Renault Knysna Hillclimb update: week 5
Entries keep rolling in for the 2010 Knysna Hillclimb to be held between Friday 22 and Sunday 24 October at the Simola Golf and Country Estate, which is situated high on a hill overlooking the Garden Route town’s lagoon and Heads – an unrivalled motorsport backdrop. The latest high-profile entrant is former production car ace Michael Briggs driving a fearsome Cobra to challenge Stuart Lottering’s Superformance example. Some old rivalries will be rekindled as Briggs joins Geoff Goddard, Robbie Smith and Geoff Mortimer in the line-up of SA motorsport legends looking to be this year’s King of the Hill. Along with one-time Group N racing exponents Dave Kopke and Wilhelm Baard, current Wesbank drivers Desmond Gutzeit, Darron Gudmanz and Martin van Zummeren have entered – but will the Cobra strike fastest…?
More than double last-year’s competitors have entered, and some pre-qualifying will take place in order to trim down the field to manageable levels and ensure the fastest machines in each category go through. Vehicles from all around the country will be taking part, consisting of modern, classic and historic sports- and racing cars as well as karts, all divided into relevant categories. Fast times are in store as the start of the climb has been moved back slightly to make the critical first corner more challenging – fortune will favour the brave. The organisers are anticipating a closely fought contest and, like last year, expect the result to go right to the wire.
Coincident with this exciting motorsport event, the hillclimb’s new title sponsor Renault will be launching a hot new Mégane RS (and convertible CC) in the Knysna area. A 30+ motoring media challenge will take place during the weekend’s activity with the fastest six journalists participating in a final showdown up the hill in RS models. CAR’s race-ready associate editor Ian McLaren will be representing the magazine and has high hope4s of being in the final shoot-out.
Running concurrently with the hillclimb, CAR will host a new form of concours event, titled the CAR Concours des Automobiles Sportives. Entry will be for vehicles of any age that have a sporting and/or racing association. Invitations are being processed and a small but select entry is assured. Judges for the concours will be CAR’s senior associate editor Mike Monk assisted by local classic car buff and restorer, Don Steenkamp. As a bonus, all spectators will have a free opportunity to vote for their favourite model on show and, time permitting, on the Sunday the winning voter will be driven up the hill in his/her chosen car.
Preceding the whole event, the Mayor’s Golf Day will take place at Simola on the Thursday, with proceeds going to charity. Then, together with the first two runs for the Historic category, pre-qualifying runs for new entries and the Renault Media Challenge will take place on the Friday, the best of which will join the guaranteed entries for the Saturday and Sunday sessions that will determine the 2010 King of the Hill title and the fastest Mégane RS media motorist. Attendance to all of this Friday activity is free with gates expected to open around 08h00.
While all of this is going on, the guaranteed entries will drive through the centre of Knysna between 13h00 and 14h00 on the Friday, followed by a public viewing of the vehicles at the Knysna Yacht Club in the Waterfront from 14h00 to 16h00, all adding to the town’s “speed weekend” atmosphere.
On-track action on the Saturday and Sunday starts at 09h00 and closes at 16h30 on Saturday and 15h00 on Sunday. Admission on these two days is R25 for adults and R15 for children under 12 years of age.
Close to the main spectator area there will be a Gasoline Alley where general motoring-related merchandise will be on sale. Also new to the event will be a Marque Paddock featuring numerous groups of vehicles. Owners of eligible machines will be granted free access to the grounds providing their cars are parked in the designated area for public viewing.
Although the Knysna Hillclimb is naturally bound to attract thousands of motoring enthusiasts, people seeking a break from the weekend’s tyre-smoking action can spend time wandering around the Leisure Isle Family Festival being held on the Saturday and Sunday. Over 70 stalls will be selling goods including arts, crafts, toys, books, plants, confectionary, preserves and other local produce. Fun activity events are planned throughout the two days and there will be plenty of food and drink vendors offering refreshment with a magnificent view over the lagoon and island gardens. On the Sunday morning over 100 dogs will take part in an Animal Welfare Walk.