Wednesday, 01 November 2000 23:47 replies to the PMA....

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Mr. Vip Isada,

I thank you for taking the time to review my article and for visiting our little neck of the woods on the Internet.

For some reason, though, it seems you may have misconstrued the message of my article. I simply wanted to invoke some thought in to the impending implementation of licenses for drag racers.

For as long as drag racing has existed, amateur drag racers NEVER had to have licenses other than a valid driver's license. This is due to the fact that the, sport in majority, is an amateur sport. Even the NHRA, whose rules were the basis of the FIA drag racing rules and procedures, does not require licenses for amatuer racers. It's just not necessary.

The organizers of local events are the one's who are responsible for policing and making sure that their participants are fit to race as well as making sure their vehicles are just as fit for racing. Safety has always been the responsibility of the organizers as well as the participants themselves.

It's nice to know that the PMA, now, cares for the safety of drag racers. Though, I believe that imposing such a license requirement will hinder the growth of the sport as a whole. One of the chief factors in the imense growth of drag racing in the US, Mexico, Canada and Puerto Rico is that it is EASY to participate. One simply just has to show up with a safe vehicle, pay the entry fee and submit the sign up form, along with the signed waiver form. Sure, in the PRO classes, where cars are running in the 10's or faster, do have a racing license requirement. But, if they chose to participate in the amateur brackets, that requirement isn't needed.

It works well for the NHRA and the US, why do we have to change it? As it is today, we DON'T hold events in the same manner. Can this be one of the reasons that the sport hasn't grown to its potential, even after decades of running events? If it works, why change it? As a matter of fact, why haven't we just followed the system that surely works, to the letter (NHRA)?

We all want the same thing, safe and legal races, with lots of participants. And, hopefully, minimal street racing, to boot! But since bracket racing in the Philippines today is still in infancy, I feel that licensing is a bit premature, and could possibly have a negative effect on participation. Sure, those who already race at legal events, don't mind the requirement. They're used to following rules and regulations. But what about attracting those who still race on the streets? This will certainly NOT attract them. If anything, its another reason NOT to attend these events.

How can I say such things? Well, sir, I DO my research (a lot more than you give me credit for). I have spoken to countless "street racers", both from here and from the US (New York, New Jersey, Brooklyn, Queens, LA, Salinas, Carlsbad, ect...). The consensus is the same. Street racers don't attend events because it's too much of a hassle. That's the REALITY of the situation, not speculation.

Those who got converted, me as one of them, did so simply because it was no longer worth the risk of getting caught. That's the secret. If they can't get away with it, they won't do it. In this country, you and I both know how easy it is to get away with things. That's the hurdle that needs to be over come.

In Flushing Queens, street racing was minimized by implementing "zero tolerance" by the police. Squad cars were stationed at ALL the racing spots. In Brooklyn, where 8 second cars used to run on the Van Wyck Expressway, was dead! Just a few cars cruising around hoping for the police cars to leave.

So, what happened to the street racers? They went to Egnlishtown Raceway Park!

Ofcourse, city Mayors change, and so do internal policies. Street racers always find a way to come back. But, all it takes is ENFORCEMENT of the law, and they go, in hoards, to the track. In my opinion, that's the only way to control street racing. Maybe the PMA and its considerable lobbying influence should focus its efforts in pressuring our law enforcement to actually ENFORCE the law by not allowing speed contests on our city streets.

Then again, that's only my opinion.


Mark "Chuck" Montecillo webmaster

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