I’ve always loved watching motor racing, mostly F1, and like most, would have loved to have been more involved in motor sport earlier on in life. I’m now in my thirties, have a family of my own and am settled in my career, so I started doing some research on what’s out there for someone like myself, looking to just have some fun driving a vehicle fast. Information was not easy to find but when I did eventually gather enough info, karting definitely ticked all the boxes. Costs weren’t too bad, practice time and access to a track (20min from home in Cape Town, South Africa) were big advantages over other options and the karting community is just amazing. Everyone is always very willing to help and guide a newbie like me.
The choice of which kart to buy was obviously driven by which classes were run at my local track and I was headed in the Rotax Max direction until a great deal was presented to me by the very person whose been helping me get into the sport. He’d been racing for a few years but decided to take a break and sell his kart and was willing to sell it to me, along with a bunch of spares and tools, all for roughly $2500. The rest of my kit set me back just a further $700. I recently sold a mountain bike and a few spares that covered this plus the track and membership fees, so I thought that worked very well. The kart is a very well maintained CRG Rotax DD2. The motor had recently been rebuilt too and the kart had been serviced by the local track workshop prior to me taking ownership thereof, a nice gesture by the seller.
Onto my first ride in the kart. So everything was set, as I set about my first experience of a race machine. I had no prior car or kart racing experience. The only kart I’d driven was an indoor “go-kart”. The fastest car I’d driven was my little BMW 130i and that not being racing, just normal street driving. I did occasionally “test” the car on very quiet (almost deserted) roads, but that was it. After closing my visor, with the engine fired up, I pushed the throttle lightly to move slowly on the speed controlled entry, and once off, checked that the coast was clear and BOOM! I stepped on the throttle and could not believe how much acceleration this kart has…it is a BEAST! When shifting into the 2nd gear it seems to take off like a 2nd boost or something. It is just amazing. I can’t believe I’ve not found karting sooner. I felt like one of the F1 drivers from the few hundred thousand onboard qualy videos I’ve watched, lol. The amount of grip cannot be explained without one experiencing it for themselves. I tried explaining it to someone that it is kind of analogous to someone pulling you from the side but your feet are glued to the ground. The one side of my neck is not feeling too great today but it was totally worth it. I am a regular in my home gym, so the rest of my body doesn’t hurt badly, but it does feel like I’ve had a very decent upper body workout. Initially I was afraid I might have jumped in a bit too far in the deep end with a DD2 but it was surprisingly not as “terrifying” as I thought it’d be. It’s definitely going to be a steep learning curve, as the front of the DD2 pack lap around 41s and I was doing about 47s during my first outing. If I were to enter a race, I’d get lapped at least twice! But I’m excited to climb that learning curve and am absolutely HOOKED! And oddly enough, it’s not racing against others that I’m most excited about, it’s more about racing against myself. I guess the fact that watching qualy onboards are one of, if not my absolute favourite things to do.
Just though I’d share my experience with others, especially for those who are getting into karting at a later stage in life. It really is never too late. Also, I now have no interest or desire to try other motor sports for some reason. From my own experience and speaking to others, nothing could match the thrill of driving a kart.
Now I need to learn how to switch my mind off from thinking about karting 24/7!!!