MABALACAT CITY – It has become all too common every night – motorcycle street-drag racing along the MacArthur Highway in Barangays Dau, Camachiles and Mabiga here.
Street drag racing is illegal but starting at around midnight, scores of motorcycle riders gather along the MacArthur Highway and set up drag races unmindful of other motorists and in complete disregard of law enforcers. Most racers modify their motorcycles which emit loud noises.
The race is often a 300-meter sprint or what drag racers call a “cannonball run” which usually starts in front of Puregold Dau northbound up to MacDonald’s where scores of spectators gather at the designated finish line even cheering the racers just like in the popular Hollywood flick, “The Fast and the Furious.”
The drag race is also set-up in front of the SM Hyper Market in Barangay Camachiles along the said highway and ends up in front of the San Rafael Parish Church in Barangay Mabiga. It happens almost nightly, said a resident in the area.
“We’re immediately alerted because of the loud noise and the crowd,” he added. “It’s a breakdown of law and order,” quipped another. The race set-up is complete with “race officials” who man the starting and finish lines as well as a “flagger” who starts the race.
The flagger stands in front of the motorcycles and making an up-down motion with his arms, a white flag in both hands, signals that the race is about to start. Racers occupy the middle of the road gunning their loud engines before finally taking-off. Other crews warn motorists to stay off from the drag strip which is the highway.
A drag racer said bets are placed, often in the thousands, which are collected before the start. But he said some spectators also place their bets. Just like in the movie, the drag racers scamper to different directions if the police arrive on the scene.
News reports indicate that residents along a stretch of MacArthur Highway in nearby Angeles City are also complaining over the noise being produced by unruly motorcycle drag racers in their area. Meanwhile, a lone policeman on duty at the police station in Barangay Mabiga was literally sleeping while the race was on.
After he was roused from sleep, he said he will alert the Dau Police Station which has, according to him, jurisdiction over the area. But Mabalacat Traffic Enforcement Group (MTEG) chief Chook Santos said he will monitor the highway for the illegal drag races.
Street racing is an unsanctioned and illegal form of motor racing that occurs on a public road which can either be spontaneous or well-planned and coordinated. Fatalities among racers and pedestrians are not uncommon.