(Photo Credit: File )
Starting next week, Government intends to commence public consultations on the plan to regularize drag racing as an accepted motor sport in the Territory.
This interest to make drag racing, which is currently an underground activity mainstream has been a pushed by the Premier for close to ten years, dating back to the tenure as Minister for Education and Culture. The promise was repeated on the 2019 campaign trail and now Hon. Fahie said it is moving forward.
In making the announcement in the House of Assembly on November 19 during the budget address, Hon. Fahie said, “Many people in the Territory are fans of drag racing, but it is unsafe for this pastime to take place on our public roads…Within the next week, we will call a public forum with all our youth and interested persons to turn this into a sport of safety and fun, as it has the potential, if conducted in a responsible manner, to generate employment opportunities and attract revenues.”
In noting that this can be a revenue generator the Premier announced, “Motorsports can then be added to our tourism product. We will discuss sites where Government land is available and turn our fears into opportunities.”
Back in 2010, while Hon. Fahie oversaw a contract of approximately $96,500 which was awarded to New Direction Consultancy to examine the feasibility and draft the legislation for drag racing.
At that time, a series of public meetings were held to gather opinion on the establishment of drag car racing in the Territory at various locations. Then in April the following year Hon. Fahie informed the House of Assembly that the feasibility study showed that drag racing was feasible in the BVI. That study was part one of the contract.
Additionally, a poll, was taken at that time on the public’s interest in seeing drag racing become a recognize activity and the results showed that 60.6 percent of the sample poll between the age of 25-50 were in favour and 39.6 percent of the polled were against drag racing.
The second part of the contract required the drafting of the legislation and regulations that would govern drag racing in the Territory; and Hon. Fahie said that the consultant commenced drafting.
At the time, the push to regulate drag racing was seen as the answer to the uncontrolled underground drag racing activity that was taking place late at nights in places like the airport stretch of road in Beef Island.
As he mentioned the situation during the April 18, 2011 sitting of the House of Assembly Hon. Fahie said: “Although police continue to warn against street racing people continue to drive and spectators continue to witness races in close proximity. Should we continue to ignore this and bother police with this when they have other serious crimes to look into?”