Ever tried Blokarting? Yes, it's a thing!
Adrenaline junkies will love the fun new sport of blokarting, a terrific mix of sailing and go-karting, not just for its thrills - but also the fact that it costs less than $50.
- September 2019
This is not your average ride... It’s go karting meets sailing on land meets this-little-contraption-can-go-fast. I’m about to slip into a New Zealand-made and invented three-wheeled blokart vehicle for a 30-minute ride at Bay Station opens in new window a recreation park in the popular holiday town of Mount Maunganui, nestled in the Bay of Plenty region, three hours south of Auckland. (Rides cost AUD $25 for adults or AUD $20 for kids.)
I’ve been told the summer months are ideal for blokart sailing for amateurs, with wind gusts between 10 to 15 knots, but today the weather is temperamental and I’m glad for the helmet and gloves provided.
Before I set sail, I watch a safety video that should win an award for clear messaging. There are three rules to remember when blokarting: let the rope go, let the rope go and let the rope go. It’s the only sure bet to slow down, avoid crashing and keep all three wheels on the ground, as there is no brake (that’s a plot twist I didn’t see coming in the video).
Lying back in the compact kart, the sail towers about five metres above me. With a sun shower threatening, I take off on the paved and numbered track and try to forget that I don’t know the first thing about the vagaries of wind.
I’ve been told that the tighter my rope is reigned in, the faster I’ll fly, so at the beginning of my ride, I leave the rope a little slack. I’m prone to caution over all-in enthusiasm.
Sailing around the track, a gust of wind suddenly hits the sail, its power propelling me forward, and fast. I look back to see if I’d been given a nudge and nervously laugh aloud as I feel one of the back wheels lift off the ground.
I learn pretty quickly that cutting the corner only slows you down, so does skimming the overgrown grass (an extra safeguard to aim for if you’re out of control), and by my fourth or fifth lap, I have developed a taste for speed. I can’t believe I’m managing to multi-task the controls in this grey, wet weather and how fast I’m going. It’s a fantastic feeling.
At the end of my land-sail, I’m a little deflated to hear my speed came in at 30 kilometres an hour, considering the professional record is closer to 125 kilometres an hour. Then again, when you’re in an aerodynamic “sailing kart” at the mercy of nature, it’s fast enough for a first-timer. Plus, I did learn how to stop – without a brake.