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Turbo Boats in Thailand Are Amazing - And Dangerous - Performance Machines
While the U.S. is easily the most monied and prosperous nation in the world and packed with luxuries like dragsters and lighting fast street cars, our answer to racing on the water is building 8,000 hp, nitro-powered, supercharged Hemi’s packed into boats the size of two Cadillacs.

Turbo Boats in Thailand Are Amazing - And Dangerous - Performance Machines

Thai turbo long tail boat racingThai turbo long tail boat racingThai turbo long tail boat racingThai turbo long tail boat racingThai turbo long tail boat racingThai turbo long tail boat racing
In Thailand, the boat racing scene is considerably less capital intensive and lots more adrenaline-charged. Without all those resources, Thais are intent on finding inventive methods to compete and they stitch together whatever parts and pieces they can scrounge to find guts and glory machines to scratch that itch for speed.

And when your nation is covered liberally with water, you naturally build ways to compete side-by-side on waterways. Why not? In Thai provinces, this wild and wooly chase for speed is known as Long Tail Boat Racing.

Long Tail Boats are smallish, flat-bottomed watercraft about the size of a standard kayak and constructed mostly of wood. The boats are made in small, garage-sized engineering shops located throughout the country. The top engineers responsible for the best of the breed are partial to machines powered by 2.8 liter, inline-4 turbo diesel Isuzu mills that are tuned to a fine edge. Some favor similar Mazda engines as well.

The engines on longtail boats are generally used motors from an old car, truck, or farm vehicle, and they might cost about one-tenth the price of an equivalently sized outboard engine.

When not rodded to insane levels, these boats are used to move people, goods and supplies through the labyrinthine network of canals and waterways that make up a major share of the country’s transportation system. Most of them simply putt along and get the job done, but as with hot rodders everywhere, vehicles end up in madness in the hands of garage builders.

Once you hear the turbos spool up, you can tell it’s on. It won’t be long until these guys commit to LS swaps.

The reason they’re called Long Tails is that the prop shaft and prop from the engine protrude well out from the back of the boat and are run partially submerged. The props themselves must be modded to handle the increased stresses placed on them by the enormous power of the turbo mills. The diver adjusts the trim by altering the angle of the tail and the prop and uses his or her weight to guide the boat much as a motorcyclist would.

As the boats are so light in weight themselves, the passenger weight must be constantly shifted to counteract the torque of the prop to prevent the boats from wandering offt o the right at full speed.

The engines used on racing longtail boats are generally taken from an old car, truck, or farm vehicle and as such cost about one-tenth the price of an equivalently sized outboard engine.

This sport is, as we’ve come to learn through our research, quite popular in certain parts of the country, with a large number of owners and teams traveling around the country to compete.

While there’s next to nothing in the way of prize money changing hands - often just enough to cover the cost of travel and accommodations - the racers go at it for the same reasons street racers stateside compete. They run purely for the status that comes with victory.

As for safety measures taken such as helmets, life vests or wet suits? Forget that, citizen. The racers and the occasional passenger run in whatever clothing they have on their backs that day.

The faster boats easily eclipse 100mph and by running on a river they face a host of potential dangers you won’t find running on a clearly marked and calm lake surface.

@24knz

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? original sound - JDMNZ


 
 
 
 
 

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