Sailing across the desert
THE Mojave Desert in California is a long way from the beaches of Mackay.
But that's the variation Mackay blokart sailors Barak Dekel and Steve Cullen get to experience.
They are bound for the World Blokart Championships, which will be contested on a dry lake bed at Ivanpah in California.
The pair will drive from Los Angeles and set up camp on the border of California and Nevada, while racing on the lake bed, which is part of a national park.
It's also a popular destination for enthusiasts of sports like blokarting.
"It's a mecca for wind sports," Dekel said.
He said speed records were broken there, due largely to the amount of wind that whips through the huge 95sq km space.
Dekel will contest the North American championships at the same location prior to the world titles. He said racing in places lsuch as Ivanpah was different to the beaches in Mackay.
"It gives you the option of sailing in different directions," he said.
"On a beach you're limited by the width of the beach.
"It takes a lot of different tactics."
Dekel took up the sport in 2007 and he and Cullen made their first world championships appearance in New Zealand in 2008. Dekel also took part in the 2010 world titles in Belgium.
He said the competition would be fierce in California.
"It's extremely tough," he said.
"I'm improving every time, though."
He'd be thrilled with a top-five finish. Anything better would be a "nice surprise".
Dekel got a warm-up for the Californian events at the weekend, when Yeppoon hosted the Australian titles.
The Central Queensland Blokart Club fared well in the wet and windy conditions, with members winning titles.
In the 100km marathon, performance middleweight winner Gary Smith was first across the line.
Defending title holder Darren Bianchi took out the national heavyweight division again, even after stopping to change a tyre.
John Rae won the super heavyweight division.