Watch Jade Gutzeit’s 2012 winning run above
By Quintin van Jaarsveld
Experienced South Coast driver and well-known businessman Des Gutzeit wants to ensure the coveted King of the Hill crown stays in the family as the Simola Hillclimb makes a welcome return at the Knysna Speed Festival this weekend.
Des’ son Jade, known for his legendary motorcycle enduro career in which he claimed several South African titles, was the last man to win the King of the Hill, which sees 80 of the country’s fastest rides – from road cars to 750kW and purpose-built hillclimb specials – duel it out on the hill at speeds of up to 250km/h.
Jade had edged Des to the title in an all-Nissan Skyline grand finale – his time of 41.993 seconds narrowly pipping Des’ run of 41.945 seconds.
After being cancelled last year due to the withdrawal of Renault, the Hillclimb is set to return with a bang this weekend with Jaguar – who has agreed a three-year deal – as its driving force.
Unfortunately for Jade, he will once again be unable to defend his crown. He had entered the event but has been forced to withdraw as his Mitsubishi Evo 7 won’t be ready by the weekend.
“I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to defend the title but you can’t rush these things,” Jade told eHowz!t.
With Jade out of the event, the Gutzeits’ title hopes fall to Des and Jade believes his father “will be right up there again.”
Des will be racing in a Nissan Skyline R32 and said he will do his level best to go one better this year and keep the title in the family.
Despite the disappointment of not been able to compete, Jade welcomed the reestablishment of the Hillclimb, which list of luminary former competitors include Sarel van der Merwe, Ian Scheckter, Jaki Scheckter, Geoff Mortimer, Robbi Smith, Mike Briggs, Deon Joubert, Duncan Vos, Leeroy Poulter, Wilhelm Baard and two-time world motocross champion Jean Michel Bayle.
“It’s a beautiful event. It allows you to come in any car you want, spend as much money on the car as you want and comes down to how well your car does overall, so it’s great that it’s back.”
Des echoed Jade’s sentiments and described the Hillclimb as the most challenging event he’s ever competed in.
“I’m very happy to see it back. It was a good event in the past and I’m sure it will be another good event this year.”
The Hillclimb will take place on the challenging hill up to Simola Golf and Country Estate and will comprise the popular Classic Car Friday, followed by Saturday’s practice and qualifying runs for the eagerly anticipated King of the Hill feature event on Sunday.
Cars eligible for the Classic Car Friday event will fall into six classes. Pre-World War Two cars will compete in class H1, with H2 and H3 being for pre-1966 and pre-1975 road cars respectively.
Pukka racing machinery split into the same cut-offs will be in classes H4 and H5. Re-created or replicas cars, will fill class H6.
Watch Des Gutzeit’s final 2012 launch below