Reflections from a first timer at Summit Point Kart
I have had a great year. And finding Summit Point Kart is pretty big contributing factor to that. This year was my first at Summit Point Kart – it was also my first time racing anything on four wheels.
I can’t believe how far I’ve come along since that cooooold weekend in March, and how much fun I’ve packed into so very few months. When I started, I was super gung ho about all the technical aspects of racing; lines, braking points, apexes, throttle control, blah blah blah. And there was so much going on I wasn’t sure where to start to improve my times. I remember coming out of a session, looking at my times, and comparing them to a few veterans, and wondering, “How in the hell did they get around the track so fast?”. Was it their braking? Throttle? Their line? Their steering? Their kart? I was several seconds slower than them – but I couldn’t see how it was possible to make the kart go faster without killing myself. But man, I was hooked. So much to learn, so much to improve on, so much faster to go.
I started to come every other Sunday when SPK holds it’s “open to everyone” single day league race. I lost terribly for several of the initial races. But I learned so much by watching how the really fast people were making their way around the track. It provided me with so much information which I internalized and took what I saw and then experimented with it in my next stint. And I got better, pretty quickly too. Eventually, I wasn’t afraid about hitting a tire wall, because I knew where the kart was going to go, and where it wouldn’t. With each league race, I was able to improve my times enough so that I could keep up with the rest of the pack of racers. And then I started to learn actual race craft. Because even though I could lay down the same lap times as a few other racers, those other more experienced racers would blow by me on turns. But every pass was a learning moment, and every race gave me a dozen different lessons to learn from.
Some point in the midst of all this, I decided to become a VIP. You basically get to ride however much you want, whenever you want. All you can Kart… And racing at Summit Point became less about how many rides I got in during a day, and more about the quality of the ride. Some days you have a rough day, and call it quits early to avoid frustration. Others you’re on point, and just keep going at it, trying to learn different lines, smoother hands, better brake points. The VIP gave me the freedom and peace of mind to just enjoy myself while I’m there, and stop worrying about “credit” vs. “KTP” or “KTFU”. And, I didn’t have to pay anything to participate in the SPK sponsored enduros. IT was really sweet. Very early on, SPK had their Spring Enduro, the SPK 500. I knew from the beginning that they were going to have it, but didn’t think I’d be good enough soon enough to actually do it. But after only a few weekends, I felt comfortable enough to race it. Luckily, some fellow league regulars were looking to fill a spot and I joined in. That race, and all subsequent enduros have been some of the coolest things I’ve done in my life. It brings real endurance racing strategy to the masses. And, my team hasn’t done too terrible! Placing in 6th, 7th and 8th overall. Not bad for a team that took on a rookie kart racer.
Another thing that has made this year at SPK enjoyable is the camaraderie of the regular racers at SPK. SPK wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if it weren’t for the people who regularly go there to race. Good people, good racers, great staff too. I certainly haven’t improved so much that I’m setting records but I’ve gone from being a really slow racer to being able to easily qualify for the 250s, and putting down pretty respectable times. I can’t wait for things to wind up again next year. I look very forward to racing new and old faces. It’ll be another great year.