*That* Channel 4 program

All the talk today is of last night’s airing of ‘0-60mph: Britain’s Fastest Kids’ on Channel 4. I hadn’t intended to watch it: It was clearly covering an aspect of karting that I have little time for but such was the subsequent reaction on social media that I had to see it for myself (mostly on the back of some bloke describing TKM as a ‘bandit class’). I shouldn’t really have been surprised: We’ve rocked up with the kart on a camping trailer behind the Clio and parked next to the most luxurious motorhomes imaginable a few times now and the money being spent on karting at the ‘top’ level should be obvious to anyone who has seen a British Championship event. Admittedly, it is still staggering when you hear someone is paying 26 times more than you are to participate in the same sport! You could argue that behind every wannabe sports star is a pushy parent and that dedication comes at a cost. The production staff clearly had a narrative but I don’t think it was an inaccurate representation of national racing for 8-12 year olds from what I have seen. Motorsport, above all other sports, is the place where money talks. A poor driver will ultimately never make it but success can be bought at almost any level with sufficient kit, coaching, contacts and seat time.

There were a few OMG moments. Some of the things the drivers had to say about their efforts to please their dads were quite shocking. You really hope they are able to derive some enjoyment from those times when they don’t make the podium. It is a shame that, whilst the show never set out to be a reflection on karting as a whole, those who don’t know any differently will come away thinking that the sport is largely the domain of spoilt kids, pushy dads and footballer’s wives. The show sampled life for those prepared to do whatever it takes to follow in Lewis Hamilton’s footsteps when the sport is so much more for the other 99% of us. The saddest moment for me was when the dad suddenly choked up when reflecting upon the good times he had with his own dad, karting out the back of the van, before quickly dismissing the emotion as the ‘the old days’ of karting as if completely unaware that’s exactly how karting is for many today. The dad/lad experience is alive and well, it hasn’t changed one bit. Karting dads make a choice; I’m certain that, when Junior looks back on his karting career, he will know those same feelings that hit the dad so hard in the program. You just wonder whether those kids with the shattered dreams will look back on those times quite so fondly…