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iol tonight pic to Street Outlaws

‘If one day the speed kills me, do not cry because I was smiling.” Those are allegedly words the late actor, Paul Walker, once spoke. Well, if that is true, perhaps he was beaming when the Porsche burst into a ball of fire after hitting a tree, killing himself and his friend.

The man was all about cars and speed. He was the right guy to play Brian O’Conner in The Fast and The Furious franchise because Walker portrayed a man who wasn’t very different from himself.

In his down time, Walker was a partner in a company that specialised in sports cars. So you don’t have to be a Law & Order detective to work out that the incident that took his life was one of many that saw Walker speeding across the streets of Los Angeles.

But if he did indeed say he would be happy to go out that way, well, then, his wish was granted and may his soul rest in peace.

What is intriguing is that Walker is just a statistic when it comes to the subject of speed. The world over, governments are battling the scourge of speed because someone is always rushing somewhere. For example, the local singer Donald was recently arrested for speeding.

DJs Sbu and Gareth Cliff have also been on the wrong side of the law for travelling at excessive speeds and if you were to check the country’s road traffic mortality rate, especially at this time of the year, most of it can be attributed to a heavy foot on the accelerator.

But that’s the gloomy side. The fun side is what you’ll see on Street Outlaws, the reality show about people like Walker who risk their lives in the pursuit of speed.

Here we’ll meet several drivers from Oklahoma City who are heavily involved in the world of street racing. As dumb as it may sound, all these men are after is the title that they are the best, or worst, when they make the Top 10 list in the street racing underworld.

So we go into the workshops where cars are assembled from scratch. We see how certain parts on a normal car are considered dead weight and need to be removed to leave these vehicles as light as a feather.

We see the speed enhancers such as nitro tubes that burst out like rockets once the car’s normal speed is met. Then come the safety issues, (yes, these men want to live to brag about their wins). We see the steel frames built like a cockpit around the driver’s area so that the cars won’t collapse on them.

The seatbelts are also reinforced to ensure the driver is not ejected in the event of a crash. The whole set-up is like something out of a Transporters movie blended with The Fast and the Furious.

Is speed your thing? If so, then forget the movies; catch these real guys who will make Vin Diesel look like a paper boy.

* Street Outlaws premieres tonight at 9.30pm on Discovery Channel (DStv channel 121).

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