The Need for Speed

Aspiring racers got their adrenalin pumping at the SAFRA Go-Kart Challenge 2020.

By Edmund Wee      11 March 2020

What a true test of mettle for speed lovers who gathered at the SAFRA Go-Kart Challenge 2020, which took place at Karting Arena, The GrandStand on 11 Jan.

Launched to engage younger NSmen in exciting and fun activities, the Challenge, which is in its second edition, saw more than (number) go-kart junkies battling it out in this open-wheel outdoor race.

Go-kart competitors and spectators soaked up realistic racing mechanics at the Simulator Race Challenge, which was held round the hour.

Racers were allowed to compete in two categories: Advanced, which lets drivers speed up to 50km/h, and Novice, which allows drivers to go up to a maximum of 30km/h.

As a result of the higher degree of difficulty in Advanced, only those who have a driving licence were allowed to participate. Drivers would have to clock their best timing within eight minutes, and the top eight would be shortlisted to enter the final round, of which the top three would be selected as winners.

As a practice session to psych up participants, organiser SAFRA Youth Network held a round-the-hour Simulator Race Challenge to allow racers to pit their skills with either virtual competitors or at legendary rally circuits. Even spectators who are aspiring racers were encouraged to partake.

When 2pm drew near, there was palpable excitement in the air as participants buckled up in their electric go karts, which are built on a lighter race chassis for better handling.

Batch after batch in 10-minute-long sessions, drivers hit the throttle to navigate sharp corners and turns in the challenging speedway format circuit. Noticeably, there were plenty of cheers and fist pumping by spectators who turned up to support family and friends who are participating.

After the competition, the judges announced the winners and presented prizes to the champions. Those who participated in the Simulator Race Challenge also took home prizes, as it was a mini competition in itself: The eight who managed to clock the best timing qualified for the finals and the top three received gifts.

In all, the Go-Kart Challenge 2020 was not just a bountiful day for aspiring racers, it was also a family-bonding session for NSmen – one filled with race-related fringe activities. One that drew crowds was the Daytona Arcade racing machine, which allowed those who yearned for the classic rally arcade scene to engage in some hands-on vicarious fun.

At the end of the Challenge, participants not only had an unforgettable experience filled with a good dose of adrenalin but also went home with a goodie bag each.