City drag racer wrecks six cars

2018-06-21 17:03
MAIN: One of the vehicles, a Range Rover, that was damaged during an illegal drag race along Victoria Road on Sunday night.

MAIN: One of the vehicles, a Range Rover, that was damaged during an illegal drag race along Victoria Road on Sunday night.

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At least six cars were damaged during an illegal drag race in Pietermaritzburg’s CBD and police confirmed on Wednesday that the mayhem is under investigation.

One of the racers lost control of his Range Rover, writing it off as he smashed into a row of parked cars in Victoria Road between Boshoff and East streets on Sunday night.

A source told The Witness that at least five of the vehicles belonged to a local security firm in the area.

The security company had not responded to queries on Wednesday about their damaged vehicles.

It is not uncommon at night for some of Pietermaritzburg’s narrow streets to become illegal drag racing courses, with spectators cheering on the sidelines.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese confirmed the police are investigating a case of reckless and negligent driving, and malicious damage to property. “One woman was detained for questioning and subsequently released. Dockets are in court for decision. There were no reports of any injuries,” he said.

Last year The Witness drew attention to calls by the motor sport fraternity for Msunduzi Municipality to provide legal venues for drag racing.

Award-winning motoring spinner and legal drag racer Garth Harwood, from Woodlands, told The Witness on Wednesday that “such incidents will continue to happen because there are no proper venues for the local drag racers and spinners in Pietermaritzburg”.

Harwood, who admitted being aware that illegal drag races sometimes happened in the city, said he was currently in Johannesburg and only heard about Sunday night’s incident from friends.

“We have asked the municipality for years to provide a motor sport venue but nothing has materialised. They don’t want to hear anything regarding motor sport, but they don’t hesitate to support any other sports. So when guys do things illegally and people start getting hurt, authorities wonder why this is happening.

“If there were [legal] motor sport venues people could go have fun and then safely go home without anyone being hurt or property damaged,” he added.

Harwood said the only solution is for the municipality to provide a safe environment so the sport can be regulated.

“There is a place called Rock Raceway in Johannesburg where I usually race. There are races hosted there every Wednesday evening called ‘robot to robot’ races similar to what the drag racers in Pietermaritzburg do illegally on the streets,” he said.

“The Rock Raceway is a safe controlled environment. There are medics and firefighters on standby in case something happens.

“We would also love to have something similar here at home where racers could pay R250 to race for the evening and the municipality would also make money, but they don’t want to hear our story.”

  Vehicles belonging to a local security firm that were allegedly damaged in the illegal drag race crash. 

Michael Chetty, of the Illegal-to-Legal Drag Racing Committee, said local racers are “fighting a losing battle”.

“We have had no luck in getting the municipality involved. We went to the highest level of government but still couldn’t get them to provide a legal racing venue for locals,” he said.

Msunduzi’s municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the City was not aware of any applications that have been made to the municipality for a legal drag racing venue. “Any illegal drag racing is condemned by the municipality,” she said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  drag racing

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