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Archive for December, 2007

Date: Saturday 8th December, 2007

Time: Around 5 PM

Venue: Speed Drome – Palawatta – Battaramulla – Sri Lanka

Event: Pro-Kart knock-out competition

Laps: 3

From Wikipedia

Have you raced before?” one of the organizers asked just before the race’s about to start. “No!” I said with a little fear. I have never seen a ProKart in close proximity, before today. Though I can drive a car carefully, I’m not a pro-driver. But I think, when it comes to ProKart racing, general vehicle driving skills doesn’t matter.

My opponent is a Girl. Oh, Wait, no! Competing with her is NOT a piece of cake. You know why? Because, she already is an experienced ProKart driver and she has come to win. Well yes, I came to win too. But there’re always differences in objectives, in between an experienced racer and a novice. There is a team participating from SriLankan Air Lines. Yeah! Your guess is correct! She’s the only female racer from the 4 member team.

I saw how one of them raced with one of my friends’ just minutes ago. Oh. No comments needed! So I was a little nervous. “What the heck! I should just go and hit the damn peddle! There’s nothing to worry! I just came to have fun. Not to be fear of losing!” Thinking like that was a good relief to me, seconds before the race.

Right pedal is the Accelerate Pedal. Left is the Brake Pedal. Ok? Accelerate from Right! Brake from Left! Clear?” asked the same man who asked me the first question. I gave a small nod to him as it’s one of the most obvious things in the world and I didn’t want to be that novice.

The green Flag waved and I just hit my right Pedal with a spit of a second. 1 2 3 and 4 seconds gone, my opponents Kart on to the right hand side is speeding constantly and it has overtaken me. I was amazed how it happened. I thought both Kart should perform the same way. But it isn’t. For a second I thought could it be because she’s experienced than me? But it can’t happen. By then, we’ve got the first slight turn to right. The next right turn is just about to come which is the sharpest and riskiest as I looked at the left pedal. I’m touching it a bit. Then I realized the cause of the performance flaw. The brake pedal is such sensitive that it only needs a small touch to slow down the Kart . The next second, I got my foot off it completely and whoosh… for a second, I remembered how my Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution drags when I inject some N2O (Nitrous Oxide) in EA’s latest PC game NFS Pro Street. And not a moment later, I realized if I continue in this speed, either I hit the front Kart or I hit the tire wall (Many people hit there as a result of unnecessary speeding).

The ideal thing you do is apply some brakes as you turn. That was the first and final wrong thing I did to lose the race. In these Karts, It completely locks the wheels as you brake. You should never hit the brake as you turn. Of course, it’s very helpful when you need a 180 degrees turn just to show-off as you win a race. Well, I can’t complain brakes either, as just minutes before a friend told me never to touch the brake. He said it’s not needed, you can drive only using accelerator. But I just did what a normal driver do, forgetting a golden tip from a person who raced before me.

2 seconds passed, I was facing the opposite way as a result of the brake. I was frustrated. I take the next 5-6 seconds to get the Kart to correct way (180 degrees turn again). It was just enough for her to give me half a lap lead. The only thing I did after that was try shorten the lead as much as possible. I think the lead never got shorter or longer. Maybe she mastered the lap and speeded up and my speeding wasn’t enough to get close. In my lap timing, I think there was a major improvement in every lap. Eventually, the race ended. All in all, congrats to my opponent, nice racing! But beware, next time, I will try my best to stay in track and give a good competition.

Technically she won and clearly I lost. But it’s no big deal. I did learn many things about ProKart / Gokarts , racing and its techniques. That’s un-measurable. Anyway, it’s so bad that people like us do not have any place to go and race. The only facility that I heard in Millennium Park (currently Excel World) had been stopped due to unknown reason. I suggest the people who are able to run a ProKart racing facility, to open up a place and provide opportunities for enthusiast like us.

To conclude, I convey my heartfelt gratitude to all the members of D. S. Senanayake College OBA (Old Boys Association) and all who made such a successful and great event in very bad weather conditions. Guys! The way you dried up the track and organized everything in crisis situations is promising! Keep up the spirit and we always look forward to help and participate to similar future events.

One thing for sure, “It is always a pleasure and proud of being a DS Boy!”

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