If you enjoy the thrill of driving, head for the Hub for Youth’s (HFY) go-karting track at Mangamaripeta.
I get into the mood by driving from the city along the coastline (it brings back memories from the 90’s popular game Road Rash!). It takes at least 40-minutes to reach my destination and once there, the upbeat music at the HFY’s parking lot gets me into the racer mood. I buy the ticket and wait.
On the track
It’s mandatory to wear the helmet and when you are on the track. You can either wear you own helmet or the one available. Before I set off, instructor Ajay warns me to watch out for the hot silencer on my right.
The 650-metre track surrounded by palm trees has five turns stacked between 100 metres stretches. The tracks have tyres on the edge to absorb the impact in case of a crash. Drivers typically crash while turning as they tend to misjudge the steering angle. The best way to avoid crashes on turns is to slow down. After a few laps, I am in the fast and furious mode barely putting my feet down the peddle. The kart’s sound took drowns the loud music. I wrap up the eight laps in less than a minute each, without any disaster and step out, warily keeping the silencer at a distance. noticed My hands feel coarse thanks to gripping the steering wheel and I wonder how the how professionals race for hours at a stretch.
- Swedish Koenigsegg Agera is the world’s fastest production car. Its top speed recorded is 447.19 kilometre per hour.
The vehicles are at least four years old and therefore the peddles are not responsive and the vehicle shakes too. Since there is no speed-metre, it is hard to tell how fast the karts travel. In my estimate, the 270cc kart’s peak is around 60-70 kilometres per hour.
- Cost 4 laps ₹400; 8 laps ₹650; 12 laps ₹800; 20 laps ₹1200; 30 laps ₹1700
- Annual event KTM stunts and race; about 5,000 people attend this event each year
- Eligiblity for the national level go-karting Micro max – seven to 12 years; Junior max – 13 to 15 years; Senior max – 15 years and above
Breaking the wheel
Nikhil Abhishek has got behind the wheel for the first time andafter an initial smooth first lap, he is jolted when his rear wheels pos out in the second lap.
The pit-stop crew is quick to come to his rescue. “It was a scary moment but I know this is not unusual in motor sports and I was determined to complete my laps,” says Nikhil, who is otherwise a programme coordinator at a software firm.
Rohit Voonna is a city-based racer and he visits HFY at least twice a month and drives 100 laps at a stretch. Over the last four years he has participated in five races in the city. “I have driven on the tracks of Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Vijayawada. But I love this one the most! It’s located near the beach and it’s usually pleasant in the evening all round the year,” says the 29-year-old.
- Pramod Kumar Boddeti, the owner of the HFY, says, “There are about five racing teams in the city. Unfortunately, no one from Visakhapatnam has represented in the FMSCI Rotax Max National Karting due to the high cost involved.” The majority of racers take part in Tarmac Autocross. In that event, participants can participate using any four wheeler. The one who finishes the laps quickest, wins.
About the hub
HFY, the five-year old adventure zone, is located at a distance of 20 kilometres from RK Beach. It offers tonnes of activities like off-road driving, mini-golf and archery. However,go-karting is the most popular. According to the managing director Anand Boddeti, over 400 people visit the place each weekend. “Go-karting makes up about 80% of the total sales.” The circuit is operated by six ground staff members.
As many people have expressed an interest in late-night driving sessions, Anand reveals that plans are on to start midnight rides. This year HFY is also planning to organise an under-18 kart racing tournament. For the racing event they will be getting permissions from the State Police and Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI).