2021 SHC King of the Hill – Practice 1

The big guns of the 2021 Simola Hillclimb have kicked off the action for the first day of King of the Hill, with reigning champion Andre Bezuidenhout laying down the gauntlet with the fastest time of 38.396 seconds in his 2007 Gould GR55 specialised hillclimb single-seater – less than three seconds off his current record time of 35.528 seconds.

The reality of motorsport and pushing the boundaries of performance was brought to the fore in the opening stint, however, as Janus Janse van Rensburg went off near the top of the course, impacting heavily with the left banking. He was knocked unconscious in the crash, but soon regained consciousness under the care of the fast-responding medical team. Janse van Rensburg has been taken to the local hospital for observation, and we will provide further updates as soon as more information comes through.

Second-fastest for the first practice was Wade van Zummeren, who switched to father Martin’s wild 2002 Nissan R34 GT-R at the last minute, stopping the clock at 45.1 seconds. Just 0.232 sec adrift was Dawie Joubert in the Nissan GT-R-powered 2001 Lotus Exige (45.332 sec), followed by Simola Hillclimb co-founder Ian Shrosbree (45.443 sec) in a 1996 Nissan Skyline GTS.

Devin Robertson (1992 Radical SR1 Clubsport) was fifth on 45.504 seconds, ahead of Robert Wolk (45.646 sec) in the Ferrari V8-powered A1 GP car, Byron Mitchell (2002 Reynard Formula VW) on 45.872 seconds, JP van der Walt (2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS) on 46.113 seconds and Rui Campos (1990 Shelby CanAm V8) on 46.256 seconds.

Franco Scribante rounded out the top 10 with a time of 47.451 seconds in his outlandish multi-winged 2016 Nissan R35 GT-R – however this was just an exploratory shakedown run with a lot more to come from the Modified Saloon Car winner from 2019.

Visiting US driver and Pikes Pike International Hill Climb racer Cole Powelson was 35th out of the 61 competitors who took to the start line for the first session – having spent less than an hour in the car he is driving thus far, and having never driven the Simola Hill at speed. Competing in an ex-WRC Citroën Xsara with an Audi Cosworth twin-turbo V6 engine, he posted a time of 53.174 seconds.

One of the other interesting drivers is Terry Smith – a racing enthusiast who was paralysed from the chest down in a motorcycle accident. He is competing for the first time in a Speedcar Extreme cross kart, powered by a Suzuki 600 cc motorcycle engine, and was 59th with a time of 1 min 24.297 seconds.

Castrol Motorpress
Release compiled by Colin Mileman (082-897-6145 colin@milemanmedia.co.za)
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