The Fastest in the Land, just a title like that in itself is enough to get most of the established and aspiring drivers and their beasts out onto the track.
That’s what RaceSA called its August event up on the ODI racetrack near Pretoria last Sunday. And by the sounds of it they succeeded in getting the best of the best out, with personal top speeds topped.
And the event was significant, as it also served as a memoriam for the owner of ODI, Ivan Tolley, who passed away recently after a tragic motorcycle crash. He will be remembered by his wife Rachel, his family and many across the land, not only the fastest.
Nazeer Loonat of RaceSA says: “It was quite emotional for a lot of the guys, and we had a minute of silence for Ivan and well as for two other racers who passed away recently, Leon Grobbelaar and Tappie King.
“The day went well, we had about 4 400 people there as we lined up some of the fastest cars over the 800 metre stretch. The reason why we have shifted from the 1km run is that it aligns us better with the rest of the world. It’s only Australia that sets up a 1km run, and this way with the half-mile we can make comparisons with other cars on the global stage.
He tells of a new initiative that RaceSA brought last weekend, saying: “We set up a big screen at the 150m mark from the start line, then installed cameras every 200m from the 400m mark. That way everyone could see the race through to the finish.”
That, we imagine, would make a big difference, as usually the cars speed out of sight and it’s only when the results pop up that you’re in the picture as it were. Nice one, RaceSA, let’s hope this sets the precedent.
In addition, RaceSA jumped right onto the digital bandwagon by providing Livestream feeds over Facebook. All of which, says Nazeer, the sponsors made possible.
Now for the fastest. The top of the grid was firmly held by a combination of Nissan and Kawasaki, The GTRs came in first and second, followed closely by four Kawasakis. Only anomaly here was Shawn Breedt in third on his Hayabusa turbo.
Stelios Sissou registered a blistering 321.7km/* in his GTR. Apparently as the boost kicked in from third to fourth gear the power surge was so great that flames leapt from his tyres. Urban legend or fact, either way it’s a great way to describe the performance of this prize-winning beast. Second placed was Ben Zietsma’s GTR with 321.2km/* .
From the Cape guys, Waleed Bassadien in his black Supra recently reviewed in these pages, hit the mark at 319.8km/* , though other legends such as Shaheen ‘Suspect’ Barmania and Zain Ryland had issues on the day and didn’t perform at their top speeds. On two wheels, Jaleel Firfrey made 314.9km/* while Shaun Breedt from Joburg was the fastest man on a bike with 318.3km/* .
Shurud in his Toyota Hilux with the 2jz was up there for the first time. He tells Bobby Nitro: “I’ve always meant to attend and something has always gotten in the way. This time I made it and it was the best experience ever.”
It was so good that at the time Bobby spoke to Shurud, on Women’s Day, he was still upcountry, hanging with Nazeer and having a great time.
Shurud achieved 253km/* and says he’ll definitely go again. Next time, however, he has invited Bobby to come with. Bobby will take him up on the offer, that’s for sure!
Joburg driver Neelan Vallen is the fastest four-cylinder in the country, as well as the fastest Opel in his 1991 highly-modified Superboss, registering a personal best of 288km/* over the half-mile.
Neelan says: “It was a good event, we had no breakages and have got some suspension mods in mind to ensure it stays that way.”
Laimy, another Cape name, beat his personal best in his BMW e30, also with the famed 2jz motor over 800m with 273.9km/* and his 1km record as he touched 289.85 over the last clock.
Laimy says: “This was my second event with this set-up after the first-time shakedown, and when I jumped in the car and felt the set-up, I didn’t expect such responsiveness and for the car to be so brutal. Next time, watch this space.”
Bobby Nitro sends condolences to the family of Ivan Tolley, and here’s hoping that the ODI Raceway continues to host superb race events.