SO FESTIVAL OF MOTORING 2022 - WHAT WAS YOUR TAKE?
It's been a couple of years since we've had a Festival of Motoring, and the latest one has just ended at Kyalami Racetrack. We popped through on the media day to see what's what and found that this year's show was a little smaller than anticipated and the manufacturers on the automotive side were made up of only a handful. We spotted Suzuki, Chery, Volvo, Baic, Mercedes-Benz, Ford (more from the likes of Lazarus and Shelby than Ford SA) and Toyota who mainly aimed at the 4x4 guys. There may have been others but they were either on small stands we missed or they weren't set up and ready by the media day.
Suzuki went through the massive effort of bringing in a pre-release model of its all-new Grand Vitara to have a special local reveal, and its a pity others didn't go through the same for their stands. In fact Suzuki SA did the most on the day, offering track drives, self drives and a 4x4 experience along with some sim rigs set up for a competition where entrants could win a R50k gaming rig setup, along with a separate competition to win a Suzuki Safari experience worth R25k - it's no wonder they're gaining amazing ground in the market. Mercedes-Benz had a couple of electric cars, but the rest of the guys there pretty much had their normal offerings albeit it tarted up with wheels and vinyl. It sorta felt like most of the companies who attended the show weren't putting their all in and showed face just because it was expected. Volvo is different, these guys know how to create a stand at events like this and they offer up a very VIP experience, Other than that, for the most part there wasn't much we hadn't seen before or weren't aware of, but that said some of the aftermarket stalls had some really amazing products displayed and for sale. The aftermarket side definitely outshone the OEM side of things if you ask this SXdrv staffer. There were no BMW M models because BMW hosts their own show in SA and so don't join others. There was no Civic Type R specially brought in to see, because no Honda involvement. There was no Volkswagen Golf 8R brought into SA to display, because no Volkswagen involvement. We didn't see a Hyundai i20N brought in to be displayed, because no Hyundai involvement. We can do this all day...
The aftermarket side of the show was decent, the chaps from Detail Ease put on a display inside the building and also in the outside display arena using some properly hot cars including that super hot yellow Mazda RX-7. The chaps from Ace Customs has a few cars on display, some finished the morning of the event - these guys like to cut it close but looking at the results they seem to excel under pressure because we're yet to see anything but awesome come from their stable. Evolution Wheel & Tyre had some tasty wheels on display along with a rare E36 M3 GT. We spotted more cool cars owned by friends, and friends of friends than we did manufacturers. One stand was amazing, Enamel Ridez. These guys make little enamel keyrings of a bunch of popular cars, they are absolutely epic. The designs are perfect and the cars come in a few colours too making it easier to match one to your own car. The product and the packaging are just awesome, and only R100 too (for now). What can you get for R100 these days? The only catch is you'll want one of every model made so that you have a full collection.
Obviously being at Kyalami meant plenty sessions on track. Attendees could go for hot laps in some cars on the main circuit and they could drive some cars themselves on the smaller handling track. Instead of proper laps of the circuit, a time attack course was set up that started and finished on pretty much half the track, and Shelby arranged for a bunch of their clients to take part, along with some Mustang owners who like to track their cars. A dedicated shootout was also set up with some of SA's fastest time attack cars that featured the likes of Reghard Roets in the BB Cars Nissan GT-R, the Joubert brothers with their mad engine-swapped Lotus racecars, the Scribante Racing Porsche and Toby Venter's personal Porsche racecar, among others. Time attack is the way of the future, we're massive fans.
Attendees could take a ride in some Toyotas showing skills over a steep structure, in a Fiesta with trolley wheels (sort of) replacing the rear wheels to show handling dynamics and of course one of the best interactive display at local motor events - drifting. The crew from XS Drift were on hand to take people for rides around a short drift track, it's always great to watch and even better to experience. True pros who know exactly how to keep a crowd properly entertained.
So yeah, it was a car show, and the public have been missing them which is why the queues to get in were kilometers long but at R250 per person we expected, well, more. The things displayed were great, as were the new cars, but there wasn't enough to call it a festival, not like events used to be. This has often been billed as the replacement for Auto Africa, but if that was the case it would need to be at least 5 times bigger or have a representative of every automaker doing business in SA. Another thing the show highlighted is that the venue is 100% not ready to host a Formula 1 event. While the track and the pits facilities may be up to the task, or close to it, the rest is not. Festival of Motoring was a well-attended show, but there is no way it attracted as many people as a Formula 1 race would. At around 09:30 Allandale Road was backed up from the track to Mall of Africa, and all surrounding roads were gridlocked. Food and beverage queues also took a little long to get through, if it was an F1 event riots would have ensued. Traffic and food needs sorting out as much, if not more than the upgrades that the track needs.
What did you think of the show? Do you agree with anything we experienced or were our expectations too high? Was it worth the money for you? How was access to the venue and the various activations? Let us know.
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