31 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Drag Racing Champ O'hara Dies

PATRICK O'HARA, the Zimbabwe drag racing champion driver, has died. O'Hara, holder of the fastest time in drag racing at Donnybrook for a decade, died on Tuesday morning in Harare. He was suffering from cancer.

Susan Zevgolis, the secretary of the Dragpro Club who run the sport of drag racing in Zimbabwe, and Temba Mazvimbakupa of the Zimbabwe Motorsport Federation, confirmed O'hara's death yesterday.

Zevgolis described O'hara as one of the pioneers of drag racing in Zimbabwe and she said his untimely death has left the sport poorer.

Mazvimbakupa said all members of the ZMSF were saddened and shocked by O'hara's sudden death and said his death has left a big void in the sport of drag racing in Zimbabwe.

"Patrick O'hara was not only a champion driver in drag racing but was one of the pioneers of the sport in this country and he contributed a lot to its development.

"In fact, O'hara was one of the people who were strongly behind the revival of drag racing in Zimbabwe last year and he attended and competed in all the race meetings that were held at Donnybrook last season. Drag racing is definitely poorer without him," Mazvimbakupa said.

O'hara, a likeable character, competed in drag racing at Donnybrook in his popular yellow Chevrolet beach buggy code-named Dragstar according to the personalised number plates.

The Dragstar is motorised by a Chevrolet 5.7 litre V8 engine which unleashes 600 hp that gives an acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 2.5 seconds.

This without nitrous boost, and this helped O'hara to win numerous drag racing titles at Donnybrook over the past decade.

Apart from racing at Donnybrook, O'hara also visited Johannesburg, South Africa, three times for racing with his Dragstar which was one of the quickest street cars.

O'hara had a fitment centre in Harare and has had his car for about 28 years.

In fact, drag racing was in his blood.

"This is my hobby, I do this (drag racing) part time, it is what I enjoy," O'hara once told a local motoring magazine, Car & Parts, in an interview in August 2011.

He told the same magazine that he enjoyed racing for the most part of his life since he was a boy.

Apart from drag racing, O'hara was also part of former African motor rallying champion Conrad Rautenbach's technical support team at Green Fuel Team.

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