Sunday, January 31, 2016

Racing Like the Wind

But then again  it is fast!
When out and about the thought of getting into a fast little go cart seems the right thing to do – or perhaps not for everyone.

Well it was for J and L – perhaps there had been some pre-planning ahead of time by their daughters and son-in-laws but if they had been out and about they may just . . .

A very Patriotic sort of raceway - nice touch
A day at the tracks driving a Honda-powered 200cc cart trying to be careful while pursuing first place with no regards for safety, perhaps a bit, meant a lot of fun. It was just another place to explore locally and take advantage of what was in our own backyard – almost since it was only a short half hour drive to Fast Lap in Ontario.

Fast Lap with, at this writing, has an indoor facility in Ontario, California and Las Vegas, Nevada offering some pretty thrilling moments behind the wheel of these four stroke speedsters. Some of the ‘karts’ can go up to 50 mph but most have been throttled down to 25 to 30 mph for the safety of the customers.

These go-carts are not for the faint at heart
No, this is not an advertisement but just a blog about getting out and seeing what there is to do with friends and family nearby that is exciting and thrilling.

With some imagination the driver feels as though they are at the Indianapolis 500. Okay, perhaps not but there is something to be said about being strapped into a vehicle so  low to the ground it can be reached by simply dropping one’s hand to the cement track. Recommendation here – don’t do that while tooling around the track trying to get a head of the other drivers – good way to lose a finger.
Researching this indoor racing track brought a many things to light: no license is needed but children under 18 years old must have an adult supervisor, drivers must be 51 inches or taller and weigh no more than 350 pounds, no open toed shoes can be worn, helmets must be worn at all times, no intentionally running into other cars (duh – really but it has to be spelled out for some drivers), watch for flags on the track (yellow to slow, red to stop, white and black striped race over and green meaning ‘smash the gas pedal’).

Who is that Blur?
Whenever traveling even to a locale nearby research is important – as listed above simple things like wearing flip-flops (sandals, huaraches, or whatever isn’t allowed) would have ruined the days since the concept of racing would have been a no-no according to Fast Lap. Research isn’t only for faraway lands but those things that also happen near your abode.

With the green flag twelve drivers took off trying desperately to get ahead of each other with but with the curving twenty foot wide track lined with large rubber tires for protection obtaining first place on the first lap was with difficulty. Right, left, right, straight at speeds from zero to more than twenty-five tested each driver’s mettle as they concentrated not only on the track but those speeding around them. After a couple of laps it was easier to judge distances both in gassing the carts and braking allowing sophisticated driving to occur – okay, perhaps it was just trying not to bump into the carts and trying with all your might to pull ahead of the cart in front of you without ramming head on into the wall of tires.

L and J looking oh so sexy

Of course, attention must be paid for the slower drivers – those who are simply out for Sunday drive instead of understanding the competition of RACING! Carts are meant to be sped in not coast in – drive, pivot, fly in and out of traffic, snarl, growl, and get into first place.

There are individual timers on each cart so at the end of the race the driver could see their time but we all realize that a true champion only races against themselves. Not! You gotta beat the other drivers to the checkered flag.

Waiting for the Green and then gun it for all its worth

You just gotta!

You're next, and this time I mean it!

Three fifteen or so minute races went by way too quickly but luckily between each race there was a cooling down period for the drivers – Adrenalin was pumping through the veins and everyone needed a breather. One on and one off is the normal for Fast Lap unless there are no crowds which is hardly the case since the place seems to be always hopping.

Helmets and driving suits – yes just like the big adults in the racing world – then donning the gloves awaiting the next round of races only built the excitement that was to come.

Antici --- pa ---tion
The engines were started by the Fast Lap crew and then the flag was dropped again – smell of gasoline mixed with oil was in the air – refreshing to say the least considering the entire venue is enclosed in a mammoth building. Luckily these tracks have huge exhaust systems that change the air in the building every 4 or 5 minutes which is needed or they’d be having nothing but a bunch of coughing and hacking drivers making way toward the exits.

Two hours and three races later – it was crowded and sometimes the wait between races can be a half hour or more but it was worth it. A few sore ribs from bashing into a rubber wall left J in pain but smiling nonetheless.

Donning the racing gear

Who be the speed demon out there?

A day with family in a nearby entertainment facility is what is called for sometimes. 

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