By: Graci Young
Have you ever seen an East Coast kart racer arrive at their first national or “away” race? It is a sight to be seen. It’s like being in a large mall with a play land for the first time as a kid, you just stand there wide eyed and bushy tailed, completely in awe. You look at the tents, then at the track, then the tents, then at the track again, and you’re not sure whether to feel like you’re on cloud nine or slightly intimidated so you settle on the feeling of both. You can’t wait to tackle the track. Down here in the Maritimes, we have one track with lap times speeding in at around 25 seconds, so anything that cannot be entirely seen by standing in one position is pretty exciting. That’s the moment when you come to realization that there is Motorsport life outside of your home track, and it’s a great feeling indeed.
“After my first racing trip, I came to the conclusion that in order to really get to know someone, you must partake in an umpteen hour road trip with them with little to no wiggle room.”
With lengthy drives ranging from 10-20 hours, it takes a toll on you. You start to experience the automobile version of going Shack Wacky. Everybody is overtired, crammed, hungry and rambunctious. Sleeping people get tormented, pictures are taken, sanity gets questioned and things get ugly. All of this ugliness is done in great humour however, nothing gets too severe. After my first racing trip, I came to the conclusion that in order to really get to know someone, you must partake in an umpteen hour road trip with them with little to no wiggle room. Does this theory ever work, you will never second guess a person again. No matter how often you are the annoyer or the annoyee, there grows an unconditional bond with whom you travel with. I’ve made some pretty awesome friendships within the team and certainly memories that I’ll carry with me forever.
The East Coast trek commences on a Thursday afternoon, we drive until a tad past midnight where we normally end up not too far from the NB-QC border. We finish off the remainder of the drive Friday morning, then head to the track for setup. On the drive up and whilst you’re there, you feel an all-time high. Every moment is filled with anticipation and excitement, the racers (particularly the younger ones) start to receive a rush of rowdiness. I cannot speak for the parents, but I think they secretly feel pretty jazzed about it too. The greatness and infinite feeling after the drive and during your practice/race days in unexplainable, the world just seems to be going right (other than perhaps a few kart issues or race inconveniences). If racing is what you love to do, then there is a guarantee that these larger scale races and lengthy drives will provide you with near instant happiness. For me, there is no dreading any drive that leads to a track – until it’s the return trip.
The weekend rolls by at an insane pace, and before you know it you’re getting everything packed up and ready to start the voyage back home. This takes a surplus of mind control and constant convincing of yourself that the next race is “just around the corner”, even if it is a large month away. The next stage is what I like to call “The Mourn”. The Mourn happens during the lengthy drive home, you’re just left there to ponder about how your happy place is growing further and further away from you. There really is no other word to describe this feeling other than awful. It hits like a freight train, but is all a part of the experience. You’re surrounded by your best friends, family and team, which 110% ameliorates your situation. I couldn’t be happier or more thankful for all of them and all they do for me, even if it’s just the little things.
Special thanks to both of my parents: Dad – for the incredible things you do and allowance of opportunities you give me, and Mom- for dealing with me when I return home :)
-#614, Graci Young
**14 year-old Graci Young blogs exclusively for Canadian Karting News in her column: Talk To The Helmet. She resides in Pictou, Nova Scotia, and currently competes in the Briggs & Stratton Junior division at events Regionally and Nationally.