Port Elizabeth motorcycling ace Dayaan Padayachey honoured his late dad in the best possible way when he won a dragster race trophy named after his father, who died in a tragic accident two months ago.
Initially, Dayaan, 20, of Humewood, had no intention of racing at the Dolphin Rally earlier this month as the family had still been coming to terms with the sudden death of his dad, Dayalan, in August.
Dayaan said it was only after he received a call from rally organisers asking for the family’s permission to name a trophy after his father that he decided to get back on his motorbike.
Wheelie and drag-racing king Dayalan, 50, was killed on August 9 after a car allegedly clipped the side of his bike on the N2, causing him to lose control.
He had been on an outing with his family and was travelling back towards Port Elizabeth when the accident occurred.
Dayaan, who had been riding a short distance behind him, arrived on the scene just seconds later.
But his decision to participate in the Dolphin Rally on October 7 saw Dayaan having the emotional and what he described as “guardian angel” experience of winning the inaugural Dayalan Padayachey King of Drags trophy.
Racing his trusty BMW S1000RR, the young dragster smoked the competition, beating a top Cape Town rival to claim the title.
“Getting back on the bike felt good. It was a bit tough at first, but I knew that I had a guardian angel watching over me, which made me relax a lot more,” he explained.
In fact, dad Dayalan had been considered the undisputed “Wheelie King” at the Dolphin Rally, and had defended the Drag King title for a number of years before stepping aside last year, when Dayaan claimed the crown.
Talking about his dad’s death, Dayaan said: “My mother and sister still find it a bit tough, but people deal with pain differently. It’s sad to wake up and know that he is not there.”
Dayaan said he felt it was a “great way to honour my father” and added that winning the race was a fitting way to remember how much his dad meant to the family.
“It was such a huge honour for me to take the title as I had no intention to race, but I decided to participate once I found out the trophy would be named after my father. ”
“I would not have minded if someone else had won the title as you cannot win everything in racing. But the trophy had a lot of sentimental value to me,” Dayaan said.
He recalled how he had got attracted to the world of motorcycles after watching his father win numerous races and trophies at the various rallies he entered.
Dayaan said he had learnt everything he knew about motorcycles from his dad.
“He was my coach, best friend and my father. He would help me set up my bike and always got me whatever I needed for the bike, and I will never forget him.”
The second-year business management student at NMMU is himself no slouch on a motorcycle, having won several drag-racing events and setting the fastest quarter mile time ever recorded on a super bike in the Eastern Cape in October 2013.
The father and son duo also regularly participated in motorcycle rallies around the country, picking up various accolades and wins along the way.
Dayaan admits his father’s love for motorcycles ran deep and every time he got onto his bike, “man and machine became one”.
He believes his father was the best riding partner he has had and he would not find another one like him again.
Dayaan recalled his father’s kind-hearted nature, saying he would always go out of his way to help the next person.
“He was known as ‘Father Christmas’ by some people because of how much joy he found in helping others.”
“He would give newspaper sellers at the robots money and would pay for the groceries bought by pensioners at a local store. He would do things like this out of the kindness of his heart – that’s the kind of person he was,” Dayaan said.
Dolphin Rally president Gona Puckreesamy said naming the trophy after Dayalan was a fitting tribute to a man who was known for his love of motorcycles.
“Dayalan was a legend on the track. He was one of the best all-round bikers I’ve met. In PE he was the top guy for 30 years. So it was fitting for us to name the trophy after him and it was fitting that his son won the trophy,” Puckreesamy said.
Dayaan said he would continue to honour the legacy of his father by entering other races and attending rallies.
“I will continue to do my best at every event I participate in. I also want to airbrush a sticker onto my bike in memory of my dad, so when I am on the track, people can see why I’m racing.”