Mean machines, speed craze take drag racing to a new level

Youth ready to shell out huge sums to get vehicles altered

Not just the heart of the City, but Bangalore’s relatively quieter outskirts are now getting used to zooming cars and bikes as the trend for drag racing and wheelie competitions is on the rise, thanks to the greater availability of power bikes. 

Sources in traffic police admit that mainly youth bikers, who enjoy the greater speed the engines could support, indulge in such races despite attempts at a crackdown. 

They say roads relatively free from traffic on the City’s fringes provide an ideal venue for the bikers to hold the races, with Old Madras Road, Sarjapur Road, Nandi Hills road, Nice Road and Outer Ring Roads attracting much of them. 

Quick race

Wheelie competitions are often held informally, with a rider asking the biker next to him if he is interested in a quick race. A bet amount and a distance of the race are agreed upon and the bikers race away, creating a great deal of risk for themselves and for other riders on the road. A slight jerk is all it takes for fatalities. 

“We have blacklisted drag racing and wheelie competitions,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) B Dayananda.

“These activities have become a hobby for the City’s youth who do not know the repercussions. These competitions take place on the City’s outskirts and usually during the weekend.” 

Dayananda said police swoop down on such races after being tipped off by the public. “They keep changing the spots (of the races), which is a hindrance we face in stopping them. So the public who witness the races can inform the nearby police station or note down the registration numbers of the bikes taking part.” 

Asked about the reason for the increase in such races, police point to gleaming showrooms in the City that display power bikes from both home-grown and international brands. Bajaj, Suzuki and Honda have a strong base in the City, as engines of such bikes, along with features and component meant for racing, are highly in demand among the college youth. 

With foreign brands such as Hyosung, Moto Guzzi and Harley Davidson thrown in for good measure, the City is now buzzing with high-power bikes that add to the youths’ excitement.Speed lovers, therefore, take  biking to a new height by holding wheelie competitions, police said. 

Police also seem to keep an eye on mechanic sheds that work on those bikes to increase their speeds. Saleem Pasha, a specialist in altering bikes, said, “Our garage gets at least two bikes a week. It is mostly youngsters who want their bikes to be tweaked as they take part in wheelie. We customise the bikes to make them suitable for such a racing.” 

Another mechanic said on the condition of anonymity, “Youngsters want us to alter their cars in such a way that they have all the features necessary for drag racing. A car can be altered for a sum ranging between Rs 30,000 and Rs 15 lakh. They are ready to spend huge money just to crank up the vehicle’s speed limit.”
 The mechanic also said the youth often come with foreign accessories and ask him to fix them in their vehicles, but added that he has no idea where they get those accessories from. Police say they do not have the exact number of injuries and deaths due to drag racing as those involving in such acts are booked for rash and negligent driving. 

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