RESER­VOIR HILLS

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EV­ERY Tues­day and Thurs­day night spec­ta­tors flock to a bridge on Morel Road to watch il­le­gal rac­ing on the M19 and Var­sity Drive.

Spec­ta­tors and rac­ers gather from 11pm un­til 1am to wit­ness souped-up cars take each other on.

“It’s a young crowd that gath­ers to watch the driv­ers race their mod­i­fied cars up and down the M19 and Var­sity Drive at high speeds,” said com­mu­nity leader Ish Prahladh.

“The spec­ta­tors block the en­trance and exit points of the bridge with their ve­hi­cles and cre­ate a sort of pri­vate arena where they can drink al­co­hol and watch the races with­out be­ing dis­turbed.”

Be­sides the sounds of revving en­gines, these young­sters can be heard cheer­ing the rac­ers on at the top of their voices.

“Ev­ery week with­out fail, I re­ceive calls from irate res­i­dents com­plain­ing about the rac­ing. I drive to the bridge to chase the spec­ta­tors away but when they see my ve­hi­cle, they get into their cars and drive off.

“Many of the res­i­dents and I have, on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, called Metro Po­lice and SAPS to in­ter­vene and stop the ruckus but once they see the po­lice, they make a run for it.”

Prahladh said the rac­ers were thrill seekers and thrived on test­ing the power of their ve­hi­cles against one another.

Since catch­ing them is seem­ingly prov­ing dif­fi­cult, he sug­gested author­i­ties pro­vide the rac­ers with a struc­tured plat­form.

Busi­ness­man Allen Govender, 67, who lives on Var­sity Drive, said the rac­ing was out of con­trol.

“When I lay my head on my pil­low, all I can hear is tyres screech­ing and peo­ple scream­ing. I have com­plained to Metro and they dis­patch pa­trol ve­hi­cles but af­ter they leave, the rac­ing re­sumes.”

Govender sug­gested the city in­stall speed humps on Var­sity Drive to de­ter the rac­ing.

“There is a blind rise on this road and when they race, they can­not see on­com­ing ve­hi­cles. Due to this, we have had a num­ber of crashes.”

Another res­i­dent, Span­ner Nair, 65, said the rac­ing was a dan­ger to in­no­cent lives.

“We have res­i­dents who work night shifts and re­turn home when the rac­ing is on. These in­no­cent peo­ple could be­come vic­tims of ac­ci­dents.”

To add to their con­cern, the bridge, he said, is strewn with beer bot­tles.

Roy So­miah, 54, and his wife, Jas­mine, 47, said the il­le­gal rac­ing had been go­ing on for about four years.

“Both the rac­ers and spec­ta­tors, who some­times block our drive­ways with their cars, are noisy and ar­ro­gant. A rel­a­tive once tried to con­front them and was as­saulted.”

Other than the bi-weekly bouts of night rac­ing, motorists also used Mount­bat­ten Drive as their per­sonal race track.

Prahladh, who de­scribed the road as a death trap, said motorists drove at ex­ces­sive speeds from the in­ter­sec­tion at the BP Garage at the top of Mount­bat­ten Drive to the next in­ter­sec­tion at the Reser­voir Hills Mall. “The road is ap­prox­i­mately 2km and has a school and clinic. Over the past two years, we have had nu­mer­ous ac­ci­dents and that is why I have been ask­ing the city for speed break­ers or traf­fic cir­cles.”

CLOCK­WISE, from left: Com­mu­nity leader Ish Prahladh, left, with res­i­dents, Allen Govender, Jas­mine So­miah, and her hus­band Roy. RIGHT: Span­ner Nair on the bridge on Morel Road, which over­sees the M19. BE­LOW: Tyre marks on Mount­bat­ten Drive are in­dica­tive of the ex­ces­sive speed used.

A sign reads “speed kills” on Sparks Road in Over­port

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