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The inaugural SA Drag National Challenge was held in 2023. This was a watershed moment for drag racing as it was the first time in the history of South African drag racing that a drag racing series was held in 4 provinces. The national challenge has paved the way for a national championship.

Competitors battled it out at Midvaal Raceway, Dezzi Raceway, Aldo Scribante Raceway and Killarney International Raceway to accumulate points with the aim of claiming their respective classes and to claim the main prize by emerging as the overall car or motorcycle challenge winner.

Kwa-Zulu Natal’s very own Terry Yannikakis emerged as the class winner in the 9.000 – 9.499 second class and the overall car challenge winner in 2023 after amassing 14 points. It was consistency and reliability that saw Terry claim the honours with two 1st place, one 2nd place and one 4th place finish for the season.

Terry Yannikakis, aged sixty-six (66) when he was crowned as the car challenge winner, was born in Tanzania on the 31st of August 1957. At the age of twelve (12) in 1969 the family moved to South Africa. Terry has lived in Umtentweni on the KZN South Coast, for the last 29 years.

Terry says that when he retired in May 2013 he finally found the time to do what he loved and one of his passions was building rotary engines, building race cars and drag racing cars with his sons. Initially they had lots of fun racing the cars that they built but the cars were not really competitive.

All of this culminated in the acquisition of the Mazda F1000 bakkie called “Pixi”. Terry then teamed up with legendary Steve Clark who set to work doing what he does best. Steve rang the changes and enhancements and transformed Pixi into a very competitive race car.

Pixi is a Mazda F1000 Bakkie, powered by Rotary Cosmo 13b turbocharged unit. The rotary unit was built by Terry and the chassis by Steve and then of course tuned by Steve Clark’s No Sweat Racing. Pixi piloted by Terry has personal a best of 9.2 seconds over the standing quarter mile achieved at Dezzi Raceway.

Terry has always enjoyed the thrill and adrenalin rush in his youth powering his Suzuki GSX 1100 motorcycle and Ford Anglia through the highways and streets of Johannesburg and between the traffic lights taking on the those looking for a challenge, but with age came wisdom and he is leading by example and keeping his racing to properly sanctioned MSA drag racing events.
Drag racing has always been his long time passion, and although the dream started a bit late due to life commitments, in his retirement he has the time to do what he loves. Terry says “it’s never too late ” hence him entering the 2023 SA Drag National Challenge and keeping his drag racing to MSA sanctioned events only. He battled it out for many months to emerge victorious in both his class and the overall challenge champion.

Terry is also very blessed and grateful to have an awesome wife that supports his passion and is there with him at every event and would like to extend his love and thanks to her.

Terry would also like to extend thanks to Harry Naidoo and the KZN Drag Racing Team for their support and dedication in awakening the competitive spirit in the regional racers and lastly to Motorsport South Africa and all the people that worked in the background to make the SA Drag National Challenge a reality.

On behalf of Kuven Govender the Chairman of the MSA National Drag Racing Working Group, and the Team at MSA we would like to pay tribute to Terry Yannikakis congratulate him on his achievements and wish him the best of success in the 2024 National Drag Racing Championship.

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