BUSY: Community members prepare the Hakskeen Pan for the speed event. Picture: Supplied
Preparations are underway and excitement is already mounting as the scene is set for former British fighter pilot, Andy Green, to attempt to break the land speed record of 1600 km/h with his Bloodhound SSC on the Hakskeen Pan in the Mier Municipality, Northern Cape, early next year.
Acting premier Griezelda Cjiekella said in her State of the Province Address (Sopa) on Wednesday that preparations for the event have started in earnest.
“16km of the main track is completed, and 380 local people were employed for a period of six months. The eyes of the world will once again be on the Northern Cape and with global media exposure, our province and its people will enjoy maximum coverage,” she said.
Hakskeen Pan is situated about 280km from Upington, in an area which has the highest percentage of Afrikaans speakers anywhere – 99.06%, to be precise.
The municipal area of Mier includes the communities of Rietfontein, Philandersbron, Loubos, Klein Mier, Groot Mier, Welkom, Askham and Noenieput.
Cjiekella said the as a build-up to the Bloodhound project, the government is organising a Kalahari Desert Speed Week, “An extreme motor sport event that is planned to take place this year in August, and intended to be hosted at the Hakskeen Pan in Mier.”
The event, she said, will be the South African version of the famous “Bonneville Speed Week” that attracts people from all over the world.
“The event will offer an adventure and experience like never before and will be the first of its kind outside the borders of the US.”
She said the long-term vision for the Kalahari Desert Speed Week to become an annual motor sport event of the highest standard, with a strong emphasis on conservation.
The Bloodhound project and the Kalahari Desert Speedweek will not only benefit the province economically, but also the local population.
Hakskeen is one of more than five pans found in the area, which is home to the !Khomani San, who own farms in the Mier area. It is also is also situated adjacent to one of the world’s largest conservation areas, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Members of the !Khomani San produce and sell authentic San weapons like bows and arrows and curios like beads made out of ostrich eggshells.
Interesting, more than half of the 6000 people living in Mier have never left the area. Even so, the biggest asset of Mier is its rich culture and history!