Adrenalin: Driving in the dark: Blindfold driving is the latest way to entertain corporate clients and stag parties. Owen Slot sets off into the unknown

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The Independent Culture
The idea of driving so fast that you can't see the world go by can now be put into perfect practice. In fact you can drive quite slowly and still not see the world go by. And the gimmick is simple: you drive blindfold.

Punters are warned not to try this at home; or on the M25 come to that. The concept is one of the latest from the outdoor adrenalin pursuits business, an industry forever in search of ways of recycling its best-selling commodity, speed. The irony about blindfold driving, though, is that unless the G-force is gluing you to the back of your seat - and quite frankly that's unlikely when you can't see where you're going - the speed sensation is numbed. You could be at 15mph or 50mph and still have as much fun.

Or not, as the case might be. To drive blindfold you need a co- pilot, someone not only confident that they know their right from their left, but someone to rely on, someone to honour and obey. Married couples, say the instructors of MotivAction, the company who pioneered blindfold driving, have often failed this test.

MotivAction, which has been selling speed for several years, packages it in a number of ways. Most of them involve wheels - six, four or three - though one- person hovercraft (reaching 50mph) are extremely popular and the company can also lay on horse-riding, ballooning and a variety of water sports. Its business is group bookings - mainly corporate or stag parties - which it gets and keeps largely by innovating to stay ahead of the opposition. And so were born ideas such as blindfold driving and another of MotivAction's specialities - reverse-steer driving around an obstacle course. Both bizarre, both in serious need of a test-drive.

Reverse-steer driving came first, and my first obstacle came a pretty fast second. Steering left to turn right is not as simple as it sounds and the plastic-cone obstacles were readily consumed by my vehicle, which resembled a futuristic milk float.

The idea is that instead of crates of milk in the back, you fill it with a large number of your group who hopefully drop a collective jaw in amazed recognition of the Nigel Mansell of the reverse-steering world. My outing was purely in the interests of journalism - honestly - so it was solo, no group, no collective clatter against the floor of the milk float. A good thing too, perhaps, since you receive a 10-second penalty for every obstacle hit and any passengers would even now be sitting in the same field in Hertfordshire.

On to blindfold driving. I've been called a 'blind idiot' in a car once before, though share the belief of most drivers that my grasp of the real thing is better than average. And I've also had my fair share of back-seat drivers, but here I was all too grateful to have Paul, a MotivAction instructor, who seemed to have particularly good control over left and right.

So it was that we sailed round the course, Paul yelling instructions as I swung the Land Rover through the gates without leaving so much as a scratch. We left the (non-existent) competition for dead and could have been on the podium popping champagne.

It is this element of against- the-clock competition that adds so much to a MotivAction event. The instructors reflect fondly on images of terrified salespeople determined to outperform their colleagues, and recall the diabolical performances of reverse- steering drivers in pursuit of victory. One driver, who froze with the throttle full on, crashed out of the circuit, through a fence and didn't stop until she hit a nearby wood.

MotivAction (0438 861821) has an extensive network of venues throughout the country

(Photograph omitted)

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