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Phakisa Wheels Festival

Broadcast dates : 8th January 2006
14th January 2006

The Phakisa Raceway near Welkom is one of the top motorsport facilities in the country. It has hosted six South African motorcycle Grands Prix. And recently the Phakisa Wheels Festival decided to rev up local enthusiasts in the Free State.
Some of the latest new models on display included the stunning new Nissan Murano, which incidentally is a Car of the Year finalist for 2006. This is one of the most futuristic looking 4x4s on the market and drew many oohs and aahs at Welkom.
Another eye-catcher with big-time macho appeal is the Chrysler 300C, a V8-engined muscle car that is fast re-capturing the glory days for Chrysler Ė both in America and Europe.

The 300C is bound to go down big in South Africa, which has always had an affinity for big American land yachts.
Talking of American Muscle, how does 0-100 in 1 second grab you? Or 0-100 in 2 seconds? This is the Showdown Jet Car, owned and driven by Johan Jacobs and currently the fastest car on land in South Africa.

Itís capable of speeds in excess of 500 km/h, and would run at Phakisa for a short burst on the straight and at the Welkom airfield.
A love of American cars in the Free State was well-illustrated by the Americana in the classic car display.

This 1935 Plymouth is a four-door sedan and has been lovingly restored by Gerald Mizen.

Painted in a striking combination of Chinese Blue and black, it runs an old side-valve or flathead six-cylinder motor, and epitomizes the glamour of motoring in the pre-war years.

In the 1930s the concept of a boot for luggage was still a few years away. 

Big trunks or suitcases were carried on a steel luggage rack at the back of the car. Gerald started his driving career in cars like this and says he and his friends had little respect for them.

The Plymouth was a mid-level car with a few luxury features. The wood-style dash was a nice touch and the speedo marked up to 100 miles-per-hour was rather fanciful. 60 miles-per-hour or 100 km/h was about tops in those days.
First-generation Mustangs are regarded, not surprisingly, as THE classic examples of an automotive icon.

The first-generation cars were built between mid-1964 and 1967 and this burgundy example is a í67 model.

Experts can tell the model years apart through small details, such as the grille, the dummy air intakes on the flanks and the taillights. This good-looker is owned by Ferrus Gouws.

In America a massive industry has developed supplying reproduction or new-old-stock parts for classic cars like the Mustang. 

The top engine in the Mustang range was the 289 cube V8, a 4,7 displacement in metric terms. Like the rest of the car, the engine is squeaky clean.

All Mustangs were left-hand-drives and this remains the case today. This is a manual transmission model, and unusually, this Special Edition car has both a metric and a miles-per-hour speedometer, set in separate dials. Yes, even in 1967, the Mustang was capable of low flying.

The allure of the Showdown Jet Car drew many spectators to the Goldfields festival. Johan Jacobs bought this F5 Jet-engined car in America a year ago and puts on displays all over the country.
On the Phakisa straight he would give it full throttle for just over 2 seconds, because of the limited braking area. Thatís about 250 km/h!

In Welkom in late 2005, there was also some high-flying going on. An air festival was held in conjunction with Phakisa event and the idea was that Johan Jacobs would race his jet car against some aircraft down the runway at the local airport.

Unfortunately a couple of thunderstorms made things tricky for the pilots. Just as the jet aircrafts lined up to race, the rain fell with a vengeance. Jacobs actually started his run but had to shut down after he lost traction on the wet runway.
Back at the track, the rain was making things interesting for the drag racing, which ran in the afternoon.

Especially affected were the cars running on slicks, like this beautifully turned out Mark one Escort, owned and built by Steven van Niekerk.

This is one of the fastest cars in the Goldfields, and is capable of running in the 10 second bracket over 400 metres.
Welkom has long been known as a car enthusiast city, ever since the original Welkom Raceway was built in the 1970s.

At the Phakisa Wheels Festival all manner of hot streetcars and motorcycles were able to stretch their legs in safety on the excellent international-standard racetrack.

The weather made traction a problem, but most of the crowd stayed until the end to see their favourites in action.

Organiser Ferdi Preller and his team can be justly proud of an excellent maiden event.

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