Jinba Ittai Go Kart Challenge
25 September 2015 / Words by Kerri Langworthy-Ward, Photos by Mel Keller & Bryan Shedden
So what corners at high speed, rides on rails and handles like a go-kart? For those who answered ‘an MX-5’, not so fast buddy!
On this day, the fastest male & female drivers from five chapters of the MX-5 Club of NSW went head-to-head, butt-to-the-floor on Sydney’s best kart track, with each region vying for the illustrious glory of having their chapter name engraved on the "Jinba Ittai" Challenge perpetual trophy.
Luddenham is a new go-kart centre near Badgerys Creek in South Western Sydney. This purpose-built track has fantastically designed facilities including fast check-in, café and well-managed pit and viewing areas. The staff running the facility are smiling, consummate professionals who maintain the newest fleet of karts in NSW. Karts will do up to 75km/h on the faster parts of the course. Hang onto your neck, wallet and keys folks!
Qualifying rounds were held at each chapter earlier in the year. The fastest, least crashed drivers were chosen as chapter representatives for the title. Their slower, grass and dust stained comrades falling in behind them wielding pom-poms, mascots and megaphones.
The likes of Lewis Hamilton, Sebastien Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Michael Schumacher and the dearly departed Ayrton Senna all started their careers in karting. The bulk of the club drivers were clearly channeling these racing heroes as the CAMS stickered helmets started to appear from bags and track-day boots were revealed - previously hidden under jeans.
"Carnage" would be the key theme of the men's first race. With more testosterone than an NRL grand final, karts smacked against karts and angry tyres nudged competing teams off their best lines. Like ballet, set to the score of a thousand angry bees, the race leapt into full chaos. There were spins so graceful Torvil and Dean would be proud and, off-road antics reminiscent of the Leyland Brothers.
Halleluiah for electronic scoring and coloured team t-shirts.
When I think of women driving, I think consideration, empathy and courtesy. Clearly those thoughts were delusional as the women’s race started with the same hellish fervor that reminded me of the Boxing Day Sale at DJ’s - only louder, angrier and on wheels. As the rampage ramped up, so the times fell. Nothing was off limits as one enthusiastic overtaking move saw a large slice of the plastic Armco dragged alongside the track for a bit, a wild few seconds of entertainment. The women were now microseconds behind the fastest men.
Better lines = faster times
In both subsequent races, lap times dropped like falling share prices and the electronic scoreboard went wild. Places and average numbers changed so fast that Guy Coles literally morphed into ‘Neo’ from the film ‘The Matrix’ to try to understand them.
When the final race was over, the support crews hoarse and the pompoms put aside the results were in.
A big shout out to all chapters that took part the day, some people travelling hours to come and enthusiastically take part in what could only be described, from now on, as ‘The Festival of Red Mist’.
Thank you to
Guy Coles for organising the day and for the electronic scorekeeping, supported by the wonderful Stephanie Katz.
Luddenham Raceway for their slick organization and the excellent quality of their track and karts. Due to their generosity, 20% of all profits were donated to Westmead Hospital.