Event date: 29 November 2014 | Words & photos: RaceMasteR J | Location: Saldanha Airfield


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Saldanha Drags - where whoever crosses the finish line first, doesn’t necessarily win! This race is all about speed. It’s about laying down as much rubber off the start line just to cross the finish line with a higher top speed. Now some of you who are new to this will not understand that. Even though it’s still a race, there’s so much more to factor in. This isn’t quarter mile racing, no, that’s a race against the clock, this, was a #rideforglory!

A bit different to quarter mile racing, this 800m stretch of airfield has to be approached with a different angle. In conventional drag racing you want to get as much traction off the line to reach the finish line as soon as possible. Here you want to spin your wheels as long as possible, resulting in a higher speed while trying to use every extra bit of meter just to gain a little more speed. Think about it, the more distance you have the more speed you can build up. By spinning the wheels you technically gain more distance.

Anyways, enough of the technical stuff. Even though I find it rather interesting as every year we always have a chat with different guys on how to tackle the top end strip. Like I said, after 400m’s there’s so much more to factor in. Wind resistance, traction, etc etc… ok, ok, I’m done, promise. On to the event.

This event was the first time the organizers decided to make use of the strip on the Friday night. What I mean is that gates opened to the public from the Friday evening, so guests can come in early, find a nice spot and camp out overnight to avoid long queues the following morning. Now that’s been working out pretty well over the last few years but this year, night drags was introduced. Unfortunately I never made it for that as I didn’t fancy sleeping in my car or staying over in Langebaan for the weekend, but we heard it was a huge success so we can only imagine this new tradition will continue for future events.

Arriving the Saturday morning we drove straight in, though parking was pretty much unavailable. This only meant that the place was packed. Good! Eventually I found a spot and headed straight for the strip for the parade lap. After an entire night of waiting, spectators got warmed up to the sights, sounds and smell of burning rubber, avgas, Nos and blowing dumpvalves. This was not only a warm up for the spectators but for the drivers too.

After the parade lap we were treated to a mini air show courtesy of the Silver Falcons. A team of 5 highly trained stunt pilots traveling at over 500km/h doing death defying maneuvers mere inches away from each other was an awesome sight to behold.

For those of you in the know, there’s always a head wind here. That’s not good for speed. The first cars that lined up on the grid was the West Coast Racing Supra and defending champion Sharl Hartzenberg, better known as Schalk’s Conversions in his 2JZ box Corolla. Good move since the wind wasn’t as strong yet and what a better way to kick off the event. I think his first run was in the high 260’s and that was just a shakedown run.

At the last event in Easter there was a whole contingent of Supra’s. This time however the Skylines took over. From R32 GTR’s all the way up to the latest R35’s, they were all there, kicking ass and taking names. We wouldn’t expect anything less from them.

Now this was something different. An S63 AMG with a full body kit and wheels! Clocking a speed of 211km/h over the line wasn’t great but hell it’s not bad at all for a 2 ton limo!

Staying with the Merc brand we had this A45 AMG with added software run a much better speed of 219km/h. This car is currently number 27 on our Drag List with a time of 12.253 seconds. Impressive!

Lumina’s were plentiful all running very decent top speeds with the best being a 234km/h.

As usual Golfs were a dime a dozen from Mk1’s all the way up to the G7 GTi’s.

Zain is slowly becoming known as the one run wonder. He pulled up relatively early in the day when the wind wasn’t too bad and clocked in a 270km/h speed. From what I hear he had some issues midway through the run, so that being said he was currently sitting at the top of the leader board, but would it be enough to hold on with the Schalk’s Conversions Corolla hiding in the background.

This Mitsubishi Evo X was a pleasant sight. Not being a very common car on our roads it was great to see it being driven in anger, albeit in a straight line.

Theo Knipe from Speed and Sound made the journey and from what I know, be it on the quarter mile or top end runs this car is always impressive. He came first in his class with a speed of 253km/h.

A local Speed and Sound car was Tolla Daniels in his mental Escort. This car usually runs in the 10s on the quarter mile but Tolla decided to change things up a bit and try his hand at the 800m. Tolla clocked in at 240km/h.

Yet another heavy hitter on the quarter mile, Ralph, in his twin turbo Chevy V8 is literally the fastest man in Cape Town, according to our Drag List once again, with an 8.8 second pass. Ralph’s second event at Saldanha saw him run just shy of Zain’s speed with still a very impressive run of 269km/h.

One of the quickest front wheel drive cars around was PDubs in his insanely modded Ford ST who ran a speed of 252km/h.

One of the first bike runs of the day was Jaleel who knocked out 283km/h on his BMW S1000RR.

The Slamet boys from SRD were out in full force as usual on their Busa and managed an even better speed of 296km/h.

But it was this bike that stole the show. No new comer to the strip was Mojahids Nos’d Busa.

His first and second runs were impressively in the high 290km/h region, but then Saan took over and ended up taking the win and setting an all time new record ever with a speed of 302km/h, well done guys!

Nicholas Kuiler’s Mazda rotary bakkie wasn’t performing well but it was still great to hear the sound of a rotary. I would love to see more rotaries come out next time.

As Ernest said this is one obnoxious sounding car. With loud bangs and pops as it builds boost no one could stand anywhere close to it without having your eardrums assaulted.

E92 M3’s are becoming as common as Golf’s now days.

Wade Temmis brought out his recently completed K-series Honda EG hatch. With a speed of 199km/h it wasn’t hugely impressive in the bigger picture, but it was good enough to clinch second place in his class. Looks great though!

This Zeeline Performance BMW looks absolutely mental! It’s got one hell of a set of drag tyres at the back with what looked like bakkie mags…?

Like I said, the GTR’s were out in full force.

The lunch time break saw Ready D, wife Malika, Anwar Daniels, Leon and Yaseen Damon do a drift demo on the strip with various tricks and maneuvers. It’s always a great way to keep the crowds entertained.

Later on in the day and literally out of nowhere we saw this stunning Opel Superboss blast its way over the traps with a speed of 258km/h.

Siraaj from Performance Solutions brought out his Silver Supra for a change. I’ve only seen t his car park at shows. It was good to see it performing. And perform it did with a speed of 252km/h.

With Zain’s XR8 TT out for the day and setting the highest speed thus far of 270km/h, the Schalks Conversions team wasn’t going to take this one sitting down. With a good few more runs left in the bag the team made the most of it. The Rolla lined up and literally spun itself almost all the way to the finish line.

And that was it, that was enough to take first place with a mind numbing speed of 280km/h! It’s not his personal best, but it was good enough to secure his title once more. Well done guys! We hope to see you all at the next one!

The last run of the day saw the boys from Team Orange come out to play with their Ford Cortina. Not with the owner Robbie driving though. Unfortunately they encountered some issues on the run and called it a day.

All in all the consensus amongst everyone is that this was one of the best events for a while. I have to agree. The West Coast Racing team is improving the event year after year, and so are the competitors. It’s not long till we see a lot more supercars attend as well. Lambo, Ferrari and Porsche taking on the likes of turbo charged Mk1’s, Corollas, GTR’s and more… we can’t wait! See you at the next one!

Check out the gallery below for the rest of the pics.

RaceMasteR J

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