I am fortunate to race a 125 Superkart at Killarney in Cape Town. There are two classes racing together: 125 Superkarts (for over 30s) and 125 Shifters (for drivers 20 to 29 years old). I am in the latter category, with the younger and less experienced drivers. Fortunately the classes race on the same track at the same time, which gives the younger drivers the chance to race against more experienced competitors.
The performance of the karts is phenomenal – acceleration and braking forces are brutal, and cornering speeds defy logic. Speeds around 200 km/h are possible depending on gearing, and that’s in a vehicle that is light enough to be picked up comfortably by two people. Driving one of these tiny beasts is an enormous thrill, and racing wheel to wheel in them is exhilarating.
Not only is the driving experience extremely satisfying, but it is also surprisingly accessible. Karts can be purchased second-hand for around R15,000 (less than $2,000 and not much more than £1,000). Once the equipment is purchased, a season can be completed on a budget of R15,000, including race entry fees, fuel, oil and most regular maintenance. As racing goes, this is about the most cost-effective series around.
And the racing is of a high quality. The drivers are competitive, pushing themselves and each other to the limit in pursuit of victory. Off the track, however, all those involved are as close as family, and the post-race prize-giving and party are as enjoyable as the racing.
The 125 Superkarts and Shifters will be racing at Killarney race track in Cape Town on 17 November, for the final event of the season. The championships are already wrapped up, and the club has chosen to open the day to competitors with single event licences in order to offer them a taste of competitive racing in the format of a normal race weekend.
This video was produced in 2011, before the introduction of the under-30s Shifter class, to provide some insight into this highly competitive yet affordable racing formula: