Karting teenager next Lewis Hamilton?

Friday, February 5th, 2010No Comments

Nyck-De-Vries-1Go-Karting teenage sensation Nyck de Vries is the latest in a long line of racing drivers to travel from the world of junior karting into Formula One.

McLaren has signed the 14-year-old kart racer for the team’s young driver development programme. The young Dutch star will be managed by Anthony Hamilton, father of Lewis, and the Hamilton Management Group throughout his racing career in different categories.  ‘McLaren has a long-held commitment to assist young talent – we believe it’s part of the responsibility of the motor racing community to encourage and nurture junior racers, and we are committed to doing just that,’ said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

De Vries joins a list of former F1 champions’ names such as Michael Schumacher, Alain Proust, Ayrton Senna, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, who have all made the cross-over from karting to the world of professional motor racing.

‘My visit to the McLaren Technology Centre has been a fantastic experience and I am very honoured and grateful for the support of McLaren in helping to develop my career,’ added De Vries. ‘The resources they have are incredible, and I believe they’ll be able to provide me with the perfect framework for improving my skills, my fitness and my motorsport experience.’

If you want to try karting, click here

New adventure sport from Down Under

Friday, February 5th, 20102 Comments


When it comes to extreme sports, New Zealand is a world-beater. Not content with being the home of bungy-jumping and zorbing, the land of 60 million sheep has come up with another extreme sport to get the adrenalin racing.

The oddly named Shweebing is basically cycling in a pod on a monorail – sort of: the bike isn’t upright for starters.  Originally invented by New Zealand’s Geoffrey Barnett as a solution for traffic jams in urban areas, the Shweeb is being used as a pedal-powered eco-amusement park ride at extreme fun park Agroventures Adventure Park in Rotorua.  Bikes run on low-resistance tracks and because the pods are far more aerodynamically efficient than a bicycle it means speeds in excess of 45kmph can be obtained.

Two BBC Blue Peter presenters recently tried out that other pod-based New Zealand sport – zorbing. Joel Defries and Andy Akinwolere braved the cold to go hydro-zorbing across Tooting Bec Lido. A spokesperson for the show said it was a great way to keep fit.

If you want to try zorbing click here. For shweebing, you’ll have to take a trip to New Zealand

Stags and hens get adventurous

Thursday, February 4th, 20101 Comment

stag_doStag parties used to be a night down the pub for the boys just before the wedding. Not any more – and not just for the boys. It is estimated that more than three million British men and women go on stag and hen parties each year.

Top Stag event organisers, Stagzilla, carried out a survey of adventure activities chosen by stag and hen goers, which reveals that when it comes to their pre-nuptial celebrations, both sexes play up to their stereotypes.

Top adventure choice for males is that old macho favourite – paintball – while for brides-to-be, the number one activity choice is a luxury spa weekend without a paint gun in sight. But the survey also reveals that women are embracing adrenalin activities. Clay pigeon shooting, quad biking and zorbing are all proving popular with hen parties.

White water rafting and rock climbing are two unexpected newcomers into the list of leading  stag activities.

Stagzilla’s marketing manager, Chris Walters, said: ‘We are seeing an increasing demand for adventure activities for hen parties. Archery and zorbing are two that are particular favourites at the moment. Women often dress up for a hen party and prefer activities that accommodate this.’

Speaking about men’s top five choice of stag activities, Walters, said: ‘We find stag parties like to do something where they can compete against each other and have a laugh, which is why they enjoy activities like go-karting, paintballing and Segway – a two-wheel scooter-like vehicle.’

If you are planning a stag or hen party and want a choice of activities, click here.


1. Paintballing:
Spot the stag (or should I say rabbit!)
stag paintball
2. Go-karting


3. White water rafting

4. Rock climbing

5. 4×4 off-road driving


1. Pampering and spa weekendsclick here

2. Clay pigeon shooting


3. Zorbing (or sphere-ing)
4. Horse riding

5. Quad bikes

Extreme sport 2010 trend watch:

Wednesday, February 3rd, 201011 Comments

segway_x2_male_highWhich extreme and adventure sports will be the next big thing in 2010? And what sports are on the skydive to obscurity? We predict the extreme highs and the sporting lows.

Racing ahead:

Cycling and canoeing: To predict the future, what better place to start than past performance? Sport England’s annual Active People Survey of 190,000 people is the biggest of its kind, and is used to measure progress against targets to get more people playing and enjoying regular sport. It reveals the big sport winners over the last year to be cycling and canoeing. Other sports have got to get pedalling to catch these. Want to try canoeing (kayaking) click here. Or maybe cycling – click here

Segway: If you see grown adults standing on two wheels whizzing through the country, don’t be alarmed. The machines, which do a top speed of only 13mph, are proving surprisingly exhilarating. To accelerate, you lean forward, and you’ve guessed it, to brake or go backwards – you lean back. Steering requires you to shift the control shaft, left or right. Segway racing is proving a big hit with groups, who race over rough terrain.  If you want to try Segway, you can click here.

