Petrolheads feel need for speed

Keith Hards (left) and Barry Fitzgerald jump from the start line. 090118SB06Picture: STEVEN BROADLEY Darran Edwards (right) outruns the Operation Drag Right police car in his HT Monaro. 090118SB12 Keith Hards (left) and Barry Fitzgerald jump from the start line. 090118SB06Picture: STEVEN BROADLEY Darran Edwards (right) outruns the Operation Drag Right police car in his HT Monaro. 090118SB12
HangZhou Night Net

IT may have looked like an extreme take on Liebig Street on Saturday nights but yesterday drag racing at Warrnambool airport was all legal.Even two police cars and city Mayor Michael Neoh joined in the action.About 300 people gathered for the Warrnambool and District Drag Racing Association’s first competition of the year.The smell of burning rubber was ripe, as hooded-up Toranas, Falcon utes, tiny Mitsubishi Lancers and motorbikes tested how fast they could drive the eighth of a mile (200 metres).Cr Neoh praised the event’s organisers.”It’s great,” he said after being a passenger in a joy ride.”It is a real different experience than driving on the road. You feel like you are almost taking off in the air.”I urge any young person who wants to drag to join the club because it is conducted in a safe and controlled manner.”Members of Operation Drag Right — a community motorsport program run by volunteer police officers — was eager to see how its late model Falcon sedan and ute would fare.Group president Inspector Tim Peperkamp said hoon drivers gave drag racers a bad name.”They cause clubs like Warrnambool a lot of angst because everyone gets labelled as idiots,” Inspector Peperkamp said.”But that’s not the case. “Drag racing is an internationally recognised sport with professional drag racers. It’s a lot better to join a drag racing club, learn how to do it properly and in a controlled environment, than going out onto the street and getting your car confiscated.”The event was one of three set for this year. Association president Darryl Porter said it was one of the biggest competitions the club hosted.”We’re really pleased. Our last event in November was a washout and we couldn’t reschedule.”The club hopes to build a permanent track beside the airport’s runway. Currently it uses the western end of the strip.A proposal will be submitted to Warrnambool City Council, which owns the airport, in March.

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.