Suzuki Auto South Africa swept the top spots in the Class A1 category at this year’s Simola Hill Climb in Knysna, with three automatic Swift Sport models, all of which notably surpassed the previous lap record.

The drivers at the helm of these Swift Sports were Thomas Falkiner, Wesley Greybe, and Brendon Staniforth. It marked Falkiner's debut in the Simola event driving the front-wheel-drive Swift Sport and Staniforth's first ever participation in a hill climb. Greybe, the seasoned contender, returned to guide a new cohort of journalist-racers, building on his extensive experience.

Suzuki Swift Sport - Thomas Failkiner

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Chelsy Pinto, assistant manager of Product Planning and Sales Development and manager of the Suzuki Race Team, says: "We aimed to improve on our 2023 times, but the margin by which we did so was unexpected."

Indeed, the team’s performance was exceptional, with both Falkiner and Greybe breaking the 54-second barrier, and Falkiner setting a new Suzuki Swift record of 53,,551 seconds.

The 2023 campaign was particularly distinctive as Suzuki opted to enter three identical Swift Sport models, each equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. In the past, Suzuki had mixed manual and automatic models to demonstrate their equivalency in providing a satisfying driving experience.

"By aligning the cars this year, we created a more even playing field which actually spurred a friendly rivalry, pushing all the drivers to exceed past records," Pinto noted.

Suzuki Swift Sport - Simola Hillclimb - Brendan Staniforth

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Staniforth shared his enthusiasm: "It’s incredible how much fun you can have for such a reasonable cost. I shaved over two seconds off my time from the first run to the last!"

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Falkiner, a veteran of the Hill Climb since 2010, finally celebrated a win."To finally win the class and set a new record for Suzuki feels incredibly rewarding. It's a year I’ll remember for a long time," he said.

Greybe, finishing just behind Falkiner, also enjoyed the tight competition.

Suzuki Swift Sport - Wesley Greybe"It was great being in such a closely contested race with a talent like Thomas," he commented.

This year also saw the first private entry in the competition, with enthusiast Giles Missing driving his five-year-old Suzuki Swift Sport. "I’ve seen the fun the Suzuki team had in previous years and wanted to be a part of it," said Missing.

Suzuki GSX-S1000 GX Sport CrossoverOriginally entering the Simola Hill Climb in 2022 to demonstrate that competitive fun didn’t have to be expensive, Suzuki Auto has also leveraged the event to launch new motorcycles, including the Suzuki GSX-S1000 GX Sport Crossover.

Colin Windell