Cape Town aiming to curb illegal street racing

21 August 2017 - 16:57 By Thomas Falkiner
The City of Cape Town has already allocated R400 000 to a weekly “Robot Races” event aimed at curbing illegal drag racing on public roads.

Now mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith wants another R200 000 for the event.

Smith says trying to catch illegal racers on the road only leads to a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between racers and law enforcement.

“I think the more enforcement we do, the more we tempt the drag racers,” says Smith. “It’s a need for speed, and they need the police to participate for the game to be on.”

Robot Races is a legal racing event held every Wednesday night at Killarney Raceway. Participants pay an entrance fee, wear a helmet and race against each other over 400m.

The entrance fee as well as the City of Cape Town’s contribution covers the cost of medical staff, marshals and safety teams.

But illegal racer Waanie Abrahams says they have not been given what they need to make the change to racing legally.

“We can’t understand why they can’t just give us a long piece of public road and say, ‘Go ride your heart out.’ That’s why we race on the road.”

Illegal drag racing is common in Cape Town and has been linked to accidents and fatalities.

Smith believes allocating more resources to legal racing will be a positive move. “Illegal racers have no excuses now. There’s a legal event every Wednesday night,” he says. “I am requesting more money be put towards the event to hopefully keep racers off the streets.” – Anthony Molyneaux