Phillip Island Grand Prix
I look over my helmet visor to find yawning blue coastal surrounds. Behind me is a cluster of native gum trees. Contented cows graze in the paddock beyond. This idyllic island setting is well suited to tranquil tourism. That’s not why we came. There is a lingering smell of petrol and a chorus of 9Hp Honda GX 270 engines punctuating the silence. Ah, that’s more like it.
A swell of aspiring petrol heads congregates at the desk and we are ushered to a back room. I’m paired with my husband and a bunch of young male hooligans. Oh great. Safety first, the Nana in me was taking notes. I winced when discovering there are roll bars. My name is called towards the end of the group. I can’t help but think that it is a likely reflection of my impending performance. Last in and last out. I approach my kart with a teensy bit of apprehension. It’s red, which is good. Except all the karts are red, negating the speed advantage entirely.
The supervisor tugs at the starter chord and the engine chokes into life. His colleague gives us a pep talk of champions. “Conditions are good and there aren’t any kids on the track. You should be able to get some good speed up. If you don’t then… you’re shit.” With those words of wisdom echoing in my ears, we weave the concrete curves that replicate the real Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Although I must confess that the real circuit is five times this size.
The 4.45 kilometre Philip Island Grand Prix Circuit is regularly featured on television hosting a multitude of international super car and bike races. It flaunts stretching views over the cliffs to Bass Strait. This Go Kart track leads a double life, however. When there is MotoGP or Super bike racing on the big circuit, the go kart circuit becomes a “Trackside Campground.” Fortunately for me today is not one of these days.
After the first few corners, the frontrunners are whipping past me leaving testosterone fuelled vapours. To be fair, we did get started at different times. Supervisors insisted that we are racing ourselves, not the others on the track. I level the accelerator and gulp down the fresh air rushing through my helmet. Images of my youth flash past. I take a glance at the exquisite view then drop the accelerator and “flatten” the corner before switching back into acceleration. This is fun.
Results are in and it dawns on me as to why my photo was snapped at the beginning. There I am in dead last. A printout is produced for my statistical analysis. I don’t need any further evidence. I have become a fully-fledged Nana. And I’m very proud of it.
Go Kart sessions on the Circuit are for 10 minutes and family cars for driving children are available. For more information, click here.