Cape Town – The 2018 Killarney Motor Show powered by Kfm 94.5 at Killarney International Raceway on Sunday, 4 November was a blockbuster in more ways than one, with more exhibitors, more cars, trucks, tractors and motorcycles and more visitors than ever before; even the promised rain held off until after the show closed. At 9.30am, half an hour before the show was due to open to the public, the Porsche Straight was thronged with visitors as the exhibitors, their friends and families took the opportunity to grab a coffee from one of the many food vendors and a preview of their competitors' displays before the crowds made it impossible.
With its garden party atmosphere, extraordinary diversity of exhibitors and hugely strong streetcar club presence, the Killarney Motor Show powered by Kfm 94.5 could never happen anywhere else. Even the opening ceremony was given an authentic Fairest Cape flavour by the goema music of the Mitchells Plain Outreach String Band and the Du Noon Dance Group, based within walking distance of the circuit. In his opening address Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee member for safety and security, paid tribute to the Killarney International Raceway, not only for its role in promoting road safety by getting illegal street racers off the city's roads and onto the circuit for Wednesday night Robot Racing but also for the many automotive performance businesses it supports and the hundreds of jobs they create for people living in the area.
This was illustrated by the beautifully modified Quantum 'man cave', Ligier endurance racer, locally built GSM Dart sports car and two classic motorcycles drawn up on the Porsche Straight to form a mini-amphitheatre for the opening ceremony, none of which would be there without the services of the local automotive industry suppliers. Further down the Porsche Straight, the dealer stands were full of new cars and motorcycles gleaming in the spring sunshine, while a short walk around the bend (Kfm Corner on race days!) took visitors to the road test circuit, with new models from a variety of makers lined up for them to test drive (albeit at a decorous pace!) around the one-kilometre loop known as the Half Main.
The paddock was shared between the funfair, new and classic motorcycles and exotic race cars – a vivid illustration of the old saying that little boys never grow up, their toys just get more expensive! Nevertheless, the really impressive toys were parked down the length of the back straight, an astonishing variety of customised street cars, each a testimony to the vision and effort put in by its owner and his friends – because it takes a crew to build a serious car. Meanwhile, the scrutineers' garage at the end of the back straight reverberated to the rumble of the sound-off, with the loudest cars registering more than 150dB – comparable to standing behind a jet fighter on take-off. The atmosphere in the New Pits was much more genteel, however, as visitors marveled at some of the oldest cars in South Africa, dating back to the earliest years of the 20th century, stately limousines and imposing golden-era sports cars, as well as the "Do you remember?" row of 18 cars representing 15 models that were only ever available in this country.
Nevertheless, this was no static show; there was action everywhere, from tractors and Mad Max-style AfrikaBurn vehicles ferrying loads of showgoers, to the Fuchs Monster truck kicking up dust with lucky prize-winning passengers aboard, to the new Kfm 94.5 Adventure City off-road area, with dual-purpose motorcycles on the old motocross circuit and new 4x4 models on the Isuzu Reeds test track, which started with an intimidatingly steep climb. It's a tribute to today's SUV's and leisure bakkies that they were able to run up it, not just once but dozens of times throughout the day, without showing any signs of stress. Sadly, due to weather conditions beyond the organisers' control the Monster Energy Freestyle Motocrossers were unable to fly for safety reasons (although they were desperately hoping for a break in the wind) as were the model aircraft and the microlights. Nevertheless, there was live music everywhere, takeaway (and sit down) food of every description, and entertainment of all kinds, especially the astonishing feats of climbing and balance on their trials motorcycles that the Le Riche brothers pulled off while all the time talking to the spectators over their helmet mikes.
After all, however, it was a motor show; Craig Flannery of Century City Motors said he'd given more than a hundred test rides in the new Jeep Compass 2.4 Trailhawk, on public display for the first time in South Africa ahead of its official local release, and several other dealers expressed their satisfaction with the interest shown by show visitors. They're looking forward to the 2019 Killarney Motor Show and so are we.