Stunts, dancing -- and cars

A game of soccer between cars. A troupe of cars performing ballet. Unbelievable as it may sound, these were some of the events that thrilled audiences at last year’s MPH car show.

Now, MPH 2008 “Live Motoring Theatre” has arrived in South Africa for a second year. The MC for the event will be Sasha Martinengo, joined by Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson and Richard “The Hamster” Hammond.

Joining the line-up will be the anonymous test driver “The Stig” and a team of professional stunt drivers led by Paul Swift.

On show at the Coca-Cola Dome in Northgate, Johannesburg, from Thursday to Sunday will be the Alfa 8C Competizione, Bentley Continental GT Speed and Spyker C8, as well as the Ferrari 559, the only Pagani Zonda in South Africa with a R12-million price tag, the Ariel Atom, the Audi R8 and others.

“Absolutely fantastic; almost like it’s better than the England shows,” said Clarkson on Wednesday about last year’s MPH, adding that the South African MPH is different, with a different crowd. “They wanted us to go to Australia but we came here.”

Radio DJ Sasha Martinengo is regarded as Clarkson’s and Hammond’s “Gimp”. “They’ll take the piss out of me and out of South Africa, but it’s all fun and it’s a joy working with them. It’s fantastic to have them here,” said Martinengo.

Clarkson promised that this year’s MPH would be a “completely new show” with events such as “Strictly Come Dancing done with cars and 3D Gatso Dragon sequences—which you have to see”. There will also be world-record attempt by hand-braking a car into the smallest parking space—just 17cm longer than the car itself—and half-car racing, where a car is sawn in half to see how far the front part can be raced.

Many believe that Clarkson and Hammond have moved away from properly showing cars, whether on Top Gear or at car shows, and made it into a business strictly “for entertainment”. Hammond did acknowledge that the MPH is “pure entertainment”—but you would not go just for the entertainment, “you need to like cars as well, even a little”, he said.

Book at Computicket from R170 (standard) to R270 (premium) for adults and R100 for children under 12. The MPH runs until Sunday. More info:

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