I have just returned home from go karting at Rogue Racing and it was so exhilarating, I’m now tempted to moonlight as a racing driver in my spare time. I’ve been to the indoor go karting track once before when we took our children and grandparents along to watch Luca, my brother and father racing for a dad’s day out on Father’s Day last year as us ladies sat in the stalls and watched. It looked like so much fun from inside the booth watching the men whizz around and overtake each other in a testosterone fuelled, photo-finish race that left us on the edge of our seats right until to the end. I’ve never dreamed of racing myself but decided this week that it was something that I wanted to give a go and boy have I been missing out! It was a-mazing!
Rogue Racing is situated in the industrial units of Stocklake in Aylesbury, just a stones throw from the main shopping centre in town. As you approach the building there are bold white and black racing signs that simply entice you to come inside and burn some rubber and you can’t help but grin from ear to ear with every step closer that you get. The staff greeted us with a warm welcome at the reception desk as I stood goggle-eyed looking at all of the fantastic coloured helmets, trophies, pictures and racing equipment; I had taken my first step into the world of racing and already it felt so good.
Luca and I completed a form each with our details to check in and prepared to race for two fifteen-minute laps at a very reasonable price of £30.00 each. At first I wondered why you split it up into two sections and don’t just do one whole stint on the track, but I was advised racing takes it out of you and you need a little break in order to recuperate in between sessions.
We were then shown through to the changing room where there was a huge rail of unisex racing suits in every size to choose from. There were also lockers to store any valuables and I stopped for a quick toilet break and Luca had a cigarette before we got into our suits. Evidently my most recent chocolate binge hadn’t taken effect yet as I zipped myself into an XS. I kept my clothes on underneath as the suit goes over the top to keep you covered and protected, before popping my shoes back on and watching the five minute track safety video on a flatscreen television in the viewing area at the end of the room.
I watched the cars whizzing around the track in the safety video and I could actually feel my hands twitching as I grew more and more eager to get hold of the steering wheel and take some corners. The video was fantastic and answered all of my questions. It showed you how to get in and out of the kart safely, which parts to avoid touching, what each pedal does and how and when to apply them, and the use and meaning of different coloured lights and signs displayed by the marshals whilst racing.
We were then led down a short corridor to the track entrance and were allocated a helmet and gloves each. The marshal checked that my helmet was on properly before showing me to my kart which was number 13, unlucky for some, but my favourite number as it’s the day I was born. Luca got into the car beside me which was number 12. A few seconds later the marshal started our engines by pulling on a pull start on the rear of the car and the karts roared to life, I felt like a spaceman in my helmet with the sound of my breathing in my ear, tightening the grip of my gloves on the wheel and trying my feet on the pedals. My excitement was tangible and as Luca pulled away before me I pressed down my accelerator and roared off in into his wake.
I pulled up the track incline and into my first corner and couldn’t believe how much it felt like driving, only not. As my car is a manual I tried to take my left hand off of the kart wheel to feel for the gear stick at first, and going into the corner I was surprised that the kart didn’t have power steering as I astonishingly forced the wheel to the right. I spent the first lap or so finding my feet judging the corners, oversteering, under steering, spinning off and braking far too hard. But the more times that I went around the track the more confident and relaxed that I became and soon enough I was nipping at Luca’s back bumper, accelerating out of corners and easing into bends rather than braking. I was told that the maximum speed of the karts were around 45mph but I’m pretty sure I got mine up to nintey-seven on the straight!
By the half time break I was bouncing around like the Easter Bunny in the stalls as Luca and I chatted feverishly about our laps and techniques we had used to get the best out of track. Luca and the marshal gave me some pointers to slow down two or three car lengths away from a bend and then accelerate out of it, and ease off of the accelerator a touch sooner instead of breaking so hard last minute and losing out on time. With the first set done and the water well and truly tested, it was time to do battle and I gave it my all to give Luca a race to remember.
Even though Luca lapped me a few times I kept a firm hold close behind him until we clipped on a corner during our synchronised drifting/overtaking and it sent me spinning into the barriers. I was so paranoid about crashing a kart or bumping into Luca and getting sent off for dangerous driving, but when it accidentally happened I laughed at how fun it was as it threw me back into my seat and jolted my kart like a crash test dummy. I spun my wheel around and got straight back into it, this time keeping a distance behind Luca and instead of racing for the title, I enjoyed testing out my corners and daring myself to wait an extra second before breaking and jam my foot flat to the floor when accelerating out and it was great. The kart is so much more responsive on the track than a car is on the road and you kind of have to remind yourself that you can throw yourself around bends and leave it that little bit longer to slow down because the kart can take it. It was just like being in a real life game of Mario Kart and I loved every rubber-burning second of it. It totally isn’t just a hobby for men as women, children and I suspect even the elderly would absolutely love the thrill that it gives you and the freedom to travel like nothing you’d ever get on the road.
After our second set we took off our helmets and were presented with a printout of our laptimes and fastest laps and I felt such a sense of pride when comparing digits with Luca. My fastest lap time came in at 0:31.17 which was 0:05.41 from the lap record of 0:25.76 set by Rogue Racing. Luca managed a fastest lap of 0:28.79 which was a whole three seconds faster than me, which apparently he says is a big difference in racing but I still think it’s only a whisker and if we were to go again I’d be feeding him a nice cloud of dust!
Driving home in my car afterwards I was shocked at the difference in steering as I thought something had broken inside my car wheel when I went to turn a corner and had to keep spinning the wheel round to get it to bite and turn. I found it so hard to not accelerate hard or bump into the roundabouts and traffic islands as I realised I was far more comfortable driving my kart for handling than I was my own car, and I idled home at 20mph for how soft my own car suddenly felt for handling. As I had not long had a workout before coming racing my arms were already feeling pumped and hard so I didn’t notice any aching or tiredness from steering my kart, only the first several minutes were noticeable and then I got used to it, but I’m hoping by the morning my bingo wings will have flown the nest and left me with some pretty impressive biceps after todays track action.
We had such a fantastic evening racing and were fortunate that the track stays open late for bookings so that we could go after work on a weekday as the weekends are always hectic for us and I’d imagine it would have been their busiest time. So it fit into our diary quite nicely and was a refreshing way to spend our date night whilst the children were with their grandparents, and it sure beats the cinema or bowling any day! I learnt a new skill I never thought I’d have and Luca confirmed that he is still the King of the castle but I’ll be coming for his title very soon, so watch this space Luca, this isn’t the last time you’ll see me on the track! I cannot recommend indoor karting more highly, it is an insane experience and something that you all should try at least once, you’re guaranteed to be hooked from your very first lap!
As you can see, I like to share the fun and amazing things that I do with the world. Not only does it inform others of what’s available in the local area for families and nationwide, but it also helps to support and strengthen local business. I love reading online reviews and checking out things before I book them so I hope that you find mine helpful. If you would like me to do a review with my family on a day out at your establishment I would be happy to help free of charge simply contact me here!