Friday, March 23, 2018
The 2018 season of Formula 1 officially got under way this morning at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia. After what felt like an eternity, the break has finally ended and we can get back to some excited racing, well we hope it's exciting. Then again, it won't be hard to beat the new F1 logo and theme song, not sure what the hell they were thinking when they approved that! Anyway, enough of the bitching, lets see what we can predict for this years race calendar. From initial testing in Spain, it was clear that Mercedes-Benz are the team to beat again this year, with both Silver Arrows showing good speeds, even with that stupid halo on the car. While Ferrari were expected to close the gap on their arch rivals, it seems that Red Bull Racing who have the backing of Aston Martin now have come up as new challengers to the Germans.
From this mornings FP1, it was evident that RBR's are taking the challenge to Merc with both drivers just falling behind the Mercs and the Ferrari's rounding up the top 6. In FP2 however, Max Verstappen showed some great speed to pip Bottas into second fastest around the track, so from the onset, Red Bull look to be back and firing on all cylinders. A big question still hangs over their reliability over the entire race duration, as last year saw a few races which ended with just one or none of the cars making home. With it being on home soil, Daniel Ricciardo will also want to push his car and his team mate this weekend to score some good points at his home race.
Ferrari have been rather quiet about many things ever since testing began in Feb, their speeds haven't been the greatest and there are many already writing the Italians off in terms of their chances of competing against Mercedes let alone winning the championship. Last year saw them get off to a flyer with Vettel winning in Australia and going on to lead the drivers championship up and until the mid-season break after which all went sour for the team in red. While both Sebastian and Kimi aren't showing fantastic times in testing and practice, over a race distance, things might be a little different, so the Tifosi hope. With Red Bull Racing upping the anti, Ferrari definitely have their work cut out for them as they now have 4 cars to fight off on the grid, one things for sure, they definitely have the talent behind the wheel to keep them in the reckoning.
Mercedes-Benz F1, the poster boys of the past few years of Formula One, it seems like their golden boy Lewis Hamilton can do no wrong but we've seen brief flashes of his frustration last season when things don't go his way. His biggest competitor this season might come in the form of his Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas. Both having the same car, same engine, could this be the year that Bottas doesn't play second fiddle and take the challenge to Hamilton? We've seen it a few season ago when Nico Rosberg did so, it didn't bode well with the Englishman as he even cited favouritism in the camp, to give the German the edge over him. Whatever the case, if Bottas does in deed go full tilt, we hope we don't see a case where both cars take each other out as we did in previous seasons with Lewis and Nico. No doubt though, Mercedes-Benz are the team to beat again this year, it will be interesting to see how the season pans out though.
Wrapping up the rest of the teams, there are some that could cause disruptions to the top 3, Force India, Williams, Torro Rosso and Sauber Alfa Romeo come to mind. These teams are not only there to make up the grid but could prove to be vital in determining race results, they might have some surprises up their sleeves as well. One which team that many hope have a few surprises is Mclaren, the bright orange, Renault powered car that will be fizzing around the track this year, piloted by fan favourite, Fernando Alonso and second driver Stoffel van Doorn has been showing some pace so far, with the cars finishing in the top 10 at the end of FP2. So who knows, maybe this year might see them scoring some decent points.
Regardless of which team and driver you support, I'm sure we are all just glad that Forumula One is finally back, nothing can be read into the first few races because as last year went to prove, leading the championship for half the year doesn't mean anything if you can't follow it up in the second half. Pressure is on for me to pick a race winner for this weekend, seeing that I nailed it against all odds last year. With rain expected for the weekend, that could throw a massive spanner in the works, if it were dry I would have gone for Bottas to pip his partner, but in the wet, we can't really be sure who will be strong so I'm going for my exact pick from last year, Vettel to bring the car home in first place on Sunday.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
KIA Motors has long being associated with making affordable quality cars for the medium to budget buyer but now they're changing their onset with the first glimpses of their new flagship luxury sedan. Aimed at taking on heavy weights in the sector like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7 Series, KIA's new K900 will have to be really special if it's going to persuade buyers to opt for their model instead of the tried and trusted. Having driven a host of the latest offerings from KIA and also seeing their new Stinger GT in the news more than often, they certainly are making a statement that they're not here just to settle for the market they have. Most of their cars already boast technological additions at a standard of which you'd have to pay an arm and a leg with the German offerings, and their engines are pretty solid too, with offering great fuel economy, if there is one area they need to concentrate on for the K900, it's the quality of the finishes as well as added bells and whistles. With these high end luxury cars, there's always new toys and features that owners like to boast about and I feel KIA have the people in place to do so, I mean they already say it will have an analog clock developed exclusively by Swiss watch brand Maruice Lacroix. I must be honest though, I expected more from the design of the car, the front isn't too bad but the rear just seems plain and boring. Sketches of the interior look promising, with KIA opting for the minimalist look but more technology driven, it looks very similar to the BMW 7 Series though I'm hoping it will have more uniqueness about it. The all-new K900 will be manufactured in Kora and will go on sale across selected global markets from the second quarter of 2018. No word if it will be brought South Africa as yet.
