Drag Racing at Killarney

The sixth round of the 2019 Drag racing series at Killarney International Raceway on Saturday 20 July is open to both streetcars and motorcycles, and purpose-built drag racers, as part of a doubleheader with Round 6 of the Short Circuit series – both on one ticket at R80 for adults, R20 for scholars under 16 and free for children under 12.

The date just happens to be the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the moon, which brings to mind all manner of comparisons, especially in terms of acceleration.

When Apollo 11 blasted off from the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral in Florida, Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were subjected to just under four times the force of gravity, i.e. 4G.

When Reece Robertson launches off the line at the start of an 8.635 second run, his Suzuki GSX-R1000 L7 hits maximum acceleration of about 42 metres per second  – a little more than 4.2G.

Even at the end of the run, when it’s accelerating relatively slowly, Sean Zurich’s Honda Civic is pushing almost 1G – which means that Zurich is being thrust back into his seat by a force very nearly equal to his own weight. When they tell you straight-line racing is not for sissies, they’re not kidding.

And some of the fastest-accelerating cars, bakkies and motorcycles in the Western Cape will be lining up to take advantage of the crisp winter air on Lunar Landing Day because cooler, denser air means the engines take in more oxygen per litre of inlet gases.

That’s a mild form of chemical supercharging, and it applies just as much to turbocharged engines – why d’you think they have intercoolers? – so you can expect whiplash launches off the line, and a few ‘personal best’ times, from both the professional-level competitors and those street-car drivers brave enough to mix it with the big dogs.

The gates open at 7:00am on Saturday 20 July and racing begins at 9:00am. Pay at the gate: Adults R80, scholars under 16 R20 and children under 12 free.