I had an awesome time on my first ever carting session in Bletchley. It’s Andrews’s 16th birthday and he chose to celebrate it by whizzing round an indoor carting track on a lawnmower engine powered device. If you’ve never been carting in Bletchley before (I imagine you’ll be in the majority here), let me enlighten you: You arrive at a warehouse where a friendly, if not somewhat over-enthusiastic guy takes your cash (£15 for 15 minutes) and then takes you into a little room to inform you of the various ways in which you could end up killing yourself or somebody else. He explains what the different colour flags mean. You’ll probably forget them. One colour means stop your car as it’s about to blow up, another means stop your car ‘cos somebody’s lying on the track and another one means come in no.61 your time’s up or something like that. You get some slipknot boiler suits to wear in case you should catch fire (the engine is under your left arm) and a motorbike helmet that you’re told to keep the visor up or else it’ll steam up and crashing will ensue. You then wait your turn whilst some rather ‘pro’ driver types burn round the track at scarily fast speeds, taking advantage of the easy drift round corners. You imagine that after one test lap you’ll be giving them a run for their money. Your future father-in-law looks decidedly worried. Your confidence increases as you’re evidently not the only one envisaging high-impact crashing into the walls.
Fifteen minutes pass and you’re in your car ready to roll. There’s two pedals, no gears (not even a reverse) and you’ve got to brake with your left foot, accelerating with your right. Slightly confusing. The pedals arent pedals either. Not what I’d call pedals anyway – just a couple of metal bars. My shoes are too big (wide) to use them effectively. I’m in the middle of pondering this when we’re off – out of the pit lane and onto the track. This is fun. But why is everyone overtaking me? Many years of Gran Turismo has given me a good ability to stick to the racing line. But im a fat guy and as such im handicapped. Especially against 16 year old Andrew who must have lapped me a fair few times whilst I was “warming up”. How the hell has Mike overtaken me? Yep, my future father in law has sneaked up on the inside and cut me up! Argghhh. Well at least I haven’t crashed (something he’s been doing quite a bit of). In fact he now seems to getting told off for bumping people. Ha ha, now I’ve overtaken him and am getting to grips with this drifting lark. But still people are passing me – on both sides on one occasion. I need more power. I take the salaam like a pro-skier only knows how and, what’s this? I’m spinning! I’ve been hit. Guess who? That put pay to me getting a nice average lap time. Drat. One more lap for luck and our fifteen minutes has expired. Out we get to receive a print-out of our scores. Fairly impenetrable stats but it’s like getting a certificate. Great. Stick that in my portfolio! I take off the boiler suit to see that I’ve lost a few pounds in sweat. What a fun way to burn off cals! I will be going again. Once my own spare tyre is ditched I’ll be the king of the track. Why didn’t I get into this when I was younger?
1 scrambled egg, 1 slice wholemeal toast with Olive Oil, mixed nuts, Muller light, black cherry yoghurt, steak (rare), mixed salad. Plus orange juice, coffee and 1 glass of wine.
I discovered that I don’t like pink salmon mixed with chick peas. Made me retch. That was supposed to be my lunch but I abandoned it in favour of a Muller light.