A quiet airstrip. A cold winters night and a roaming pack of high-powered Nissans from the GTR & Z Club of South Africa car crews.
By Joel Silva
Underground street racing will always attract big crowds despite its illegal nature. I don’t know what it is, but massive groups of people congregate week-in and week-out to witness and some instances, to participate. Over the past year or so, we’ve documented a few street crews that have taken the cloak-and-dagger dangers of street racing to quieter roads that have limited or no traffic flow.
The GTR and Z Club of SA, in conjunction with the Club 23 Outlaws have taken and improved this same principle by applying safety, organized classes – and several Japanese monsters – on an airstrip that allows for endless fun under the moonlight. Legal and all!
The other day, Annie was chatting to Janus Janse van Rensburg who helps to heads up the Gauteng-based Club. The conversation steered toward drag racing, and our involvement with the ever-growing club. A week later, I found myself chauffering Darren and Annie to a quiet airfield situated north-east of Pretoria named Legends MX (or Rhino Airfield for those in the know) where we met up with Janus and a large number of club members who had lined up their angry-looking Nissans in a row. 350Zs, R33s, R34s, Skyline GTRs: you name it! After a quick dinner and coffee at the venue’s lapa, we followed the convoy to the airstrip and parked off to see the setup. And boy, what a setup!
Members selected their race numbers – in the form of poker chips – and had their names, cars and registration numbers shown on a board using a knock-out ladder system. In front of the white boards lay a row of helmets that was on offer to members who never had. While the alluring smell of coffee filtered through the air, a safety ambulance made its way to the start line, a clear indication that safety is the club’s number one priority. The best part though had to be the extended LED lights that lit up the pit area and starting line. I was shown the ingenious setup using a generator and some trick electrical work to get everything to run as smoothly as possible. These guys were jacked!
I walked through the pits and got to view some serious machinery. Some of which I’ve never seen before. Everyone I spoke to pointed towards a white R34 (below) which they also said “was simply unbeatable.” They weren’t wrong either! Granted the strip was only laid out for a 200m dash, it was clear to see that the track was firmly set out and prepared for the AWD cars.
As the racing continued, the temperature dropped but the action and excitement certainly didn’t. The members lined up against each other, some used launch control and others chose to wheelspin down. The 350Zs looked quick! Some were turbocharged and sounded amazing, but the Skyline’s were the ones that broke the silence in the night.
We departed the venue a little before midnight and left the Nissan’s to play into the early hours of the morning. The Club have created something really special here, and we can’t wait to attend the next one. Follow the GTR & Z Club of South Africa on Facebook for further updates on their next event.