Participants in this weekend’s Jaguar Simola hillclimb in Knysna received a nasty shock on Monday morning, when a number of the race cars caught fire while being transported home.
The incident occurred on the N2 between Sedgefield and Buffalo Bay in the Western Cape around 10:30 on Monday morning.
Reports say that six cars were damaged before the fire was extinguished.
Wheels24 reports that one of the cars damaged in the fire was worth an estimated R25 million.
The multi-million rand car that was damaged was a 1979 March Formula Atlantic 79B with a 1.6-litre Ford BDA engine, owned by a King of the Hill champion, Charles Arton. Arton also lost a V8 Masters Roush Mustang, one of three that suffered damage in the fire.
The other two Roush Mustangs were owned by double South African rally champion Enzo Kuun and Steve Kimpton. Kuun, incidentally, finished second in the Modified Saloon Cars class on Sunday.
Another car affected by the fire is the #58 1969 MG B GT with a Rover engine, owned by Anton Rollino. Aside from monetary value, the cherished vehicle also had incalculable sentimental value to Rollino. It was the last car owned by his father, which he inherited with his father’s passing.
Organiser and founder of the Jaguar Simola Hillclimb and managing director of the Knysna Speed Festival Ian Shrosbree, expressed his dismay and distress about the incident.
“After the resounding success of the last three days where each of the participating vehicles becomes part of the essence of the competition – this disaster impacts on us all. The loss of complete vehicles (some of them one-of-a-kind and literally irreplaceable) and the damage to others cannot be quantified. It is much, much more than just the value of what has gone up in flames,” he said.