Drag Racing in Sri-Lanka

Posted on Jun 24, 2004 by Administrator

Drag Racing in Sri-Lanka

Much has been said lately about the drag racing that takes place late in the nights over weekends in Sri-Lanka. Also much has been said about the recent accidents that took place and this seems to have given the drag races a bad name country over.

Whilst I do not live in Sri-Lanka (in fact I can hardly call my self a Lankan as I have been away since I was wee small), I do still love the country and more so love motor sports like nothing else in the world.

It is this love for the sport that prompted me to write this article.

The enormous popularity of the Drag Races that takes place in the streets of Sri-Lanka, states clearly to anyone the vast vacuum in the country for greater entertainment involving motor sports. Especially Drag races.

Everyone has been very quick to blame the drag race participants and the organisers for doing something totally illegal on public roads. Illegal it is and by no means should motor racing be allowed on public roads. But what no body seems to talk about is how no one (in authority) has come forward to get the races more organized and into the mainstream of motor sports in Sri-Lanka.

From the knowledge I have (please correct me if I am wrong) the drag races have been going on for quite sometime now and whilst everyone has jumped on the bandwagon to say, “we told you so” after the accidents, no one seems to be saying “we should have done something to safe guard these race lovers”.

If there is someone in authority governing motor sports in general in Sri-Lanka, then I feel that initiative should have been made long time ago by the same authority to get things organised and races taking place in a more controlled safe environment.

People may say that racing costs a lot of money and that there is no such money in the country. In my opinion this is a load of crap (pardon the pun). Firstly people who can afford to race their everyday use road going cars surely can afford to pool some money together. Secondly, with the huge popularity of these races, I fail to see how corporate organisations will not stand to gain very handsomely by getting involved.

If after market suppliers in vehicle “mod” parts can cash in on the growing situation, then why can’t someone cash in on the racing aspect of it?

The potential is certainly there, but what is lacking is the organisation. I would dearly love to see seniors from the motor racing society come forth and lend a helping had to the drag racers.

Apart from the senior drag racers in the country there is a large group of youngsters who are dying to get behind the wheel of a car and race.

Some of these youngsters may be “wanna be racers” who knows nothing about racing. Some of them might not even know how to shift gears in a straight line (as said by someone). But the truth of the matter is there is an abundance of enthusiasm towards the races. It is by pointing these enthusiasts in the right direction that one can look forward to seeing more and more young blood coming into the racing scene.

We should take great pride in promoting young ones coming into motor sports from grass root levels and then proceeding to higher levels. It is this that ensures the growth of motor sports as a whole. It is this that ensures we all (young and old) gets to be involved in motor racing as long as we want.

The recent accidents that took place are tragic and I wish all injured a speedy recovery. But at the same time, I ask society not to blame it entirely on the drag organizers or the drag racers. 

If information serves me correctly, the accidents had taken place after the drag races. Also the sever injuries sustained by the occupants of these vehicles was clearly due to not wearing seat belts. From the pictures I saw, the damages to the cars was nothing much. I have seen worse where the occupants have walked away without a scratch. 

The purpose of this article is not to justify unauthorised street racing, nor is it to encourage such races. At the same time I do not intend on pointing fingers at any one individual for the recent events. But what I am saying, is that the races (drag or any other for that matter) neither be killed nor that they be given a bad name. What I am asking for is that leaders in the motor sports fraternity come forth and show the way forward to these enthusiasts. Because the harder we try to stop these races, the harder they will try to race. 


Duncan Udawatta 
duncan@autolanka.com