It was my first time in the Vaal this weekend and the experience was quite a memorable one. I drove down to Emerald Casino and Resort for the Emerald Speed Fest. The event took place from Friday the 28th and ran all weekend till Sunday the 1st of March.

The Master of the Mile was a race to see who would be the fastest on the custom-built 1-mile racetrack. The Interactive Pit Area was readily available to the general population over every one of the three days to bring the vehicles and drivers closer to race fans. Classic Cars on display varied from very old and exceptionally intriguing, to racing of vehicles on nearby tracks. An assortment of vehicle clubs had some of their beauties on display too. There was live music coming from the food court area and a beer garden to keep attendees of all ages entertained in between the racing action.

I got to experience the power of the Mercedes Benz A35 AMG hatch and sedan while being guided through the vehicle by the AMG Performance Academy crew-quite the experience!

I arrived at the event in the Mahindra XUV300 W8 Diesel sponsored by Mahindra Rivonia. It was a perfect fit for the weather and gravel terrain where the parking was allocated. Having driven the XUV300 before but in the petrol derivative, I was pleasantly surprised by the power and torque of the diesel version. I felt untouchable as I drove on the freeway.

I was sad to see one of the cars I had admired in the pit lanes, a Polo Gti had been involved in a crash on Sunday on the racetrack. The driver seemingly lost control and hit the tyre barriers almost rolling the car. The Polo wasn’t the only reported crash, a Porsche and a Jeep were also reported to have crashed. On Saturday most of the races were put on hold due to the bad weather conditions.

The Emerald Casino and Resort had quite a few activities to browse to keep the whole family engaged for the end of the week. Activities included Putt-Putt, warmed pools in the Aquadome, appreciating a round of Ten-Pin Bowling and so much more.

The overall experience was amazing and definitely worth the drive from Johannesburg for a petrol head like me.

By Noni Nchwe