If you like flamboyant fun that’s big, bold and brash, then this is for you! Master a lean mean flying machine and find out what speed means in this hurtling hovercraft experience. These thunderous crafts are as raucous and rowdy as you can get – so get ready to enjoy a white-knuckle ride across both land and water before taking the reins and trying it out for yourself.
You’ll take speed to the extreme as you blast around a course in a race against the clock, making a serious splash and kicking up a storm in the process. This is a wet and wild experience for thrill-seekers that’s all about fast and furious fun!
n this rip-roaring Hovercraft Flying experience you’ll learn how to pilot a race-bred hovercraft across both land and water, taking part in a series of laps against the clock or in competition with other people.
On the day you’ll meet your instructor who will provide you with a full briefing before familiarising you with the craft. Learn the key skills required and watch the pros in action, before venturing out onto the purpose-built hover track and putting your new-found skills into action. You’ll tackle both land and water in your craft and then it’s time to pit yourself against the clock in a thrilling finale! Utilise your training to steer the craft around the course in as fast a time as possible. Exact details vary depending on location, but you can expect to take part in a series of relay or pursuit races against the clock or in competition with other participants.
Turn up the volume, put your foot down and prepare to have the ride of your life in this awesome hovercraft experience. Watch the pros in action and enjoy a dash around the track before taking the controls yourself. It’s easier said than done and these eager beavers seem to have a mind of their own – but that’s where the fun really comes in. Do your worst and get to grips with these race-bred machines before the ultimate challenge: a race against the clock. These amphibious crafts are all roaring engines and raring to go, so get on, buckle up and prepare to have a blast!
Rise Up To The Challenge! - What You Need To Know
- WHEN: Events are usually on selected dates throughout the year.
- WHERE: Hovercrafts can travel over land and water, so most events take place at a field somewhere in the country.
- WHO: Fancy a go at an outdoor motorised sport but want something different to lapping a car around a track or climbing banks in a 4x4? Hovercraft racing offers oodles of fun and as they are challenging beasts to master, the satisfaction of not crashing is very much worthwhile. The experience appeals to a wide range of ages and backgrounds.
- OCCASIONS: Hovercraft racing is a quirky and fun birthday or Christmas present.
- PRICES: Hovercraft experiences start from around £40 per person. More expensive experiences typically last longer and some are exclusive to just you. (correct at the time of writing)
- QUESTIONS: Need help? Ask questions here and I'll try to help as best I can
- TRIED THIS?: Would you recommend it? Share your thoughts here
Top hovercraft experiences
Most hovercraft days are group events where you'll spend a few hours sharing one or two craft amongst a small bunch of hapless adversaries. There are a handful of experiences that combine hovercraft racing with other activities, or that offer one-to-one tuition. Here's some such experiences:
Formula 3 Hovercraft Racing in Shropshire
Drive a Formula 3 single seater hovercraft on a 1km track at Rednal Airfield near Oswestry, Shropshire. After an introduction, you'll have a practice lap followed by a final driving session timed against the clock. You'll be in a group so each driver has an introduction lap before the round of timed laps begins.
Hovercraft Racing Blast and All-Terrain DTV Shredder Experience
This two-in-one experience takes place in Frodsham, Cheshire, where you'll be let loose on the controls of a hovercraft and a DTV Shredder. No idea what a DTV Shredder is? This video explains all.
One-to-One Hovercraft Flying in Leicestershire
Ditch the crowds and spend more time at the helm of a hovercraft all to yourself at a track near Lutterworth, Leicestershire. You'll spend an hour flying over water and land under the guidance of your instructor. Set a lap time and try to beat it, while perfecting your handling skills.
My hovercraft racing experience
The closest I got to a hovercraft was riding on the Hover Travel service from Southsea to the Isle of Wight. For some reason they don't let any old Joe take the controls of the craft. Weird, right?
Thankfully there's places that are daft enough to let me have a go. So on a cold winter's morning I arrived at the Hoverdays track near Oswestry to find just one other person taking part (maybe people knew I was going to have a go). On the upside, this meant we could each cram in more laps into the allocated time.
Our instructor showed us the very simple controls. There's a throttle to build up power and inflate the skirt. There's a thrust control that propels the craft forward. That's it. To steer, you shift your body weight to one side.
The keys to not crashing are 1) not to deflate the skirt while propelling forward, and 2) turning well in advance of when you need to.
The instructor nipped around the course like the seasoned pro he was. He made it look deceptively easy.
Then it was my turn. Helmet on (in case I went head over heels for the hovercraft) and knee pads on (as the kneeling really does take its toll), I straddled the motor and revved up. Once you understand the throttles, it's child's play getting going. Steering is an altogether different challenge. Hovercrafts don't seem to head where they're told to. So after a few brushes with the reeds, it was clear how to avoid a calamity - turn way before your head says you should.
By the third lap I was jostling from side to side, at one with machine. And it was great fun. I opened up the taps on the straights and remembers to keep the skirts inflated around the corners. I leaned in with plenty of straight left and the hovercraft gently turned, following the 180° bend with ease. I opened up the taps again to cross the pond, kicking up plenty of spray in the process. A tricky weave was no match for my skills (or strictly speaking, my body weight, ahem).
The lack of competition leading to a 50/50 chance of winning meant my victory was hollow. But this experience isn't about coming first. It's about taming a beast that has a mind of its own, and becoming one with machine. I triumphed and eagerly look forward to my next dual.
Disclosure: I paid for a hovercraft racing session in Shropshire in full. My opinions are my own.
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