'I've raced against young people, older women and middle-aged men'
Emma Browne speaks to a 25-year-old male involved in street racing in Dublin
'It is always late on Sunday evenings, around one o'clock in the morning, mainly in the summer, in industrial estates or roads that have just been built, no one around, no traffic on them.
"Two people race each other in a quarter-mile sort of run. There is a start line, a finish line and who ever crosses the finish line first wins... They are mainly 18- to 30-year-olds. There are women who do it also – there would be a lot of girls at them in souped-up cars as well."
"I have personally raced against middle-aged people, mainly men in their BMWs, Audis, Porches, Mercedes. And in one instance a woman of 60-plus who was racing in a Golf GTI at speeds of 70mph on the Stillorgan road.
"There are also older people, 40-plus, who own high-performance cars – Ferrari, Porches – that organise street races between themselves."
At a recent race he got to just under 100mph – generally at a quarter-mile race the cars would reach speeds of between 70-100mph.
He says he has never been at any races where there have been crashes or heard of any. But, he says, "there is an element of risk to anything".
Generally the races take place outside Dublin in local counties. There is no drinking or drug-taking at them as far as he knows.
It has been reported that races are advertised by placing a 'for sale' sign in the window of a car with a mobile phone number and this is an invitation to race. He says that is "rubbish". "You would all sort of meet up, everyone would phone each other, meet at a garage somewhere and all drive off in convoy. Some nights you get 15 people, other nights might be 100."
People group into gangs from their area: "They group together and have their little gang names, have their little stickers on their cars... a lot from west Dublin, south Dublin – Shankill, Deansgrange... There are two kinds of people at the races: the young lads with their crap cars – they are the stupid ones. People who have put money into their cars don't want to put them or their car in danger.
"They bet for money – about €50 to the winner."
They recently were racing at a racecourse when security came along and blocked the cars in. They didn't call the Garda Síochána. The racers drove straight at the security guards and their cars and the security guards had to move out of the way or get mowed down. He has been at races where the Garda have come along and checked people's tax and insurance. "If people have no insurance or tax they threaten to take the cars but I have never seen this happen."
There have been media reports that the two cars involved in the recent Monaghan crash were playing "chicken", a deadly game where two drivers race towards each other and whoever 'chickens out' first is the loser, although this has been denied by friends of the men who were killed. He says he has never heard of this.
He wouldn't race like this if there were facilities, he says. For instance, in the US weekly inexpensive events are organised where people can race. The only option in Ireland is a €300-round at Mondello or racing on the street.