Durban drag racers have welcomed the move by the municipality to allow a street race to take place in April.

Durban drag racers have welcomed the move by the municipality to allow a street race to take place in April.

The reported on Thursday that the eThekwini municipality executive committee had given the go-ahead for a race. It has invited tenders to host events at the venue, but for a trial period.

If all the details are organised in time, the first trial event will be held on April 20, Easter Sunday.

According to the newspaper, eThekwini manager Mike Sutcliffe said they would open First Avenue, between Kolling Street and Epsom Road, for a race.

"Proposals will only be considered if they conform in all respects with the requirements of Motorsport South Africa and the applicant bears at the very least all costs associated with the event, including the manpower costs of the city, such as enforcement and fire services. Of these, the most favourable offer to council will then be chosen," Sutcliffe said.

Illegal racing has been a huge problem in the area. Last year, drag racers told CARtoday.com that they were forced to have illegal races as there were no venues in Durban.

KwaZulu-Natal Drag Racing Club chairman Theo Coetsee told CARtoday.com on Thursday that his group would be submitting a tender. “It’s taken two years to get to this point and we feel positive about it. Unfortunately, it’s not the most suitable site. It’s a bit short at 709 m, but it is still good news,” Coetsee said. “We’ve put in a proposal to host the first event. It will be a street race, rather than a drag race,” he said.

Andre Pillay, one of the drag racers who has been vocal about needing a good venue, was quite pleased. “It’s been long overdue and everyone is looking forward to it. Races in Margate attract between 10 000 and 20 000 spectators and that’s a lot of Durban people driving for about four hours to be there, imagine how popular a race in Durban will be. Actually, it will be frightening, every guy in Durban will want to enter,” Pillay told CARtoday.com.

Coetsee agreed that there will be a lot of interest and said if they win the tender they will have to limit the number of racers in order to maintain control.

The closing date for tenders is February 7.