After a ten year absence, the North vs South drag racing championships made a welcome return at Rhino Park Airstrip.
Cast your mind back to your younger days when the notorious Speed and Sound Drag Team pillaged every city and raped every drag strip! After a 10-year absence, the famous series is back, and bigger than ever. The revised race format has a new twist in the tale: an unprepared track, and a shorter distance of 200m. That’s right: 200m of zig-zagging, tail slapping cars leaving a haze of drag slick smoke in their rear view mirrors.
Round One happened two weeks back at Rhino Park Airstrip, which is home to model plane flying, off road biking and a flying school that utilizes a lonely airstrip. The minute we received permission from the resident airfield owners for a once-off drag racing event, plans were set in place to allow 60 of Gauteng’s quickest race cars to race each other over the 1/8 mile without the use of any trackbite, wheelie bars and standing burn outs.
Unsurprisingly, Racers who remembered the Series were the first ones to enter. Old school race legends like Manny de Gouveia, Jose Matias, Satish Harrichand, Marco Gounder, Johan Minnaar and Billy vd Merwe to name but a few, found themselves in unfamiliar 200m territory and put on a show of note.
Racing begun early: The minute the first set of cars lined each other up on the start line, Racers knew they’d be in for a bit of challenge: too much power equals too much wheel spin, and in true Street Outlaw-style, “spinnin’ ain’t winnin”. Boost was turned down and many half-throttled their tuned machines, doing their utmost best to cross the line first. Where turbocharged cars come alive after the 200-metres, it was the normally aspirated cars that reveled in these shorter distance conditions, and quicker than many expected. Janus Terburgh’s 16v Golf (below) ran a 7.9-seconds…in perspective, it ran quicker than the 500-plus horsepower Opels monsters of Theo Knipe, Kalen Arumugam and Satish Harrichand.
And there were plenty more monsters too! 10-second ones that left impressive trails of long black stripes down the strip – Tiaan vd Merwe’s snorting V8 Escort, Raymond Swart’s insane 2JZ Draglux and Manny de Gouveia’s detuned Chevair tried their best to harness the brutal adaption of putting down as much power as soon as humanly possible, to post a quick time over an unfamiliar, shorter distance.
Dries Carstens (who ran the quickest time of the day) in the thunderous RCB Escort encountered braking issues and went farming, fortunately sustaining minor damage. Johan Minnaar in the Honda Fiat X19 confronted organisers to enquire if “it this a No Prep event, then why the hell did my car wheelie for 50m!”
The event ran smoothly as expected – Even when Pierre Eksteen’s Buggy suffered an engine failure, which almost closed down the entire left lane for the entire event, organisers merely moved the lights a few meters down and the racing continued. The North vs South marshalls and officials played a cunning part as puppet masters, preparing a track that would later become a real handful as the sun’s intense heat baked the virgin airfield surface.
While Neeresh and his team from the Street Kings Challenge entertained the audiophiles further away in the lapa area, the racing continued and the food trucks fed the masses. Without the sponsorship and involvement of Czank Racing, RCB Racing, Dicktator Engine Management Systems, Mikes Place, Mr Turbo, Bovhu Print, PPT Pro Billet, Firematic Vehicle Suppression and Turbo Toys, race events like North vs South would be few and far between. If you’re keen to see what times were posted, grab the full results off the North vs South Facebook page here.
Round 2 is scheduled for the 1st of March 2020, and by the looks of it, the rebirth of the Speed and Sound drag team will be leading the same group of racers down to challenge the locals from Newcastle and surrounds, many of whom drive up from a far a field as Durban. It promises to be a real humdinger, and if you’re a lover of No Prep, tyre-smoking ass-wagging drama, Dundee Airfield is your next port of call!