Thursday, May 08, 2008
Countdown to F1 as K1 reaches midpoint
by Tan Thiam Peng

By lemlabs @ 9:00 AM :: 96 Views :: 0 Comments :: Article Rating :: Scoops, Other Sports
The K1 Go-Kart Series descended upon Geylang Serai for its fifth leg in the heartlands, and as with previous outings, it was a rousing success.

“We have some loyal fans who follow the series as it moves around Singapore’s heartlands. This event really helps the motor sports industry in Singapore”, commented Justin Koh of CS Racing, one of the organizers.

Mohd Riduan is one fan. He came all the way down from Choa Chu Kang to get a spin in the kart.

200-300 people are targeted for each leg, to race around purpose-built circuits. By the end of the series, organizers hope at least 2000-3000 people have tried out this entry-level form of motor sport.

This special motor sports series is the work of CS Racing and Singapore Motor Sports Association, and it aims to raise the awareness and interest of Singaporeans towards motor sports, especially with the Formula One (F1) Grand Prix (GP) to be held in Singapore for the first time come September.

The one-day event at Geylang Serai lets the public get a taste of karting, a simple and fun form of racing. The track, a 250-metre circuit, was the longest in the Series till date.

Anyone has a shot at the grand finale, which will be held at the paddock area of the Singapore GP circuit. All the finalists are selected from the series of karting events in the heartlands.

The events also showcase an educational road show, and for some legs of the series, exciting performances by top local drivers. These include sprints, where cars will challenge in a drag race, auto gymkhanas - a predetermined circuit to expertly manoeuvre - and drifting displays.

In contrast to the recent Formula Drift at the Changi Exhibition Centre, such performances here are free to watch.

And boy, are they good.

The loud engines and burnt rubber smell filled the place.

Jansen Tan, one of the performers from Stamford Tyres show team, said, “We have day jobs too. These are our own cars and I’m self-taught. I learnt what I know from watching videos.”

He also gave the thumbs up to the K1 Motor Sports Series. “We do this out of passion. Such events give good exposure to the motor sports scene”, Jansen said.

Karting is an established motor sport and has over the years served as a potent feeder of drivers to other more professional motor sports, including F1. Michael Schumacher and current F1 world champion Kimi Raikonnen learnt their trade in karting, and so did many NASCAR drivers.

Maybe a future star could be found here?

Justin agreed. “These are opportunities for us to maybe discover future talents.”

And twelve year-old Nur Erna is just the kind of enthusiast the sport is looking for. She first tried karting in Malaysia and this time she bluntly lamented that the “track’s too short.”

She even ended off this interview by suggesting that “everyone needs to speed up!”

Bold words indeed.

This series of events is supported by People’s Association, Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports, and Singapore Sports Council.

The K1 Series moves on to thrill the Ayer Rajah constituency next, on this weekend.