Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Update: Go Kart Racing!

So, It's been 12 days since my last post (thanks, Justice, for the reminder). I promised to give an update on the Go Kart Racing, but due to certain copyright and invasion of privacy issues, I am unable to post full details. Therefore, I will certainly NOT mention in any way Justice's crashing into the tyre wall of the first corner, on the first lap, before he reached the starting line up. I will also in no way post this picture of him in action:

Now, getting that out the way, the afternoon was actually a blast!

We arrived, and had a beer to get us out of work mode. We then started chatting about relevant topics, such as deaths, burnings and scalpings all occurring from the partaking in go kart racing. Wise decision. This may have led to certain team members decisions to not go all out in the race, which may or may not have benefited those of us who were still keen on going balls to the wall.

The karts are pretty small, and the bucket seats are really buckety, so it's not comfortable and you feel pretty restricted. Also, you're encouraged not to touch the exhaust, as this would burn - so I kept my arms and elbows tucked in for the duration of my driving, which may or may not have hindered my performance. In addition to small and not entirely comfortable go kart seats, some helmets did not fit everyone, but apart from that, everything was cool.

Basic rules apply, so we split into 3 groups to have 2 heats each, the best 5 lap times going into the final. I was in the first group, and so received the first warning for dangerous driving. I did spin out once, and bumped one guy once, and nearly spun out once more, but I wasn't the only one as we were all getting used to the track, the car and it's handling and limits. It was pretty fun, we all went in pretty gung ho and the times were fairly good - I didn't come first, I came third in the race with second best laptime.

The other groups went, and everyone had interesting experiences - a couple of pileups, some close misses, plenty of spin outs, and even one disqualification (This wasn't discussed, but again, I'm not going to mention at all that it was Justice who was disqualified for his dangerous driving).

After all groups had done their first heat, we went again for seconds, and the competition really began hotting up - we had got to grips with the whole deal, learning the track and what our cars could and couldn't do, and our racing lines and braking strategies had improved greatly.

My main strategy was that I would brake slightly early, and quite hard - so that I could turn sharper out the corners. It took a while to get the right balance, but eventually I got it down and started making up time on fellow racers. I can't comment much on other strategies - but there was a clear group of racers who were fast and enjoying it! Needless to say, I made the final 5 with a close second fastest time.

The final race was exhilarating - I lost the lead with maybe 2 or 3 laps to go due to a spin out, but was murdering the rest of the grid with some ruthless driving and awesome chases (I will point out at this stage that the day's fastest racer, Garrick, had to take the slowest car in the final - a car so slow that 2 laps into the race, with a head start, he was last, so the race wasn't entirely even). A race is not quite as fun as when you are actually racing closely with someone (or several people) - when there are 2 or 3 of you overtaking, tailing, cutting off and turning inside and outside each other, the rush and excitement is amazing. It really is one of the most exciting, fun and satisfying experiences one can have.

If you've never raced go karts before, I reccommend it. It is cheap, easy, and a killer time will be had for all. Here are one or two pics from the day:

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