By Otsile Kadiege
The Simola Hill Climb is undoubtedly one of the most highly-anticipated events on South Africa’s motorsport calendar. Due to Covid-19 related reasons, drivers were left with no choice but to hang their boots and watch as their ludicrously loud machines-on-wheels gather dust in 2020. Last year, much to the excitement of motorsport enthusiasts, the Simola Hill Climb resumed but sadly no spectators were allowed.
Fortunately for us, Suzuki SA was one of the sponsors and we managed to attend the Simola Hillclimb as media availing the rare opportunity to experience the prestigious event up-close and personal. Once again Suzuki SA is this year’s Tier One sponsor of the Simola Hillclimb and we’ll be reporting live from the event.
Suzuki is no stranger to hill climbs. Monster Tajima is a legend in racing circles for his record-breaking races up Pikes Peak with modified race cars such as the Escudo (Vitara) Pikes Peak and the SX4 Pikes Peak Special. To this day, the Suzuki Hillclimb race cars are some of the most popular vehicles in the Gran Turismo racing game.
Swift Sport climbs up the hill
Suzuki SA will partake in this year’s Simola Hillclimb with their potent Swift Sports – one auto and one manual. Driving the automatic Swift Sport is Reuben van Niekerk. He’s a professional motoring journalist with over 18 years’ experience and he’s currently the editor of Automobili magazine.
Van Niekerk is an avid motorsport fan and has competed in several formulas on two and four wheels, including the Krugersdorp Hillclimb. He is also a regular reporter on motorsport events for various publications and is an avid classic car fan. He’s no stranger to competitive sports and spends his spare time on his mountain bike. In 2014, he was the first amputee to finish the gruelling Absa Cape Epic, which is regarded as the toughest mountain bike stage race in the world.
Driving up the hill in a manual Swift Sport will be Greybe, affectionately known as Wez. He has always had his eye set on a professional racing career and has competed in motorcycle and go-kart racing. He still races in the F400 and SSS karting series and works closely with several racing teams on their race cars.
In his career as Advanced Driver trainer, Wez has worked throughout Africa and the world. One of the highlights of this part of his motoring career has been working as a precision driver for James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the first season of The Grand Tour. Greybe is no stranger to Simola as he was the de facto demonstration driver at previous events. Here he took celebrities, such as a couple of Springbok rugby players up the hill between race heats.
Suzuki powered competitors
Among the many competitors that will entertain the crowds are several Suzuki powered competitors. They include Megan Verlaque and Ashley Haigh-Smith who will race up the hill in two similar Speedcar tubular-framed racing cars. Both are powered by 600cc Suzuki motorcycle engines.
Devon Robertson, who last year stunned other competitors by finishing Top 10 against a number of much more powerful racing cars, will also return to compete for the King of the Hill trophy with his Suzuki Hayabusa-powered Radical SR1.
We’re looking forward to another epic year of the Simola Hill Climb. Stay glued to our social media platforms for daily updates on the event.
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