Dune buggies featuring at Ferndene

There's no way you'd let the public on full-power buggies

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 08:00 06/08/2012
BLANTON SMITH

Later this month Aaron Hatcher will open Hotkarts, an outdoor dune-buggy racing track.

karts stand
ROBERT CHARLES
Hotkartz employee Kimba Mallowes takes one of the company's vehicles for a spin.

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A Waitara house husband's dune buggy business has brought motorsport back to Ferndene.

Hotkartz managing director Aaron Hatcher recently imported six new dune buggies from China to start his own dirt racing club.

Since March this year Hatcher has been carving out an 800-metre- long, two-lane track beside Ferndene Quarries in Upland Rd in Egmont Village.

The site is next door to the old Ferndene Speedway, which closed in January after 26 years of operation.

Hotkartz gives the public the chance to try their hand at off- road racing in the single-seater 250cc buggies.

"It keeps motor racing on the site," Hatcher said.

The automatic buggies, which cost about $5000 each, could reach speeds up to 70kmh but this had been restricted for safety purposes, Hatcher said.

"There's no way you'd be able to let the public on with full-power buggies," he said.

While final prices had not been set Hatcher said 15 minutes of racing would cost punters $25 to $30.

That would allow people to go around the track about six times, which was a good dose of racing, he said.

"It's quite tiring after three or four laps."

The track sits on a 2-hectare block of land that he leases off an Egmont Village farmer.

Eventually another three tracks would be added, he said.

"As it gets more competitive we'll bring more bits and pieces in but we'll see what the interest is like before we go spending a fortune."

It was hoped the enterprise would see a club for racing enthusiasts born, he said.

The track features hairpin turns, a bridge, pit-stop lanes and about 6000 tyres acting as barriers, he said.

There would most likely be age limit and licence restrictions put in place, he said.

Hotkartz is the second off-road adventure tourism business to start up in Egmont Village in as many months.

In May New Plymouth couple Dave Huzziff and his partner Sandra Johnston opened Egmont Quads Taranaki, which takes people on a one-hour farm trail tour through their 8ha section in Egmont Rd.

Hotkartz would be open for business in a few weeks, Hatcher said.

Customers can check out its Facebook page for further information.

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