The 2017 Australian Open Blokart Championships were planned to be on the “dry” Lake Nadzab a few kilometres north of Kingston S.E. South Australia for the Australia Day weekend.
Unfortunately with a big drop of rain a week prior to the event the lake was un-sailable — at least for those with wheels anyway — so the event was moved to the beach just off Toops Road.
A total of 68 competitors from all over Australia including a large contingent from New Zealand came together to enjoy the Aussie sun.
Blokarting is divided in to two classes, Production and Performance, basically being either out of the box or add-on-go-fast items respectively.
The classes are then put into four divisions each based on sailor’s weight. The fleet included a few of the 2016 World Champions and many more who were on the podium. It was looking to be a super competitive event.
There were a total of 75 races held over the four days giving fifteen races for each division. Some of the divisions were combined for racing and the points separated out at the end.
It was great to see the super heavyweights at over 95kg dicing with the light weights at less than 70kg in what were some testing conditions over the event.
The wind seemed to consistently build so later in the day we saw some small sails (3.0m and 4.0m) being brought out. The tides were gentle with us as the high tide during the day was only 30mm higher than low tide, which kept the beach useable from 10am to past 6pm.
Starts are always crucial in this form of sailing, not only position but being fast. They were upwind starts and a good speed across the line would have been 30km/h or better. If you were slow you soon were overtaken from behind.
The wind and the race committee kept the course into the wind and made a good tactical work to the first mark. The return to the bottom mark was usually fast and completed in one gybe but when the wind dropped it was great to see the karts crossing the beach downwind.
The bottom mark was always spectacular, cornering at speeds of about 50-60km/h. The race committee always tuning the course to keep it as safe as possible.
Although it is yet to be confirmed, next year’s venue will be Lake Walyungup in Perth.