Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Need for Speed

The Need for Speed
Kenny McKenzie
(age 18)

June 4th, 2017

We arrived at K1 Speed just as they opened. At the reception desk, those of us who had not raced before created an account. When that was done, they gave us our membership cards and a head sock. Then, we walked to the indoor track past the Formula 1 and Stock Car that were on display. The staff gave us new racer’s instructions on how to use the karts and a safety brief before letting us onto the track. Then we put on the head sock and a fully enclosed, visored, racing helmet. We checked our assigned kart numbers and climbed in.

These were electric karts. Compared to the 9 horse power two-stroke engines that most go-karts have, these electric motors produced 20 horsepower and were capable of reaching speeds of 45 mph. Now you see why we needed helmets. Soon, we were strapped in, visors down, karts turned on, and they signaled us to move out onto the track. We moved slowly, the electric motors enabling the staff to remotely reduce our speed or, in the event of an emergency, stop us. Once everyone was on the track and they had closed the access gate, there was a jump and my kart rapidly increased speed. The race was on.

In K1 speed, you don’t race for first, second, or third. You race for time. The fastest lap is considered the winner. I started off a bit slow; it usually took me one or two laps to get the hang of the kart, but then I gained confidence and let the adrenaline take over. Around twisting corners shooting down the straightaway we went, passing, braking, and trying at all times not to hit another kart or the wall. The slightest collision or scrape could affect your time. Around and around and around, slowly learning the best way to take a corner, or to squeeze around a slower racer, coaxing every bit of speed out of my kart. Fifteen laps later our karts slowed down, and we drove back to the pit. I finished third with 21.339 seconds, best lap, and a 23.981 average. After a quick break, we returned to the track. The second race began.

There were six of us the first race, but now only four. My sister and one of my cousins had only paid for one race. The second race showed marked improvement over the first one. Having grown used to the track and the capabilities of the kart, I shaved almost a full second off my time with 20.533 seconds and my best average of the day at 21.406. For the third race and final race, two more people had arrived, bumping our numbers back up to six. This race was the best yet. Navigating around the slower newcomers proved challenging; I collided with the wall and other karts more than once, but I came away with my best lap time yet 19.965, although my average was only 22.485.

K1 speed has tracks all over the country, and the membership I got when we arrived extends to all of them. This was probably the most fun racing go-karts I have ever had, and you can be sure I will return one day. Plus, I got to keep the head sock.

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