Records galore for Suzuki at Simola

Regular readers will know by now that Suzuki SA sees itself in the headlines monthly as it reaches new sales records. Now firmly in the second overall position in terms of sales, Suzuki SA reached another record over the weekend, this time on the racetrack.

In its fourth consecutive year as a title sponsor of the iconic Simola Hillclimb, Suzuki SA once again entered three Suzuki Swift Sport models to charge the 1.9km hill.

Whilst the 1.4L turbocharged Swift Sport might not threaten the sub 38-second times of Reghard Roets, Robert Wolk, Franco Scribante, and the Joubert brothers, it certainly present competitors with a cost-effective alternative up the hill, whilst still being emersed by all the adrenaline of an iconic motorsport event.

The 970kg, front wheel driven Swift Sport is the perfect car to take up the hill. Whereas the manufacturer also ran models in both the 6-speed automatic and manual disguises, Suzuki decided to run only automatic versions for 2024. Previously, the times between the manual and automatics were almost identical.

Two newcomers joined the Suzuki charge in 2024, with Wesley Greybe remaining on as the ‘veteran’ an official Suzuki record holder up the hill. Whilst newcomers to the fleet, both Brendon Staniforth and Thomas Falkiner are not new to motorsport itself, with the latter having raced up Simola on several occasions.

Falkiner quickly showed his talent by posting the fastest times during the practice sessions, a trend that continued during the first three qualification sessions on Saturday. During the second and third sessions, he also managed to break the overall record, set by Greybe in 2022 (54.3 seconds) as he set a 54.143 and 54.250 respectively.

Sunday morning saw perfect conditions with the records tumbling yet again as Falkiner moved the new record into the 53 seconds slot with a time of 53.781, which was once again overthrown during the following Q5 with a new record of 53.551.

Warmer track conditions proved it difficult for the Suzuki drivers to set a new record as Falkiner eventually took the class win and became the Suzuki King of the Hill with a time of 53.784, while Greybe finished second with a 54.221, while Staniforth rounded out the podium with a 54.327.

Action galore

With André Bezuidenhout having to throw in the towel on Thursday (due to mechanical failure), the King of the Hill contention was blown wide open. Wolk, Scribante, Roets and the two Joubert brothers already showed their potential on the Saturday, al submitting times between the 37 – 39 seconds mark.

While Wolk led the charge on Saturday, his 1989 Pilbeam came to a halt during the last qualification session on Saturday, while Dawie Joubert and Reghard Roets both clocked 38 second times.

Sunday morning continued in similar fashion as Wolk suffered a mechanical yet again, whilst Dawie Joubert laid down the gauntlet with a 38.291 in Q4. Q5 also saw mechanical problems for both Scribante and Roets, resulting in both retiring from the event.

It was now between Wolk and Dawie Joubert.

Wolk delivered during the class final, by setting a new fastest time for the weekend (37.133 sec), while the two Joubert brothers were more than a second off the pace.

The final saw Dawie Joubert post a blistering time of 38.405 to win his individual class. Yet, it was not enough as Wolk managed to get his car across the line in 37.403 to take the 2024 title.

Next year will see the 15th running of the Simola Hillclimb. Exciting things are to come.

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