SA Bike Festival a Huge Success
Last weekend saw the dynamic and innovative international events company, Clarion Events UK, launch the first ever South Africa Bike Festival, powered by Discovery Channel, at the newly rejuvenated Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Johannesburg. Kyalami opened its doors to the public for the first time since the extensive refurbishments, which started in early 2015 for three days of jam-packed family fun, live music and all things engine, petrol and motorcycling!
Festival director, Nicole Muller, has just announced the record number of attendance for the motorcycle industry with over 24 000 visitors, 124 industry related exhibitors, 16 motorcycle manufacturers, 20 of Joburg’s finest food trucks and 13 of South Africa’s favourite bands. All had the unique opportunity to experience the brand new circuit facilities at the newly refurbished and much anticipated re-opening of Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit.
Together with headline media partner, Discovery Channel, and festival sponsors Tiger Wheel & Tyre, BIKETRACK, Sun International, The Star Motoring, Michelin, Dunlop, Tissot and Monster Energy, South Africa Bike Festival welcomed the ticket holders with the combined intention to ensure the festival becomes THE MUST ATTEND annual motorcycle show in Southern Africa for years to come. More than 50% of exhibitors have already rebooked their place for next year and the 2017 festival dates will be announced before the end of this year.
The highlight for 2016, was undoubtedly the Michelin SuperBike School Circuit Test Rides on offer from participating manufacturers BMW, Triumph, Kawasaki, Polaris, Linhai, Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, SYM, KTM, Can-Am, Husqvarna, Victory, Indian, Ducati, and Harley Davidson showcasing their latest models throughout the weekend. Those with a motorcycle license had the opportunity to test the new circuit on a total of 74 models to choose from. More than 2500 visitor test rides took place over the three days, from cruisers to cutting-edge sports bikes and more – visitors were able to experience the weight, throttle and thrills of 2016’s stunning new machines. The National director of AMID, (ASSOCIATION OF MOTORCYCLE IMPORTERS AND DISTRIBUTORS), Lachlan Harris, said; “The first tip when buying a motorcycle is to buy a bike that you feel comfortable on, and is not too big and intimidating. There are some very good mid-size bikes available that are ideal for learning on before you progress to something bigger if you choose to. The South Africa Bike Festival is the perfect opportunity for riders to try, test, ride and buy their next motorcycle and we look forward to the festival and the circuit test ride feature growing in leaps and bounds in the years to come.
The festival also hosted a variety of stunts and jumps with International Stunt & Wheelie Champion, Julien “RazorBack” Welsch entertaining viewers with his amazing freestyle tricks on a Triumph Street Triple R. All the way from France, Julien showed festival-goers how it was done by bringing international and unique talent as a first ever seen in South Africa! Joining Julien for the stunt show that took place 5 times over the 3 days, was SA’s favourite trick trial biker, Brian Capper who together with a “pick up” truck showed the crowds something they hadn’t ever seen before.
Monster Energy, the exclusive energy drink partner, showcased Monster Girls & the le Riche Brothers with their extreme motorcycle show performance throughout the weekend, including 360 degree bike rollovers, 3.5m high undercut ledges and more with full crowd interaction. Alastair Sayer, Craig Emmerick and Dallan Goldman performed FMX shows throughout the weekend and visitors were able to get tattoos right there and then at massively discounted rates from Sins of Style.
For those off-road and adventure enthusiasts, the BMW Motorrad Enduro Track was in action all weekend, where visitors could test new models around a short enduro circuit, free of charge. BMW Motorrad also had a grooming service at their stand where visitors were able to get their beards tamed while enjoying a quick coffee and admiring the latest models. As well as Enduro, Adventure Ride Outs were available over the surrounding lands for those who prefer an extended off-road and adventure experience. Visitors were able to test ride Honda, Suzuki, Husqvarna, KTM, Yamaha and Triumph motorcycles, to name a few, by venturing out with a technical instructor to show you exactly what these bikes were capable of.
Another great addition was the first ever Pride of Ownership Classic Motorcycle Viewing Deck. All those with motorcycles dating 1990 and older nominated their classic motorcycle to be one of thirty exclusively selected for the Pride of Ownership Classic Motorcycle display, hosted on the new viewing deck on the middle level of the new Kyalami Pit Building. Helping with the selection was the Classic Motorcycle Club of South Africa. Visitors were then asked to vote for their favourite and the winner of the competition was Russell Taschner with his 1913 Clyno. In late 1913, there was a need for a light, simple and solo motorcycle, thus the 250cc single cylinder, 2 stroke machine was designed. The Clyno was one of the first machines to be sold completely equipped with lamps, a horn and number plates, ready for the road! Russel’s Clyno is from Wolverhampton, England and was restored by the late Tonie Taschner. “The history of this Clyno is only known by The Vintage and Veteran club and The D.J Legends”, says Russel. One thing is for sure, is that after 103 years, the Clyno is beyond its time.
One of the highlights of the festival was the Custom Bike Show – “The South African Championship”. All those who are passionate about motorbikes and pride themselves on breathing life back into the machines of the past and building unique machines, were encouraged to fine-tune their latest projects and enter them into the show. These were judged by in
ternationally known master-builder and show-judge, Mario Kyprianides. The championship was hosted by well-known TV presenters from The Bike Show, Mat Durrans and Harry Fisher, alongside official prize sponsor, Mars Helmets. With fourteen different categories, each winner took home a Mars Helmet and a South Africa Bike Festival 2016 trophy, and the overall winner, L.J. Muller, with his custom “The Bone Shake” received a Custom BikeJet from Scytheworks worth over R6500.
On Sunday, 29 May, the Sunday Charity Motorcycle Ride saw a thousand South Africans finally being able to ride their own motorcycles around the newly refurbished Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit since the ride finished with TWO laps around the circuit. This is the FIRST time the public was able to ride the track since the completion of the massive transformation of the circuit and surrounding facilities. All proceeds went towards CLAW (Community Lead Animal Welfare) through the Ride for a Reason-Claw and Paws Charity organisation.
The event focused on safe biking, as the South Africa Bike Festival provided visitors with the opportunity to experience the benefits of biking in a safe and controlled environment, directly from the brands and experts. From young children on pocket bikes through to the retired on the cruisers, there was an opportunity to try, ride and buy motorcycles as well as see and be part of other motorcycle related pursuits.
Nicole Muller, Portfolio Director at Clarion Events concludes: “Our long term aim by creating this event will be to drive awareness to a potential new target audience each year. We want to create a sustainable, annual and internationally recognised brand that will bring together the experienced and the young in order to encourage and grow a new generation of motorcyclists in South Africa and beyond”.