There's been a lot of attention lately towards GT-Race buggies in Australia and I'm unashamedly responsible. Earlier this year @nigel and I discussed to great length and in detail finally making our move towards owning the best production race buggies available. Our decision came about by the competitive blood between us when we're out kiting together, it's nearly a diagnosable medical condition and something that we've enjoyed for over 10 years together.
Back in July our original plan was to order the XXTreme Apexx, a buggy we've seen first hand up close when @domenic first purchased his in 2008. We put up a discussion in the Buy & Sell on Extreme Kites to also feel if anyone else was interested, the end result was @igeighty was also showing interest. With three confirmed individuals I approached XXTreme in the Netherlands with our intent on purchasing three Apexx buggies and having them shipped to Australia. Without creating undesired consequences of sharing our unfavourable experience lets just say that communication during this process was incredibly poor.
Delays in communication mean idle fingers wander, and wander they did stumbling upon GT-Race's website. We took a closer look at the information available online, then spoke with two GT-Race owners (one being in Mark Van den Berg the Dutch National Champion) and then finally approached @GT-Race (Martin Faber) directly. From the outset Martin's communication pre-order was amazing in the speed of which he delivered answers to our questions, the manner in which he fielded our questions and overall the secure atmosphere he created surrounding the purchase by never leaving any query unanswered.
After a week of comparison, reading, searching, discussing with pilots of both buggies the three of us decided that the logical choice in this situation was the GT-Race Rapide. If the Apexx was the gold standard in 2008 the Rapide presented as years of evolution on this original idea. On the surface areas of difference which we felt drew us closer to the Rapide were features such as the integrated backrest, fork lock and flat foot plates. However when going further in to detail we felt the way the headstock connected to the downtube and facilitated the mudguard was a better solution, also the rear axle joint system made for quicker assembly and disassembly. Beyond that we liked little changes like how Martin had stepped the downtube welds and used 20mm head stock bolts that counter-sunk in to the fork. Overall the three of us felt that whilst the Apex was an incredible buggy the Rapide was just that few steps ahead having continued to evolve in increments.
With our decision made we approached Martin and placed the order, however we were surprised to note that the Rapide ++ was due for release and that we would be in the first 10 built to receive the ++ version. In short, the ++ version brings together Martin's extensive build experience on the FL, refines it and makes further evolves the manufacturing process to produce a better finished product. It's not so much an evolution in features as it is an evolution in Martin's manufacturing process.
With this in place and Martin now building 3 custom Rapide ++ buggies for us @roblukin stepped in to the mix. Originally his plan was to order an Outlaw from Peter Lynn New Zealand, however again you would have more success trying to arrange your affairs through two paper cups and a piece of string than any other form of communication. So again we turned to Martin and explained Rob's personal situation, his strengths and weaknesses regarding his physical condition and physical disabilities he has to manage as part of his buggying process. Virtually instantly Martin stepped it up a gear, and then the goal to manufacture a modified GT-Race Radical for Rob became the goal. There was some considerable discussion, about cutting some weight from the buggy, changing slightly part of the materials used and the manufacturing using those changed specifications. Over the course of a week everything was discussed and a 4th Buggy was ordered.
GT-Race's strength isn't only about producing the highest quality, most technically advanced production buggies. GT-Race's strength is also the personalised customer service that Martin Faber spends each weeknight providing and each weekend turning orders in to fulfilment. Presently there are 4 GT-Race buggies being manufactured, assembled, checked over and packed to make their way to Australia.
Kite Buggying in Australia is back on a growth trajectory since we launched the new Extreme Kites website in June this year, GT-Race is going to be front and centre of many Australian achievements going forward.