As we prepare to say goodbye to 2020, a year that many will not have fond memories of, the karting community in Cape Town can look back on a year that turned out to be successful despite significant challenges.
Not only did we manage to squeeze in seven race meetings including a National, but we celebrated yet another year of National Champions being crowned within our ranks. The Western Province Motor Club (WPMC) karting section is alive and well and certainly looking forward to another strong year in 2021.
Taking advantage of the school holidays, EMR Kartsport and WPMC put on a special day for a large number of aspiring young racing drivers. The introductory open day was organised with the aim of introducing children between the ages of 6 and 13 to motorsport at grassroots level.
No fewer than 36 excited young faces arrived with wide eyes and a deep desire to experience the thrill of proper karting.
There’s an exciting world beyond iPads
The Bambino class caters for the youngest children, keen to develop their focus and driving skills at an age when most kids are busy arguing with their parents about getting more screen time.
In this digital world, it’s always encouraging to see young kids getting their hands dirty and experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of motorsport. In a carefully monitored environment, the youngsters got to grips with the Bambino karts in the parc ferme area, while some even ventured out onto the track.
The slightly older kids who qualify to enter the South African Rotax Series tested out the Micro MAX and Mini MAX machines. One of the many benefits of this series is that a Micro MAX engine can be used all the way through to senior classes, thanks to a clever system of specific upgrades being required to the same base engine for each step up in class. The Rotax system focuses on ease-of-use and affordability, which assists greatly when starting out in the sport.
From grandstand to grid
One of the barriers to entry has long been that motorsport (and especially karting) is out of reach for the middle class in South Africa. The belief is that you need to be a millionaire before even thinking about making the journey from the grandstand to the grid, participating in adrenaline-filled race days.
If there’s one thing we’ve proven at Carbs and Coffee, it’s that motorsport can be relatively affordable. Nobody has ever claimed that the sport is cheap and it is certainly more costly than playing tennis or cricket, but it compares well with the likes of golf and mountain biking. Many families have made sacrifices to get themselves on the grid.
It’s amazing what can be done with enough desire and passion. We would welcome any discussions with those who want to find out more about the true costs of racing.
Time in the seat
There’s a rude acronym for this concept that we won’t repeat here, but you can probably figure it out.
Watching youngsters take their first step into motorsport is always special. Some are tentative, others are braver, but they all end up willing to push the limits at some point and learning to drive faster.
Time in the seat is the single biggest factor in growth as a driver. Thanks to the convenient location of Killarney and the availability of practice facilities from Tuesday to Saturday each week on the karting circuit, karting is the best way to maximise seat time and develop as a driver.
A note of appreciation
Ed Murray Racing has been a consistent force in developing karting in South Africa. Over two decades, their efforts have produced an incredible eight Rotax world champions from the South African karting stable.
The smiles on these young faces on the day suggested that the future of the sport is bright indeed.