… with the lid jammed on tight, which is then suspended between four very large wheels and only about an inch from the ground… oh, and shifts at up to 70 miles an hour round a very bendy track. Because that's what my twenty minutes on the Daytona Go Karting track felt like to me!
I should have realised it wasn't my cup of tea when the very charming race track advisor ran through a list of conditions which would mean you couldn't race… and sadly an attack of nerves wasn't on there. But I couldn't look a fool in front of my boy could I? How hard could this be, I've been driving since I was 18!
We sat in a room with 15 other boy racers (actually one other woman besides me) and watched a short film starring some famous Formula 1 chappie with a camera strapped to his helmet, being shaken around at great speed literally inches from the ground. Apart from advocating the thrills and spills, he also did a marvellous job of scaring me to death with his commentary – made while haring round the very track I was about to drive on. He sounded like he was on Rolf Harris' wobble board!
Still I couldn't get out of it now, so I followed the other racers out onto the track. The photograph (above) was taken while I still had some colour in my squashed cheeks…
And they weren't the only cheeks that were squashed! I was given a padded liner to put inside my seat so I was wedged in extra tight, which at least meant there was an additional quarter of an inch between my buttocks and the tarmac. My pedals had to be extended so I could reach them, and while I was trying to work out how to move the visor on my helmet, the flag went up and we had to file off one by one onto the track.
The speed some of these guys set off at was terrifying! I'd only just worked out which pedal was the brake and which the accelerator when Jack lapped me for the first time. There were yellow lights flashing and hairpin bends to negotiate, and not a rear view mirror in sight. So unnerving not to know what's behind you… although in my case there was no one!
I think my confidence reached an all time low when I'd completed my second lap and the race track steward held up a board saying "calm down." I was going so slowly at the time that I had no trouble reading it, infact I could almost count his nose hairs, but I was mortified that he thought I was some crazy female driver. Must have been the light catching the whites of my eyes through the visor – that and my clenched teeth.
When Jack lapped me a third time I knew I was beaten and our lap times – printed on a souvenir certificate- had my name very clearly at the bottom. All that said, Jack loved it and he did brilliantly. I think I'll stick to my comfortable motor with its padded seats, four walls and a roof. Even paying the congestion charge troubles me less than the memory of my twenty minutes on the track.
Perhaps it's just me. Do let me know if you've ever raced around one of these tracks and how you coped?! I'm sure the guys will put me to shame.
Hope you had a good Easter.
Love Ali xx