Due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sports events, and an expected third wave, the organisers of the Simola Hillclimb have taken the difficult decision to postpone the event to 2-5 September 2021.
“It is once again with a great deal of sadness that we have been forced to make this decision to postpone the event yet again,” said the organiser, Knysna Speed Festival. “We were all set to run the event on our traditional May dates, but having engaged with all stakeholders, medical experts and other event organisers the consensus is that May poses too much of a risk for the health and safety of attendees.”
The uncertainty and possible risk impacts our international competitors and visitors who may still not be allowed to travel to the country in May, as well as sponsor partners who would not be able to host staff and guests if the health risk is high.
Indications from those consulted and experts around the globe is that with the roll out of vaccinations, sports events should return to some form of normality from July with spectators being allowed back to events. There is strong belief that hosting the event in September will be possible, albeit possibly with certain constraints.
“As things stand there is no certainty as to what the situation will be in September, but unless we are back in a Level 5 lockdown situation, or prevented from doing so by national government, we will definitely run the Hillclimb in some form. We are hoping that by then we can run it with at very least a limited number of spectators.”
On a positive note, the Simola Hillclimb and Monarch Events have partnered to develop the Virtual Simola Hillclimb over the past few months. The track has been scanned and digitised and will run on the Assetto Corsa platform. More detail regarding these plans will follow within the next few weeks.
All spectator tickets purchased for the 2020 event will be carried over and valid for the September event.
“The health of our employees, sponsor staff, competitors and their support crews, spectators, suppliers and the Knysna residents continues to be the most important issue to consider in our decision making.”
The Hillclimb, held in Knysna over the past 12 years, 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.
“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 event in September,” added the organiser.