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> Reporting on Romania - cedrag.com interviews Jeff Csergezan
post Apr 23 2009, 02:19 PM
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Wednesday 22nd April 2009 - Reporting on Romania - cedrag.com interviews Jeff Csergezan (Part One)

Jeff Csergezan is a racer, organiser and drag race supporter who is well known in his native Romania and in neighbouring Hungary. He is a key figure in organising mass invasions of Romanian racers into Hungary, he is also heavily involved in the Romanian website and the Romanian drag race forum which has includes a English language section. Having seen the large numbers of Romanian racers competing at Kiskulachlaza (Hun) in March, the question arises as to why so little is heard from within Romania. With this in mind, cedrag.com hunted down Jeff to get a picture of what is happening in his own country, his views on the current state of racing in central Europe and his hopes for the future. Part two will be published later and will focus on Jeff's racing and his Mitsubishi Evo.

cedrag.com: So Jeff, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. To start, can you briefly describe what is the current situation of drag racing in Romania.

Jeff: Probably best described as "at the beginning". There have been races organised in Romania for quite a few years but there's not too much infrastructure still around to show for it. The situation is difficult in that we have no venues which are generally accepted as places where drag racing is held and, of course, to have a permanent drag race track is a dream only realised in four European countries: England, Finland, Sweden and Germany. Everywhere else uses lightly used airports but even those in Romania which have a decent flat surface are few.

cedrag.com: If you could establish a base, are there sufficient numbers of racers and fans who could make it work?

Jeff: Absolutely! We took 30 cars to Hungary on a cold day in March this year and won a few classes. The racer following is as much, maybe more than any of the neighbouring countries. On previous occasions where a race event has been properly organised and marketed, the numbers of racers and fans who showed up made them completely sold out. That's the frustrating thing about it, the potential is clearly huge.

cedrag.com: From where comes this enthusiasm?

Jeff: Since 2003 there has been a steady and significant increase in interest, this has happened because people now have access to performance cars and partly as a result of the "Fast and Furious" series of movies. For the first time, a drag racing themed movie has not been wholly concerned with American muscle cars and V8s, now the young people have been exposed to racing the cars they see on the streets. Of course, street racing on the highway has also increased so, between the film raising awareness and the need to get racing off the streets, it makes sense that such a big interest in drag racing has arisen. All we need now is make it happen.

cedrag.com: Does this mean Romanians are spending money on after-market parts and learning how to make performance modifications?

Jeff: As I observe them, things are going well in this area. The enthusiasts are more and more, driving better prepared cars and improving their know-how continuously. I remember only a couple of years ago that the "meanest" racecar in my home city of Timisoara was a 160hp Honda Prelude. These days, you'll see several 400+ hp cars, these guys are running between11-12 seconds on street tyres..... and they're doing it easily!

cedrag.com: Are Romanians exposed to motor sports? Does the TV show motor racing?

Jeff: They are now. The near total take-up of cable and satellite TV ensures that most homes now have access to Motors TV and of course, we've all watched the FIA and UEM European tour via the Xtreme channel and there's sometimes the odd NHRA programme. It might be worth mentioning here that we in central Europe do not suffer summer rain anywhere near as badly as the English and Scandinavians.

cedrag.com: So what's going to happen in 2009?

Jeff: Mostly, the group of travelling racers will continue to invade our neighbours in Hungary where there are several good tracks and where the facilities, timing equipmet, safety systems and all the things you need, are available. There are many Hungarian speakers in Romania so we are able to organise large groups of us and still be able to communicate without a problem with the race organisers and officials. We are confident we can relieve them of significant amounts of silverware too! As we are both EU countries now, the absence of border controls means we can take race cars, tools and equipment to and fro without a problem. I am aware of quite an advanced series of races down there in Croatia but crossing the border would probably be problematic.

cedrag.com: Nothing in Romania?

Jeff: There are a number of people working very hard, in their own time and mostly at their own expense to put together something in Romania, probably in Satu Mare. The enthusiasm is there and so is the determination but drag race people throughout Europe will tell you how difficult it is to get business partners to come on board, particularly in a country where drag racing has yet to make a mark in the commercial conciousness. So don't report that nothing is happening in Romania because that's not true. We need a little more time to see if all this hard work can bring it's rewards.

cedrag.com: Then we wish you and your friends all the luck in the world. Thank you.

Sursa: cedrag.com
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