Le­gal drags wel­come, but …

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN • E- mail your in­ter­est to be in­volved in host­ing le­gal drag races to al­wyn. viljoen@ wit­ness. co. za

ALL the drag rac­ers Wheels spoke to would like to com­pete in the new so­cial drag rac­ing class an­nounced last week by Mo­tor­sport South Africa ( MSA), if the is­sue of far away tracks can be solved.

The rac­ers say they all sup­port MSA’s aim to al­low safer, le­gal races, in­stead of il­le­gal events where the rac­ers are of­ten ha­rassed by au­thor­i­ties.

They also like the idea of hav­ing their times listed on a “na­tional” plat­form as op­posed to only be­ing fa­mous in their What­sApp groups, and they es­pe­cially ap­pre­ci­ate the low li­cens­ing fee. For R200, a driver can have a car li­censed with MSA and then pro­ceed to drag- race the ve­hi­cle at any MSA- sanc­tioned event in South Africa.

Li­cenc­ing en­tails hav­ing an MSA of­fi­cial check the ve­hi­cle to en­sure it is road le­gal, which means no ni­tro bot­tles or any of the other go- faster add- ons so beloved at the drag rac­ing scene.

Pi­eter­mar­itzburg- based mas­ter of cer­e­monies at le­gal drag races, Des­mond Goven­den of DY Per­for­mance was among the first to ap­plaud MSA for this ini­tia­tive. “The street le­gal drag class for the so­cial week­end racer will not only help re­duce the num­ber of il­le­gal gath­er­ings on our streets, but will also help fel­low driv­ers un­der­stand and ad­here to proper safety pro­ce­dures be­fore en­ter­ing into a race,” he said.

Goven­den added that the af­ter- mar­ket mo­tor­ing in­dus­try could also use the new plat­form to in­crease their busi­nesses by get­ting in­volved in host­ing and sup­port­ing such events.

Kurt Volmink, a top drifter in the Mid­lands said the two is­sues young drag rac­ers had with the ini­tia­tive was that MSA- sanc- tioned events only hap­pened at ap­proved tracks, with the main tracks at Mtu­batuba near Richards Bay, Isithebe in Man­dini and Dezzi’s near Port Shep­stone.

Volmink said while some of the young driv­ers can af­ford a road trip to go race at th­ese venues, most will just con­tinue with il­le­gal meets.

“What we need is for MSA to li­aise with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to close off a street with four lanes where the guys can go race late at night, while our traf­fic of­fi­cials work with the guys to en­sure ba­sic safety,” said Volmink.

He added this ap­plies to towns across KwaZulu-Na­tal that hosts weekly drag races.

The good news is that MSA sup­ports the idea. Mo­tor­sport’s re­gional drag rac­ing del­e­gate, Gareth Lewis told Wheels he will soon meet with event or­gan­is­ers, rac­ers and traf­fic au­thor­i­ties in the cap­i­tal to find ways of im­ple­ment­ing il­le­gal- to- le­gal drag races, with the aim of rolling out the plan across the prov­ince.

Mean­while, the car rac­ing fra­ter­nity hopes the city coun­cil will re­mem­ber the prom­ises made at the last elec­tions to al­lo­cate land for safer rac­ing, es­pe­cially with the lo­cal elec­tions com­ing up.

In re­lated news, Mano Naidoo re­ports that plans to set up a drag rac­ing strip next to the land­ing strip out­side How­ick is still very far on the hori­zon.

DES­MOND GOVEN­DEN DY Per­for­mance ‘ The street le­gal drag class will help fel­low driv­ers un­der­stand and ad­here to proper safety pro­ce­dures.’

PHOTO: FILE

Mo­tor­sport SA wants to en­able safe drag races, such as this one which was set off by the leg­endary Mano Khan at Dezzi’s, but the rac­ers ask for events closer to home.

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