Words by Harry / Pics by Thashen Naidoo
History: Street racing is reported to have originated prior to the 1930s due to alcohol prohibition in some parts of the United States. Somehow, they came up with the idea of racing cars…in a straight line…on public roads…the rest is illegal street racing history!
Many years ago I recall an initiative where clinics and hospitals were giving drug users free surgical needles to prevent the spreading of HIV. I remember thinking to myself, how ridiculous the concept was, thinking are they promoting drug usage etc. Clearly I was short sighted and did not see the vision. The reality is Drugs and illegal Drug usage is a multi- billion rand industry yearly. The government by no means were given the green light for drug usage instead they were being realistic and were more interested in trying to curb the spreading of HIV by making sure that there were no more contaminated needles used in this act. They knew that this was the first step in responsible drug usage and the spreading of HIV. The intention was to maybe talk to the user when he or she did come to pick up the surgical needles and provide an environment to help them. Looking back it was a brilliant concept, this lead to many users becoming registered for rehabilitation and hopefully getting their lives on track.
Street Racing is very similar to the narcotics industry. It is illegal, it can be lethal, it has proven to be highly addictive and in KZN it is reaching epidemic proportions. The issue is we continue to play the blame, the headlines read Drag Racing is responsible for the deaths of many individuals, most recently we lost 3 lives at a very notorious hunting ground. Drag Racing continues to be the scapegoat, which in reality means no one takes blame for the situation. The comparison between a drug user and a street racer maybe harsh however they have similar traits. If the drug user did not have a rehabilitation centre or counseling was not an option, can you imagine how much larger the epidemic could be? Street racing has grown considerably in KZN and over the last two decades with no infrastructures put into place to help prevent accidents and fatalities.
Motoring manufacturers continue to manufacture cars that in stock trim can easily exceed the legal speed limit twice over. They continue to profit from consumers without taking any responsibility for any fatalities or injuries caused by excessive speeding. The truth is unless a permanent infrastructure is developed that can house motorsport in KZN, individuals will have no choice but to take it to the streets. This will put more lives in jeopardy as well as use more of the policing staff to try and curb street racing.
We have a white elephant, however beautiful that sits in the middle of city that is a financial burden on our economy. We then continue to make more errors in judgment by trying to tar the stadium to be used as a motoring venue for one weekend a year. An event that does not benefit one tax paying consumer or the people of South Africa. They are European based; they make millions each year and take the money right out the country. Please understand this, I am not sour grapes, I am just calling it as I see it. If each year, they opened an academy or helped build an infrastructure, hats off to them but that is not the case. So the next time there is an incident that occurs where lives are lost, I hope our city council and government sleeps well at night cause if death is not a wakeup call then nothing is. Our council spends millions each year on foreign promoters that leave us with nothing but a thank you letter. It is time to catch a wake up.
We at Gas Magazine by no means promote illegal racing of any sort, we however understand that it does exist and we continue to sponsor and promote legal events. We however are only as strong as our sponsors and there is only so much we can do on our own.
If you are going to take to the street, there are rules. This is the street, anything goes. You maybe the best driver in the world but if the drive next to you loses it, you will lose your life. Ask yourself is it worth losing your life over or going to jail for culpable homicide? Why do street racers continue to line up halfway between a robot and continue to put themselves and others at risk should the robot change red? Remember trying to put down horsepower on an unprepared surface is not the same as a prepared racetrack. Check your ego before turning the ignition, it could be the difference of whether you live or die…