With Phakisa’s contract to host a MotoGP race ending this year, organisers are working hard to ensure South Africans will continue to see top motorcycling. Should Phakisa keep the race?

With Phakisa’s contract to host a MotoGP race ending this year, organisers are working hard to ensure South Africans will continue to see top motorcycling. Should Phakisa keep the race?

The Free State racing track will host the second round of the MotoGP championship on April 27. It is the last of the five-year contract deal. Hopes that the contract might be renewed dwindled last week after the Free State MEC for finance announced during his budget speech that no money has been earmarked to renew the contract next year.

“Since the MEC announced that they had not budgeted for the race there has been a huge outcry and that may influence them to change their decision,” said Phakisa track director Estie du Toit.

“There are huge benefits for people in the area with job creation and tourism. It is one of South Africa’s biggest sporting international events, so why lose something that is growing?” asked Du Toit.

The track director told CARtoday.com that an economic impact study done in 1999 estimated that about R119 million was spent in the Gold Fields area in the Free State during the week of the race.

“We attracted 5 000 international visitors then and I would estimate that we now have 7 000 visitors coming in,” said Du Toit.

She also said that the exposure for the race venue and area was enormous. “Each race attracts about 560 million television viewers in many countries. Let’s hope the Free State government realises the value of hosting the race,” she said.

The promoters of the race are optimistic that April 27 will see a record crowd with tickets selling well.

Weekend tickets, costing R100, are available at Computicket outlets countrywide and online at www.racemakers.com.