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Carwale Go-Karting day: How to fight and bond with your teammates at the same time

What is it?

It is Go-karting.
The larger-than-life art of sitting in a spartan metal tray with four wheels and a 200cc Honda engine while going relatively fast in a tight space. We’ve said this before and will say it again - Go-Karting is the DNA of racing. Drivers at the top of their field, be it past or present, have all discovered their talent and ability for the racetrack from this form of racing.

Why should YOU do it?

If you love to drive, it's damn good fun. At the entry-level, the karts are mildly powered and superseding their performance will give you the instant confidence to try even harder. First-time drivers will spin and knock themselves out the initial few times. However, once they get the hang of things, it soon becomes obvious that everyone is trying to channel their inner Ken Block.  

With a case so compelling, it’s no wonder that any vehicle enthusiast (well, in this case, our Editorial team) worth their salt would jump readily at the chance to Kart.  

So off we went to the race track and well race we did…in the rain no less.   

If you are still not convinced, we have spoken in detail as to why you need to Kart. So you can go back and read our previous Karting experience from 2017. I still stand by what I said two years ago about why you should Kart.

The kart

 Here are some of the facts and figures about the Karts that we rode in.

1. Unassisted steering
2. Dust and dirt cover for cable mechanism type single disc brake attached to the rear wheels
3. BKT brand 130-inch slicks in front and 180-inch slicks at the rear
4. Tubular steel chassis
5. Tie-rod linkage for steering
6. 200cc Honda four-stroke petrol engine producing 5.5bhp/12.4Nm

The Ajmera Indikarting facility also offers more powerful karts as well as fully prepped ones that are designed differently but only available to professional racers.

What’s the track like?

At 420-meters, the track is large by Indian standards and had been set up with a combination of hairpin turns as well as one large flowing right-hand turn where, if you got the line correctly, could be taken flat out. In fact, it got to a point where some of my teammates figured out how to get the karts to go sideways through the turns and then it was pretty much a drift competition.

What made this even more fun is the fact that it was raining intermittently and that meant a combination of standing water and oil. All of this resulted in some rather spot on and direct lessons in finding grip on the wet turf as well as how to hold the kart for a bit of sideways action.

The most important lesson we learnt (a revision for most of us) was finding the racing line, hitting the apexes and sticking to it to get the fastest time among everyone. The track record stood at 28 seconds and even with the wet conditions, our Editor Vikrant managed to put in a time of 33.16 seconds, the fastest of any of us.  

Racing your teammates, what could go wrong?

 Not as much as we expected actually.

Given that there were so many of us, we decided to have a competition within the team where we divided into three groups and had a combined practice and qualifying session followed by individual group races. The top two from every group then participated in a final race where we had three winners.

In the race, we had some surprise performances, the chief of which was our photographer (whose pictures you see) Kaustubh. For someone who claims to have never participated in karting before, he was right at home behind the wheel and even quickly picked up the art of squeezing people out of turns to take their spot on the track.

Our team is a group of what I could best describe as a collection of varying body sizes both horizontally and vertically. This meant the lighter people in the mix had a massive speed advantage over the more generously proportioned ones. But that is the way life is and, in all, everyone did have a good time.  

But, that wasn’t the end of it.
Speed is addictive and so much that we ended up doing an additional four sessions where everyone gave up all pretence of wanting to race “fairly” and decided to go wheel-to-wheel. This resulted in quite a bit of sideways action, spins, crashes and driving ability from people who we didn’t expect could do what was necessary to win the round.     

I want to try this too!

The Ajmera i-land Go-Karting track is run in collaboration with Rayo Racing which is headed by Rayomond Banerjee, who, if you remember, was our guest driver at our 2018 Carwale Track day and is a national level karting champion.

It is located at Ajmera I-land, Bhakti Park, Next To Imax, Wadala East, Mumbai and is open from 2.30pm to 10 pm on all weekdays and 10.30 am to 11 pm on weekends. Rates for track sessions are listed on their official Facebook page. Ensure, that you wear closed shoes and preferably carry your own helmet for the occasion. 

Photos: Kaustubh Gandhi & Ajinkya Lad

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