Being accused of organising an illegal street race back in 2005, in which five people were killed and 19 injured, was a tough experience for Rami Serry. But Serry managed to turn the incident into a positive experience that drove him to become among the best race car drivers in the Middle East.
Still, the experience has always been with him, even after he was proven innocent, Serry told Al-Ahram Weekly. He didn’t think of quitting the sport; rather, he believed that everything that happens to him is for a reason and that the good will come sooner or later.
Serry started building a name for himself 12 years ago while at the same time playing a major role in establishing a new type of motorsport entertainment in the country: Drifting. That moved enthusiasts from risking lives and properties on public streets to showing their skills on the track and realising their dream to be champions.
Serry believes there will always be young lads racing illegally across all provinces, not only in Cairo, and that they are surely in need of guidance that could shift them away from trouble. From here came the idea of ‘Battle of the Wheels.’
“The racing community and fans in Egypt gave me a lot of support and love in the past years through my ups and downs, and here came the chance to give back to them,” Serry said.
Serry comes with a championship that will hold the biggest prize money in the history of Egyptian motorsports for the winner and runner up, as well as third place. Because Serry has declined to say how much money is involved, here’s a hint: It will be a six-digit figure for each of the three winners.
The championship and auditions will be based on testing the skills of the drivers in three challenges: Time Trials, Gymkhana and pure drifting, judged by Serry and other experts.
Kicking off from 9-11 March at Dandy Mall, the championship started by opening registration for racing enthusiasts across the country, with road shows in the three major cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Mansoura, where interested race enthusiasts can meet Serry to find out more about the competition. Due to a misunderstanding, some participants thought this was the audition, but according to Serry, “we went to Dandy, and last week we were in Alex Green Plaza from 16-18 March, and this week we are in Mansoura from 23-25 March for road shows and meetings with participants, not auditions.”
Serry added that the grand finals will take place in Tulip Hotel, on the Suez Road, from 6-8 April, when the participants from the three cities will be auditioned to see who qualifies for the drift event on 21 April and the time-trial and gymkhana event on 28 April. 22 July will witness the main event of the championship, in the North Coast. The exact location has not yet been announced.
Serry noted that participants will be directed to the type of challenge that suits their cars most, and that they don’t need a fully dedicated race car to be able to take part.
Helping to ignite the competition, the organisers and Serry decided to open the door for professional race car drivers to participate, a move which may encourage more amateur racers to take part. “We will make sure the competition remains fair, giving equal chances for experienced and amateur racers,” Serry said.
The Battle of the Wheels is expected to rock Cairo, Alexandria and Mansoura in the coming weeks. Hopefully the championship can achieve its main goal: Ending illegal street racing.
Registered cars will be cruising the streets of every city days before each battle, searching for talent craving a real chance to start a professional racing career.