The Renault Simola Hillclimb once again provided a tight finish to thrill the thousands of spectators who lined the hill leading up to the Simola Resort. 2011's winner, Geoff Mortimer, was once again the main challenger to the handful of Godzillas (by which term Nissan GT-Rs are commonly known) but his 0,2-second winning margin in 2010 looked under threat from the moment practice got under way on the Saturday.
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, last year's runner-up Wilhelm Baard, and Jade Gudzeit, who was just managing to keep his father Des in his four-wheel tyre tracks. And so it proved to be...
Just after lunch on the Sunday, the fastest cars in each class had a final run up the demanding and spectacularly fast 1,9-km Simola Hill, and by virtue of running in entry number order, Wilhelm did his run 80-strong field before his rivals and threw down the gauntlet with a time of 42,444 seconds – an incredible average speed of 161,152 km/h (practically the Imperial ton – 100 miles per hour). Des and Jade soon followed: Des failed to break into the 42-second bracket while Jade managed a 42,659 run – two-tenths of a second slower than Wilhelm.
74-year-old Geoff was the last to go and everyone held their breath waiting for announcer Roger McCleery to give his time – 43,108 seconds, only good enough for third place.
So a very emotional Wilhelm Baard became the third King Of The Hill, a highly popular climax to what has been an exciting festival of speed in the Garden Route's award-winning town of Knysna.