As I ripped around the Penticton Speedway in my go-kart, thoughts raced in my head of a new career.
Could I say farewell to journalism and become a formula one driver? Of course I was caught in the rush going through me during the debut of Top Gear Karts. It was more fun than expected.
My first venture onto the track was a feeling out process of the machine I was handling. I just wanted to get comfortable. After getting some tips from Craig Finer of Top Gear Karts, I let loose a little more. I had no fear of going fast. I could feel the small rocks bounce off my arm and leg from them being spit up by the tire (it doesn’t hurt in case you are wondering). I’d head into the corner, ease off the gas and let the kart do the rest. A few drifts here, a few drifts there then pedal to the metal.
So what did Finer think of my skills?
“I thought you progressed incredibly well,” he responded. “I would say that your beginning point you needed work. I’d say that we now think we have you in a workable position. I can make a racing driver out of you. If that’s what you’re asking me.”
Yep, that’s a nice ego boost. He also said, “You’ve got the Eye of the Tiger.” Cue the music.
“I was impressed to see actually sliding of the car on the two hardest corners. Usually it takes a guy a day or two to just get the measure of not scaring themselves with the car. You were grinning and I saw even a couple of times you were high fiving as you went by the photographer. I think if you’re sliding through the tight corner and high fiving the photographer you get the thumbs up. You’re not fast enough yet but we’ll work on it.”
And I used to joke to myself that I was Canadian driver Jacques Villeneuve. One thing I realized about my experience is that I have a greater appreciation for race car drivers, especially Formula One. I get why people like to get involved with it. A rush takes over when it comes to driving as fast as you want. It also made me think about all those people that make the news for being idiots racing on the streets and not only endangering themselves, but innocent bystanders. If they want to do that, go nuts at your local go-kart track.
Tom Snyder came out for the Top Gear Karts (www.topgearkarting.ca and www.facebook.com/TopGearKartRacing) debut and said it was a “total blast.”
“It’s fast, it’s tight. It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “You can really throw them into corners.”
Snyder, who took the opportunity that morning to release some aggression, believes having this in Penticton can work.
“People just need to come out and try it,” he said. “This is really going to create a lot of excitement once they get in there, get driving around they are going to have a blast. Can’t drive like that in the city. This is a great alternative. It’s safe, it’s controlled and you can race against guys almost as good as you are.”
Tom Hubacek, another tester of the go-arts, didn’t need a lot of words to express his thoughts on the kart.
“It’s perfect,” he said.
While he said the karts could be a little faster, he likes how they go into corners.
“It was pretty impressive how they handle,” he said.
Impressive indeed. Handle the kart properly and it will start giving you illusions that you can ditch journalism to become the next Villeneuve.