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Sunday, 08 December 2019

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Race report: b-series round 5; Ballykelly, NI

Race report: b-series round 5; Ballykelly, NIRace report: b-series round 5; Ballykelly, NIRace report: b-series round 5; Ballykelly, NI

Pat Letters had promised us that it was a fantastic venue and his word was as good as ever. I have never seen such a glorious venue for Blokart sailing; fantastic quality tarmac, wide runways and a good perimeter road mean that the opportunities for a range of short and long courses was unrivalled in the UK. Have a look around the site clicking here.

The only things lacking were the number of pilots; we had just 12, and the wind. Unfortunately the event was held on what may have been the calmest weekend of the year, but we were able to get enough races in to determine results. For the while that we had some good wind we saw the speeds shooting up quickly and a couple of fairly manic races characterised by whoops of joy as people shot through gybes and a few more whoops as people had near-misses in fast dial-ups.

Our newest member, Alan Watson, had taken command of Pat's Performance Blokart and was having some good battles with Paul Farrow; Alan has extensive experience with Standarts and Potties and it was clear that his skills were readily transferred to the Blokart as he found speed where others did not.

Light Production saw some close battles as Tim 'Seed' was turning back into Tim 'Speed' after too long out of the 'kart. Martin's experience saw him pull off some strong wins until Tim got back into the swing of things and pipped him to the line on the last two races. -Really looking forward to some close battles between these two guys at the Euro's!

Many of the Irish pilots (some of them trying their hand at Blokart sailing for the first time) had come along just for the craic and, not having sailed on tarmac before, were impressed with the levels of grip and speeds you could reach in low winds; it would certainly have been a non-event on a beach. Unfortunately Owen and Vincent Clarke were severely handicapped with only 4m sails, but had them going well once the winds got up.

We had a fantastic dinner on Saturday night in the Drummond Hotel and there was a great atmosphere along with a good deal of leg-pulling, particularly between the kite-buggying guys, Robert and Damien, who were definitely up for having a laugh all weekend.

Sunday was just too calm to race and we called it soon after lunch. Typically, as we packed up the wind built. Thanks to the IPKSA members who stayed on to help pack all the race gear; it made light work of what would have been a big job.

Massive thanks to Pat, Jo and Martin Letters of Blokart World and George Brien (Blokart Fun) for hosting the event and arranging the meals; putting all the hard work into securing the fantastic venue and their completely selfless devotion to providing outstanding hospitality. A big thanks to the IPKSA members who came out to help support the event and Ken Cox for his great photos (see more on the IPKSA Facebook Group). It was good to see people who were used to other wind-sports coming along, having fun and getting 'the Blokart grin'. A mention also to the pilots from England and Scotland who had made the effort to support the event.

We're hoping to be able to secure the same venue next year so please make the effort to get over and have a blast!

Results:
Light Production
1st: Martin Letters
2nd: Tim Seed
3rd: Robert Finlay

Heavy Production
1st: Chris Selway
2nd: Damien Rabbett
3rd: Graham Dalzell / George Brien

Light Performance
1st: Donny Macfarlane

Heavy Performance
1st: Alan Watson
2nd: Paul Farrow

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