More than 1 000 car enthusiasts and people curious about the motor industry attended the second edition of Moto Mech, hosted at Newton Technical High School in Port Elizabeth on 22 February by the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).
This represents an increase of 50% on last year’s attendance figures, according to event organizer Bridget Finn of Finn Auto Repairs – and many more would have visited the show, had they not been deterred by strong winds and inclement weather.
Those who braved the gales were rewarded with an experience that garnered outstanding feedback. Finn reveals that comments included “Congratulations on an excellent show which was a huge success. The growth compared to the first show last year was excellent”; “Was an awesome show” and “It was amazing”. One of the exhibitors said, “We thoroughly enjoyed the show and it definitely brought feet through the doors at the shop.”
Motor Mech raised R7 000 for Newton Technical High School through ticket sales.
“There was something for everyone, with highlights including the classic, custom and dealer cars. There were even quad bikes, motor bikes and tractors and an electric car on display. There was also a huge variety of exhibitors from all different sectors of the motor industry – parts and tool suppliers, parts manufacturers, MIWA workshops and Motor Health, among others,” says Bridget.
The competitions drew an enormous amount of interest, too, with guests flocking to see the school and qualified mechanics in action. Prizes were sponsored by MISA, GUD Filters, Motor Health, MerSeta and various parts suppliers.
For Peter van Mosseveld, MIWA representative in the region, who also played a pivotal role in organizing Motor Mech, the school competition stood out because, for the first time, a female student mechanic took part. “We’d love to see more women in the industry, taking on roles besides service advisor – and the participation of Christine Hancock is definitely an encouraging sign,” he comments.
Christine was in fact the only female participant in the School Mechanical Competition. Christine knew from the time she was 10 years old that she wanted to be a mechanic. “I’m a daddy’s girl. I love anything I can take apart and put back together,” she explains. That includes engines, which is why she enrolled to study mechanical technology at Newton Technical High School.
Although there are seven other girls in her class, Christine says she still has to fend off comments from her male classmates who believe she doesn’t know as much as they do. “It’s frustrating, but I don’t let it get to me because I’m confident I know my stuff.” She maintains that any woman would benefit from learning more about her car, as this would lessen her reliance on mechanics (or even her husband) should anything go wrong. After all, what could be more empowering than knowing how to fix a broken-down car? Her advice to other women interested in entering the industry? “Hang in there. You will face criticism, but remember you have all the knowledge and skills you need.”
The school competition in the end was won by worthy-winner Creighton Corris, a learner at Newton Technical High School.
Peter also applauded the showcase for highlighting different aspects of the industry. “It was fantastic to be able to shed a spotlight on hobbies associated with the motor industry, and we intend to grow this area in the future,” he says. He was equally enthusiastic about the inclusivity of the show: “For example, we were visited by an unemployed gentleman who makes wire cars. He was able to make over R1 000 by selling his cars at Motor Mech. We found that extremely heartening.”
He’s looking forward to the show’s next instalment, which takes place at Port Rex High School in East London (date to be confirmed). “Our goal is to grow Motor Mech every year, so that we can show people just how multi-faceted and exciting this industry is.”
The appearance of Craig Pannell, an avid collector of miniatures and other rare collectables, was also a definite draw card at the event.