Going outlaw has taken the Cape by storm.
Outlaw racing is a craze sweeping not only here but the globe and is a way of racing where competitors call each other out in challenges to get on a revered top 10 list and climb that ladder.
Starting with a TV series called Street Outlaws, we’ve seen it at the drags, then on our own Drift Outlaws series by Razor Customs.
Now the outlaw style has come to the karting track. Bobby Nitro spoke to Farouk Onia, 25, who organises the Kenilworth Karting Outlaw Call Out series with his pal Saabir Rylands, 25.
First off, Bobby wanted to know how the comp works. Farouk, of Surrey Estate, says: “There is a ladder that has been established according to times registered at the very first call out race evening, and this determines which position you would occupy. Getting onto the top 10 of that ladder is the first goal.
“When you want to progress up the ladder, you must challenge the driver above you to a timed race. How this works is each driver does two heats of five laps in the same car, racing against the clock. If you score the fastest lap time in both heats, then you’re the winner. If it turns out that it’s one-one, then the drivers go into a sudden death round.”
With karting, body weight makes a big difference, so weights are added to the karts for lighter drivers so as to even out the playing field. Every ounce and every driving line makes a difference in this tight field, with the difference between the board leader and number 10 at a mere 0.83 of a second. That’s helluva tight.
Bobby wanted details from this week’s meet, which went on well into the night, ending at 11pm rather than the usual 9pm, as drivers went at it hot and fast.
Farouk says: “This week we surprised the guys with a reconfigured track. There was an S-bend at the intro then a very narrow right on the last bend, making this the most feared track so far.”
This past Wednesday saw some thrills and spills. Thrills included Farouk calling out Faizal Jacobs for the top spot, and the challenge going to sudden death. Faizal registered a blitsvinnige 20.360 seconds while Farouk came in a hair away at 20.412. Faizal remains in top position on the log.
However, it was Zahir Phillips who shone with the fastest time of the night, recording a scorching 20.257 seconds, seeing him climb two spots to fourth position.
Zahir has represented South Africa in international karting events, so he is one man to beat.
Spills included Saabir Rylands as the biggest faller. Farouk says: “Saabir started at eight, but the track got the better of him and he dropped out of the hallowed top 10 into 11th position.”
As Farouk says this, Bobby notices Saabir looking sad then having a good laugh, testament to good, solid fun this sport brings.
As for the vibe, on Tuesday nights you’ll find the venue propvol and buzzing, with wives and kids supporting the 20-odd drivers pitting their skill against one another as reputations go on the line, all to the ends of good wholesome entertainment, petrolkop style.
Most racers have been participating in the indoor karting league for some years. When it was decided that the league would be postponed this year, the guys got to thinking about an activity to keep them in on their game, and Outlaw karting was born.
The karts themselves are 180cc Honda motors, are chain driven and can reach speeds of about 50km/h. When you are a couple of centimetres from the track, that can feel like a whole lot more.
The karting series goes down every Tuesday night from 7.30pm at Kenilworth Karting and it is open to the public.
If you want to get in on the action, call Farouk on 078 226 4253 or Saabir on 081 539 7239.