Car cruisers in road races war

The Black Country has long been considered a car cruisers' mecca, its roads jammed with souped up sleek machines, its car parks given over to the sound of blaring horns and blasting subwoofers.

Shane Lloyd runs legal modified car events that are now being banned in the Black Country by High Court Injunction this week
Shane Lloyd runs legal modified car events that are now being banned in the Black Country by High Court Injunction this week

Now a new law has been passed banning car cruising in the area, with those organising and taking part in meetings facing a fine and possible arrest.

The four local authorities across the region initiated the injunction in a bid to stamp out what one council boss called 'the menace of car of car cruising', after 31 accidents and four deaths were attributed to the practice in recent years.

A judge hammered another nail into the coffin by saying there was 'complete lawlessness' over the issue, with police often unable to charge or even trace offenders.

The upshot was a ruling that prohibits two or more modified vehicles gathering between 3pm and 7pm.

But away from the tired 'boy racer' jibes and screeching tyres lies a very different worldwide subculture, the stomping ground of car obsessives who like to keep things firmly within the boundaries of the law.

These petrol heads spend fortunes jazzing up their cars with fuel injected engines and the latest sound systems, but you won't find them doing handbrake turns around the Coseley Road island at 1am.

It is an ultra-competitive world where crews from around the country face off against each other, scoring points by virtue of how stylish their cars looks at the 'show and shine', rather than the amount of smoke produced in a burnout.

Shane Lloyd prepares to race at Santa Pod
Shane Lloyd prepares to race at Santa Pod
Shane Lloyd racing at Santa Pod
Shane Lloyd racing at Santa Pod

When they do race it's done on a track at official meetings - often organised to raise cash for charity. At the same events others prefer to 'park and pose', the practice of standing next to

The new law has left many of these enthusiasts distraught, with some complaining the injunction lumps them in with the law-breakers and makes it impossible for them to enjoy their hobby.

Shane Lloyd, who runs the Facebook page Race Wars GBR, said : "The injunction is completely unfair and is going to turn law abiding car enthusiasts into criminals in the eyes of the law.

"This is a massive, thriving scene involving hundreds of thousands of people in the UK and millions around the world, yet we are all being branded boy racers and told we can't travel in a group of more than two cars.

"Of course there are a few idiots who try and show off and spoil it for everyone else, but this is just like throwing a blanket over everyone with an interest in the scene.

"I race on the track at properly organised meets. I have spent a fortune on my car and love to show it off - that's a major part of what we do. We just love cars. You're not going to find me doing 150mph down the Black Country Route or blasting music out on McDonalds car park all night."

Mr Lloyd's pride and joy is a turbo charged 2.5l Nissan Skyline that he built himself - a replica of the car driven by the late Paul Walker's character in the successful Fast and the Furious film series.

Fans of modified cars flock to Santa Pod Raceway for the Paul Walker memorial event earlier this year
Fans of modified cars flock to Santa Pod Raceway for the Paul Walker memorial event earlier this year

"I spent six years building it and it means the world to me," he said. "It's got a massive GT35 turbo charger and I've had more than 170mph out of it - but that's on the racetrack."

The 44-year-old mechanic from Rushall says he has been involved the modified car scene for as long as he can remember, recalling the days he would spend hours under the bonnet of his first car, a Mk 1 Ford Escort that he fitted with a twin exhaust.

"The term boy racer itself is a bit offensive," he added. "It's been a long term since I've been a boy, then you have to consider all the women that are involved."

Since the 1990s the Black Country scene has been one of the country's most fertile, with clubs like Extreme BHP, Torque Racing and Skyline Owners Club travelling to and organising events to cater for the every need of car devotees.

Enzo Dicesare, head honcho at Enzo's Automotive Body Repairs in Jacob's Hall Lane, Great Wyrley, said he has modified hundreds of cars over the years.

He has worked on humble Vauxhall Corsas to top of the range Lamborghinis and Ferraris, but now he fears the new legislation could have a damaging effect on his trade.

The 36-year-old said: "People come here because they want colour coded bumpers or alloys fitted, something to make their cars stand out from the crowd. Now drivers can get into trouble for having their cars customised if they gather in one place.

"If people start getting pushed away from the scene then businesses like mine are going to lose money. It's a worrying time."

In January hundreds of drivers from the area made their way to Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire for a memorial race day in honour of the aforementioned Paul Walker. The sold out event raised almost £30,000 for the charity Reach out Worldwide.

Mr Lloyd said he wants to organise similar events in the Black Country, but the new law has thrown a spanner in the works.

"I would love to do some events in Walsall but the council just don't want to know," said the father-of-two. "This law is basically stopping us from raising money for good causes."

Mr Lloyd has launched a petition against the new legislation that already has almost 2,000 members.

He said: "It is up to us to fight our case. If I'm on the motorway driving down to a meet and there are two mates in their cars near me on the road we are supposedly breaking the law. How ridiculous is that?

"I want as many people as possible to speak out against this victimisation and bring a bit of common sense to the argument."

Wolverhampton Council's community chief Councillor Elias Mattu, who oversaw the case, said he feels the new laws were necessary for the benefit of Black Country residents.

"West Midlands Police have received hundreds of complaints about it from residents and businesses over the last few years," he said.

"These range from complaints about vehicles and spectators obstructing highways or residential or business properties, to dangerous driving, excessive noise from revving engines and stereo systems, littering, verbal abuse, swearing and intimidation.

"There have also been a number of collisions involving vehicles taking part in a car cruise."

But for the thousands of law-abiding 'modders' across the Black Country, being tarred with the same brush as boy racers is a difficult pill to swallow.

