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SA Festival of Motoring: A festival for enthusiasts


I remember the Johannesburg International Motorshow when I was growing up. Every couple of years I would attend, just to gawk at the very latest from the automotive industry.

Now though, the show is no more, it lost its spark somehow, became a bit boring in my opinion and faded to obscurity. There is a new motoring show coming to our shores, with a totally new concept as I discovered at the press conference recently.

The new event will be called the South African Festival of Motoring and will take place at the Kyalami Grand Prix circuit in Midrand from 31 August - 4 September. The fact that the event is no longer at an expo centre and has moved to a racing circuit was enough to get me excited. Picture a Goodwood Festival of Speed, only in South Africa, without the constant dribble and overcast conditions... do I have your attention?

There will be various activities at the show which I have highlighted below:

  • Track work: I remember at the old bike show at Kyalami, patrons could pay to test and ride bikes around the track. This new show will be much the same, only with cars. The track work will also include stunts, displays and parades by professionals. The on-track test drives from the North Pit Area will include four cars from each exhibitor as well as demonstration runs of high performance cars from the main pit building.

  • 4x4 arena: I have tried my hand at the 4x4 track at Kyalami and can report that the four vehicles from the exhibitors, per day, at the track, will be tested to their off-road limits, in a controlled environment. 

  • Soft-roader track: SUVs and crossovers are the order of the day at the moment; the only problem is that they’re not all off-road warriors, which is why there will be an outdoor track for soft-roaders and non-4x4 models.

  • Other entertainment: At the press conference we were assured that there would be a variety of activities that didn’t necessarily involve cars per se, such as fashion shows, auctions and big screen broadcasts.

  • A passing parade: Selected one-make clubs, vintage and veteran vehicle collections and various motor sport disciplines will be given the opportunity to display vehicles in the outdoor display paddocks.

  • Dedicated Women’s Day: August is Women’s Month and the opportunity will be taken to stage a number of special women-focused events on this day.


  • Classics: A selection of classic cars and motorcycles will be exhibited in the Galleria area of the Pit Building alongside a variety of art works, including those resulting from a competition for school children.

  • Dedicated area for children: This will feature a go-kart track, driving simulators and other activities to entertain younger show visitors.

  • VIP areas: A selection of VIP entertainment areas will be located on the site.

As a motoring writer I feel that we become jaded, unimpressed with everything over time so I was so excited to see my colleagues and peers upbeat about something. It certainly sounds like Nirvana for the automotive enthusiast and should even cater well for the whole family, whether you like cars or not.

Many see this event as a precursor for other motor shows as the industry moves away from static displays towards more dynamic and interactive events. I was so glad to have attended the event, to have found out more about what I believe will be a great event for South Africans. After all, whether we like to admit it or not, we are among the biggest consumers of performance cars on the planet, making us a nation of petrolheadsConcours d’Elegance: Classic cars will take part in a competition with the winner receiving the Best-on-Show award.

Article written by Sean Nurse
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