The engine is roaring, the smell of burnt petrol fills the air, the heat from the tires hits you in the face, the road stretches out in front of you. The car starts to shake, the chassis starts to twist, you grip the wheel, lick your lips, narrow your eyes. As the lights count down, you feel your breath slow down. Your pulse is starting to race, you feel the car straining at the leash, waiting to be unleashed. The green light comes on and you pop the clutch, shift into first and race for the horizon. The finish line seems so far away. You develop tunnel vision, the world zips by. The speedometer keeps climbing, it is just you and the machine working as one to go as fast as you can dare. Flames shooting out of the exhaust, your car screams across the line. That is drag racing!
The world of drag racing has long fascinated us. Ever since we were kids, we wanted to go fast, go loud and be the first. Everyone has sometime or the other, just held on to the wheel and tried to go as fast as they can, just for bragging rights. The culture of drag racing started a long time ago. On the dry lake beds of California. The world was soon captivated with this concept. The world of V6s and V8s started to rumble and shout. As the sport grew, so did the fascination. Hollywood soon caught this bug and then showcased it in various movies. The idea is simple, just hold on to the steering wheel, keep your foot down, and just beat the other guy. After the Second World War, with the war economy booming, cars were cheap to obtain and also to race. In fact, in the movie Grease’s set in the ’50s, we got to see such a race. John Travolta and his gang tune up an old beater and turn her into Greased Lightening. Because that’s how fast that car can go. You might be wondering how hard is it to go fast, anyone can do it. However you are mistaken, it takes skill, an innate knowledge of the mechanics of the car, the determination to find the ragged edge and the guts to ride it till the end. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Remember, kids, don’t try this at home. Or you will have a tough time explaining to your mother why her car is stuck in a tree.
As the cars evolved, so did the racing. We got to see Mustangs, Corvettes, Camaros, Dodge Charger, Pontiac GTOs, Chevelles, Plymouth Super-Birds, Hemi-Cudas and many more take to the streets and race for glory and prestige. To do the standing quarter-mile in under 10 seconds was the golden pinnacle for these racers. After that the world changed again. We got to see super-charged and turbo-charged racers come in from Japan. Nimble and with huge turbo-boosting, muscle cars had their noses put out of joint. You can see this in the movie Fast and Furious. The first one where Paul Walker goes toe-to-toe with Vin Diesel. A Toyota Supra goes head-to-head with a Dodge Charger R/T. Tires squealing, we got treated to a race that made us reach the edge-of-our-seats.
By the way, if you think that drag racing is just devoted to cars, you are sorely mistaken. Bikes too have played their part in this quest for speed and glory. Most super bikes are tuned and set for race standard. The idea is quite simple, hold the clutch, twist the throttle and hold on for dear life as the front-end lifts. This is best shown in the movie Biker Boyz. A story of biker clubs who rule street-racing. This kind of racing has come to our country. These races take place on abandoned roads far from prying eyes. A word of warning, do not for once think that you can do the same. This kind of street-racing is in fact illegal without the correct permits, licenses, protection and proper bikes or cars.
Now you might be wondering about how to take part in something like this, or even witness this glorious spectacle of worship to the Gods of speed. Easy, just come on down to The Valley Run 2014. This is where you will find hardcore racers and amateurs battle it out. Unleash your speed demons, feel the wind on your face and cross that finish line.