Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fastest in the land?There’s a place where that question is decided — the ODI Raceway up in Gauteng.
Last weekend, what can only be described as the top echelon of southern Africa’s top-end drag cars were trucked into the track to test the top end over a full kilometre run.
And there were some blistering runs at that, with Denasen Govender the fastest car, touching 328.8km/h in his Supra, after alarming spectators by going off the track in his first run.
It was a day for Supras, by the way, with Cape drivers Seraaj Rylands joining the 300 Club with 302.6km/h and Nizaam Esa clocking 305.7km/h.
Second fastest car overall was Chris Muller’s Supra at 312.9km/h. Two GTRs managed around 306km/h .
On two wheels, Kapie Jaleel Firfery hit 321.7km/h on his Kawasaki H2, coming in fifth after four Hayabusa turbos, with Bertus Breedt fastest man of the day at a very respectable 339.9km/h .
Other Cape drivers were Shaheen “Suspect” Barmania in his Lumina bakkie, doing 292.6km/h, Alwie Lester clocking 288.8km/h in his 325iS turbo, and Waleed Bassadien, who has much to say about getting the racing off the streets and onto the track, with a 299.2km/h Supra.
Bobby Nitro spoke to organiser Nazeer Loonat after the event. He says: “This is the third year of the event, and the idea is to get the fastest in the land all together on one day. On the same track, under the same conditions, on a level playing field.”
With altogether about 130 entries, including 15 from Cape Town and 12 from KwaZulu-Natal, there wasn’t a dull moment. Typically, Bobby is going to tell you all about the Cape heroes!
Nazeer says: “A shout out goes to Seraaj and his entry into the 300 Club, as well as Waleed Bassadien who earned driver of the day with 299.2km/h in his black Supra. It was the first time he had brought this car out to the track. Also Mustapha Singh with a personal best of 298.8km/h on his BMW S1000RR.”
Bobby spoke to Mustapha, who says: “Honestly, what made it even better was that I was expecting somewhere in the low 290s, but the cooler weather in the morning played a major role. The bike performed well, even though we struggle with the altitude and I was on pump fuel.”
Mustapha came home with a trophy for first in the normally-aspirated class as well.
Seraaj, who is partners with Waleed in a dyno tuning shop in Maitland, says: “This is my third year there, so we know what is needed. Our new target is 310km/h in the black Supra. My top moment of the day was when Waleed got into the high 290s, racing the Supra for the first time.”
Another Cape dragster, Nizaam Esa, was the fastest local outjie out there in his 1995 single turbo 2JZ Supra.
He tells Bobby: “I’ve been in motor racing for some time now, circuit racing, drags, now top end. The ODI event got a bit hot into the afternoon, which affects the tuning, tyres and the fuel heats up, so everybody was running slightly lower speeds. The great thing about the ODI event, though, is that proper timing equipment is being used, which makes for accurate international comparisons.”
Nizaam tells of the massive crowds that turned out to witness the fire-breathing steel dragons, saying the hype was massive.
He has done a personal best of 311km/h at the ODI before but made off with third overall in his class (six-cylinder turbos) last weekend.
Waleed admonished Bobby to “please not rub it in” when Bobby mentioned he had done in the region of 299.9999, telling Bobby that his time as a writer would be better spent attending to the real issue, which was getting the racers off the streets and onto the track. Point taken, Waleed, thank you, Bobby couldn’t agree more.
Waleed says: “It’s vital that we work together to get the youngsters off the street. I came from there, and I know now just how dangerous it is to go too fast in a car when you don’t know how to handle it. We’re a group of drivers with experience and can show the guys how to handle cars, so they stop putting other people’s lives in danger. What you can do, Bobby, is help to get drivers off the street.”
He adds: “We need a one kilometre run in the Cape, a controlled environment to test the top end. Plus, our spectator base in the Cape is much more enthusiastic than the upcountry guys!”