Plans to host more drag racing at Killarney

2015-07-28 15:39
A plan to host more Street2Strip events at Killarney are in the pipeline after mayoral committee member for Safety and Security JP Smith proposed the initiative. The proposal will be in an attempt to curb illegal street racing. 

Chevon Bo

A plan to host more Street2Strip events at Killarney are in the pipeline after mayoral committee member for Safety and Security JP Smith proposed the initiative. The proposal will be in an attempt to curb illegal street racing. PHOTO: Chevon Bo

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Motoring enthusiasts can look forward to more time on the track if the greenlight is given for more events at Killarney Raceway.

According to JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, the City is “preparing to approach” Killarney Raceway.

“If this process is positive and is supported by the special events committee of the City, we will be able to financially support the increase of the number of Street2Strip events to achieve a weekly event, as opposed to the current monthly event,” Smith explains.

Street2Strip is a gathering of street legal car enthusiasts who compete in a quarter-mile race along the straight stretch of the Killarney racing circuit.

Smith adds Killarney was approached for a business plan, which has already been submitted but he could not confirm what the costs would be.

“At this stage, we are unable to commit as to how much funding is needed, but would like to make a start this year. We will therefore start with R600 000 to R700 000, that we will likely have available, and this might only allow for the event to be increased to a fortnightly event – double the frequency – as opposed to quadrupling it,” Smith explains.

Motorists previously said they felt as if they were being targeted after Killarney events on their way home, explaining that they find themselves either driving into roadblocks on their way to Killarney or on their way home from the event.

A car enthusiast who spoke on condition of anonymity says he has had “many run-ins” with authorities after leaving the track.

“We go to Killarney to race responsibly, but what is the point if you sometimes don’t even make it to the track? Some traffic officials were even confused by their own regulations not too long ago when there was confusion about car modifications. What will make it different this time around with more events?” he asks.

According to the motorist he frequents illegal drag racing events as well “purely because we want to see what our cars can do and Killarney is expensive or not always as available for these kind of events”.

“A lot of the guys know the meetings that happen during the week are illegal. But the events get so packed at Killarney that guys don’t get in as many runs as they would like. They need to look at giving us more time at the track or start investing in more infrastructure for a new one,” he adds.

Regarding the gripes with roadblocks at events Smith says “traffic services will take note of this and we will support the event as best as we can”.

According to Smith the memorandum of agreement will determine how long the collaboration between various roleplayers will last and adds “it will most likely be renewed annually”.

Smith adds he has approached renowned Cape Town DJ Ready D to help in mobilising support for the event.

“DJ Ready D has drawn up a plan for a road safety awareness campaign that will take a road show and road safety message to schools and various communities.”

Smith confirms areas such as Ottery, Old Strandfontein Road, Bellville South, Athlone, Scottsdene and Sea Point are known hotspots for illegal drag racing.

Des Easom, executive manager at Killarney, also known as the Western Province Motor Club, says Street2Strip events were initiated at the track as an alternative to illegal street racing.

“Street2Strip events are for people to bring their everyday road-going cars to partake in drag-type events. It offers members of the public who want the thrill of speed and racing in their road cars an opportunity to do so in a safe and controlled environment. The event has always been popular and we regularly reach our limit of 200 competitors per event. With the recent improvements in spectator facilities, the number of spectators continues to grow and at any given event we will have 200 participants and some 2500 spectators,” Easom says.

He adds the City’s plan to increase these events offers a greater incentive for people to avoid dangerous street racing.

“Killarney offers a solution to these problems. We have professional, qualified and experienced marshals, safety officers, medical staff and all the technical and logistical support of a modern, safe, racing track. It offers an opportunity to race safely and to discover whether you have the talent and desire to take racing more seriously. It also safeguards the lives of drivers, bystanders and other law-abiding road users and it avoids confrontation, fines and charges.

“Killarney is making every effort to accommodate the request from the City for more events. Hopefully the additional sound mitigation structures and sound damping will benefit all Killarney events.”

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