Cape Town is about a whole lot more than ‘The Mountain’ and some of the most stunning beaches in the world – and the entry list for the StreetFest on December 28 proves it is a city with a passion for fast cars and adrenalin action.
The StreetFest at Killarney International Raceway in partnership with the City of Cape Town looks like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the quickest quarter-milers in South Africa and beyond.
Among the 86 contenders, chosen from more than 100 entries, there are six cars and three motorcycles from Namibia, three from Shawn Dziire’s AirVolution Motorsport stable in Johannesburg, two more from Jannie Bezuidenhout in Pretoria, teenage National Drag Racing title contender Stephen Lottering on his Kawasaki ZX-6R, hot rookie Lenzey Henry from Springbok on a trick Suzuki GSX-R1000 and ex-Capetonian Rameez Ebrahim, now resident in Jozi but back for StreetFest 2019 with a killer Audi TT-RS.
Heading the charge, however, will be Tiaan van der Merwe, straight out of Mpumalanga in Fireball, a late-1970s MkII Ford Escort with a 434 cubic inch (7,1-litre) small block Chevy V8 by Steve Schmidt of Indianapolis, Indiana, rated at 850 horsepower.
It is reputed to be the quickest naturally aspirated street-car in South Africa, consistently running low 10s inland, and Van der Merwe is bringing it to Killarney in search of that elusive first nine-second run.
Mayoral Committee member for Safety & Security, Alderman JP Smith says: “Cape Town has one of the most enthusiastic motor sport fan bases and this is evident by the numbers that descend on the Killarney International Raceway for every race event.
“As the City of Cape Town, we are proud to support events that contribute to our economy, provide opportunities for our residents while also giving petrol heads a platforms for more responsible racing instead of illegal street racing which unfortunately remains very prevalent on our roads, often with devastating consequences.
“We wish all the participants a safe race and we would like to encourage residents to head to Killarney to support the drivers. ”
There are many facets to Cape Town’s car culture, however, and most of them are represented at StreetFest.
You will see drifting on the Tar Oval, customised cars with incredible paint jobs, cars that sit so low on their suspension that they can only be driven in straight lines (their owners jack them up and adjust their ride height before driving to and from the event!), cars with sound systems that would put a recording studio to shame and cars with outrageous body kits that have less to do with aerodynamics than with image.
They all have one thing in common, however: They reflect the personality of their owners in a way that a standard model off the showroom floor never could.
Also in the New Pits Complex, you will find the computers and sound pressure meters of the IASCA Sound-Off. These enthusiasts take their sport (and it is a world-recognised sport) very seriously indeed. Pretty has nothing to do with it and many of the cars clearly reflect their backyard origins.
Nevertheless, with a bank of batteries feeding multi-kilowatt amplifiers through cables as thick as your thumb, all the windows closed and nobody in the car, they can produce a single tone louder than a jet fighter on take-off.
StreetFest is not only about cars, It is also about the people who love them – petrolheads of all ages – with a children’s play area below the New Pits Lounge as well as dozens of food and beverage stalls, and vendors offering motoring-related merchandise.
Gates open at 6:30 am on Saturday 28 (with Sunday 29 December pencilled in as rain date). There will be on-track action from 9:00 am, as well as the Sound-Off and displays from 10:00 am to around 5:00 pm. Book through Computicket at https://tickets.computicket.com/event/street_fest_2019/7120896/7120915/69693 or pay at the gate: R90 for adults, R40 for scholars under 16 and free for children under 12.