Racing Thrills: Ocean, Land or Air?

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Man is undoubtedly attracted to both speed and intense rivalry, be it on the ocean, land or in the heavens, judging by how frequently these three elements are taken on by the masters of racing. Each high velocity sport offers both riveting thrills and bone-breaking spills - but which of these full-throttle races reigns supreme?



Extreme power-boating

Extreme power-boating has been around for quite some time, although the regulated F1 version was first inaugurated less than three decades ago. Based on Formula One motor racing, the powerboats are effectively the thoroughbreds of the oceans' depths.



The boats, tunnel hull catamarans, are specifically designed for extreme speed and exceptional manoeuvrability. The design creates an air cushion under the hull so that when the craft is barrelling along at full speed, a neck-breaking 240kph, only a few inches of the craft actually touches the water, giving one the impression that the boat is literally flying in the air.



As with F1, power-boat racing takes place at 13 different international venues on the standard H2O track; a 350m circuit set out on either a river, lake or a balmy bay, sheltered from the worst of the elements. Again, emulating their race buddies on terra firma, qualifying periods determine the grid and specialised timing apparatus records each performance, with championship points handed out to the quickest.



Although power-boat racing has grown in popularity and regular action includes 360° barrel rolls, with the hapless crew knocked out cold at times, as well as the occasional 'full ejection' of the crew from the craft, it hasn't captured as much attention as its land based counterparts.



Red Bull Air Race World Championships

Then there's the Red Bull Air Race World Championships, a hair-raising event where accomplished pilots rocket their aircraft at full speed around a demanding obstacle course in the sky. Pilots fly against the clock doing the tightest of turns through a slalom course consisting of 20m high 'Air Gates'.



Again, the championship is contested at different venues throughout the world, with the lion's share of the sky tracks set out above a body of water....just in case they miss the mark. Air racing, the new kid on the racing block, has only been contested at its highest level since 2003 and, while it has its fair share of supporters, its still motor racing that commands the most attention!



Nothing beats Formula One motor racing

Perhaps it's the deafening shriek of the powerful engines, the charisma of the championship drivers or the constant threat of an untimely collision between racing cars, but nothing quite matches the exhilaration of motor racing.



If in any doubt as to the pure pedigree of Formula One, why not take the challenge and drive an F1 car? Dedicated motor racing companies in South Africa can organise a day at the track, either as a corporate event, or simply a real spoiler for that all-important person in your life.

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