The Aamby Valley airstrip once again played host to drag-racing enthusiasts from different parts of the country. The 2014 Valley Run, held on January 25-26, witnessed participants astride machines of various cubic capacities attempt to set the best quarter-mile time. The participants came in all shapes, sizes, paintjobs and modifications, with some motorcycles and cars stripped down to their bare mechanical essentials in the interest of reducing weight.
The Valley Run is India’s only drag racing event which takes place on a secluded airstrip. Organized by Elite Octane, the event drew over 300 competitors, who were segregated into different classes according to engine size, make and modifications. They were then allowed one practice run to get their launch right before the final run. Those who had a jumpstart were allowed another run, but at the cost of a penalty fine. Needless to say, all eyes were on the Christmas tree every time a competitor lined up.
It’s not everyday that one gets to see an assortment of superbikes and supercars tear down an open stretch of road, and spectators had lined up along the barricades from early morning itself. The first day saw the practice and final run of the Indian class motorcycles, while the second day was dedicated to Indian cars, foreign cars and unrestricted class competitors. It was an absolute joy to witness an Audi R8, Nissan GT-R, Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi S4, Nissan 350Z, Porsche Boxster and BMW Z4 go flat-out on the air strip. There were also the usual Zens with bigger 1300cc and 1600cc engines, and a few cars equipped with NOS, but it was the Nano and Rolls-Royce that garnered applause from the crowds.
Amir Tarik Gore, driving the Nissan GT-R, clocked the fastest time of 10.508s in the J unrestricted class. The H4 class (foreign cars from 4001cc street stock) was won by Kaviraj Bhadari with a time of 12.27s in an Audi R8. In the H3 class (foreign cars from 3001cc to 4000cc), Neeraj Sharma took first place with a time of 14.544s in a Porsche Boxster. The top honour in the H2 class (foreign cars from 2001 to 3000cc) went to Naazir Kazi with a time of 14.211 clocked in a BMW Z4.
Among the bikes was an electric motor-powered street prototype from Tork Motorcycles, which conducted a demo run - with a 40bhp DC motor, it completed the run in 17.31 seconds. In the M8 class (motorcycles from 751 to 1000cc 4-stroke), Abhishek R set a time of 10.389s to claim first place. In second place was Rizwan Khan, who clocked a time of 10.53s on a Yamaha R1. Mohammad Riyaz, riding a Suzuki GSXR 750, completed the run in 11.442s and secured first place in the M7 class (600 to 750cc 4-stroke). The M2 category (motorcycles from 251 to 360cc 2-stroke) saw A Anthony come out tops with a time of 12.843 on the Yamaha RD 350. Iqbal Shaikh completed the quarter-mile in a scant 13.115s astride a Yamaha RX135 to finish first in the M1 class (100 to 250cc 3-stroke).
But it was 11-time world drag race champion Rickey Gadson who really got the crowds cheering hard. Many couldn’t control their excitement and jumped over the barricade to get closer to his demo runs. On the first couple of runs, he rode a NOS-equipped ZX14R. Owing to the dust on the airstrip, the tyres had difficulty in laying down power cleanly. Gadson then switched over to a ZX14R tuned by
Mumbai based 7th Gear Customs. He completed the run in a time of 9.843s with a reaction time of 0.068s and an exit speed of 233kph! And that now is the fastest drag racing time on Indian soil. Republic Day couldn't get more exciting than this.