Warren Davids and Dean Jacobs (not their real names) spoke this week about illegal street racing and the attitudes of those who participate.
Davids and Jacobs said there were not enough facilities for drag racers to show off the power of their vehicles.
“They (the authorities) want us to go to Killarney, but we want to race on a flat (straight) surface and the N1 is the perfect road for that,” said Davids.
Conventional drag racing takes place over 400m but drivers are now asking for a 800m straight for a top-end run where more powerful cars can compete.
Last month, illegal drag racing led to a horrific crash on the N1. Husband and father Taufiq Carr lost both his legs when a tyre burst caused him to lose control of his BMW which crashed into trees and the barrier just under the bridge to Century City.
But the participants in these races say despite the many accidents and the regular raids by police, this will not deter them from racing on the city’s roads.
“It’s who we are. It’s what we do and we won’t stop,” said Jacobs.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said the city had introduced a number of measures in the past decade to tackle illegal street racing.
These include the use of high-powered, unmarked vehicles that allow staff to keep up with and apprehend illegal street racers.
“We have also introduced the use of dash cams to help gather evidence that can be used to prosecute offenders. We are also constantly looking at ways to expand our traffic service to ensure more feet and vehicles are on the ground to address the many thousands of traffic violations that occur daily,” he said.
Smith said many of these transgressions are driven by “bad behaviour and poor decisions/choices of the individuals involved”.
“Until we are able to effect a change in mindset and also ensure that the punishment matches the crime, illegal street racers and others who break the rules of the road will continue behaving the way they do,” he added.
Smith added that the city, Killarney International Raceway and other stakeholders were looking into the feasibility of extending the existing straight.
Killarney spokesperson, Dave Abrahams, said the extension plan is merely a “red line on a white piece of paper”, but it is what the drag-racing fraternity has been asking for.
According to Smith the straight could be extended into the dumping site behind Killarney.
“With the access road to the dumping sight closed at night, it could work to accommodate the top-end runs,”he said.
Meanwhile, the City’s Ghost Squad has been nabbing illegal street racers and stopping the events before they start. The 20 vehicles which make up the Ghost Squad cost the city R10million.
Smith said the squad issued 46581 fines between last July and December. This included driving offences, occupants not wearing seat belts, unlicensed motor vehicles and unlicensed drivers.