Dune buggying: The original adrenalin junkie Steve McQueen was an early enthusiast of dune buggying, so it’s been around for a while. But like a lot of 60’s fashions, it’s back. Designed for maximum thrills, dune buggies have monster wheels and light frames. Often the only difference with an off-road go-kart is the wheels on a dune buggy are bigger to reduce pressure in the sand. To paraphrase Doctor Johnson, if you’re tired of dune buggying, you’re tired of life. If you want ride the sand storm, click here.

Paintball: Steve Bull, chairman of the UK Paintball Sport Federation (UKPSF), said: ‘Last year has been a good for paintball despite the recession, with most venues saying their trade has increased by 10-15 per cent ’ Expect the trend to continue this year. If you want to shoot a friend, click here.

Flagging enthusiasm:

Snowboarding: Once the hippest of hip new things, snowboarding saw a decline in participants over the last year, according toSport England’s Active People Survey.  It seems it’s retrenching to its hardcore. If you’re a hard core enthusiast, or don’t care about trends, click here.

Kite tubing: One sport to watch in 2010 could be kite tubing. Not necessarily for the right reasons, though. This high thrill sport has developed from tubing – giant inner tubes, often known as donuts, which are normally ridden on the water or snow. Kite tubing, however, adds a third dimension – the air. The big tubes are towed at high speeds and take to the sky. As the tube is not exactly shaped like Concorde, the resulting take off invariably involves spins and violent slashes. More aerodynamic designs are appearing which allow air through the tube, but be warned: kite tubing is dangerous stuff – mainly because the driver has little or no control.  Concerns over safety may cut off this extreme sport at the wobbly knees.

We’d be interested to hear if you’ve got any ideas on the big adventure sports in 2010. Post your comments.

National Heart Month:

Monday, February 1st, 2010No Comments

3810365647_a2084c9bf7_mFebruary – the month of Valentine’s Day, just in case you’ve forgotten – is the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) National Heart Month. Failure of the old ticker is still the biggest single killer in the UK, which is why the BHF wants to raise awareness of exercise and activity as a way of preventing coronary heart disease. The BHF has designated Friday, 26 February as National Wear Red Day. People around the country will be taking part in fundraising events and wearing the colour red. So, we thought we’d come up with some ideas for loving your heart this National Heart Month.


1.Mountain biking:The BHF promotes cycling as a way of building your body’s endurance. It’s like sending your heart a Valentine card. Ah!

2. Extreme Horse Riding: It’s not just the horse that’s working out when you get galloping: it helps your flexibility and mobility as much as the horse’s. Gallop to fitness

3. High Ropes:‘Better balance, strength and suppleness’ are some of the reasons the BHF gives for being active: all benefits you get from high ropes. After all, how many unfit chimps do you get?

4. Quad Biking: Okay you’re sitting down. But it’s not the sofa. You need muscle strength in the legs to control a quad bike. And, as the BHF advises, it’s important to find activities that you enjoy and are not a chore, snore, bore.

5. Archery:The BHF says exercise ‘reduces stress – you’ll relax more easily and feel better about yourself’. So what more appropriate sport than archery to fire a Cupid’s arrow to your heart this month?

6. Paintball:Call this tough love but exercising with other people makes it more fun and evidence shows that you’re more likely to keep that exercise up if you do it with friends.

7. Multi Activities:Exercise gives you: ‘stronger bones and muscles’ according to the BHF. And, remember, the heart is a muscle. Use it.

8. Kayaking: ‘Maintenance of a healthy weight’ is, of course, one of the reasons we all head to the gym after Christmas. So, why not avoid the crowds and the sweat, and the people squeezing into tight lycra, and seek some peace and love in the open air?

9.Clay pigeon shooting: The BHF says exercise helps you ‘sleep and gives you a sense of achievement’. It does if you shoot the clay.

10. Zorbing: You have two excuses toroll around with your partner in a plastic ball this month – Valentine’s Day and National Heart Month. And, if they still don’t want to tumble around with you, maybe more exercise can only improve your chances.

To get involved in National Heart Day, simply order a free fundraising kit. There are lots of ways individuals and organisations can support National Heart Month, from holding your own event to helping to promote activities in publications and online. To find out more and get involved, email the National Campaigns Team at red@bhf.org.uk – or call 0845 241 0976.

Want to try any of the activities above or see even more ways of exercising your heart? – CLICK HERE