Sunday, March 18, 2018
It's no secret that I am a massive fan of NWYR and in my honest opinion they were the biggest break-through artist of 2017. Even though they haven't officially released much of their work, their live sets are just something else. The Dutch duo who are better known under their main guise as W&W have been playing as their new alias NWYR for just over a year now, with one of their first performances at the ASOT stage at Ultra Music Festival in Miami, which is where they first played today's featured track. You could tell that this song mean't a lot to the do as when they played it, the emotion on both Willem and Wardt's faces showed it. It is a great track, full of energy, awesome build ups and a killer drop. Honestly loving the work coming out from NWYR and hope to see more in the horizon.
Friday, March 16, 2018
Starting off the year with a new manufacturer is always good, and this time we would like to introduce a name that is synonymous for their reliability, strong brand reputation and undeniably great cars, it is none other than Honda. For long Honda played second fiddle to the other major motor manufacturer from Japan, but while they both maybe from the same country, there is a distinct difference in the type of motor vehicle being produced but one thing they do share is their strong reliability. Honda has prided itself on their service and after sales service, there was a point where they said the spares room at a Honda service center had a lot of dust in there since hardly any one went in there. Take from that what you may, but moving on to the car at hand, the all new CR-V, when I took delivery of it, I was quite surprised by its size. It has grown a lot from the original which started off as a mid-size SUV, now it's put on some bulk and really looking great.
The overall design of the car is on point, keeping the uniformed shape of the front from Honda with the elongated grille tying in to the long and slanted headlights, the car does look rather intimidating from the front. With the 1.5T Exclusive which I was driving, it came with LED fog lamps which added to its character. Chrome finishing on the grille and the large Honda emblem gave the car a premium look. From the side, the car looked meticulous, with all the right lines and edges, all looked like they were ironed out and leveled, then moving to the back, the large rear lights were continue up following the length and slope of the rear window brings out the Japanese design element to the car. If you look at the back from straight on, it actually looks like the Transformers logo. Again, finishing on the exterior is class, with chrome in all the right places, stainless steel dual exhaust pipers, and those rims look like blender blades. Moving onto the inside, again great quality of finishes with the whole dash setup quite nicely. Steering controls gave you access to pretty much everything apart from the aircon, the digital instrumental panel allowed you to choose what you'd like displayed and the large infortainment touch screen made up for all the rest.
The CR-V is a big car and when I told people it has a 1.5 liter engine powering it, they were a bit skeptical and with good reason too. With big cars like this, fitted with smaller engines with turbo's, the turbo's tend to take strain over time but with the CR-V it's a bit different thanks to the DOHC setup and the CVT automatic gearbox. The engine pushes our 140kW with 240Nm of torque, while it at times feels like the car is under-powered, it's just the lag from the boost build up of the turbo. The car is a bit thirsty if you're heavy on the foot but for normal cruising, it should just fine as they boast a claimed fuel consumption of 7L/100km. I got close to that at times, but most of the time not. I blame my timing since I was always in a rush to go places.
While the CR-V is big, it's still a 5 seater SUV, and not 7, plus the seats are larger than normal so cramming another 2 in the boot might be an overkill. It's suffice how it is, and boy is it roomy! From the driver and front passenger to the rear, there is more than enough space and leg room. The seats as mentioned previously are quite big and ultra comfy and fully adjustable with the driver getting memory seats as well as lumbar support. It also has heated seats for the people in the front. The CR-V comes with dual climate control as well, perfect for the Durban humidity and if you want some fresh air the full glass panoramic roof opens to allow some of that natural oxygen in.
