Parkoffs: shine and show time

Tremaine van Aardt

THE latest show and tell trend to hit the road is taking Nelson Mandela Bay and surrounds by storm – parkoff is fast attracting motor enthusiasts, men and women of all ages, who “ooh” and “ah” at what is done to transform the most standard of vehicles.

Parkoff is the slower side of the often controversial drag-racing which sees souped-up cars racing on track or on public roads. People who attend parkoff gatherings don’t necessarily drag-race. They get their adrenalin pump out of showing off the latest and trendiest modifications to their wheels.

A member of the Mainstream Crew Club, Edward Howard, says the activity is growing at a tremendous rate.

“Parkoffs are new to the drag-racing circuit, and by that I mean dragging and spinning or as it is also known ‘popping wheelies’.

“The rate at which parkoffs have grown is incredible. What started out as individual teams simply showing off their cars at random places, is now a gathering of PE clubs sharing their knowledge and love for motorsport. In Port Elizabeth we have about five major car clubs, with new clubs springing up everywhere. The different car clubs take turns hosting the parkoff event, but all the clubs are free to organise events as they like,” said Howard, a student at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).

Mainstream has been particularly instrumental in organising parkoffs, which Howard describes as events for the whole family.

Howard’s mate and fellow NMMU student, Cheston Pilcher, who is studying commerce, is a drag-racer and member of Club Nissan STI, which only attracts owners of Nissan Sentras and Sabres. “Parkoff is the show-and- shine side of drag-racing. There are many people who parkoff, but don’t race. In drag-racing there is a misconception that we endanger our lives and the lives of spectators. We are aware of this perception and risk, so we don’t race on public roads and in public areas. Instead we race at the likes of Scribante Raceway on the last Thursday of each month. We know about illegal drags that involve driving in the suburbs. Our club does not associate with that.”

To the uninformed passerby, it might look like a collection of cars just parked at the side of the road, but the banter and exchange of ideas allow parkoff enthusiasts to push the boundaries and explore the extent of car modification made possible by the many accessories available in the motor industry.

The reason these events are becoming more regular, with an increasingly growing attendance, is because drag-racing is losing its hooligan image. In the past, these events were poorly managed and at times became uncontrollable. But that’s not the case anymore, say the enthusiasts.

Brent Hansen, a self-employed mechanic, said parkoffs inspired him to transform his standard Honda Civic into a souped-up roadster that now turned heads.

“Before I started modifying my car I used to attend as many parkoffs as possible. They usually only happen once a month but it is the highlight of the month for me.

“At the parkoffs I made sure that I spoke to as many people as possible, trying to find out which engine modifications work and which don’t. These events are very useful for ‘stealing ideas’. I took aspects from different cars at the shows to design my look. Hey, I’m no longer looking at cars now because everybody is looking at mine.”

Car clubs are now run by elected management who organise and supervise the events. Clubs in the Bay work closely together, which has contributed to growth.

Participants were out to impress at the Uitenhage and Jeffreys Bay parkoffs recently. Almost 50 cars were displayed at each event and the unique modifications on the cars made it easy to see why the event was so well attended.

The park-off in Chatty this past Saturday and the breakfast run to Jeffreys Bay on Sunday was a huge success. The breakfast convoy owned the N2 with their spotless head-turners.

The next event is scheduled to begin at 10am today at Gelvandale SuperSpar, hosted by local clubs SHW Ridez, Xtreme Vdubz and Club Nissan STI.

World of Wheels invites all our readers to send in pictures and specs of their unique rides to be featured in the paper.

Let’s show the car manufactures what they couldn’t do.

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