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Mjames

Go-Cart Racing In Boston -- Race and Ride Report

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Mjames

Yesterday, Jim Nichols (JungleJim) and I decided to call in sick and do some go-cart racing at Boston's famed F1 indoor track facility. Both being self-employed, the ruse worked like a charm. smile.gif

 

I left NYC around 8AM on my new Busa, with pillion aboard and bags strapped around us like Sherpas on an expedition. Met Jim off exit 41 on the Merritt Parkway near Norwalk, CT. Transferred most of our stuff to the hard bags on his KRS (now named the "red and silver mule") and then slabbed toward Brooklyn, CT (yes, Virginia, there is a Brooklyn in CT) to meet Chris, an RS rider Jim knows from another motorcycle board.

 

A nice breakfast/lunch at The Calabash Coffee Company in Brooklyn and then off of the slabs for fifty miles of twisties in CT god’s country. Unfortunately the back roads had lots of salt and sand (we actually were sprayed by a sand truck once or twice) so the riding was more civil than we would have liked but nevertheless great fun.

 

Back to the slabs and now onto Boston. Along the way, Chris had to peel off as he received a call from the office at breakfast earlier, requiring his attention.

 

Trying to cram a bit too much into one day, we arrived at the track around just before 3PM – an hour later than planned. No big deal except we knew track was reserved from 3:30 on for private groups and leagues, so it took some smart talking (mostly begging) to get into the last group. Unfortunately, my passenger didn’t have her driver’s license with her (required) so it was just Jim and I to race.

 

The racing.

 

For anyone who thinks go-cart racing is for kids, you haven’t been to F1. Not only do they not allow kids – you need a driver’s license – but many professional racers ride there to sharpen their skills (or just have fun) in the off season.

 

It’s $25 for about a ten-minute race (15 laps) plus a $10 license charge. (You can buy a yearly license for another $25.) Jim and I quickly got dressed with the provided race’s suit and helmet.

 

As a first timer to the track (Jim had been there once before) I was given a ten minute briefing going over what the different flags meant – red, yellow, checkered, etc, and what to do if you see a warning or penalty card waved at you.

 

The race starts with a warm up lap and then it’s all out. Rules of the road are pretty much like on any race track and car contact is allowed as long as you do not cut off another car that has half a length on you – that’s when you get a warning or penalty.

 

It took me a couple of laps to get the hang, but after that things started to mesh as I got the feel of the carts and course. (Very similar to NYC traffic with the occasional scrape, bang or spin-out on the turns. Of course I lane split whenever possible.smile.gif)

 

The riding was intense. I actually found myself holding my breath and had to consciously keep reminding myself to breathe. The 15-lap race only lasts ten minutes but seems a lot longer. While we only had time for one race, it was more than enough. (Most people do no more than two or three races regardless of how much time they have.)

 

The carts all have transmitters on them so you get detailed computer print-outs of your overall finish, lap times, etc.

 

I came in 5th out of 15 racers, not bad for my first time, considering one spinout and one slowdown due to a false penalty card that was actually aimed at someone else.

 

Jim came in first and actually was within a tenth of a second of the all-time course record. Pretty amazing since we only did one race and were not in exactly top shape after more than four hours on the road. But not really surprising since he is also a past Formula Mazda National Champion, but somehow still can’t lane split on a motorcycle. Go figure.

(To add insult to the other’s injury, Jim said his tires were cold, as if he needed an excuse with his time!)

 

The trip back took longer than anticipated thanks to a wrong turn I made, missing the I-95 turn-off. As I was hooning up ahead at the time, Jim didn’t see my wrong turn and kept going in the right direction. After a series of stop-and-waits, and missed Laurel and Hardy cell phone calls, we ended up taking separate routes home wondering what happened to the other guy.

 

Finally got Jim on my cell at about the third stop. At that point he was about a half-hour up the road with my bags so I had him leave them near where he was, at the Red Barn Restaurant in Norwalk.

 

On arriving at the Red Barn my friend and I were greeted by several parking lot employees holding my bags as if we had just finished the Ididerod. Apparently they were very impressed by the trip as explained to them by Jim earlier. They also were also impressed by the Busa as one of them remarked, "Great bike…but how did he beat you here riding that." I quickly straightened him out that my late arrival was neither due to bike or rider smile.gif and a relieved look came into his face. We then left the Red Barn and headed to Stamford for a bite to eat at the local diner.

