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Let’s go karting

Early Tuesday morning, we visited the GP Karting track in Nairobi. This was after I received an invite via email, followed by a phone call that sealed the deal. I was more than glad to venture. The GP Karting was set up close to 20 years ago as one of its kind back then.

The sport is initially referred to as the Go Karting. The racing circuit is located in Lang’ata, near Carnivore Restaurant, off Lang’ata Road. Not much activity was going on when we got there, so after a brief chat with the manager, Samuel Mwangi, we were given a short safety talk before we could start of our racing session. We were provided with a helmet and protective suit.

I have to say that if you are looking for some adrenaline rush, then GP Karting is the place. I was a bit scared at first, and it instantly reminded me of my first try at skating. When I finally revved off, my fears almost doubled. I knew I was probably going to crash into the tyre safety hoardings.

I was glad when Tony the instructor informed us that you really don’t have to know how to drive to have the karting experience. The most peculiar thing was that, you had to use the left peddle to accelerate and the right to brake. I think this is usually the opposite in cars. As I started off, I noticed that the racing karts are so flat and too close to the ground.

Some action on the track. Photo/WAMBUI VIRGINIA  

At the beginning, it was a bit shaky and I kept on riding off the track.

I came to realise that as a beginner, the corners tend to be more challenging, but it gets easier as you go about the rounds.

I then noticed that there were safety marshals, strategically stationed at various points, ready to assist in case of a dangerous encounter.

At some point, my colleague had an issue with his kart as she was finding difficulties in navigation.

She kept forgetting what peddle to step on, either to accelerate or brake. The racing circuit has different packages for both children and adults.

The young ones are usually trained before they could race, and for those who’d want to kart, an instructor has to ride with them throughout the race. The packages start from the age of five. Anybody younger than that is not eligible to participate.

For children between five to eight years of age, charges are Sh900 and Sh1,000 for those within the nine to 12 year bracket. It is Sh1,100 for those between 13-16 years of age, while adults have to part with Sh1,300. Each complete Go Karting session takes 10 minutes.

The Nairobi GP Karting also has night competitions on Saturdays. For these particular races, different karts, which are much bigger in size, are used. There are also other racing tournaments including Junior, Enduro and Interschool Karting Championships.

Tony explained that the place is usually full on weekends and that as those who’d like to practice, or learn how to cart, frequent on weekdays. Only 10 karts are allowed at the racing track at a time.

There is no need to book prior to your visit; the sessions are on first-come-first-drive basis. The place is also quite convenient for large groups who intend to engage in a team-building exercise, private racing, and birthday and staff parties, among others.

Other activities around the place include paintballing. There’s also a restaurant and bar, where you get to lounge before or after the sport. All in all, this place is quite amazing to get that adrenaline rush, especially if with a few friends.

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