Bay teen a class act on race track

Tremaine van Aardt

A PORT Elizabeth teenager is following in his drag-racing motorcyclist father’s tracks. Dayaan Padayachee, 17, finished second in the Swallows Rally drag race in Robertson, in the Western Cape, at the weekend.

The 17-year-old Grade 11 Pearson High School pupil was one of 25 dragsters participating. He said yesterday motorcycles had been part of his life for as long as he could remember.

“I climbed on my first bike when I was four years old. Since then I have progressed from a 50cc bike to my current 1000cc BMW. The funny part is, I don’t have a licence to drive on public roads. I only have my MSA [Motorsport South Africa] licence to drag on the track,” Dayaan said.

Along with drag racing, Dayaan is also now experimenting with motorcycle drifting.

“I recently started drifting with my bike. I first saw guys doing it in Cape Town. After that I had to try it, learning what I know from watching YouTube videos,” he said.

“My dad customised one of the bikes to accommodate the strain of drifting. And I’m hoping to grow the trend in Port Elizabeth.”

Dayaan’s father, coach and mechanic, Dayalan Padayachee, has won numerous drag-racing and wheelie competitions, including the Swallows event. He said his son’s talent and ability even took him by surprise at times. “Dayaan took naturally to the sport. Last year [at] the Swallows Rally he won the 1000cc category. This year we entered in the open event despite running the same 1000cc motor. We lost to a 1400cc in the final but in the process knocked out what are on paper a lot stronger bikes than his,” Padayachee said.

But Dayaan does not allow his passion for bikes get in the way of his schoolwork. “I put in the hours when it comes to biking and my school work. It is very demanding when there are biking events coming up.

“But I simply do what needs to be done if I intend winning. My family are always backing me and have full confidence in my ability,” he said.

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