Forget NASCAR

Something has always profoundly disturbed me about NASCAR. There’s something quasi-totalitarian about driving in a circle a hundred or so times–we take the automobile, the ultimate expression of ‘Merican America-ness, and strip away the freedom to go places. NASCAR seems like a contest of discipline, precision and control–a contest that would fit comfortably into a highly regimented society, like oh, say, Soviet Russia?

In most of the world, true motorheads prove they bleed oil and lube by racing on real roads, preferably ice-covered gravel, in compact cars with massively overpowered engines. Ideally with people standing about 5 feet from the cars–none of this safe distance nonsense. This is Rally Racing.

And we do it here in SA. Last weekend, the Rally circuit passed through an area very close to me during the annual Sasol Rally. Most of the 2-day event took place on logging roads around Sabie, but for a short special stage they set up in a nearby village.

Almost every professional sport in South Africa besides Soccer is trying to build their Black fanbase. Rallying is no exception. But unlike the sometimes slightly forced feeling that comes with heavy promotion of cricket and rugby to Black audiences, Rallying seems a more natural fit. We’ve already established that people from the neighborhood love to do crazy things with their cars. And as you can see above, a good number of people came out for this event.

This guy was so pumped he did a Petey Pablo impression with his free t-shirt:

The stage was very short–a half kilometer out through some barricades and a speed bump, a hairpin turn, and back to the finish.

Dodging barricades:

A video of the speed bump

Making dust in the hairpin turn:

And a video of a car making the hairpin turn.