Jenson Button Champion from a Karting Nation

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009No Comments

How can a country that struggles to make it mark on the international sporting scene have so many motor sport champions?

Brazilian champions Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet had a wealthy family to finance their considerable expenses as they climbed to the top of the prestigious motor sport ladder. But British champions had a much harder time. Damon Hill was penniless when he started racing, despite his father’s achievements on the track. Lewis Hamilton’s father financed his son by taking on several jobs to enable his son to practice on his local karting track and Jenson Button’s father’s pockets were not deep enough despite his forays into the world of Rally Driving

You would be right to look for the answer at your local go karting circuit where children as young as eight years, and on some tracks even younger, can get behind the wheel of a go kart and feel the thrill of racing at a very young age and their parents can see if they have any talent before applying for a loan or a second job to finance their rise to fame and glory.

We spoke to Karting Nation, the UK’s only network of karting circuits for their take on Jenson Button’s success. Their spokesperson said: ‘This country has a huge numbers of karting circuits, both outdoor and indoor. We have the best of them on our network. Jenson Button, like Lewis Hamilton, had the advantage of access to karting tracks up-and-down the country to hone their skills on their way to the top. Many countries only have tracks for an annual spectacular of motor sports so we are lucky here. A future champion will show their potential very early on and if it is there the atmosphere of a karting track – the smells, the rush of adrenalin – will get into their blood and they will be hooked. It is very easy to get your kids booked in just visit www.karting-nation.co.uk and check out the circuit nearest to you. Good luck!’

So British racing fans can celebrate the achievements of the last two world champions, and maybe be involved in the next generation training hard to join them. But, be warned, other countries are seeing the pattern of success too and will be getting their youngsters booked into go karting at the earliest opportunity. Most of them have a way to travel to get to their local circuits but it is all about determination and persistence and for that the rewards will be great.

Congratulations Jenson!

Is there a champion in you? Click here to find your local karting track to find out.

Corporate team building in the extreme. No cheese please

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009No Comments

Do: ‘Weed out bullies,’ says Peter, who’s a director of a design business. ‘As in the Admirable Crichton, when placed on an even playing field, roles are often reversed and the shy and oppressed get a chance to lead. Great for confidence building.’

Do: ‘Remember, the dynamics of team building foster both individual competitiveness and joint collaboration,’ said Peter

Do: ‘Use the activity days for team spirit and bonding and getting to know people better. Also, they are a good as a reward for a commitment over and above the call of duty,’ says Simon Powell, marketing manager for a barcode printer manufacturer. One of Simon’s most positive experiences was ‘engaging with the internal sales team and building relationships’.

Do: ‘Try karting, quad biking and off-road driving,’ says Simon.

‘We did some team challenge events like building bridges, getting over ditches with a few bits of wood we had to piece together, and connecting a hose to a fire truck, finished off by playing human table football. That was a great laugh! Funniest activity we have ever done,’ Simon adds. Peter says: ‘Rope activities in forests – terrifying, exhilarating and satisfying at the same time.’

Do: Consider different requirements. ‘Sometimes the issue is that women don’t always fancy the cold/outdoor, competitive stuff, which can often be male-oriented,’ says Simon. ‘Last time we did a night out we went to see Mama Mia instead…so it was Mama Mia instead of “gear”!’

Do: Use the time away from the office to explain perceptions. ‘We got a chief executive to realise he was unapproachable and arrogant,’ says Andy

Do: ‘Treat the day as a matter of course – naturally with a bunch of mates?’

Don’t: ‘No corporate b********!’ advises Peter.

Don’t: ‘Be too false and facile,’ said Andy Camp, who’s a business development director with the civil service. ‘I hate the naval gazing and heart searching style of event – prefer the good fun and activity based ones. No problem solving exercises though – please! It is important the event’s objectives are right,’ believes Andy, so make sure you know what you want to achieve before you book anything.

Don’t: ‘Attempt to contrive a sense of responsibility and common goal with a synthetic (and transparent) group hug. It’s actually quite cloying to me … yes I know … I’m more grumpy than the grumpiest man in grumpy land!’ Nigel Curtis, MD of a communications company. Joking aside, the hugging culture isn’t prevalent everywhere and some people may find it more than merely off-putting.

Don’t: Make the same mistakes we did. ‘Our CEO thought it was a great idea to spend the weekend team building at a haunted hotel. Just before going to bed the Ops Director was told that someone was found hanged in his room 40 years before. Consequently he got no sleep and was totally miserable the following day – team building went out the window,’ recalls Andy.

If you want to book a corporate event for your organisation, click here.

