Castrol Edge CIK :: Stars of Karting – Round 5
We dont normally visit karting events, yet we thought it was time to see what all the fuss was about! Round 5, being the last round of the current CIK Karting Championship, meant the pressure was on and all the best drivers had turned up to Port Melbourne to put some final points on the board.
As soon as we entered the gates we knew we were in for some serious racing. Pit crews were running all over the joint, engines were being fired up and were then having their guts revved out and there were loud and important announcements booming over the area and lots of people were suited up to race.
Knowing that many great Formula 1 drivers started their careers in karting meant we could no longer ignore this sport. Fierce battles were being fought the whole way around the track, but especially at the very first corner of the track – it was simply epic.
Teams waited and watched their fellow competitors as these super fast races took place one after another. There are three major classes of the CIK Castrol Stars of Karting series, Pro Gearbox, Pro Light and Pro Junior.
Before hitting the track, the drivers line up on the undercover dummy grid. When the current race finishes the karts are rushed in to be weighed and checked over by officials and this is when the dummy grid is released onto the track.
The Port Melbourne track is well laid out with some good sweeping corners, hairpins and a to top it all off – a great view of the city. It is quite amazing to see just how many Karts can fit on the track at any one time, this track is wide, whilst still being compact and technical.
You know how when you see a car that has ‘battle scars’ and you know not to road rage with them (because let’s face it, they will probably be quite happy to destroy their car in an effort to run you off the road!)… well the same sort of principal applies here!
You may think that a tiny little 2 stoke engine is really not going to be able to go very fast, but you would be wrong! These karts where hitting speed in excess of 120kph. When you are sitting 3 cm off the ground, that speed feels almost double that though!
These karts take advantage of every part that is bolted on to their frame. There is little room for anything extra as the regulations are pretty tight but these strict standards help to make sure the competition is fair and keeps things entertaining.
There are no mirrors on these karts and so the only way to know if someone is on your tail is to listen out and see if you can hear their kart over the engine of your own, or if you’re lucky you might get time to do a very quick head check!
I saw quite a few people wearing body amour style kidney belts. Seeing the amount of force that a drivers body goes through in these little karts is pretty scary and if you happen to crash, then there isn’t much protection – so anything you can wear to help minimise the risk of injury is a good idea.
Some of the drivers where hitting this corner at full speed and even lifting one wheel as they hit the small bump just before the corner.
I didn’t see any learner plates on the day but I did spy a few p-plates. A Practice License is a great way to get some track time before hitting the big league.
That all important stare down! As the drivers psych each other out, they get a feel for who they are up against on the day.
The Pro Gearbox karts have some cool displays, with shift lights, timers and other gadgets. These displays remind me of the real Formula 1 gear and it is easy to see why karts are so similar to their bigger brothers.
The corner exit speed of these machines is quite incredible! Not only do they accelerate fast, but their late braking skill means that they are not off the power for long.
When a driver brakes from the field it is almost an impossible task for the rest of the pack to catch up unless the race leader stuffs up!
The Pro Junior class competition was also intense! Being that age and competing at such a high level really is very impressive.
This sport is exciting but so quick and very hard to focus on the individual battles that are playing out around the track. It would be great to see more TV coverage of karting! There is a little bit of coverage on Speedweek but this motorsport is a greater spectacle than most V8 supercar races and it deserves more attention.
A big thank you to Race-Recall.com for inviting us to see karting up close! We hope to cover some more obscure motorsport events in the future.
Our next big event on the calendar is World Time Attack our it is by far out favourite event of the year! We cannot wait!
Thanks for reading,