Go-karting track up to speed

The chequered flag dropped and they
were off! Racers, speedsters and plodders alike piled into go-karts on Saturday
to show their mettle on Cayman’s brand new racing track.

The much anticipated Cayman Karting
opened its gates to the public just five months after its inception.

First on the track on Saturday
morning after its 10am opening was 16-year-old Cody Culbert. “It was great.
I’ll definitely be back and I’m bringing friends,” he said, after taking his
go-kart on some tyre-squealing laps around the track.

The 200cc Honda engines in the high
performance-Sodikart RX7s supply enough power to ensure drivers have an
exhilarating time on the track, and there was plenty of burning rubber on
display Saturday.

Drivers competed for the fastest
time and a trophy for the fastest time was up for grabs on opening day.

The average lap time is 34 seconds.
The best time recorded Saturday was 31.493 seconds by Sergio Mesa.

Cayman Karting’s Michelle Carter
offers this advice for first-timers: “gun it as you go around the corners”.

“The karts won’t roll. You might
hear some tyres squealing, but don’t worry about that. These karts are built
for this, they won’t roll,” she said.

Children under 14 are not yet
allowed to race, although cars specially made for kids are on the way, and
should be on island within the next eight weeks, according to director of Cayman
Karting, Alasdair Foster.

Drivers cannot wear open-toed shoes
while racing, although there is a small supply of running shoes in different
sizes on hand, just in case a customer in flip flops shows up. All drivers are
required to wear “head socks” and helmets, which are supplied by Cayman
Karting.

It costs $25 a go – this includes a
five-minute warm-up to get used to the vehicle and then a 10-lap race against
other drivers.

The 1,000-foot asphalt paved track
can be found on Hidden Lagoon Drive, off Sparkys Drive in the industrial park.

Billy Culbert, owner of the land on
which the track is situated and whose son was the first customer, said he was
very impressed with the set-up.

“Alasdair has done a great job. The
neighbourhood seems happy with it. It looks first class,” he said, while
declining to climb into a kart himself. “I’ll let Cody do it.”

The track is open from 1pm to 9pm
on weekdays and from 10am to 9pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

CUC supplied four large track
lights to ensure drivers can see where they’re going after the sun goes down.

Currently, just the track and some
bleachers are in place, but Mr. Foster said a viewing deck with a snack bar was
in the works. “It’ll make a great vantage point,” he said.

For those who get a little too
enthusiastic and carried away, kart mechanic Kevin Hoodjer has in his hands the
ultimate controls. With a touch of a button, he can bring racers to a gliding
stop, slow them down or bring them down a gear or two. “If it looks like
there’s any danger, we can bring the races to a stop,” he said.

But on Saturday, it was the weather
and not Mr. Hoodjer’s control box that stopped the racing. Looming clouds that
had threatened rain since early morning finally wet the track later in the
afternoon.

“We’ve had some full races, with
nine karts on the track at the same time, but it’s been drizzling a bit, so we
stopped for a while,” said Ms Carter.

Since news of the new track’s
impending arrival broke about two months ago, expectations have been high, with
members of the public showing a lot of interest in the new venue.

Mr. Foster set up a Facebook page
to gauge the interest, and even before he track opened, it had 670 fans.

LOCALgokarting066STORY
Cody Culbert, the first member of the public to try out the new go-kart track, speeds around a corner ahead of Cayman Karting’s Jamel McLean.
Photo: Norma Connolly
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