 

An hour later, fueled by Java and Souvlaki, we were back on the road heading into the city when the sky opened up and it looked like the only safe place to be was Noah’s Ark.

 

To top it off, my pillion (who had fallen asleep once before on the back of my Busa) was starting to nod off and I had to constantly keep poking her to stay away. That plus the added weight of her on my back (I was now a pillow) made the last hour into the city quite challenging.

 

Hit the city around midnight just as the rains subsided. After 600 miles of ridng, and fifteen laps of go-cart racing, I fell asleep almost immediately still in my clothes and slept like a dead person.

 

A few things learned:

 

1. Go-cart racing is a blast.

2. It’s cooler on the road then standing around the city. Plug in your Gerbing BEFORE you get cold.

3. Go-cart racing is a blast.

4. Don’t plan too much in one day if you have to be somewhere on time.

5. Go-car racing is a blast.

6. You can’t beat JungleJim on four wheels, but he still can’t lane split worth beans.

7. Go-cart racing is a blast.

8. Have a back-up plan if you get separated while riding.

9. Go-cart racing is a blast.

10. Parking lot guys are very impressed with Hayabusas.

11. Go-cart racing is a blast.

12. If you want know the meaning of dead weight…ride with a narcoleptic pillion in the pouring rain on a Hayabusa.

13. Go –cart racing is a blast.

 

Here's F1's website if you want to check it out where we went.

www.f1boston.com

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Corkus

What a great idea! I always wanted to do carts but didn't want to buy one. I didn't realize they had become an arcade style passtime.

 

I'd love to race my 17 year old daughter. I hope I don't have to wait a year for her to turn 18.

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russell_bynum

Sweet! We did the same thing last Christmas up in the Bay Area. We did 2 races and I was sore for 4 days. smile.gif I think I came out 3rd out of 10 or 12. Lots of fun.

 

Cory...check out http://www.speedring-kartracing.com/ for the place in the Bay Area that does this. It's WAY fun.

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LJR

Sounds like a blast!

 

How many horse power are we talking ?

 

Gee , there's another thing i haven't done in 30 years. smile.gif

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Mjames

How many horse power are we talking ?

 

Probaby more like pony power -- but I'll check into it.

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Voodoo

In reply to:

The 15-lap race only lasts ten minutes but seems a lot longer. While we only had time for one race, it was more than enough. (Most people do no more than two or three races regardless of how much time they have.)


Try a six or eight hour endurance race on one of those things...that'll leave you sore for a few days!!

 

Glad you guys had a blast...definitely count me in next time!

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Mjames

Try a six or eight hour endurance race on one of those things...that'll leave you sore for a few days!!

 

At $25 for a ten minute race, I think it would also leave me broke!!!

As soon as the roads clear a bit, I'm ready for another ride up.

 

If we leave around 9AM and ride up directly (no scenic route and no me getting lost smile.gif ) we should have plenty of time for at least three races.

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chadhargis

There is (or was at the time) a track like that in Memphis. There is still one in Atlants (humm...I'll be down there for the show in Jan.). It's called Malibu Gran Prix. The carts will do about 70mph if you have space to get them there. They wear Goodyear racing slicks and sport disk brakes. The course I drove on was a 1/2 mile road course. It's was SO much fun. It cost me a mint that day and I've been longing to go back.

 

Any of you guys going to Atlanta wanna race on Sunday?

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Mjames

Any of you guys going to Atlanta wanna race on Sunday?

 

If I make it down for the show count me in. Do they have a web site?

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Junglenutt

I've seen the carts in Boston, way way cool. I'm pretty sure Memphis does not have these carts as I would have tried to kill myself on them already. Wouldn't it be cool if we all did the carts in Atl. Wow!

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Voodoo

Chad said: There is (or was at the time) a track like that in Memphis. There is still one in Atlants (humm...I'll be down there for the show in Jan.). It's called Malibu Gran Prix

 

Waaayyyy different monster we're talking about here, Chad. Malibu stuff is a blast too, but doesn't really come close to the F1 Boston thing. These are real racing karts on a pro-level track with head-to-head racing. A few more rungs up there on the intensity ladder. That being said however, I would never turn dwon a few laps at Malibu either! smile.gifsmile.gif

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russell_bynum

I'll second David's comment. Malibu is fun, but the other carts are about 20X better. Seriously...way way waaaaaaaaaaay too much fun.

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