Being the top of the range model, the CR-V 1.5T Exclusive is packed with cool tech. From Bluetooth streaming to multiple USB ports for both front and rear passengers, heck its even got an HDMI port! It has integrated Satellite Navigation and is Apple CarPlay compatible. The coolest feature for me though had to be the cameras. While it had the standard reverse camera, it also came with another two more, one mounted on the spoiler so you could get an aerial view of exactly how far away you are from an object and the kicker for me was the side mirror camera mounted on the left side mirror which came on every time you indicated left, it is meant for you to use when changing lanes so you can see on the TFT screen if there isn't any cars there but it just looked so damn cool that I kept indicating left for no damn reason!
The Honda CR-V has certainly come a long way over the years and this current model is a stunner. With a base price of R422 900 for the 2,0 Comfort, is rather impressive for a car of this size. There are a few things I didn't like about the one I had but it is really minor, for starters, the gears, its very easy to slot the selector into Sports instead of Drive, which explains why my fuel usage was a bit high since I always put it in Sports gear, and some of the interior trimmings felt a bit too plastic but other than that, the CR-V really impressed me and being my first test car from Honda, I look forward to seeing what comes next.
1.5 liter, 4 Cylinder, VTEC Turbo
7 Speed CVT gearbox with paddle shift
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
The Edith Benson Children's Home in Sherwood, home to at least 60 children of various ages was recently gutted in a fire. Since then, the community at large have shown grate generosity in donating clothes, food and other necessities that were required for the care of the kids. Although there were many donations, it still isn't enough and more funds are needed to repair the home. With this in mind, Comedy for a Cause came about, Jo Holroyd went about and appealed to almost every single comedian in Durban to come together and assist with the relief of the Edith Benson Children's Home by partaking in this one night only comedy showcase.
The lineup is like a box of chocolates as Durban's biggest, smallest, and brand new comedians share the stage for a hysterical night of comedy in order to raise funds for a cause that is no laughing matter. The show which will take place next Tuesday at the Sky Venue which is based on the top floor of the Southern Sun Elangeni Maharani will include likes of East Coast Radio producer Rory Petzer, award winning Zulu comedienne Nono R, East Coast Radio's Neil Green, Leah Jasmine who self professed herself as Durban's "Queen of Woke Comedy", dark comic and culture expert Bob Perfect as well as newcomers like Akheel Maharaj, Troy Tesla, Sbu Myanda, Musa Zondi and Venessa Morton as well as a host of up and coming established comics. The lineup is colourful, and their topics will be too, so it's best to leave kids at home for this one as a no under 18s are allowed.
Monday, March 12, 2018
Seeing that ASOT850 is still fresh in the minds of many, the sell out show in the Utrecht went to prove that trance is still alive and well in the industry. The show had performances by Ben Nicky, Gareth Emery, Purple Haze, NWYR and the legend himself, Armin van Buuren. While there were many stand-out songs, including the anthem by Ben Nicky, this song from Beatsole stood-out for me. Titled "Before I wake", the song by Beatsole featured on the ASOT Ibiza special for 2017 and for me is the epitome of trance music right now.
Friday, March 9, 2018
The KIA Sportage will also be a special car for me, I helped in it achieving the worlds longest test drive which begun in Durban, went around the country and eventually ended at Cape Point in the Western Cape. At launch there were only a few models that were available in SA and since then KIA have broadened the choice in terms of engines and offerings in the Sportage range. A couple of weeks ago I had one of them and decided to take a drive up to Joburg, hence this post will be a bit different as its more about the journey with the car rather than a test. I called a few mates, to see if they would join, I mean whats the point of having an SUV and going on a road trip alone? So once we were all packed up, it was time to hit the road on, 600 kilometers of open road (okay I lie, truck laden) lied ahead of us, and it was time to see what this this KIA was like on a long distance trip.
From our first post with the Sportage GT Line, we've established that its a great looking car. It may be a bit different from the rest of the KIA line up but as an SUV, it's got great lines, bulk in all the right places and a rear that will have you go for a second glance. Moving onto the inside, everything is well laid out and easy to reach. Spending +/- 6 hours in a cabin of a car can be frustrating for some, with many stops needed to "break the journey" but with the Sportage, I hardly felt the need to pull over, other than the odd bathroom break and stop for food. It could quite possibly go straight to my destination with it. It has all the creature comforts that we've become used to in the ever evolving motor industry.
