Ivanpah Buggy Blast and NAPKA North American Cup 2014.
There are many ways to go about reporting on an event like those held at Ivanpah Dry Lake. This years host Ivanpah Buggy Blast offered up participation events that involved navigation, flat land freestyle, endurance, and racing.
First the buggy racing side. The North American Cup was presented by the North American Power Kiting Accosiation. WWW.NAPKA.ORG
The championship race called “North American Cup” ends a season of buggy racing held accross North American, Canada, and Mexico. One second after the results are posted for the Cup, the new season begins.
The NAPKA officers; Race committee and Race marshal designed the course format, scheduled pre-race meetings, defined safety protocall and ran the races.
Trophies were given to the top three racers in both “Open Class” and “Masters Class”.
WHAT IVANPAH BUGGY BLASTIS ALL ABOUT?
From April 1st ñ 5th Kite Buggiers, Land Boarders, Land Sailors, and other Wind Enthusiasts gathered at one of the most incredible spots in the Kite Sailing WorlD. The organizers hosted an industry event for everyone to come try the latest gear.
Manufactures and participants looking to demo any gear and participate in events had to be register. Everyone else was welcome at the event site for free.
Ivanpah Buggy Blast (IBB) provided trophies for the participants that won particular events.
The Bbq was going all day. The community quickly developed into a pot-luck style feeding system. Everyone contributed to keeping the staging area free of trash.
Participants arrive on Sunday March 30th, and stayed through April 6th.
This event was set up at the Staging Area 3 on the East side of Ivanpah Dry Lake.
HOW DO I FIT INTO THIS Kite Buggy EVENT?
Well years ago I started driving the 2,400 mile, 36 hour round trip to Primm, Navada from the North Oregon Coast with my family and friends. That’s right, Sean Butler and I drive from the North Oregon Coast with all it’s scenic beaches and beautiful on shore winds to drive to a dusty and gusty area in the Mojave Desert call Ivanpah Dry Lake. It’s a radical change in environment to say the least.
Natually the area is amazing for testing top end speeds and endurance (how many miles a day could I possibly ride). One can almost get lost riding to very far edges for the lake bed.
Another test is of preparedness.
It’s a huge mistake to think it’s at all fun to learn on that surface. In wind shify and gusty one has to figure out how to deal with top end speed and top end traction. Not too mention you’re flying a kite in the worst possible conditions.
Yet hundreds gather on Ivanpah to drive their buggies harder than ever.
The evolution and transormation of the group on the Lake Bed has been amazing to see. Once in a while the wind would be pleasant, steady and smooth. More often in gusting high 20 and 30 mph and occosionally 40s and 50s.
The implemention of de-power kitess has certainly increased participation in all conditions.
This year the North Americal Power Kiting Association used Ivanpah Buggy Blast as a host the kite buggy event called “North American Cup”.
This is where the Ozone Quantum comes in. Lets back up a minute to the Yakuza and Yakuza Gt. Previously I flew the Yak and the GT and knew how incrediblely fast they would go. Now the Quantum and I get to know each other on the fastest surface in North America…
Alright, so after an 18 hour non-stop drive we arrived on Ivanpah at 8a.m. sunday March 30th 2014. Naturally one would consider taking a nap or sleeping the day away after traveling with no sleep for 24 hrs. I will tell you that if you arrive and it’s blowing 15-30 you will do nothing else but assemble your ride and start kiting. I have never been so anxious to unpack a new kite and send it straight to the limit.
With a couple days before the actual races, I took full advantage of the 16 mph gusting to 25mph to break in some new parts on my buggy, and a couple new Quantums.
With the 5m Quantum on 15m lines and my Libre Hardcore with custum everything I accelerate out of camp into a 2.5 mile upwind reach. My plan is to head straight out, and line up for a very long broad reach.
I rode up to the far south east corner. Finally after all these months of preperation, a super long all-nighter drive I get what I’ve been waiting all year for.
I can’t find the vocabulary to tell one how fast and smooth the 5.0m Quantum accelerated. Perhaps, “Zooooom”?
I glanced down at my GPS and it read 48 MPH. I lowered the kite into the sweet spots, loaded up some pressure on my downwind tire and ran it out to the far end of the lake bed. 58.7 mph on my first pass.
I noticed right away how stable the controls were and how well the Quantum kept its shape in gust shifty winds. Only if I mishandled my buggy could I get the kite out of the window quickly enough to cause a collapse. I could tack or jybe whenever I wanted, keeping my speeds high in corners while bringing the Quantum through the apparent wind window anytime with maximum speed and handling. This is excactly what I want. Huge top end speed and brilliant handling, awesome!
My high wind speed runs were cut short. High corning speeds were causing my buggy to drift, scrubbing the buggy’s tires bald. Part of my plan was to conserve tires until the North American Cup races were over. It is incredibly tought to change tube-less tires on a lakebed without a good air compressor. On the other hand, this kite and buggy combo is working perfectly how could I possible stop riding!!!
Race Day! After the Pre-Race Safety and Pre-Race meetings, I lines up the 3.0m Quantum for some practice laps. Here we go again. I figured the 5m Quantum would eat up my tires coming around the down-wind transition to upwind. I sized down to the 3m Quantum keeping my hopes high my tires would last the entire searies of the “Masters Class” races.
The first Day or racing was delayed due to a freak storm that caused rain, hail, and lightning on the dry lake bed. After a quick emergency departure from the dry lake, which was wet then dry in less than an hour, the race marshal called the first heat start time. The first day of “Masters Class” racing consisted of two 3 lap heats. The course was a triangle with an upwind start. Wind was shifting 90 degrees and gusting 15-25.
The first heat I crossed the start in 2nd. I passed the first place rider during our tach. On the upwind reach I surged forward making the first mark well in front.
During the second heat, I lined up correctly during the starting procedure and cleared the start 1st. Pulled away clearing the whole 3 lap course in less than 5 minutes. Twice as fast as any other pilot on that course that day.
The following day the race marshal called for one more “Masters Class” race following “Open Class” races. I stuck to the 3.0m Quantum because I could see the tire cord and sliding or drifting would disable my buggy. Clearing the start procedure fist I didn’t even look back. The only disadvantage to being in front, is that one can’t see what’s coming up behind them. This year with the Quantum I didn’t have to worry about any disadvantages!
Winning the NAPKA North American Cup “Master’s Class” races puts the Ozone Quantum in first place with me as the North American Cup “Master’s Class” Champion!
Sharing in the “Relay Race” 1st prize, and earning “Fastest Speed of the Week” certainly fortifies my opinion of the Ozone Quantum!!!
THANK ALL OF YOU at IBB and NAPKA for comitting months of preperation and flawless onsite opperation of IBB and North American Cup!
Sean and I will be back next year! We have all year to stock up on tires and wheels…