A unique motorsport event is scheduled to take place in South Africa from 22-30 September, when the Northern Cape hosts the first annual Kalahari Desert Speedweek on the Hakskeenpan.

The event will run in the same spirit as the famous Bonneville Speedweek in the US, where petrolheads from far and wide descend on the vast expanse of flat land to test their machines’ top speeds.

Organisers Speedweek SA say almost any vehicle with wheels is eligible, but must be able to traverse the planned seven-kilometre straight in a maximum of 15 minutes. This means that anything from a Vespa scooter to an eight-litre Bugatti Veyron is welcome.

There’s even a category for solar-powered racers.

This is the same venue where the British Bloodhound SSC Team will attempt to break the World Land Speed Record in 2013, when it plans to drive its rocket and jet-propelled car at more than 1600km/h.

It’s unlikely that Oom Frik’s diesel bakkie will reach this velocity, but he and anybody else is welcome to enter the race to try.

But the flat-out, top-speed action on track will make up only one portion of the spectacle, as the 600 square-kilometre pan will also take on a festival-like atmosphere with plenty of other entertainment on offer.

A giant marquee tent will be erected as a sort of “home base” where full English breakfasts and three-course dinners will be served daily, a stage will be built for concerts and other entertainment, food stalls and other vendor sites will be organised, a gymkhana and smaller quarter-mile track will be available, a golfing long drive competition will be arranged, and camp grounds or Savannah Tented Accommodation will be available on a first-come first-serve basis.


Entry to the Kalahari Desert Speedweek will cost R500 regardless of whether you are competing or not, but for this you will be registered as a Speedweek Club member, meaning free gate access at Hakskeenpan during the event, a 2012 membership card, an exclusive Speedweek shirt and cap, and welcome snacks on your day of arrival.

Competitors will get an engraved metal badge with the fastest time recorded on their run(s), and a certificate for each run with the recorded speed and a photo of your vehicle crossing the timing line. - Star Motoring