Quintin van Jaarsveld
Drag racers raced for much more than bragging rights at Dezzi South Coast Raceway on Saturday.
A total of 80 drivers pushed their machines to the maximum on the Oslo Beach track to raise funds for Kershan Naidoo, a Durban-born pilot who was left partially-paralysed after a straightforward procedure in January 2017.
Naidoo had broken his arm when he fell off a chair while on a rest break at a French military base. His arm had been put in a cast before he returned to Durban to receive proper medical attention at a private hospital in Umhlanga, where the commercial pilot’s life headed into a drastically different direction.
What should have been a straightforward procedure instead saw Naidoo mysteriously end up in ICU on life support.
He’s been confined to a bed ever since, the former pilot making small trips in his wheelchair every now and then and struggling to talk.
Harry Naidoo, head of KZN Drag Racing and Gas Magazine, dedicated the weekend’s race as a fundraiser for his long-time friend.
The headlining head-to-head battle between Kirschlee Naidoo of TMT Performance and Karthy Naidoo of Yogan Trix saw both drivers jump, however, Kershan was the real winner of the day.
Sporting his pilot uniform, Kershan enjoyed a memorable day of racing among family and friends, with the racing fraternity rallying together to raise over R30 000.
“It means the world to be able to support Kershan,” Harry told eHowzit. “He was a gentleman, intelligent, always outgoing and full of positivity. We see the Kershan we knew coming back slowly and he has come a long way. Thank you to every single person that contributed to the Kershan’s Wings Foundation. Your support has not gone unnoticed.”
Fellow organiser Yashmeetha Ori added, “It was very emotional to see Kershan come out in his pilot uniform and also such a proud moment to see that he was so excited to be around people.
“He used to love watching the drags and this was so good for his spirit. He got to see some of the cars up close and also meeting the drivers and people that donated to his cause was great.”
Harry hailed it as “a special event.”
“This has got to be one of the best drag events we have ever had at Dezzi. When we prepped on Friday afternoon, Darren Lewis and I just felt like it was going to be special,” he said.
“On Saturday morning, we started seeing guys coming off the trailer laying down solid 11-second runs. We knew then and there we were in for something special.
“An hour in and 13 pro-shafts and cvs later, the times started to drop. We got to see some special times; Donovan Govender making a blistering 9.86 pass and Karthy Naidoo always super consistent in the 9s as well.
“Huvashan Govender driving like a beast 10.1 with his rotary-powered Champ, Prevan Govender surprising us all with a 10.9 pass, Collin making a respectable 10.5 pass and Vijen running his personal best of 11.7 with his normally-aspirated Mk1 Escort. We also got to see the fastest diesels and Run X RSI’s in the country make good passes.
“I cannot thank Karthy and Kirschlee Naidoo enough for being gentlemen and role models for the sport. I would also like to thank Yashmeetha Ori, Darren Lewis, all our marshalls, scrutineers, sponsors and the raceway because without them, none of this would be possible.”
Follow Kershan’s story on the Kershan’s Wings Facebook page.
Donations can be made using the following details:
Acc no: 252090713
Branch: Umhlanga Ridge (057829)
Code (Electronic payments): 051001
Swift: SBZA ZA JJ
Acc type: BIZLAUNCH