Embracing the inner Lady Hoon

Guns, knives, and some very innovative (and expensive) BMWs make for a day of latently violent indulgence for a group of lead-footed lady journalists.

I often joke about bringing my gun to a conversation, that it helps everybody involved to see things my way, but in fact I don’t own one, and I’ve only ever gotten my trigger happy mitts on one on a handful of (exciting) occasions in my lifetime.

So it was with much surprise that in the course of one day, I was offered not only a gun, but also a bow and 10 arrows, and a collection of hefty knives to throw. It’s a dream come true for a latently violent person such as myself.  

It was a stunning, clear day at Boomrock Lodge, a corporate retreat set on 8km of pristine coastline on the west coast out of Wellington. Way up on 250-metre high cliffs, a group of lady journalists indulged themselves in knife-throwing, claybird shooting and archery.

Oh, and hooning around a purpose-built track in the latest, most innovative BMWs on the market. (The cars are so smart, they can predict your every move. Hell, they’d likely even beat you in a chess game.)

Boomrock’s owner, Jonny Eastwick, has had the property in his family for three generations. It’s completely private so only staff and guests are allowed to access the farm – typically by helicopter and bus.

Eastwick had farming in the blood but over a decade ago, a downturn in the sector meant he wanted to diversify. A corporate retreat (hence the abundance of weaponry) was the solution and to boot, he put in a purpose-built racetrack.

When professional hoon Peter Brock saw it, he said it was great, if a little bit dangerous. Brock suggested re-doing one of the corners to reduce the likelihood of accidents, and the track today is used by the likes of BMW as a showcase for its cars.

Under the tutelage of a couple of professionally trained drivers, such as Mike Eady, we’re put in charge of a BMW 125i sport hatch and an X1 and given advice and how and where to brake. The challenge is grinding it up to 60km and hitting the picks when the trainer tells you, to experience the power of the ABS.

“Don’t try to crystal-ball it,” Eady tells me. It’s hard not to – and it’s also hard to avoid going at it full-tilt and keeping to the 60km mark. (I hit 80km the first time. And the second. And the third.)

“Ease off the throttle a bit on this corner,” he says, clutching desperately at his Jesus Handle as I throw the car around the bends.

Later, I’m tempted to give Eady the same advice as he takes us at a ripping pace around the track in the new M3 (at some $170,000 price tag, thankyouverymuch).

He does give me some very handy advice on how and where you should sit in the car to avoid fatigue (in the back, asleep. Ha! I jest) and hand placement on the wheel (more 9-and-3 than 10-and-2).

I don’t manage to get my hands on the M3 for a few laps, but you can check out Eady’s skills in the video below (fast forward to the end to see the best of the rubber-burning action).

Kids, don't try (any of) this at home.

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