Things like bluetooth connectivity was a luxury option but I'm glad to see that in most cars that it is now a standard, and brands like KIA have to be commended for pushing this change, where they offered it as standard from the get go but with most of the bigger European luxury manufacturers still had it as optional extras. The next phase shift is definitely mobile phone integration. Not only for in car mobile applications like Android Auto or Apple Car Play but for general safety of the driver. It's becoming a common site seeing people driving and holding their phones, this not only puts them at risk of an accident but the people around them too. On the subject of mobile phones, when it comes to long trips, passengers no longer grab a book or magazine to read on the journey, they're on their phones, which decreases battery life, and hence the need to charge the phone. In the Sportage, there was ample sockets, both in the front and the back to plug in your mobile chargers , that meant no fighting for turns and kept everyone happy.
The car itself, on the road felt pretty solid, the 2.0L engine under the hood did a great job both on the up and the down leg of the journey by giving me great fuel economy of just around 10L per 100km going up and just 8,7L per 100km coming down. Being a big SUV, it was quite a cruiser but I did feel the car lacked a bit of punch when you tried to accelerate to over-take. Cruise control isn't something I would use often but on the Sportage and especially the long tedious Villiers stretch of the N3, it was needed. Simple and easy to set, the car did all the work, the gear changes were on point and when needed, not like many other cars cruise control where the car just changes gear for any damn reason. This also contributed to the good fuel economy.
Moving back to the creature comforts, while we did get quite a bit of cabin noise, this was soon eliminated once we turned up the sound system. The Sportage comes with a sub in the back, so while you're getting clear audio up front, that nice bass boost coming from the back never hurts. The dual climate control was a live saver, as with most people, everyone's preferred temperature varies, as I soon found out shortly after departing as one of my passengers like weather indicative of the ice age... so while it was practically snowing on his side, my side was just right.
Overall, the Sportage ticket all the right boxes for a long journey, it had ample amount of space, great fuel economy, well powered naturally aspirated engine and of course, all the tech to make any nerd happy. The nice big touch screen came in handy for their GPS, where I got lost a few times in Joburg. In short, the KIA Sportage was simply brilliant for what I needed it for, it's the perfect family car for any small family, loads of space, plenty of power for city roaming and open road driving, the tech that the car comes with great for everything you require of it
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Last night saw the official opening of Billy G at Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World in Durban. With the ongoing expansions to popular Durban hotspot situated on the famed Golden Mile, everyone is keen to see what Tsogo Sun has in-store with their new additions to their establishment. This restaurant forms part of the first of the expansion to open, it is also the 5th of its kind in South Africa and is proudly part of the Tsogo Sun brand. It offers guests a full upmarket buffet, with an extensive selection of dishes to suit any palette.
The opening saw many of the who's who in the Durban entertainment and sporting industry in attendance, including Sketchy Bongo, Mo Magic, Odwa Ndungane and not forgetting, everyone's favourite politician tuned socialite, Logie Naidoo. With the seating for 320 people, the restaurant offers a unique dining experience, whether you want to be seated inside, close to the buffet or outside near the Sundeck to marvel at the Indian Ocean in all it's splendor.
With the formalities concluded by the Suncoast marketing management, and introduction of the managers and Su Chef's, it was time to sample what the buffet had to offer! The various stations have plenty for you to chose from, hot meals, cold meals, salads and deserts, it had them all! Always with a buffet I get confused as to wear to start, a nice thing about Billy G is that all the food is sort of placed in order whereby you have the salad bar and appetizer station next to each other, with a selection of fresh vegetables, cheeses, cold meats and dressings to customise your own salad.
Moving onto the hot meals, the pizza station caught my eye with 3 options on offer, veg, chicken and beef. There were also curry's and rice, a carvery and stir-fry options. The next station offered sides for you mains, from roast potatoes, to gravy and sauces for your meats or even pasta and sauce. There is also a sushi bar from where you can get all of your favourites!
After making a few trips to the buffet and trying to sample most that was on offer, it was time to end the night off on a sweet note, onto the deserts! If you thought selection for the mains was good, the desert if even better! To start off, they have a soft serve ice cream machine! Along with that, fresh hot waffles, a selection of toppings and sauces for that, puddings, which included a firm South African favourite, malva pudding with hot custard. Moving on to the cake selection, there was chocolate brownies and banana bread and a fridge full of tarts and trifles.
