KNYSNA, South Africa, 10 June 2020
Due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 Simola Hillclimb has been postponed to 6-9 May 2021.
The Hillclimb, held in Knysna over the past decade, has become South Africa’s premier motorsport lifestyle event with approximately 17 000 people from around the globe attending, and over 250 000 livestream views over the weekend.
“It is with a great deal of sadness that we have been forced to make this decision,” said the organiser, Knysna Speed Festival. “It was our intention to run the event in September this year, and we had put plans in place to do so, but it has become apparent in our ongoing discussions with all role players that it will not be possible to host the event during that time.
“As things stand there is no certainty as to what the situation will be in September but all indications are that mass gatherings will still not be allowed by then. Our local authorities have informed us that they expect the effects of the virus to remain significant in September, and they therefore cannot support the event taking place. The uncertainty also impacts our international competitors and visitors who may not be allowed to travel, sponsor partners who would not be able to host staff and guests if the health risk is high or if leisure travel is still banned, and the Simola Hotel which is unsure if it will be allowed to open by then.
“With so much uncertainty, combined with the real health risks that visitors to the event could still be exposed to, there is unfortunately no other option but to postpone the event to 2021. The health of our employees, sponsor staff, competitors and their support crew, spectators, suppliers and the Knysna residents is the most important issue to consider at this time.
“We would like to thank our sponsor partners for their understanding and support with the situation we are faced with, and look forward to working with them to host a successful 2021 event,” added the organiser.
This unfortunate, very difficult situation forced on the Simola Hillclimb by COVID-19 has severe implications for so many people associated with the event. The knock-on effect for those that rely on the event – and the other events that have been cancelled – as a source of income is vast. From our suppliers and vendors, to our permanent and temporary staff, the charity organisations that we support (and the beneficiaries that they support), as well as the town’s businesses, accommodation establishments and tourist activities will all feel the blow, and for some of them they may not survive this crisis. We send them all our best wishes as they navigate these difficult times.
Our town survives on tourism, therefore events such as the Oyster Festival and Knysna Motor Show (both of which were cancelled) are going to be more important than ever to the town in its efforts to bounce back from the pandemic. With the Simola Hillclimb being integral to this, we look forward to being able to host the event in 2021 and helping the town to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
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