Spurred on by the release of the Fast and Furious intersequal (action set after the first movie but with nothing to do with the 3rd movie…confusing I know) and the plethora of Opel Corsa’s with smoked taillights and powerflow exhausts found at just about every robot, I decided to do a bit of investigative reporting and delve deeper into the global culture of Streetracing right here on our doorstep in Cape Town.
Its 11:45pm and I do my best attempt at looking like a fully fledged streetracer- they can smell a rookie quicker than sharks sniff out that little cut you forgot to put a plaster on before you jumped on your boogey board… I pull on my freshest white T, jeans and my most comfortable pair of Converse sneakers a-la Paul Walker from the F&F movie series- in retrospect maybe I took this a bit too seriously…
Next I hop into the Type R and hit the engine start button- it roars into life and then settles down to an agitated hum that only a fan of these cars could live with.
I arrive at the secret location and meet up with my informant *Pablo. He is a veteran of the Cape Town streetracing scene and has changed cars more than I care to mention. The place is packed with what looks like at least 100 cars in more lumo colours than you would find in Elton John’s clothes wardrobe. There are cars drifting and doing donuts in the parking lot, music is banging from the custom built sound systems in the boots of sooped up cars and the smell of burnt tyres and clutch lingers in the air.
There are 3 lanes that run past the venue’s parking lot in both directions and everyone is gathered on the side of the road watching the races go down over the quarter mile strip. Pablo and I join them and the trash talking starts almost immediately… man these guys really do take this WAY too seriously. Shit… its cold I break out into a shiver- Pablo smiles and says its better for the racing, cold clean air means faster runs… hmm I see. I check a few races go down: AUDI RS4 vs BMW 335i… Audi takes it by a whisker. SEAT Leon vs BMW E46 M3- easy win for the Beemer right? WRONG. This SEAT is harder than nails and it takes the win by what looks like a car and a bit.
Its not long before someone driving a Opel Corsa OPC comes up to me asking if I’d like a piece of the action. Being the good investigative reporter that I am, I oblige. We pull up to the line and I’m slightly nervous to say the least… My palms are sweaty and I’m gripping the steering wheel tighter than I would Adriana Lima’s hips if I ever had the chance to dance with her. We both rev up our cars much to the delight of all the spectators. 1st Hoot … 2nd hoot, I tense up… 3rd hoot, we both floor it.
We both get good traction off the line and are head to head.
I edge a fender ahead
I have the OPC by half a car
I am about a car and a half ahead and then we both tap off and brake hard for the robots.
Man that was awesome!!! I’m filled with adrenaline and grinning like Cheshire cat- totally stoked with my win. As I pull back into the parking lot the cops arrive and its like a scene straight out of the first Fast and Furious movie that I remember. Everyone is rushing to their cars and making a hasty exit to avoid any fines and impounding of cars. Pablo calls me to inform me that we’re on to the next venue- streetracers really are a resilient bunch never keen to let the cops spoil the fun for long.
We arrive at secret location 2 for the night and the racing is already going off the hook. You would never believe how many guys and girls do this as a fun night out in Cape Town. A bit of time passes and the cops arrive again to spoil the fun, only this time they’re in the much faster highway patrol Golf 5 GTIs and they bust this one guy mid race.
This chop has the utmost confidence in his car and decides that it’s a good idea to try and outrun the popo. He switches off his lights in attempt to hide his number plate (which I think was fairly daft in the 1st place considering that the cops were right behind him anyways).
The dude is ahead by a car, popo got a bit bogged down on the line 😉
The guy opens up another half a car on the police, by this stage their lights and sirens are on
The police GTI pulls level.
Jail… The GTI pulls past the guy and stops him with quite an impressive tactical manoeuvre.
Right… its 2:30 the cops are not in a very forgiving mood after the chase and I think its time to get the hell out of here.
From this whole experience I learnt why the culture of streetracing is so big in Cape Town- its bucket loads of fun on a night when most of us would just end up watching episodes of Ugly Betty saved on the PVR.
I also learnt that if you are going to try and outrun the police, make damn sure you are driving a spastically fast car…
*Pablo is not the informant’s real name, I mean really how many Pablos do you know?