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Above 100Mph: Things to Know About Thailand’s Drag Boat Racing

Simple wooden boats strapped with mighty engines and no safety gears make long-tail boat drag racing a courageous activity in Thailand

As we are thoroughly aware, drag racing is a legitimate competition found in many countries around the world. When it comes to boat drag racing, it is also valid in several communities. However, be it boat drag racing or car; professional people who are chiefly trained drivers and mechanics govern the races and events. Therefore, ample wealth is devoted to developthe cars and boats that are not merely fast, but also safe. However, in one country, people do not care about the safety aspect. With less property in their pockets, for them; it is all about flying as quick as possible and acquiring respect. 

Let us introduce you to long-tail boat drag racing. It is not like any other drag race. The boats are simple wooden boats with an immense engine harnessed to the backside. There is no steering wheel or seat for the pilot. Not to forget, no safety gears such as helmets, armours, pads and vests are worn by the pilots. 

The wooden boats are mostly as lengthy as kayaks and are usually strapped with two-stroke engines sourced from motorcycles. Most of the engines strapped on the boats are 150cc capacity engines. However, the engine capacity varies depending on how much a racer can afford. Therefore, on the small boats, even parallel-twin 500cc engines are encountered. Being extremely light, the power-to-weight ratio of these boats cannot be described in words. The top speeds achieved by the boats are anywhere between 100 kilometres per hour to 180 or even 190 kilometres per hour. 

Moving on to steering the boats, the boats are manned by a lone fellow who constantly regulates the trim of the boat by altering the angle of the tail. The propellors of the boats are normally half-submerged in the water. To achieve high speeds, the pilot of the boat shifts his weight in the forward direction and to reduce the speed, the tail of the boat is yawned. 

The long-tail boat drag races are organized in several provinces of Thailand where waterways are found in abundance. Usually, the prize amount is as minor as 54 dollars, which only covers the expenses of travelling. However, as mentioned in the first paragraph, it is all about earning respect and pride.

Rohit Chatterjee

An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Rohit Chatterjee is a bona fide moto-enthusiast who has worked with several media houses in his brief career. Chatterjee mostly writes features and news articles related to automobiles and motorsports. When not working, he is found on the interstate clocking over 100kmph on his NS200!
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