Police arrest two as drag racing invades N3

2015-05-22 11:58
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HIGH-SPEED illegal street racing in the capital has taken a Fast and Furious turn with two racers being nabbed this week.

Illegal drag racing in Pietermaritzburg appears to have left the city’s streets, but has now moved to the N3 highway.

On Wednesday night, a special task team put together by the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) went undercover to investigate an illegal drag racing event in which participants were racing along the N3 from the Chota Motala Road bridge to the Ohrtmann Road bridge, ­reminiscent of scenes in the Fast and ­Furious series of movies.

RTI spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said the unofficial event was first held last Wednesday, drawing a crowd of over 100 spectators who parked on Du Toit Viljoen Road alongside the highway.

After last week’s event, members of the public reported the illegal racing to RTI officials and a team was set up under the leadership of Chief Provincial ­Inspector Prajen Parmanand.

Using unmarked vehicles, the team waited in readiness for the races to start on Wednesday night.

According to Mngomezulu, the illegal racers waited for the highway to clear before the first race started just before 9 pm, between an Audi and a Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.

The second race started soon after between a superbike and another Mercedes, all while authorities observed.

“We wanted to first see how the race operates so we could establish how it could be intercepted,” said an RTI official, who could not be named.

“This is not your normal Thursday and Sunday night drag racing; this is new and organised, with prize money up for grabs,” the source said.

Mngomezulu said the races were held on the N3, but the cars had to go to New England Road to turn around.

RTI intercepted the third race — between an Audi RS3 and a Mercedes A45 AMG — trapping the racers in a roadblock after they got off the New England Road on-ramp to the N3.

“We closed part of the highway and blocked the road,” Mngomezulu said.

It is believed that two suspects, aged 19 and 25, were charged with reckless and negligent driving and their cars, valued at over R1 million, were impounded.

“I want to commend Parmanand and his team on a job well done. They put their lives at risk to stop these drivers,” Mngomezulu said.

According to a source, who asked not to be named, RTI officials know the identities of the organisers of the race and will take action against them.

The source said a R30 000 cash prize is awarded to the fastest car of the night at these events.

In March, The Witness reported that the Msunduzi Municipality had moved a step closer to legalising drag racing by identifying the old bus depot near Mason’s Mill as a site for the motorsport.

Yesterday, Msunduzi council speaker Babu Baijoo said the approval process should be complete by the end of June.

“We are pleading for these illegal races not to continue because it is totally out of order,” he said

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