‘Drag’ for speed merchants

Three rounds of National Drag Racing Championships were held at the MMSC track at Sriperumbudur. The popularity of the event could be gauged from the crowd that came to the track. And local racer Karthik Tharani, driving a Volkswagen Ameo, won the Unrestricted category in the third round held last week.
Drag racing under way at the recently concluded National Championship in Chennai
Drag racing under way at the recently concluded National Championship in Chennai


Youngsters astride their bikes or in their cars quite often race each other in pairs at high speeds on a straight strip of tarmac roads in our cities. In technical terms, this form of competition is known as the ‘drag’. 
These thrill-seeking city kids indulge themselves in drag races that are basically illegal as they are run on public roads without necessary civic and police permissions, and more importantly, in an unsafe and uncontrolled environment. 
In sharp contrast, the Indian National Drag Racing Championship being conducted by Madras Motor Sports Club (MMSC) provides a platform for the speed merchants to race each other in controlled conditions where top priority is given to safety. 
It is mandatory for the competitors to wear appropriate safety gear. Essentially, the drag is about speed on a straight line with start and finish points. 
The competitors are clocked and the fastest is the winner. The length of the drag strip can vary between 300 metres and 400 metres with a braking zone of about 300 to 400 metres to help the competitors to sufficiently slow down their vehicles before returning either to their respective garages or holding area as the case may be. 
The MMSC-FMSCI Indian National Drag Championship is contested in various categories. At the top end in the “Unrestricted” class whereas the name suggests, the machines, bikes or cars, are allowed to be fully modified. It calls for a deep knowledge and understanding of the machinery with the engineers or mechanics playing a critical role in the preparations of the vehicle. 
One can even enter a fully imported vehicle in the “Unrestricted” class. Similarly, there are other categories identified by certain restricted modifications and cubic capacity of the engine or purely Stock vehicles. The MMSC conducts races for local riders in a bid to promote the sport at grass-root levels. 
As such, speed enthusiasts can enter a drag competition in their regular vehicles with or without modification, depending on one’s budgets. It is most advisable to participate in a regulated competition instead of racing on city streets.

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