Rand-Air is extremely proud to have been selected to supply lighting for added visibility and security at this year's iconic Vodacom Durban July. The Durban July horse race is a celebration of fashion, lifestyle, and the best in marquee hospitality; as well as the most anticipated day on the South African horse racing calendar.
This year, the event, watched by a million television viewers, attracted some 50,000 punters – including some of the country’s most high-profile personalities – for a day of top-level racing and entertainment.
Durban-based Rand-Air Sales Representative Natlee Bennie explains that this is the first time in her experience that Rand-Air has been selected to provide lighting for visitors to this prestigious race meeting.
To ensure that the safety and security of visitors were not compromised in any way, the event organisers provided high levels of additional lighting. Bennie explains that this lighting was particularly required for the unlit golf course area of the Greyville racecourse in the evening, which, for the event, was used for the secure parking of visitors' cars.
"With so many expensive vehicles parked in one place, this parking area was an obvious target which needed to be protected," says Bennie. To do this, Rand-Air supplied six Atlas Copco lighting towers, two of the newest QLBs, two QLDs and two QLV models.
Bennie and her team were determined that everything would go smoothly on the day; and much of the previous week was taken up making quite sure that this would happen. On the day of the race, the Greyville racecourse is extremely busy. For this reason, Rand-Air Durban delivered the six lighting towers to the venue the day before the event.
"The lighting towers were delivered to our depot on the Thursday evening and, on Friday, the Durban team intensively checked and rechecked the lighting towers in minute detail, to ensure absolute service reliability on the day," explains Bennie.
In line with Rand-Air's 'team' approach, Bennie cites the excellent mentoring and guidance of her national Sales Manager Kim Coetzee, logistics assistance from Andrea Holmes and the exemplary contributions of Rand-Air technician Owen Blakavu and driver Khulasande Mkhwanazi, who both worked late on Friday evening at the venue carrying out final equipment safety and operational checks.
On race day and during the gala event which followed the same evening, the lighting towers performed flawlessly, providing a perfect level of visibility and security to all present, in a quiet and efficient manner.
"Sometimes at events there is a concern that - as these lighting towers are diesel-driven - the noise levels might be intrusive.
"However, as evidenced once more at the Durban July, this is definitely not the case, as these 'intelligent' lighting towers operate almost silently," emphasises Bennie. In terms of safety precautions, Rand-Air - along with its parent company Atlas Copco - have the motto and operational ethos of 'safety first'.
She explains that a so-called 'toolbox talk' was held on Friday night at the Durban depot, to ensure that everyone was fully conversant with the operation of the lighting towers – for example, knowing how to refill them with diesel should the need arise. The Durban team also provided stop blocks, precautionary drip trays, and fire extinguishers – all of which form an integral part of the necessary safety precautions.
Asked about customer feedback, Bennie reports that the organisers were very pleased with all aspects of the hire. "They were very impressed with our lighting towers, service and support," she says.
"From a Rand-Air perspective, the exposure we gained from the race meeting was immensely valuable," she continues, adding that the lighting towers were highly visible to visitors.
"This event was a significant achievement, including for me personally as this was my first Durban July race hire ever. It was also very significant success – and 'first' – for our Durban branch because Rand-Air has not supplied to the race previously. To be able to supply a major and prestigious event of this nature is a huge feather in our caps. During the week, there was an amazing 'vibe' with everybody involved in ensuring the hire was a success.
The team was so excited that we got this hire to the Vodacom Durban July and that we now have a great entree into similar events in future," she enthuses.
"Next year, my aim is to secure the hire of generators as well as lighting towers, in order to provide the best of Rand-Air's mobile power, as well as lighting solutions, to this historical and landmark event on the provincial and national horse racing calendar," she concludes.