Durban’s first legal drag racing event, scheduled for Easter Sunday, may be delayed to ensure that all safety and security requirements are met.

Durban’s first legal drag racing event, scheduled for Easter Sunday, may be delayed to ensure that all safety and security requirements are met.

eThekwini Municipality plans to open First Avenue, between Kolling Street and Epsom Road, for the race. Durban drag racers have often complained that they do not have a suitable venue in the city and have to drive long distances to participate in races in Margate.

KwaZulu-Natal Motor Racing, Wired Africa and Platonic Enterprises have been chosen as the final bidders.

CARtoday.com reported in January that eThekwini manager Mike Sutcliffe said the proposals would only be considered if they conformed in all respects with the requirements of Motorsport South Africa. The process hit a snag this week when it was discovered that Platonic and Wired Africa were not affiliated to MSA.

MSA manager Peter Posthumus said they had received an application from Wired Africa for affiliation. “It was very clear that the bidders had to be affiliated to MSA in order to qualify for the permit. We set the guidelines and as it is a street race there are some dangers involved and we have rules that must be enforced,” said Posthumus.

Posthumus confirmed that the third bidder, KwaZulu-Natal Motor Racing, was already a member.

“KwaZulu-Natal Drag Racing formed a Section 21 company, KZN Motor Racing, to handle the bid. We had to do that because the council would not accept bids from clubs as there is no accountability then. Through the drag racing club we are members of MSA,” explained KZN Motor Racing director Ahmed Bassa.

“We think we have the experience as we host the Margate racing events. We will be holding another race at Margate on March 30. We are pushing to host the first Durban race in April, but I don’t think the winning company will be able to stage the race on Easter Sunday. If we win the bid, we will need six weeks to two months to prepare to host the event. It’s a temporary track and there’s a lot of infrastructure that will have to organised first.

“There are safety and security issues and all of this takes time to set up. We have begun making plans in hope of winning the bid, but they will still take time to put in place,” Bassa said.

Eric Moller, the acting director of traffic and transportation for the city, said it was important to ensure the event was held safely. “We need more details from the bidding companies to ensure they comply with all the requirements.

“We are trying to push this through as quickly as we can, but it depends how quickly we can sort out all the issues,” he said.