my fastest time of the day at the end.”

Campos was also delighted with the result, as the tin-top filling in a single-seater sandwich. “Obviously some of the big guns weren’t here today, but the opportunity was there and we made the most of it. My team did an awesome job preparing the car, and I pushed it as hard as I could. It’s a privilege to be at this event racing against people like Enzo Kuun, Ian Schofield and many others.”

17 - Trevor Tuck - 1974 Alfa Romeo Giulia 2000 Rally - photo Rob Till-m

Dovey was thrilled with a podium finish in his first outing in the single-seater category, having competed with a Ginetta road car previously. “It doesn’t get much closer than that,” he said, highlighting the mere 0.001 sec gap to fourth-placed Wolk. “I had a quicker run in the Class Finals and I knew that I lost time going under the Turn 3 bridge in the last run, so after that I decided to just go for it.”

Johan de Bruyn was placed fifth in the Top 10 Shootout in his 1968 Porsche 911R, followed by James Temple (1965 Shelby Daytona Coupé), Charles Arton (1972 Datsun 240Z) and Clive Corder (1969 Lola T70 Mk 3B). Trevor Tuck (1974 Alfa Romeo Giulia 2000 Rally) and Kobus Brits (1967 Porsche 911 R) rounded out the Top 10.

There was lots of interest in the new handicap format for Class H1 for pre-war cars, with Brian Esterhuysen taking the win in his stunning 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C Monza replica. Callum Price finished second in the 1946 Austin Special, with Patrick Gearing third in the 1935 Riley TT Sprite.

60 - Brian Esterhuysen - 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C Monza - photo Rob Till (2)-m

Class H2 for pre-1965 road cars went to Barry Ingle in the 1955 Porsche 550A Spider, while Clayton Kimber took H3 for pre-1985 cars in a road-legal 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupé. Ron Hollis emerged victorious in H4 for pre-1970 four-cylinder racing cars driving a 1964 MG Midget, while James Temple secured a second victory for the Shelby SA / Lindenberg Racing squad by powering the race-spec 1965 Daytona Coupé to the Class H5 title.

Trevor Tuck was the class of the H6 field in his 1974 Alfa Romeo Giulia 200 Rally, while Campos and Schofield claimed the H7 and H8 titles respectively.

The special ‘Spirit of Dave Charlton’ award at the Simola Hillclimb recognises the person that reflects South African race legend Dave Charlton’s spirit of impeccable attention to detail, meticulous preparation and commendable performance. This year’s Classic Car Friday recipient of the award was racing legend Peter Lindenberg who retired from competition at the end of 2021, closing the book on a long and distinguished career in both car and powerboat racing.

6 - Josh Dovey - 1972 Chevron Lotus B20 F3 - photo Rob Till (2)-m
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