As part of the university’s ongoing efforts to enhance campus life for its many commuter students, competitive street racing has been added to the list of intramural sports offered by UC Riverside.
The announcement comes after months of commuters holding underground street races to and from campus, organized through the Facebook group “Bored UCR Commuters.”
Through the UCR commuters’ group, races were organized by the racers’ city of origin, and consisted of “who could get to and find a parking space in Lot 30 the fastest.” During each race, students would barrel down freeways such as the CA-60, CA-91 and I-215, vying for the bragging rights of being among the fastest commuters.
With about a dozen commuters flying down the freeway-turned-autobahn, escaping the flashing blue and red lights of the California Highway Patrol provides an added challenge for students, allowing racers to relive their video game fantasies from Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
Being the first to cross the finish line is not the only challenge participants face. Finding a parking space in the jam-packed confines of Lot 30 during peak hours represents just as much of an accomplishment.
An anonymous student who has participated in many of the events stated that, “finding a parking space is just as hard … maybe harder than the actual racing, since almost every parking space is gone by like 10 a.m.”
In response to the positive reaction to these street races by the UCR commuter community, the decision was made to introduce the event as an official intramural sport.
Expecting to launch as early as week four of this year’s spring quarter, the program will be run by the Student Recreation Center, which currently oversees all of UCR’s intramural sports including football, soccer, volleyball, basketball and dodgeball.
Specific rules and criteria for each race have not yet been announced, but is expected to be somewhat similar to the current student-run system, in which students race each other from their starting cities to the university.
UCR representative Bill Holiday issued a statement in which he expressed his belief that “the introduction of commuter street racing as an official intramural sport at the university will enhance the social lives of many Highlanders who come from all across Southern California.”
UCR Athletic Director Janice Lewis also supports the change, adding that “while individuals may get a speeding ticket or two, maybe even the occasional car wreck, the friendships and camaraderie that our commuters will experience is priceless.”