Go Karting for a L’il Speed & Fun in the San Francisco/Bay Area

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Go Kart Racer is a locally owned go-kart racing business located in Burlingame, just south of San Francisco, CA. I’ve never been to this or any other similar place before, so this was a new experience for me. I and five others went for a bachelor party event for one of the guys (not me). So, was it fun? Heck yeah!

If you’ve never been, note that this place in Burlingame is different than many other mini-car places. For one thing, it’s indoors. It’s well ventilated, so even though it’s indoors, you’re not breathing in the exhaust fumes. Good to know. Best suggestion I can give right now is make a reservation ahead of time so you don’t have to wait so long once you arrive. We didn’t make a reservation and had to wait about an hour to get our group set up. All right, part of that was because one in our group didn’t have proper ID to prove he can drive.

When you get there, you’re given a cowl to wear (and own). The cowl is basically for good hygiene because you’re sticking your head into a very sweaty, nasty, tight helmet. You’re also given a racing jumper. Essentially, this jumper ensures that all your clothing is tightly wrapped and not billowing around, possibly catching onto something or somebody, and potentially ripping parts of your body off. Good to know, good to know.

You’re also given a brief description of various warnings and flags to indicate conditions on the track. Then, you’re off to the tracks. We chose the Monza track, which is a more technically challenging course than the other Yokohama course. The course includes a little hill (not scary at all) and lots of hairpin turns. The staff helped us buckle in snug in our bucket seats, then started out engines. These go karts don’t have powered steering, so it’s a fight to change directions.

I don’t know how many of you know much about auto racing. The main strategy, if there is such a thing, is to find the most economical path and run it again and again. Of course, there are other cars on the course and that makes trying to stay on the same path interesting. We had five minutes of testing out the track before we settled into our starting slots. Those five minutes consisted of about 6 or 7 laps where we learned just how fast one could push it on some of the straightaways and how to brake and slide to avoid slowing down too much when getting around a hairpin turn.

For me, it was learning the course throughout the five minute ride and the ten minutes of competitive racing. Among our group of eleven racers, five strangers and our party of six, four of the strangers took the top finishes. Our soon-to-be groom did the best among the six of us, I was second among our party.

There was one moment where I made a critical mistake, and voila, two others overtook me (I don’t know who they were). For the most part, once you’re driving, you stay in your position. People can’t pass you, and you can’t pass others. It’s only during a moment of mistaken action that one can take advantage and speed past another car.

Eric
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