Saturday it's been raining all morning, the kitezone.co.nz weather station is showing 22 knots NW, perfect for direction just need a little more wind.
I decided to drive the 50 km beach to see if there is enough wind. I load the truck with the speed buggy and kitebike, plus the new Ozone R1 6m and con my friend Rob that it's a nice day for a drive. As we get to the northern end of the beach - The Moose, I can already see the wind is blowing in at 30 + knots NW.
The area of the beach I use for speed runs is about 5 km long and it's a convex beach, this time the sand is hard and smooth, with only one little area of plankton algae - the green slime of death. We set up the kitebike first as the wind is ment to build to 40 knots later, with the GPS's reset. I setup the R1 with a lot of sand on it so it won't start without me.
I get in the bike pulling the line tight and letting the R1 full with air on the ground as it pushes the sand off I ready myself for the launch, in a blink I'm moving at pace, standing on the foot pegs and bum way out of the seat, I depower the kite and fall back to the seat the bike slides out a little then it straightens up. I check my arm mounted GPS to my horror it has turned off, must have put old batteries in it. As I try to restart the GPS. I hit the green slime of death, the bike steps out to a full side ways drift, I depower the R1 and the bike snaps straight again. I get the GPS running and it's reading 85kmh, I work the kite some more to get the maximum out of her but I can feel the bike slowing down. I look at the GPS, Oh my gosh, it's on 95.8 kmh with a smile, I depower the kite and put the bike into a drift to slow it down to a stop. I bring the kite to the side of the window and push away the quick release, hook the safety line to the bike and start packing the R1 as Rob and Leodog arived, as I start to winding up the lines I notice that the depower trimmer is fully depowered, if I had only noticed that earlier. it would have been a 100kmh run, bugger. We put the kite in the truck and start to set up the speed buggy, the wind is now 37 knots gusting 42. I fit one of the back wheels to the buggy, then go to fit the another - the thread in the axle is full of sand. Such a rookie mistake, I wash it out with my drink bottle but the wheel bolt still won't go. I know I have a 20mm tap in the car somewhere, it takes ages to find. I finally get the thread clean and wheel on. By then we have wasted an hour and the rain is starting, it's now 5 o'clock and we wait in the truck. It's winter time in NZ so it is dark at 6pm. The rain starts bucketing down. We call it and pack up, the buggy world record will have to wait for another day. Bumping the Kitebike World record from 88kmh to 95.6kmh with the awesome R1 is very satisfying all the same.
Pete Foulkes aka Gannet