Go Kart Grand Prix Report

On 12 April 2024 Chalgrave Sports Club held their first go karting social event at the indoor Teamsport track in Dunstable. A diverse group CSC members and guests gathered in the venue’s reception before the 16 drivers headed off to get kitted up in jumpsuits, balaclavas, gloves, and helmets, while their supporters headed up to the bar! The drivers then attended a briefing on how to drive the karts (right foot go, left foot stop) and track safety including the meaning of the various flags and lights (black flag, you are about to be told off – green light, go as fast as you can). There may have been more, but I think it was all promptly forgotten once on the track.

Drivers then headed to the pits to climb into their 200cc petrol karts, capable of 40mph round the 500m multi-level track. The first session was a 15-minute combined practice and qualifying drive. This allowed everyone to get to grips with the karts and the track, with each drivers fastest lap time then determining their grid position for the race. Qualifying in first place it was no surprise to see 14-year-old Louie Lawrence, a very experienced driver and rising karting star, 3 seconds a lap quicker than anyone else. Qualifying in second was Jack Gatward, with Mike Jackson in 3rd. Phil Parry thought he was out for a leisurely Sunday drive and finished last, sometime after everyone else. After the first session we had one retirement, with Lawrence unable to continue to the actual race due to a jarred back received in what was I’m sure, a ‘racing incident’.

After a short break to take on refreshments and recover (15 minutes of driving may not sound like much, but driving a kart is a full body workout and you come off feeling battered, bruised, and exhausted) it was back to the pits to form up on the track in our starting grid positions for the 15-minute race. When the lights turned green no quarter was given and an extremely competitive race ensued.

There was much excitement on the track (a sentiment probably not shared by our bored looking spectating supporters) with John Parker spinning and ending up parked in a corner the wrong way round for several laps, and then Louie suffering with a smoking kart whilst waiting for the race to restart. Some of the racing was a little too competitive and several drivers (yours truly included) ended up being black flagged and sent to the pits for a telling off about our overexuberant driving technique – apparently you are supposed to cleanly overtake to pass someone, rather than bump them out the way on a corner. As the chequered flag was waved we all returned to the pits to park up, eager to see where we had finished in the race. Although starting at the back of the grid, and having to change kart mid-race, Louie Lawrence easily beat everyone to claim the 1st place spot on the podium. Despite only having raced karts twice before, Jack Gatward held on to his 2nd place in qualifying to also finish the race in second and was joined on the podium by Gary Cocker in 3rd place. All three received medals and bottles of fizz – although Louie will have to wait a few years until he is old enough to drink his! At the time of writing this we are still waiting for Phil Parry to finish the race…….

It was a really enjoyable evening, with a great bunch of people, highly competitive but good fun. Thank you to those that were not driving but still came along to support us, keep us hydrated between drives, and for taking the photographs. A big thank you also goes to Millie Parker for booking and making all the arrangemnets for the event. There was also mention of perhaps arranging another one later in the year if anyone is interested……….