Gauteng Motor Show Ignites Excellence

Words & Photos: Wouter Pienaar

Performance Driving

The Gauteng Motor Show 2013 was held at Zwartkops Raceway in Tshwane from 1 to 2 June, and featured the Atomic Junkies Adrenalin Sport Fest to deliver a unique hybrid motoring and extreme sport event.

“This is a motoring fan’s dream!” said JP Joubert, one of the visitors that summarised the excitement and atmosphere at the event. Motorsport and car enthusiasts, including their families, were given the green light to experience all the sights and sounds on offer at this action-packed event. Engines roared and brakes screeched in the distance as one of the largest motoring shows in South Africa got underway.


This year’s Gauteng Motor Show marked its ten-year anniversary in style, as there were a variety of different activities that catered to a broad number of festivalgoers. One of the main reasons for its success lies in its organisation. Thebe Exhibitions and Projects organised the event in conjunction with the City of Tshwane, the host city for the event. Tshwane is known as the automotive hub of South Africa and this partnership with the Gauteng Motor Show presents an opportunity to promote the city as well as the Gauteng Motor Show.


According to Glynis Anderson of Thebe Exhibitions and Projects, “The main aim of this event is to make it a fantastic day out for adrenalin junkies and petrol heads.”


The thousands of people that attended the event had a multitude of different activities to experience and enjoy. This included a drifting series, advance driving and track experiences for visitors, go-kart rides, helicopter and hot air balloon rides, as well as exhibition stands for visitors to treat themselves to a bouquet of automotive and extreme sports goods.


The most high profile events were held on the main track at Zwartkops. This included the SupaDrift Series, which held its fourth round of the series at the event, as well as the BMW CCG Club Racing Series.


The SupaDrift Series was one of the main attractions with good reason. Sliding around the track with precision and flair creates something truly exhilarating and puts everyone on the edge of their seat. Drifting has become popular in South Africa, as was witnessed by the sheer number of competitors from all over the country at the event. Faheem Salie, a driver in the SupaDrift Series, has been drifting for six years and enjoys the adrenalin rush of motorsport. “It’s all about adrenalin, going sideways and keeping the car in control. That’s where the challenge lies," he commented. Clare Vale, an experienced racing circuit driver, has turned to drifting as a new challenge in her career. Her team built her car from scratch, with this event at the Gauteng Motor Show being her first in the series. “The thing I like most about drifting is the focus and total concentration that it requires,” said Vale.


Drifting can also been seen as an excellent marketing tool for motorsport, as this extreme competition is relevant to most of today’s young populous, as stated in a press release for the event. The competition was tough, with drivers fighting tooth and nail and cars touching each other as they drifted side by side in search of extra points from the judges. The judging criteria was based on a 100 points' system, with points being deducted for errors. The driver with the most points left after his run would be declared the winner and able to compete in the main event on Sunday. The judges looked at four categories, namely: line, speed, angle and impact. Impact is judged on the style and showmanship of the driver – an important element in drifting – and the impression or impact it has on the audience and judges.


In the final round, tandem battles occur as two drivers compete in subsequent head-to-head runs. Each driver has the chance to lead, so driver consistency is crucial. Most of these cars go through an astounding three to four sets of tyres during an event. The V8 7-litre engines roared with each gear change, entertaining the crowd in attendance. Some of the driver took their cars to the limit, with just centimetres coming between success on the track or failure in the dirt. A spiralling smokescreen was seen swirling around the track, as the smell of burnt rubber indicated yet another successful run. In the final, Jim McFarlane went up against Jason Webb, with the latter taking top spot in a memorable battle.


Karting, a popular form of motorsport that has delivered many hours of fun and world-class drivers over the years, was equally popular amongst the motorsport fanatics who wanted to experience the thrill of karting on the Zwartkops International Kart Raceway. Ed Murray Racing provided the karts for the day and for R150 per person, you could experience what it’s like to be a real racer. The karts can reach a maximum speed of 70 km/h with their four-stroke engines.
Besides the four-wheeled action, there were also two wheel stunts of the highest quality from trick rider Brian Capper.



Capper is a ten-time National Champion in Supermoto and Trials, and spent his time entertaining the crowds with his Xtreme Riding Xhibitions. The show lasted approximately 25 minutes, with Capper jumping on ramps and obstacles while defying gravity. “I’ve been riding for twenty-two years and I love doing these events,” he said. Capper also performed during the Qatar leg of the Moto GP this year, wowing the crowds with his skill and balance. Crowd interaction is a major part of Capper’s performance, as he is constantly connected with his audience through a microphone and GoPro camera attached to his helmet. The crowd cheered every move while being reminded exactly of the dangers and difficulty of each stunt.


The Turtle Wax Show and Shine area gave visitors the opportunity to get a closer look at some elite and vintage cars. Cars on show included the Porsche Carrera 2, Porsche Turbo 3.6 and the Porsche Cayman R. In addition to the large Porsche collection, there was a Mazda RX-7, as well as a BMW Z4 with a Scottish flag on the boot. Vintage cars included a Ford Mustang and Volkswagen Beetle. The quality of cars on show was outstanding, with vehicles to suit everyone’s taste.


The exhibitions also provided retailers and sponsors with the opportunity to market their brands and operations to eager motoring enthusiasts. The SASOL Solar Power Challenge stand featured solar power cars from three universities, namely winners NWU (North-West University), runner’s up UJ (University of Johannesburg) and third-placed TUT (Tshwane University of Technology). The body of these cars is made of carbon fibre and extracts the sun’s rays through Maximum Power Point Trackers (MPPT). The constant voltage then charges the batteries, making the car functional and able to reach speeds of up to 85 km/h. The theme of environmental awareness was continued with the showcasing of the Combat Vehicle Electric Drive. Using an alternative power source, an armoured combat vehicle was converted to use electrical motors as its primary drive train. This was a unique addition to the event, as it highlighted the importance of new ideas in an ever-growing motor industry. Another interesting exhibition was the Discover Ballooning stand, which gave away tickets to a hot air balloon ride at the event. An air flight simulator also gave visitors the opportunity to test their steering skills in the air – as opposed to the tarmac.


Numerous competitions also kept the attention of motor enthusiasts and adrenalin junkies. Adventure Bookings gave Ferrari fans a treat, as five people were able to win a ride in the Ferrari F-360 Jaki Scheckter racing car on Zwartkops Raceway. Mercedes-Benz driving courses valued at R3,600 were also up for grabs and kept that winning feeling going. The various stalls and exhibitors also received prizes. Racestar Graphics won an award for the Best Small Stand, while A-Line Wheels won the Best Medium-sized Stand and Williams Hunt Pretoria won the Best Large Stand.


The event was well organised, with people being able to easily move from one activity to the other on foot. Sufficient food stalls and a beer garden were provided for visitors to relax at and grab something to sustain them while taking in the surroundings amid the musical offerings of Derek Sasson on his guitar.


The future of the Gauteng Motor Show looks bright and each year aims to be bigger and better than the previous editions of the event. Adds Anderson, “We plan to have more exhibitions and enhance the activities each year. There is also a new pavilion in the planning for future events, which may involve new international exhibitors associated with the motoring industry.”


The tagline ‘The ultimate motoring event to excite, ignite and fire you up on all cylinders!’ definitely lived up to expectations, as adrenalin junkies and petrol heads got a feast of action-packed activities to ignite their passion. Amid skid marks and burning rubber, the chequered flag came down on a memorable Gauteng Motor Show 2013.