Today's Date: 27 June 2016
Last Updated: 11 January 2016 17:07:40 EST
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Go-karting track up to speed

Cody Culbert, the first member of the public to try out the new go-kart track, speeds around a corner ahead of Cayman Karting’s Jamel McLean. Photo: Norma Connolly

The chequered flag dropped and they were off! Racers, speedsters and plodders alike piled into go-karts on Saturday to show their mettle on Cayman’s brand new racing track.

The much anticipated Cayman Karting opened its gates to the public just five months after its inception.

First on the track on Saturday morning after its 10am opening was 16-year-old Cody Culbert. “It was great. I’ll definitely be back and I’m bringing friends,” he said, after taking his go-kart on some tyre-squealing laps around the track.

The 200cc Honda engines in the high performance-Sodikart RX7s supply enough power to ensure drivers have an exhilarating time on the track, and there was plenty of burning rubber on display Saturday.

Drivers competed for the fastest time and a trophy for the fastest time was up for grabs on opening day.

The average lap time is 34 seconds. The best time recorded Saturday was 31.493 seconds by Sergio Mesa.

Cayman Karting’s Michelle Carter offers this advice for first-timers: “gun it as you go around the corners”.

“The karts won’t roll. You might hear some tyres squealing, but don’t worry about that. These karts are built for this, they won’t roll,” she said.

Children under 14 are not yet allowed to race, although cars specially made for kids are on the way, and should be on island within the next eight weeks, according to director of Cayman Karting, Alasdair Foster.

Drivers cannot wear open-toed shoes while racing, although there is a small supply of running shoes in different sizes on hand, just in case a customer in flip flops shows up. All drivers are required to wear “head socks” and helmets, which are supplied by Cayman Karting.

It costs $25 a go – this includes a five-minute warm-up to get used to the vehicle and then a 10-lap race against other drivers.

The 1,000-foot asphalt paved track can be found on Hidden Lagoon Drive, off Sparkys Drive in the industrial park.

Billy Culbert, owner of the land on which the track is situated and whose son was the first customer, said he was very impressed with the set-up.

“Alasdair has done a great job. The neighbourhood seems happy with it. It looks first class,” he said, while declining to climb into a kart himself. “I’ll let Cody do it.”

The track is open from 1pm to 9pm on weekdays and from 10am to 9pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

CUC supplied four large track lights to ensure drivers can see where they’re going after the sun goes down.

Currently, just the track and some bleachers are in place, but Mr. Foster said a viewing deck with a snack bar was in the works. “It’ll make a great vantage point,” he said.

For those who get a little too enthusiastic and carried away, kart mechanic Kevin Hoodjer has in his hands the ultimate controls. With a touch of a button, he can bring racers to a gliding stop, slow them down or bring them down a gear or two. “If it looks like there’s any danger, we can bring the races to a stop,” he said.

But on Saturday, it was the weather and not Mr. Hoodjer’s control box that stopped the racing. Looming clouds that had threatened rain since early morning finally wet the track later in the afternoon.

“We’ve had some full races, with nine karts on the track at the same time, but it’s been drizzling a bit, so we stopped for a while,” said Ms Carter.

Since news of the new track’s impending arrival broke about two months ago, expectations have been high, with members of the public showing a lot of interest in the new venue.

Mr. Foster set up a Facebook page to gauge the interest, and even before he track opened, it had 670 fans.

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