Power wheelchair users go head to head

Motorised wheelchair users took to the Zwartkops Raceway Karting Track to battle it out for the title of fastest quad. MARISKA MORRIS reports.

The Sabat Power Wheelchair Race returned to Zwartkops Raceway in Centurion on August 5. Sabat Batteries hosted the QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) and 22 quadriplegic power wheelchair users at the Cars in the Park event. These VIP guests were treated to complimentary food and drinks and enjoyed a live performance of upbeat classics.

The shooters were lined up on arrival and a few guests enjoyed one or two to get into the festive spirit of the day – and possibly to get some courage for the impending race.

Driving Ambitions showcased its new adapted Renault Kangoo at the event. Power wheelchair users can take driving lessons in the vehicle with its Space Driving System and test for their driver’s licence. The vehicle is adapted to allow wheelchair users to roll into the vehicle. A joystick replaces the steering wheel and a lever against the door controls the acceleration and braking.

Just after 1pm, the contestants gathered on the Karting Track for the race. A crowd of spectators cheered loudly to encourage the racers. On the green light the racers set off. The contestants took one, action-packed lap around the track as they zipped around corners, overtook each other and attempted to catch up with Shaun Arde – the winner of the men’s event.

Jemina Maotoe was the winner among the women and was crowned “the fastest quad on the block” along with Shaun. All the racers took one more victory lap around the track before returning to the festivities.

QASA CEO Ari Seirlis remarks: “QASA is very grateful to AUTO-X and Sabat Batteries for funding the power wheelchair race and, most importantly, for the 15-year relationship that QASA has enjoyed as a recipient of batteries for the power wheelchairs of quadriplegics.

“Sabat Batteries are used by quadriplegic power wheelchair users as a gift from Sabat. This is a wonderful member benefit and assists with our human right of remaining mobile.”

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