The popular yet polarising form of motorsport known as spinning is making a comeback to the City of Gaborone on September 26 after the event was cancelled under controversial circumstances almost three years ago.
This week the Spin City organisers told members of the press that they have repackaged the adrenalin action-packed event to make it more family friendly and sports like. The raised alarm among security officers with the influx of foreign drivers event has even been repackaged and renamed ‘Road Rally Technique’ instead of just spinning. Known for pulling huge crowds on Saturday afternoons in Gaborone, spinning witnessed phenomenal growth in a short time as even South African competitors were clamouring to attend the shows and compete with locals for bragging rights.
The shows featured powerful and loud rear wheel drive sedans like the popular BMW matchbox known as Gusheshe.Nevertheless, with the growing popularity other negative factors came into play as there were allegations of drivers competing under the influence of alcohol and rowdy fans who got caught in the moment and came too close to the stunt cars in action. However, organisers say things will be a lot different now after roping in other stakeholders like Botswana Motor Sport (BMS), Gaborone City Council (GCC) and the Botswana Police (BPS). So serious are the show organisers that they have brought in a social responsibility officer, environment officer and a group of accredited race marshals for good measure.
The event’s social responsibility officer Thabiso Seobamo said the event organisers had to comply with rules set by the international motor racing federation, FIA. “We have set out to ensure spinning competitors have protection, which includes third party and group cover insurance,” Seobamo said. In addition, Seobamo said the event would be regulated by the BMS under international road rally technique rules.
“We have put safety first. In past events, there were no rules to manage and guide the sport. The BMS now issues licensing for spinning, Karting and accreditation for marshalling. Forms for such can be sent to our office to asses.” Speaking at the same event, the BMS FIA Liaisons Officer and event organiser Joseph Khengere said it was important that they encompassed the traffic laws of the country. He conceded that in the past the events, things were out of control as drivers tended to perform stunts at undesignated places in town.
“This is why we have the GCC and the BPS. To get a permit from the police we have to encompass the laws of the country. Drivers used to spin too close to spectators, this time there will be a 10m barrier to keep them away.” Moreover, Khengere said spectator used to watch the event from the top of truck trailers, which he described as unsafe. He added that there would be a safer sitting arrangement this time. “From now onwards any driver seen to be indulging in an illegal act will have their spinning licence revoked,” he said. In other issues, the organisers assured the event would be more environmental friendly with drivers having designated places to dump their used oil and other refuse after servicing their vehicles.