From huskies to supercars, the wilderness of Finland is transformed is transformed into a billionaires’ playground by McLaren. Words: Adam Hay-Nicholls
GQ is in Sölden, Austria, 3048 metres above sea level and inside the summit of the Gaislachkogl Mountain. The slate grey entrance door is concealed against the side of the cliff face, and as it swings ajar it triggers the searing horns, piano and strings of Writing’s On The Wall, the opening theme to James Bond’s 24th mission.
My wild Indonesian beach horse had a split personality. We headed to the tip of the three-mile-long Nihiwatu beach, me giving the animal polite but firm kicks to the ribs, yet it refused to so much as trot or go near the water. Then, and I knew this was going to happen, once we turned around and it saw where it lived it went, in two-wheeled terms, from being a push bike to a Ducati 1299 Superleggera. It went faster than anything I’ve seen at Ascot. It rode through the surge of the Indian Ocean, which was fun for the first mile. But as I pulled on the reins, and the nag refused to heel, the cartilage in my back went on strike and it felt like nails were being hammered into my spine. So, there I am, flat-out aboard one tonne of pot roast, and I see a couple on a romantic sunset stroll. Rather than scream HELP I decided to grit my teeth and try to look cavalier as I galloped past, leaning backwards ever further, knowing that at the end of the beach was a huge infinity pool and no way round it. Finally, as the frontier of sunbathers appeared, it slammed on its anchors, pulled a 90-degree left into its stable and, shaking and sweating, I prized myself off its saddle and gingerly slipped off.
Throughout its history, the lure of the America’s Cup has seduced tycoons, pioneers and moguls. As the 35th America’s Cup Match presented by Louis Vuitton unfurls this month in Bermuda, THE RAKE takes a look at the dramas on land and sea that make the world’s longest running sporting event such a compelling spectacle. By Adam Hay-Nicholls.
Driving onto a frozen lake with traction and stability control switched off, I’m starting to regret the 20-course meal of pig’s head, decomposing leaves and bird’s liver custard that’s in my belly. But that’s the price you pay for experiencing the finest and wildest that Sweden has to offer.
A truck is bearing down on me. A hulking great Kamaz truck, it’s slaloming down a valley between cappuccino-coloured dunes like an obese skier who’s barely in control. The driver wrestles the wheel to get some traction. He’s caught me by surprise. The bikes, quads and cars that have already passed through on this stage of the Dakar Rally took a different, tighter line to the trucks. Continue reading