180BPM 14000RPM 23HP 75KG
Ah numbers and abbreviations. Really quite abstract until they’re kicking your ass down some tarmac. So today was the first time I got a go in a ‘big girl‘ kart. Up until now the University Motorsport Society has primarily competed in the Scottish Student Karting Cup. In that championship we drive rental karts, the tanks of the karting world. Designed to take a thousand hits, be dragged around by kids and half cut men on stag dos. For me it’s the only experience of motorsport I’ve had in the real world aside from marshaling Rallies, going to a Grand Prix or driving a tractor much too fast on the way home for lunch. However due to a generous benefactor and a lot of time and effort the society is the proud owner of our own championship grade kart from 2001! (What a beauty she is).
Now, I was told it was going to be a game changer, I was told it was going to blow my mind, I was told I’d have infinite grip and as much acceleration as I could stomach. But I never guessed they wouldn’t be exaggerating. This little black and gold machine was rapid. It was the first time in my life that I pressed my right foot down on the back straight and lifted it up before the next corner. I’ve actually had enough acceleration thanks, enough speed, I was actually fine with the current speed we were going. It was such a strange moment, to have too much performance. After a few more laps I gained to confidence to really begin to push the kart and it just kept giving. Eventually it bit my head off at turn one and I spun around a few times. Strangely this gave me more confidence as I knew where the limit of the kart actually was and I knew the area I would be allowed to exist in. In my next stint everything began to feel normal, somewhat like the rental karts. The restriction on my lap times once again became my skill and not my confidence. I was surprised that it was easier to drive physically than rental karts but I think this was down to greater distance between the corners than at indoor tracks which allowed my body more time to recover between efforts.
I have a feeling that rental karts might be ruined for me at this point, as I was warned. But it’s really fueled my desire for bigger and better vehicles. I’m looking forward to the final round of the SSKC at Raceland and I think the skills I learned in the faster kart will improve my skills overall. It’s also much cheaper overall than rentals and higher quality at a good outdoor track. It’s a compelling intoxicating argument to keep coming back as much as possible. I love it.