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‘Legitimate sport’: Car ‘gang’ founders speak out

After hundreds of ‘boy racers’ – or ‘drifters’ – descended on the region at the end of last year, police are promising to take a stand against “anti-social” driving behaviour, while Minister of Police Mark Mitchell is reportedly “extremely unhappy” and has the situation in Wairarapa in his sights.

The night of December 30 saw up to 600 people line the rural roads of Wairarapa in more than 250 cars, with police reporting that the crowd had aimed fireworks in their direction and jumped on police vehicles.

There were also reports of a young person – estimated to be female who was 15 or 16 years of age – being hit by one of the cars participating in the skids.

Police confirmed that among the hundreds of cars, only 10 or 20 participated in the ‘drifting’ [otherwise known as ‘burnouts’].

Two prominent groups were identified as participating in the Wairarapa incident – one from Hawke’s Bay that refers to themselves as “211 Mafia”, and a local, associated outfit from Masterton with the moniker “Masterton Menace”.

The Times-Age spoke with the founders of 211 Mafia, who agreed to speak anonymously, for their perspective on the perceived ‘accelerating boy racer’ problem and the events of December 30.

“The roots of 211 and why we created it was based on changing the car scene to become more welcoming to all car enthusiasts of any skill level, of any gender and age,” they said.

Incidents had happened in the past where those without any ‘skidding’ experience – girls, in particular – had been “laughed off the pad”.

The 211 crew is focused on changing that culture and creating an inclusive drifting culture, the group founders claim.

“Don’t let society dictate what you can or can’t do, and certainly, don’t let the crowd convince you that you’re not good enough,” they said.

The original concept for 211 came from Wellington, but the first crew took root in Hawke’s Bay.

The 211 Mafia quickly expanded to other regions after the name gained traction, they said.

“While we have appointed leaders in each district, our foundation is built on mutual respect and understanding, rooted in strong family values.”

The founders of 211 were not present on December 30 and were unaware that anyone had been hurt.

“As it is a public event, everyone is responsible for their own health and safety.

“We wish no one to get harmed, and we emphasise [this] when organising these meets; however, we do hope for the speedy recovery of the young girl.”

The 211 founders apologised for any inconvenience the December 30 incident may have caused locals.

“It is not our intention to trouble the community. However, please understand that [we have] nowhere else to go. Hopefully in the future we can work with the public to come to a resolution and set up more accessible places for us to go.

“Our fervent plea is for the establishment of accessible and economically viable venues in different districts, ideally overseen by a dedicated individual or team, and open to the public each weekend.

“While we fully comprehend that some have marred the experience for others through misuse, the notion of collective punishment for the actions of a few feels unjust.”

The 211 Mafia founders cited as an example the recent closure of a go-kart track in Kaikōura that had been used for drifting but was closed after a car was burnt out on the track.

“In response, we offer a proactive solution: assuming responsibility for its management.

“This involves stringent safety checks for participating cars, the installation of barriers to safeguard bystanders, and even the implementation of a controlled schedule, perhaps restricting access to specific days.

“Drawing attention to government expenditures on amenities like cycle lanes, playgrounds, and sports fields for rugby and soccer, it’s disheartening that drifting – a legitimate sport – remains overshadowed due to the lack of suitable venues.

“We are eager to contribute positively to our community, showcasing the responsible side of drifting/burnouts and dispelling any misconceptions that may have led to the undermining of our sport.

“In a landscape where millions are allocated to various recreational spaces, it’s high time drifting receives its due acknowledgement and accessible grounds to thrive.

“While the police are entitled to their opinions, likening a car crew to a ‘highly organised criminal gang’ raises questions about whether they might be portraying an unfairly negative image to the public.

“It seems unjust to discriminate against individuals who simply unite due to their shared love and passion for cars.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. Do you ask cyclists to pay for cycle lanes? Is it up to the community to pay for that? Those cycle lanes were created because the community complained of cyclists on the road. And now the community is complaining about boy racers on the road. So all we’ve done is come up with a solution.
    Also irrelevant comparing the cost between buying tyres and buying land to build a pad, because they’re very vast in price.
    You say we don’t care about the communities yet they’re are just a bunch of car enthusiasts that unite for their passion for cars. They are a community itself yet you don’t seem to have any problems discriminating them.

  2. If you can afford all the tyres you burnout? Put the money 💰 to get some facility so you can do it 😏. It’s not the up to the community to pay for this. Try hiring the track at the airport? If it’s a so called sport?. Sorry but the majority of your group are boy racers and hoons that don’t give a SHIT ABOUT COMMUNITIES.

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