Renault’s Simola Hillclimb event in Knysna at the weekend was dominated by sibling brand Nissan’s products.
The popular run-up-the-hill to the Simola golf estate saw Nissan’s GT-R dominate, as four of the top five place finishers were driving various incarnations of the proletarian Japanese supercar.
Amidst the gaggle of GT-Rs was 74-year old motorsport veteran, Geoff Mortimer, driving a Mitsubishi Evo 9.
As the weekend progressed and the drivers got into their rhythms, the King Of The Hill title looked headed for one of three men – Mortimer, 2010 runner-up Wilhelm Baard, and Jade Gudzeit, who was just managing to keep his father Des in his four-wheel tyre tracks.
Just after lunch on the Sunday, the fastest cars in each class had a final run up the demanding and spectacularly fast 1.9km Simola Hill and by virtue of running in entry number order, Wilhelm did his run before his rivals and threw down the gauntlet with a time of 42.444sec at an incredible average speed of 161.152km/h.
Des and Jade soon followed: Des failed to break into the 42-second bracket while Jade managed a 42.659 run – two-tenths slower than Wilhelm.
Mortimer was the last to go and everyone held their breath waiting for announcer Roger McCleery to give his time – 43.108sec. Although only good enough for third place, it was a stunning performance by one of the stately gentlemen of South African motorsport.
Renault Simola Hillclimb Results
Driver / Car / Time / Average speed 1 Wilhelm Baard Nissan GT-R R35 42.444sec 161.152km/h 2 Jade Gudzeit Nissan GT-R 42.659sec 160.340km/h 3 Geoff Mortimer Mitsubishi Evo9 43.108sec 158.670km/h 4 Des Gudzeit Nissan GT-R 43.558sec 157.031km/h 5 Greg Parton Nissan GT-R R35 44.741sec 152.879km/h
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