My Dad went to Kart Mania and all he bought was a fuel can and a roll of duct tape!

It wasn’t quite like that but I liked the headline at least 😉 Kart Mania on Saturday was an interesting experience, something I wasn’t really planning on attending but I had  wanted to get Junior properly measured up for his new suit and Grand Prix Racewear being on site gave me the reason I needed. Even though the suit was already paid for, I still managed to spend £140 before we even got to the show as we bought Junior some boots and gloves. I say ‘spend’  but the boots and gloves will be passed on to the grandparents so not hitting the KartingDad books for FY14.

Driving through Silverstone, past the various famous corners, Junior and I were getting excited like a couple of kids; “Dad, can we come next year?”. He was obviously referring to the Grand Prix and not Kart Mania; “Not unless you give up karting” I replied. In fact, I had looked at the ticket prices earlier in the week but there wasn’t any realistic chance of us attending. Unless of course he really does decide to pack it in!

Kart Mania consisted of two exhibition areas and two ‘Kart Boot’ areas.We checked out the kart boot area first; it was much smaller than I had expected – there were some tempting OTK axles (didn’t really need them), some FP7 bumpers (at new prices) and an interesting Junior Ginetta display (£28,000 per year for your, Sir… at which point I told Junior to get out of the car 😉 ).

Onto the exhibition halls: First things first, we went to the Llandow Kart Club stand to reserve Junior’s number for next year. For some reason I was surprised to see clubs represented at the show, in particularly Llandow, as I’d have thought that most attendees were from the central/southern part of the country, but the stand was really impressive and here’s hoping a good few more followed our example in signing up. I was little taken aback that I had to pay membership as a parent!!! You all know my stance on the PG license and charging the parent for club membership was a novel one – it’s not something that Clay Pigeon Kart Club do. Then again, a friend has told me numerous times that Clay is one of the cheapest places in the country to kart. On this occasion, I wasn’t going to make any waves – the club needs to survive given the grid sizes this season and I was [relatively 😉 ] happy to help fund that. The first hall contained mostly kart clubs along with some of the governing bodies and Karting Magazine. I took the opportunity to tell the MSA my thoughts on their efforts to reduce the costs of karting, much to Junior’s amusement. I did my unimpressed face as the freeze on prices for 2015 was explained to me before I launched into my biggest gripe (no – you’ll never convince me that there is a need for a PG license, tough – if some knuckle dragger can’t control their temper their kid should be punished and, if you really had to have it, why isn’t it included in the cost of the driver license?). I progressed onto the adult medical requirement before my adversary saw his chance “Well, thanks for giving us your feedback”. Fair play to the lad if it was said with sincerity. I’m not certain it was though!

The retro karts in the adjacent hall were fascinating. The Superkarts were as impressive as they were plain scarey. I don’t think you’d find anyone with the kahunas to drive one in our family! That was really it for us; we had some lunch and did another lap of the show. It was then that we realised that we’d missed one of the kart boot areas earlier! This time, I dusted off the wallet – a new 5l fuel can for £1 and a roll of pro duct tape for £2 was too tempting an offer to pass over 😀 The rest of the kit being sold was pretty pricey, easily above eBay prices. I guess you needn’t be in any rush to sell half way through the first day so can afford to mark your prices up. There was still time to chat with some of the clubs where Junior would like to race – Kimbolton (would love to race the Festival) and PFI (such an impressive track but £60 membership required for a single visit – talk about a barrier to entry!).

We’d done the rounds and were ready to leave by 1.45pm. I was glad to have gone but there was much more that I’d like to have seen: Tal-Ko (I know they sent out an email about how they’d sooner reach out to their customers directly but I do wonder if I’ll be seeing them at a track near me any time soon), Strawberry Racing (I’ve a million questions about Tony Kart setup!), twice the number of sellers in the kart boot area (I had imagined this really would be a giant car boot sale for kart bits) and a track where you could see the retro racers/ superkarts running and test the latest chassis or engines (this would have been a great chance for Iame to show drivers what they are missing if X30 is as good as people say it is). I think that, had I had £1500 in my back pocket for a nice rolling chassis, I could easily have spent it. It is what it is though – I was happy to have attended but I’m not sure I’d go again.

Off to Kartmania

I wasn’t initially planning on going (I don’t have any money to buy anything!) but, having lovingly created a custom suit design, the risk of my measurements being wrong and wasting a lot of money on a Christmas present (Mum’s the word 😉 ) that Junior cannot get into is too great – I have to go to Silverstone to see the MH Racewear people. The order is already sat in a queue at a factory somewhere in Pakistan (where it will still be next week) so this is just a precautionary confirmation measure-up in case we need to change any of the measurements. I was reluctant to drive all that way for such a short appointment but Kartmania gives us more reason to go, even if we shan’t be coming home with a van-load of new toys.

I’ll be the ginger bloke there – feel free to say hello if you see me 😉