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Dune Buggy in Lanzarote

on Sun, 29/09/2013 - 17:00

Feloz Dune Buggy
I look down to see a thick coat of red-ish orange volcanic dust has covered me from head to toe. If it wasn't for the Navy camo scalf and Oakleys protecting my face I wouldn't be able to see or breathe. When asked what I'd like for my Birthday, I answered the way I always do "I'd like to drive something fun that I've not driven before". My sister and brother-in-law duly delivered. Next to me sits an 1100cc Feloz Ninja dune buggy, across from me the undulating rocky surface of the southern tip of Lanzarote island.

Opting for the 3hr 'Safari' we spend approximately 60% of that time off road on dusty rocky tracks. There was no pussy footing around for tourists, after a courtesy glance at driving licenses it was straight in the buggy and out onto the main road. The Feloz felt pretty quick on Tarmac, I'd say how quick, but the speedo didn't work. Like a lot of rental cars this buggy drove like the dog on its badge. Gear lever all but hanging off, I never did find third, with fourth being the highest in its close ratio box. The breaks, worryingly spongy with lengthy travel, did little to slow forward momentum. The steering wheel all but useless to anyone under 6 foot - I couldn't change gear and hold the steering wheel at the same time, even with a dangerously loosened 4 point harness. Lock to lock was far from linear which worked well in the dirt but made roads and tight corners in particular a potential hazard. None of these things detracted from the experience one bit though.

Dune Buggying
Off road was where the real fun was had. I normally avoid potholes like the plague but not today. Being thrown around, hearing the rear wheels scrabbling for grip, adventurous up hill, tentative down hill and like Mad Max on the flat. Dust was thrown up in great plumes that at times made it impossible to see the road directly ahead, resulting in an otherwise ill-advised point and hope approach to driving. The open roll cage provided a fantastic view of the suspension working away - coping admirably considering - crashing over rocks with tyres digging in hard. If there's a petrol head nirvana this would surely be a candidate, all be it a very raw, purposeful and uncompromised one. Lanzarote's adopted 'Devil' mascot suddenly felt very appropriate.

I'll no doubt be digging grit out of my ears a week from now and I fear my clothes might be destined for the bin but it's a small price to pay for such a ride. You certainly couldn't do anything like this back in the UK.