Quintin van Jaarsveld
Tense scenes played out at Dezzi South Coast Raceway when experienced racer Collin Naidoo rolled his vehicle in a serious crash during Saturday’s drag racing event.
Naidoo lost control of his Champ Bakkie during a head-to-head showdown, shot off the Oslo Beach track and crashed into a bank, sending his vehicle flying in a scary incident.
After a tense few moments, with the crowd – including Naidoo’s family – holding their collective breath, Naidoo emerged from the wrecked vehicle unscathed.
Paramedics from the designated onsite ambulance immediately checked on Naidoo, who thanks in large part to his vehicle’s roll cage, needed no medical attention.
His beloved ‘Ben 10’ bakkie, inspired by his son’s favourite show, was less fortunate, but the damage mattered little in the bigger scheme of things.
A legend in KwaZulu-Natal drag racing circles, Naidoo is an accomplished racer with over 30 years of racing experience and had run around 11.5-second passes at previous events.
“To my Ben 10 crew, thank you for always having my back – I appreciate you guys. To my Ben 10 fans, I am perfectly well and I will be back,” said Naidoo.
He added it was important not to speculate on the cause of the accident, as many took to social media and blamed it on heavy crosswinds.
“As a racer, people need to understand that the sport we do is dangerous, so we should not point fingers at the organisers. They take the precautions of having the necessary people on site if anything should go wrong. We as racers know the risk.
“In my personal opinion, Dezzi is a beautiful track to race on and I would like to take my hat off to Harry [Naidoo] and Darren Lewis for all the assistance and support – that’s what you need; you guys are doing an amazing job…keep it up.
“Personally, I believe that if it had been a concrete barricade that was there instead of the bank, the aftermath would have been way worse.”
Harry Naidoo from KwaZulu-Natal Drag Racing told eHowzit: “As event organisers, we never want to see any of our racers get hurt or injured in any way and always make sure the cars are scrutinised properly and that we ensure drivers’ safety comes first.
“Thanks to the safety precautions Collin took on his vehicle, he was very lucky to walk away from an accident like that with no injuries.
“This was an example of how dangerous the sport can be, and why we will never be in favour of illegal street racing. It stresses the importance of racing at a facility with as much safety precautions as possible, from having a medical vehicle onsite to having a lot of staff on hand to help drivers and with the running of the event.
“The accident left Ben 10 in wreck, but thank God Collin walked out without a scratch and I’m sure we will see the legend back racing soon.
“Being the driver that he is, he made it seem like a tiny vender bender and joined the rest of the racers for the remainder of the day, watching the balance of the racing,” he added.
Naidoo was one of 80 drivers who competed in the first naturally-aspirated drag racing event at the venue.
“Aside from the accident, the event was brilliant,” said Naidoo. “It was amazing to see so many new racers at Dezzi Raceway. We had serious crosswinds to deal with, but overall it was highly successful.”