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