drag race is an acceleration contest from a standing
start between two vehicles side by side over a measured
distance. The accepted standard for that distance is
either a quarter-mile (1,320 feet) or. A drag racing
event is a series of two-vehicle tournament-style eliminations.
The losing driver in each race is eliminated, and the
winning drivers progress until one driver remains.
It started out as a wild activity practiced by hoodlums
in hopped-up cars, but over the course of a few decades,
drag racing would ultimately transform itself into one
of the world's most popular motorsports. Early drag
strips were temporary facilities with no safety barriers
or grandstands—just pavement, people and fast
cars. Corporate sponsorship and glistening transporter
trucks were far in the unimaginable future.
Perhaps the best remembered part of drag racing in
these early days was the low-tech approach of using
a flagman to start races. Few sights were as entertaining
as a flagman leaping off the ground, waving his green
flag as two cars screamed off the line. However, 1963
proved to be a turning point in drag racing's development
when tracks replaced flag starters with the electronic
"Christmas tree" starting system.
Drag Racing in South Africa
Legal drag racing is a highly organised affair. Strips
are graded from A (which can host international or national
events) to B (which can host regional events) down to
E strips which accommodate the slowest of the street
car classes. Cars are scrutinised to ensure that they
are as safe as possible.
All competitors must be in possession of a valid Drag
Racing License issued my Motorsport SA. All competitors
under the age of 21 must have their license application
form countersigned by a parent or legal guardian. Racing
is either on a regional or national level, a separate
license is needed for each category.
Car categories racing in the nationals
Super Competition Eliminator
Bike categories racing in the nationals
Pro Street Bikes
Legal versus illegal drag racing
Race days that are sanctioned by Motor Sport South
Africa have strict rules and regulations to keep the
drivers and spectators safe. Sanctioned races have racing
standards, medical and response vehicles, marshals and
crowd control. Illegal racing, however, is not bound
by any rules. Anyone can race who they want, when they
want and how they want.
If any MSA licensed drag racing driver participates
in an illegal event, their license will be revoked and
they will be unable to participate in any sanctioned
event such as regionals and nationals. What’s
more, insurance companies will not cover accidents as
a result of illegal drag racing events.
In an effort to find a solution to illegal street racing,
a number of years ago the MSA Drag Commission started
The Illegal2Legal programme. This organisation enabled
the illegal racers to compete at a price they found
affordable. For a small they got everything from officials,
start lights, a proper floodlit drag strip, print-outs
of their times and all the held and support they needed.
Most of all this provides for safe viewing for the spectators.
However, there are a few necessary rules: drinking or
drugs are not allowed, and drivers must wear a crash
helmet, and wear long trousers, long sleeves and closed
to get more information with regards to:
How insurance companies access the risk of drag racing
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