This weekend saw the South Africa Bike Festival hit a newly renovated Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit, and what an amazing job they have done with the place.
I remember coming to these bike weekends with my Dad and brother when I was younger, watching them go out of the pits onto the track for a ride around, going through the pit garages seeing all the latest models from the top manufactures, seeing all the latest accessories and all the while having a great day out with friends and family with plenty to keep you engaged and some really great food too from the food trucks and stalls.
They have done a fantastic job bringing those memories back to those who attended those years ago, and made it even better with great entertainment, live music on each day echoing through the pits while the sound of motorcycles flying down the pit straight brings a real feeling of excitement.
I really enjoyed the day out, going through on Sunday, the final day of the event. I never ended up going around on the track, which was a pity (there is always next year), however I did meet up with someone who did, and that someone was Rob Portman, editor of RideFast Magazine, who has been a massive influence for me starting my blog and writing about the things I am passionate about. The passion and amount of work he puts into RideFast Magazine is truly inspiring. It really is a quality magazine and I never miss an issue. Thank you Rob!
While visting the RideFast stall I picked up a Brad Binder shirt, Go Brad! Rob is also now in talks with Brad and his manager to become the official supplier of Brad Binder merchandise which is really great because Brad is doing South Africa proud and we need to get behind him and support him. I spoke to Rob about Brad and he says that Brad is truly determined to win the championship and that riders like Valentino Rossi are big fans of Brad, that along with what he has achieved so far shows what a bright future he has. “At 20 he has the world at his feet”, said Rob.
I mentioned that all first as that was a true highlight of my day, however before that point I had gone through the pit garages having a look at some of the latest motorcycles. The new 959 Ducati Panigale being one that really caught my eye, the first time I’ve seen it in person, what a beautiful machine! (getting a picture of it proving a difficult task as it was clearly a favourite at the festival).
Suzuki and Yamaha had MotoGP race replicas on show, that exciting me obviously, not hesitating for a second to get a picture with both. Yamaha had the Valentino Rossi colours while Suzuki going with the Aleix Espargaro colours for their replica, that brining me to another point. The Suzuki paint scheme for their 2016 bikes is absolutely stunning, the MotoGP colours now on their road bike and what a great choice that is as those Suzuki MotoGP bikes are beautiful!
The other two bikes to catch my attention were from Honda and Yamaha.
The Honda Fireblade, as old as it may be now in comparison to the latest technology filled bikes from their competitors, to me is still one of the best looking around, especially in that beautiful HRC finish.
Of course I can’t not mention the new R1. What a stunner! Yamaha had the 60th anniversary model on show and while having a look at the one on show, the one out on track came screaming down the main straight of Kyalami, what a gorgeous sound that MotoGP inspired machine produces!
As for the venue itself, it looks incredible! An all new modern design. I truly hope that with a circuit that looks this good we will see both national and international racing here soon, there is no doubt I will be there to watch the racing. How great it would be to see Valentino Rossi race at Kyalami before he retires. Not only that but how great it would be to see Brad Binder and Darryn Binder race around Kyalami in MotoGP.
In the end it was a fantastic day out and I can already feel the vibe of a race weekend flowing around the place, not only that but it was a really friendly environment. Well done to the organisers of the event, you did a stellar job and I am confident that all who attended would agree.
The South African bike industry seems to have plenty support and with a number of South African riders racing in different series around the world, things look good for the future of motorcycles in this country. With guys like Rob Portman in the industry doing great things and Brad Binder showing the world how it’s done, it’s in good hands.
That’s my word on The South Africa Bike Festival.
*Being at the fest meant I missed out on the World Superbike Racing on the weekend so unfortunately no blog on the racing but that will be back next weekend.
*I did however catch the results and know that yet again the Kawasaki’s dominated proceedings. The World Superbikes, as much as I love watching it as well, has not been the most exciting to watch. I’m not sure what the reason for this is exactly but unfortunatly it does not meet the levels of excitement I would expect from a bike race. The bikes are beautiful and powerful but the competition just isn’t there. The Kawasaki’s are by far the better bike, kind of like the Mercedes in F, with Ducati the only bike to really compete and that mainly due to the talents of Chaz Davies. It was great to see a legend, Nicky Hayden, win his first World Superbike race 2 weeks back, however fortuitous it may have been.
I will continue to watch though as I love bike racing and I would love to get my hands on more, speaking of, I need to get myself down to a National Race soon.
A short word on the Superbike World Championship.