Last night me and the Aussie joined some of my friends at the Hidden Valley Drag Strip in Darwin to watch some Drag Racing.
According to good old Wikipedia Drag racing is a type of motor racing in which automobiles or motorcycles (usually specially prepared for the purpose) compete, usually two at a time, to be first to cross a set finish line. The race follows a short, straight course from a standing start over a measured distance, most commonly ¼ mile (1,320 ft (402 m)), with a shorter 1,000 ft (305 m) for nitromethane powered Top Fuel dragsters and funny cars, while 660 ft (201 m) (1/8 mi) is also popular in some circles. Electronic timing and speed sensing systems have been used to record race results since the 1960s.
Before each race, each driver is allowed to perform a burnout, which heats the driving tires and lays rubber down at the beginning of the track, improving traction. Each driver then lines up at the starting line. Races are then started electronically by a system known as a Christmas tree.
We of course knew none of this so kept asking the Aussie lots of questions about what the competitors were doing and why! He looked quite concerned when I asked him and one of my friends how you do a burn out in a car and immediately responded with “I’m not telling you that”.
I can’t understand his concern (apparently a burnout is the practice of keeping a vehicle stationary and spinning its wheels, causing the tires to heat up and smoke due to friction. Technically the tire is not burning and the smoke is primarily a vapor (similar to steam). A tire that is set on fire will burn with a thick black smoke but that is rarely the result of a “burnout”).
After all of the racing there was a burn out competition, although no idea who won! A few of the drivers took their cars in to the staging area and drove the cars, sometimes until the tyres popped! There was a lot of smoke and the fire service were on hand just in case.
It was actually a really cool night watching the cars race. Initially we sat down at the starting line so you got to see the cars start the race and doing their burn outs before starting which was fun. Later in the evening me and the Aussie wandered down to the pits and watched from the finishing line which was really good as we got to see what time they raced in and most importantly how fast in miles and then kilometres an hour and some of them didn’t drive much faster than we would on the motorway in the UK.
All in all we had lots of fun and the Aussie got to see lots of cool cars which always goes down well.
Some videos from the night are below: