After a 2 week hiatus, I went back to visit Alamo Karts. On every other Tuesday night they run a Racing League. Tonight was the second of 8 competative go-rounds, called the 2008 Fall League.
I got there a bit before 7pm & talked with the Manager, Ann Wilson. I found out that she had helped start up & manage an indoor karting facility in the Houston area a few years ago. It was in an old, former K-mart store.
When I got there a visiting church group of kids & a couple of parents where finishing up a number of arrive & drive laps. That caused the Racing League to start a little late. I got to chit chat with some of the guys in my age generation & then were also some 20 to 30 somethings and even some young teenagers. Even before the warm up laps, they were already bench racing while waiting to go in their karts. Rick & Gary seemed to be having the most fun with it…
The Racing League format is more or less as follows:
- The practice, warm-up laps run for about 10 minutes & up to 8 cars are allowed.
- The qualifier is run for 5 minutes and only 4 laps are allowed, to give the individual drivers the space to get a good clean lap.
- The actual race is 15 minutes long. That is a long time in a kart. To start they all go around about 7/8’s lap, form up single file before the last curve & then a rolling start.
I noticed one guy who was always out front. He seemed to be smooth and have a good clean line around the track. His name is Rick & last year was his first year doing this without any prior experience. He was telling me that in his first race, last year, out of 10 competitors he got up to 4th place. He noticed all of them were smaller & lighter in weight. He decided to do better & in the process he lost 40 pounds and eventually earned 1st place in that Racing League. Way to go, Rick!
There are actually 2 classes of drivers; the regular series & the Pro Series. The difference is not in the cars, but in the ability of the driver. Ann can tell when a driver is ready to compete in the Pro Series. These drivers prove themselves with consistantly fast times, and they race clean – no crashes or aggressive overtaking. She said Rick is about ready to step up to that class.
With the earlier evening sundown, the track lights came on. I would think you have to be very comfortable with the track & kart as there were a bunch of darker areas & patches. It sure made for some interesting racing. I felt better as a spectator. This is about the actual brightness of certain parts of the track. Yes, there are 2 (or is it 3) karts blurring there way through that fast hairpin – racing on faith, I’d say…
While there I met a Ray (also a dad of some of the younger guys there). I had seen & even included him & his car in a blog posting (C) a few weeks ago – I had no idea. Ray is the owner of the silver Lotus Elise I had posted about. I will visit with him at the next autocross opportunity to get much better information about the current model Lotus, the closest car there is to a kart.
Kart league racing is interesting, but I think I missed the noise, mass, quantity & variety of the cars at an autocross. I still look forward to doing this sort of karting activity as an arrive & drive with some buddies in the future, who may aspire to be Racing Ready!