To sign Shane Lloyd's petition visit Lift The Cruise Ban UK on Facebook.

Terminology:

Modders - people who customise the design of their cars to improve the style and capability.

Doughnut - occurs when the steering is put on full lock allowing the car to spin 360 degrees. Tends to leave a circular skid pattern, hence the name.

Nitrous Oxide - gas that when injected into an engine makes it burn fuel more efficiently and increases power.

Drifting - Using throttle, brakes, clutch, gear shifting and steering to keep a car in a condition of 'oversteer' while manoeuvring from turn to turn. Fiendishly tricky to master.

Burnout - Keeping a car stationary with the wheels and spinning its wheels. This results in a lot of smoke as the tires heat up.

Park and pose - also known as 'show and shine'. Car enthusiasts parking up and showing off their cars.

 

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Comments for: "Car cruisers in road races war"

Woody65

I think you will find the police will use common sense and not arrest those people who are obviously going to organised car meetings. The new law is aimed at the idiots in their Corsa's, Peugot 106's and Escort Mk 2's who are irresponsible young lads who just want to race on public roads and generally be a nuisance.

Ultimate Power Boster

So what you're saying, is that boy racers with money should be exempt from the law, while their poorer counterparts (who can only afford a 106) should feel the full force?

Woody65

No. All boy racers should abide by the law, no matter what cars they drive, be it a 350zx, GTC, Mini Cooper, Escort, etc.etc. Maybe I was guilty of generalising, but people will know what I mean from experience.

stevedave

Wish I could believe that but in my experience the police don't have common sense. Nor do they know the meaning of proactive.

Redlollipop

I agree with Woody65 although the police have been out on numerous occasions I'm not sure they have actually arrested anyone. I'm not against car racing, as long as it's done in the correct place, on a race track with all the required permits and technical and medical support. What I am against is the 'cruisers' who have been using the dual carriageways of the four boroughs for months on end, every Sunday night from approx 7pm until midnight or later. If you are fortunate to live away from one of the roads in question you may think this is a harmless hobby, for those of us who live near the roads it has been a nightmare. An almost constant noise of revving engines, roar of big bore or baffle free exhausts. Clogged up roads, footpaths, forecourts and as much as they deny it, racing on public roads, which is illegal. How many of these drivers have notified their insurance company of the modifications they have made to the cars? Are these modifications legal or do they render the car dangerous to drive? I wholeheartedly support the injunction, a pity it's only in place for three years. A comment was made on some time ago that all the guys want is the council or police to find them some spare land to use for their hobby. Sorry guys but it's not down to anyone to find you the land. There have been reportedly at least 100 of you making our lives hell it's up to you to find the land, preferably a field in miles from any human habitation, and the owner willing to allow you to use it for a reasonable charge and have a weekly collection between you all to pay for the rental.

Woody65

Absolutely. I'd like to see their insurance document verses the actual physical car. Has their black box been removed, have their alloys been changed, are their seats too low?

the dog

Well us the residents who are effected badly by noise and nuscense will fight it again, these motor freaks have no regard for the law while the last few weeks have been quieter there have still been a few chancers out there blasting around another reason for the ban to stay.

On mention of Shane loyds Facebook page, is this the same page that spotters would inform other car cruisers of a police presence in that area, within 5 minutes of the police moving on (even after 23.00hrs) the cruisers show up, so just how exactly is that behaviour law abiding more like organised crime. Go find an old airfield and play there.

JJ

The law needs to be a bit more specific on what is mean't by the term "car cruising". To me its a term that's way too generic and open to interpretation and therefore open for corruption and abuse.

Example

"a ruling that prohibits two or more modified vehicles gathering between 3pm and 7pm."

What do they mean by "modified vehicles"

VW Campervans are modified vehicles so then wouldn't a group of VW campervan's on a campsite be breaking the law.

Rather than some blanket ban there should be stricter laws on specific things like loudness of the car and exhausts, The volume they can have the stereo whilst driving, emissions of the vehicles and that they have the correct lights and number plates.

The police should then be out there catching the idiots in the act. Checking the cars are safe and legal and driven correctly and throwing the book at those that aren't.

There all quick to catch normally law abiding citizens doing 75 in a 70 road but when it comes to the real dangerous drivers they don't seem bothered.

Ultimate Power Boster

Boy racers with money, throwing their toys out of the pram. Their sense of entitlement is sickening!

Grow up and get a proper hobby, you're the chav equivalents of a dad dancer in a nightclub! You embarrassments!

chantelle

Boy racers should of been cracked down on years ago as its been a big thing for years ive been there myself a few years ago and it is dangerous it is the most common cause of accident or death!!!! Are the police doing enough NO speed limits are there for a reason do many drivers stick to them NO!!!! So the police have had long enough now to come up with a solution to sort this problem out and still nothing is done about it, i've known boy racers move from location to location when they have been moved on they gather else where!!

JJ has a good point about the campervans they need to be a bit more specific. You don't really need to modify our cars anymore because they come kitted out anyway!!!!! Everyone will be classed as a boy racer soon!!!!!

stevedave

Poor decision by the council. penalise everyone because of a few idiots. If you live near places where supposed boy racers (Shane is right by the way, it's an outdated and sexist term, plenty of women are in the scene) gather, turn your telly up. Or, live with it. I hear sirens and loud exhausts all the time where I live, but I can't do anything about it so why stress?

Let's face it anyway, the people this ban is supposed to be targeting will ignore it anyway, and the people on their way to proper meets will be the ones pulled over by the police and punished.