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Published January 15th 2016
Unleash the racing driver within
Go Karting has been on the "To Do" list for my kids for a while now, but we had never found the time or the place to do it. We weren't really sure what was involved either so we decided to drop in to Ultimate Karting Sydney on a weekend recently and check it out.
Ultimate Karting Sydney is located in the suburb of Smeaton Grange near Campbelltown. It is a large, purpose built venue boasting an indoor track that is 450m long and 6m wide.
The reception staff were friendly and helpful as they explained to us newbies how the sessions work. They also allowed us to go through to the track to have a look so we could decide if we wanted to go ahead.
The first thing that hit me when we entered the track area was the noise. These karts are loud and it is hard to have a conversation out there. Anyone with delicate hearing may require ear plugs. The track is spacious and has modern features such as electronic lap time and leader board screens.
After having a look at the action my children, aged 9 and 12, decided they wanted to have a go.
It is important to note that adults and kids sessions are run separately at Ultimate Karting Sydney. Adult sessions are available to those 14 years and over with a maximum weight of 120 kg while separate junior sessions are available for children over 7 years of age who are over 125cm tall.
For younger children there is an option of a twin seater kart where they can experience the thrill of the ride while being driven by an adult 18 years and over. Passengers in the twin seater must be a minimum height of 105cm. Twin seater rides are run in the junior sessions.
There are some clothing and footwear safety requirements. If you are having a drive you must be wearing enclosed footwear and long hair must be tied back and contained within your helmet. Similarly no loose clothing, such as a scarf, is allowed.
The first step in the process is to create your profile on the computer in the reception area. This includes entering your details and reading and agreeing to a waiver. It is really quick and simple. Then you are ready to book in and pay for your session.
A session at Ultimate Karting is 10 minutes long. This will give you anywhere from around 10 – 17 laps depending on your skill and speed.
A balaclava is recommended to wear under your helmet for safety and hygiene reasons and can be purchased for $5.00.
If you have never driven a go kart before you are required to watch the safety briefing which is conducted in the briefing room. This consists of watching a short video describing how to operate the go kart, the rules of the course and the meaning of the flags and indicator lights on the track.
The rest you can work out as you go. For kids there are specially designed karts with colour coded pedals – a green pedal for go and a red pedal for stop – making it pretty simple to operate. All the karts are fitted with safety belts and drivers are required to wear helmets.
You need to listen out for your session to be called over the PA system and it is then that you should make your way to the marshalling area. You select a helmet from the racks and take note of your kart number on the display screen. An attendant can help you if you need to adjust the pedals in your kart.
Then it is time to drive. For first timers it is a matter of learning on the job with regards to speed and how to navigate the corners. However if you do get stuck or accidentally hit a barrier there are attendants on hand to help you on your way again.
My kids enjoyed their go karting experience at Ultimate Karting as did my husband who couldn't resist the challenge of trying to drive a perfect lap in the adult session.