Last week I tried out karting with an e-kart for the first time at TeamSport in Acton, West London. I had previously checked out their petrol karts with Ms B in Mitcham, which had been great fun, but not really much of a racing experience. The petrol karts hardly managed to get me up the ramps and they failed to accelerate my 105kg frame to any serious speed despite the fact that I never put my foot off the gas pedal.
With e-karts, everything is very different. Electric karts have much more torque and acceleration. Even their top lap time is around one second better than that of the petrol-driven ones. For fat guys like me, or, indeed, for anyone weighing more than 75kg, this makes all the difference.
While back then, it was more like a bit of light afternoon amusement, much like high tea, this time around, it was going to be a badass race. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was when I did the first few rounds. This awkward-looking toy was a whole ton of fun to ride.
Best bits from 03:30 to 04:30, which is where the video starts. First minute from 02:00 is also fun. Nothing much after 04:30. This video and all pics (c) BerkeleySqB; photographer: Hannah Bateman/TeamSport.
I spent much of the first 15-min race crashing into walls or simply spinning in circles around the race track, having to wait until the other karts had passed by before bringing the kart back into the right direction and trying to chase the rest of the pack.
The second round, which the video shows parts of, was much more relaxed and much faster than the first round.
I got off to an extremely slow start behind a very slow kart in front of me, as one of the last karts to leave the pitlane. However, it took just a bit over a round to track down the first few of my competitors. The race was on.
I paid £36 for two 15min races, which is some serious money, considering that the karts are cheap vehicles. When I rode three supercars around the Top Gear Race Track at full speed last year, the most basic package for this activity was only £109, which seems much better value, considering that the total cost of the cars I drove that day had been over £600,000.
I had an awesome time with the supercars, but the instructors, for one reason or another, seemed hell-bent on preventing me from going to the limit and from risking to crash those beauties. This is where e-karts are different. You’re clearly not supposed to intentionally cut down the competition by bumping them off the road, but if you accidentally hit one of the other guys’ or girls’ karts, no harm is done (usually). You can go as fast as these flounders let you.
In a way it is difficult to compare the supercar experience with e-karts. I’ll be frank, the supercars were probably more fun than the e-karts. However, the e-kart experience felt much more like a racing experience and was more exhilarating than the supercars.
I will definitely be back soon. 5 out of 5 in my book