My other half James is definitely an adrenaline seeker, in the past he’s persuaded me to parachute off a mountain wearing skis, bungee jump off the Transporter Bridge and he’s even done a sky dive (I’ve yet to pluck up the courage for that one)! So when I told him we’d been invited to take part in the inaugural North East Media Karting Championships at the recently re-relaunched Karting North East, well, you can imagine his reaction!
Almost half a million quid has been spent improving Karting North East over the last few years. The 1.2km track has been completely resurfaced, it’s also been extended making it one of the longest in the UK and it’s just down the road from us near Sunderland.
James and I needed a third member for Team Geordieland so we invited along his cousin Tony who was almost as giddy as James! Personally I was a little bit nervous, especially when I heard we’d be up again teams from Capital & Heart radio, plus the guys from North East Times, as we all got acquainted during the health and safety briefing I got the impression they weren’t first timers like me!
Owner Guy Wilks, himself a former Intercontinental World Rally Championship driver, helped me get kitted out in the safety gear. I asked him for a few tips but the look on his face told me all I needed to know, I would need a rather generous head start to get my hands on that trophy! Fat chance though, I didn’t even realise the qualifying session was more than one lap and I made the mistake of pulling back in to the pits while everyone else was still racing round the track. Poor James and Tony, they had no way of winning with me on their team!
For some reason I just couldn’t brave the incredible speeds that everyone else was driving at and I found myself constantly being overtaken throughout the thirty minute experience, I only managed to complete 15 laps while most of the other drivers got round 19 times!
I didn’t really mind though, I still had a great time. I may have been the slowest but I could feel my heart beating wildly as I gripped the steering wheel and held my breath round every nerve-wracking bend. I can certainly understand how people get addicted to this kind of hobby!
As well as the impressive karting track, there’s also 2,500 sq metre outdoor paintball arena, off-road 4×4 experiences, archery and tomahawks and off road ‘rage buggy’ racing available at Karting North East.
Indoors we were impressed by the newly refurbished reception and café area with ping pong tables and of course, the winners podium which amazingly we did make it on to. Although, I should point out that this was only because there was a draw for 2nd position, notice the wooden spoons on our t-shirts!
We had a fantastic night at Karting North East and can highly recommend it. I reckon it would be perfect for corporate team building and family days out, no doubt that stag and hen parties will love it too, they also do kids parties. Check out the website for details of current promotions like the 30 minute ‘arrive and drive’ offer for £25 pp.
Have fun and fingers crossed you can do better than Team Geordieland!
By Rachel Kershaw