SKILLS CLINIC: QUAD BIKING

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009No Comments

As the video shows, a combination of speed, mud and water can have unintended consequences. Rob Sawyer, who runs quad biking safaris on a 400-acre wood in Leicestershire, offers his mud-splattered advice on how to saddle a quad bike to ensure you and your bike stay out of the drink.

1. FIVE-ASIDE: Keep five points of contact; feet, hands and bottom. If a rider keeps a good/positive riding position they are able to control the bike more easily.

2. LEGS-UP: The riders’ feet must remain on the footplates at all times. If they try to steady the bike with their feet, it will be pulled as the feet can become caught by the rear wheels.

3. STAY COOL: If the rider is tense it will translate to the bike and become harder to ride. It also increases muscle fatigue in the arms.

4. FRONT-UP: Basically, it’s the opposite of motorway driving where you look way ahead. On a quad, look no further than your nose. Riders need to adjust their body position according to the terrain they are about to cross. By looking just in front they can do this.

5. LOW LIFE: Keeping a low body position on the bike keeps the centre of gravity lower and makes the bike more stable.

Want to tame the beast? Then click here.

Adrenalin junky interview

Tuesday, September 1st, 20097 Comments

Former world champion windsurfer, Nigel Howell, is an adrenalin junky. He breezed into windsurfing when he was 14, but his career gathered knots when he was doing the student travelling thing. He entered an Australian wave competition and, to his  surprise, he came second. Back home, and buoyed up by his success in Australia, he entered the UK Wavesailing and Slalom Championships, and shock horror he won it. This led to a sponsorship deal and a world tour. After returning to Australia, he moved to Maui, Hawaii, and did his surfing on Hookipa Beach and the famous North Shore. Some of his achievements include: Multiple UK Windsurfing Pro Tour, Wavesailing UKWA Champion, World Champion Windsurf Wavesailing event winner PWA Pro Tour Portugal 1992, and UK Champion Kitesurf Wave Pro Tour 2006. He tells Adrenamag what gives him a buzz.

How did you get into it windsurfing and kitesurfing?

Always wanted to surf, but did not have a car.  Started to windsurf
in 1973, when boards weighed a ton and sails were like bags.
Once I could drive to the surf spots I started surfing and then
combined it with wavesailing and windsurfing so I could both when
travelling.

Who’s your extreme sports hero?

I admire all top sports people (and I try to do as many as sports as I can) but I guess my routes are watersports and the influences are Ken Black – a windsurfing pioneer and now a top windsurf designer – and Robby Naish – the legendary US kite boarding world champion. They are the most incredible watersports competitors of my generation.

What’s the greatest extreme sports thrill you’ve had?

Riding waves is generally amazing whether on a kite or surfboard,
I guess times in Maui had the biggest waves.  Sailing up to Jaws – an outer reef break about 10km upwind of Hookipa Beach, Maui – on a small day is fun.  It breaks up to 70 ft on the big days. When we were in Maui,  it had only just been discovered, now it is being tow surfed on huge days.

Where are the best locations to windsurf?

One of the best watersports locations is probably the Isle of Wight, but for surf alone Cornwall, Ireland and Scotland have some amazing spots. Maui or Oahu in Hawaii has to be best for waves. Australia also has some great spots, such as Esperance and Margaret River in Western Australia.

Which is better windsurfing or kitesurfing?

Very similar really.  I only kite now with surfboards anyway so its
more like tow-in surfing but with a kite – no foot straps, just a
waxed-up standard  6′ 1” surfboard.

What would be your advice to someone who’s thinking about windsurfing or kitesurfing?

Try it!

What other extreme sports are you into?

Surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, sup – paddle surfing – skate, wakeboard, water ski and mountain biking – a bit.

What’s the next big thing in Extreme Sports?

White Air Brighton.

Tips on how to start windsAd1junkpicurfing

You only need two – have a basic lesson and buy or hire some kit. It’s
amazingly easy to use, you will get going straightaway.

Tell us about how you turned your hobby into your day job…
Started White Air Brighton to promote a surfboard and windsurf board company we
had and this progressed into the festival we have today.  I wanted to
highlight all extreme sports and no one else was doing it.

How to dive into watersports:

Try as many as you can before investing in any expensive equipment. Then choose one that rocks your boat. Activity providers will include basic tuition.

want to try this activity?click here

White Air Brighton is Europe’s largest Extreme Sports festival and is on in Brighton from September 18th to 20th. For more details: https://www.whiteair.co.uk/tv

Useful websites:
https://www.studentwindsurfing.co.uk
https://www.ukwindsurfing.com/
https://www.rya.org.uk/windsurfing