Speeds of more than 80kmh were reached just centimetres above the ground at the Kevin Chalmers Memorial Grass Karts Cup Day in Owaka late last month and South Otago Kart Club is set to host the next round of hi›octane acceleration on its home turf this Sunday.
‘‘Grass kart racing is something the whole family can get into, that’s why it’s growing stronger and more popular,’’ Milton›based South Otago Kart Club founder Brian Griffin said.
Besides the challenge of a less predictable surface, an advantage of grass kart racing is the infinite variety of curves, straights, chicanes, dog›legs and hairpin turns that can be configured on a green sheet of flat or undulating grassland.
‘‘We’re very fortunate to have local farmers like Dennis Craigie who are kind enough to let us race on their property,’’ Mr Griffin said.
Owaka Cup Day racing, in which six laps of a 900m track are contested in under seven minutes, can be viewed online.
A high standard of PPE is required including neck braces, and pre›race checks involve an extensive safety list.
Injuries are very rare and qualified first aiders are always on site with a comprehensive kit.
Different classes cater for all ages.
Mr Griffin said an entry›level machine cost ‘‘about $2000, all the way up to a new big›bore 600cc for $8000’’.
‘‘I’m doing a lot of the organising these days but my happy place is in the kart,’’ Mr Griffin said.
‘‘You’re driving competitively to the conditions as quick as you can, trying not to knock into anybody, adrenaline’s pumping, your heart rate’s flat out and when you get back you feel like you just ran the race.
‘‘It’s so much fun it’s addictive — I’ve been doing it 40 years and I’m 62.’’
South Otago Kart Club meets on the third Sunday of each month with scrutiny beginning at 10am and details online.
This weekend’s racing at Dean McRostie’s Milton property will be signposted from the Milburn church.
It will be a ‘‘points day’’ event with competitors racing to boost points accumulated over the year.
‘‘We race as long as the weather stays fine, and the national champs are still planned to go ahead this Easter in Christchurch,’’ Mr Griffin said.