With a great selection like this, you would be expecting to pay an arm and a leg to dine here, but it's not the case at Billy G. R199 per person gets you entrance to a world of variety and it gets better if you are a Suncoast loyalty card holder, with various discounts offered to those on select status. There is also special rates for children between the ages of 4 to 7 who pay R50, 8 to 12 pay R100 and pensioners pay R120. Operating times are Tuesday to Sunday lunch, from 12h00 to 15h00 and dinner is from Monday to Sunday, 18h00 to 22h00.
Monday, March 5, 2018
Sander van Doorn, the Dutch producer DJ has come a long way since he first hit the scene. I recall seeing him at Durban's very own Origin nightclub where his style then was a bit more harder and trance like. Over the years his music has took a slight change, for the better? Some might argue not, but for others they would agree seeing that it's more easy going that might even make commercial radio play, not saying he's gone full commercial but the music can be played. Anyway, we have his latest track "No Words" featuring the vocals from Belle Humble, the music video is quite awesome as well, featuring the sights of India.
Friday, March 2, 2018
This past week I was invited to sample something new to KZN, but has been around in Johannesburg and Cape Town for some time now, Senhor Peri Peri. The franchise just recently opened the doors to it's first branch in the province, located in the food court at the brand new Cornubia Mall. Having been sent some of their delicious sauces to sample a few weeks ago, I still went to the store with a thought in my mind, wondering how much better would this be to the other popular Peri Peri chicken franchise in the country. I suppose it's only natural for one to compare but after sampling the food, soaking in the experience and chatting to the store manager, it was evident that although what you see on the menu might be similar, it was quite different and unique in its own way.
First up, the decor, seriously love what they done with the space, it's a nice mixture of the Portuguese and Kasi cultures, with art reminiscent of both. Giving you that feeling that this is a true South African franchise. The lantern style light fittings are quite a nice feature over the dinning and ordering area. The Menu is extensive, offering more than what you would normally get at a similar type of eatery with grilled prawns, prego beef strips, macon(mutton) and vegetarian options if chicken isn't your first fancy but trust me, as I will explain later, you're going to want to try the chicken!
Studying the menu made myself and my mate quite hungry and rather confused as to what to order. As we really found quite a few items that tickled our fancy but there's only so much one could eat. So we turned to the manger, and made it his problem as to what we should order. After getting to know what our preferences were, he suggested we go for their current "WTF" (Where's The Food) promotion, which consists of a full chicken, basted in a sauce of your choice, 12 prawns served on spicy rice and a large Portuguese salad, all for just R249! Quite a bit for the two of us but it sounded pretty good and had both chicken and prawns which I wanted to try, so it was decided.
The store has quite a few specials, another which caught my eye was a chicken pita and side for just R49,90. Other popular menu items include burgers, which you have a choice of grilled or crumbed, as mentioned their grilled prawns and beef prego, and on the sides list they even offer grilled mealies as well as pap and gravy. With the cooking station being right behind the till point, you can get the delicious aroma's in the air while awaiting your food, which made the wait all more worth it so when the food arrived we were ready to attack!
The presentation of the food was spot on with each item having it's own platter. We opted to have the chicken cut into 8 pieces which didn't make us look like gluttons with our plates over flowing. First up I tried the prawns, which were grilled in garlic butter, full of flavour, cooked just right as each were tender, juicy and complimented well with the spicy rice. A splash of lime over it just brought out that flavour. Grilled prawns is not something I would order at a take-out in a hurry but Senhor Peri Peri have just changed my perception on them. Next up was the chicken, it was evident that that chicken was cooked well with the char on the skin, making it crispy on the outside, but juicy on the inside. The sauce was the show stopper though, it just blew my mind, it's creamy and silky texture matched the chicken to perfection. For something similar, you would have to pay a fortune for at a restaurant, and with a quarter chicken costing just R38,90 at Senhor Peri Peri, it is a steal! The sauce was flowing in the platter so you could dunk in for more flavour.
Before we knew it, we finished off our meal! Well, there was some salad leftover. not that it was bad but simply because we didn't have anymore space left in us. I've already been telling people about my experience since and it is definitely worth a visit, as mentioned there is something to suit everyone's fancy and with the added convenience of it being well located at Cornubia Mall which offers free parking for up to 6 hours, why wouldn't you want to bring your family to dine here? I'll certainly be heading back for me soon! Also if you like me, just can't get enough their amazing sauces, it is available for purchase.
Name: Senhor Peri Peri
Location: Shop U45, Cornubia Mall, Cornubia Drive, Mount Edgecombe
Tel: 031 537 3828