Drag racer killed

2008-07-07 00:00

A 24-YEAR-OLD man from Woodlands in Pietermaritzburg was killed during what is thought to have been an illegal drag race in Barnsley Road, Camps Drift, on Sunday evening.

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident and the subsequent death of Nolan Jansen.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said the crash happened at about 10 pm near Makro.

“Initial investigations at the scene have established that the deceased was allegedly driving a quad bike, attempting to overtake a vehicle, and collided [with] an oncoming motor vehicle. He sustained severe injuries to the head and body,” said Jeevan.

Eyewitnesses, who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, said Jansen was drag racing against an Isuzu bakkie. One of the eyewitnesses said they had crossed the finish line and when coming back towards the starting point, Jansen attempted to overtake the bakkie and collided with an oncoming Toyota Corolla.

Jansen was not wearing a helmet.

They said the illegal motor races happen on Thursday and Sunday nights.

One of them said accidents that result in deaths at these races are “rare”, but a “long time ago”, someone was killed in an accident involving two cars at the same track.

Jansen’s father, Nichol, said his son had a passion for cars and loved drag racing. “If this was his life and what happened was his calling, we are not going to question it. Let the law take its course.”

Chairman of the Msunduzi Drag Racing Association, Michael Chetty, said there is a demand for drag racing in the city, but there is no track allocated for legal racing.

“We have tried to get a track from the Msunduzi Municipality for over five years, but to this day we have not received an answer. Youngsters will continue to use every opportunity they get to show off their cars. This means that they will do it illegally. If we had a track it would be safer because paramedics would be on standby and they can also be educated on how to ensure that their cars are roadworthy,” said Chetty.

Municipal manager Rob Haswell said illegal drag racing is unacceptable. He said the Msunduzi Drag Racing Association was allocated land in Hollingwood.

They needed to get permission from the Environmental Affairs Department, but their request was turned down. He said the racing club has to look for a site away from residential areas where they can conduct their races.

Jansen’s funeral will be held at the United Congregational Church in Woodlands tomorrow.

thandom@witness.co.za

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