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Keep racing on the racetrack


THE YEAR was 2001. I was only 16 years old and still highly susceptible to mass-media influence. As such, I was a huge fan of whatever happened to be cool at that time; bleached hair, black shirts, choke chains and any wristband that had the slogan of some worthy cause written on it.

As a young individual predisposed to outside influence, I was blown away with a movie called The Fast and the Furious. I fell in love with Vin Diesel’s anti-establishment attitude and decided from then on I, too, would live my life a quarter mile at a time. In retrospect, I realise how stupid and ridiculous that statement sounds.

I made a point of re-evaluating this famous movie and the only good thing I can say is that I still love Paul Walker’s Toyota Supra. The rest of the movie is rubbish! I hated the ridiculous plot and the stale acting, but most of all, I despised the glorification of the street racer lifestyle and everything that went with it.

My younger self fell in love with the high octane action. At that point I was sure that my first car would have the same turbo engine and undercar lighting as the Supra. Every Saturday night I’d leave my responsibilities behind and rebel by driving fast in a straight line, hopefully much faster than the bloke driving next to me.

Alas, my father put a spanner in the works by ensuring that my first car was the least pimp-able ride out there – a light blue Opel Corsa sedan. Back then I was furious with him for buying me a car with so little sex appeal, but today I can’t think of a car with more space and comfort for around R40 000. More importantly, because its performance was so abysmal, I never even tried taking on another car in the robot wars.

The slowness of my car might have ended up saving my life. I have a certain disposition for driving enthusiastically and at that age you tend to feel invincible – a deadly combination.

I have to say that I understand the need to race in a straight line. Being faster that the guy next to you is one of life’s great pleasures. It doesn’t necessarily make you a better human being and it’s sure not doing the planet any good, but for those few seconds after a victory, you feel like King Leonidas after he successfully despatched the first of Xerxes’ hordes.

I also understand the need to customise your car. I’ve long believed that a man’s car is an extension of his personality and naturally, he should want to tailor it to suit him, perfectly!

What I don’t understand is the need for people to race on public roads. Not only do they come over as obnoxious and immature, they also endanger the lives of motorists and pedestrians.

How can you even consider dicing on a public road when there are so many reports out there of these races going wrong? Two weeks ago, another three people died of an alleged street race gone wrong. And who can forget the infamous Jub Jub trial?
I think it’s safe to say that dragging on the road is a very bad idea. Luckily, there are places where you can drive your car in anger, safely. More importantly, the spectators - unlike those on public roads - won’t think you’re a chump. Win a few races and you might even end up as a drag legend.

Rock Raceway offers this service every second Sunday. You pay - you dice! It’s as simple as that. A great system and one with a much better safety record than racing on public roads. Abie Sada, spokesperson for Rock Raceway, states that not a single person has died while dragging at The Rock.

The Rock also ensures that all elements that don’t go well with racing are removed from the track. Their trained staff members ensure thatracers don’t turn to alcohol for a bit of liquid inspiration and spectators are kept well away from the track. Skilled medics are on standby should anything untoward happen.

With this in mind, how can you possibly justify the need to race on public roads? I often come across morons in pimped cars out to prove that their wheels are faster than whatever I’m testing that week. My standard modus-operandi is to simply ignore them. Is it really worth risking your life to prove that your car is faster than the one
revving next to you?

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