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Go-Karting In Chiang Mai

IF YOU ARE looking for something new and exciting to do, the Chiangmai Speedway (on the Hangdong Road about 9 kilometers south of Chiangmai) is the place for you. This race track is made to international standards being very safe, smooth, brisk asphalt. Don't worry about the equipment, Chiangmai Speedway has 50 go karts ready for you, your friends and family. Karting is a sport that the whole world has come to love. Go Karts are usually built with 100 cc or 200 cc engine capacities and are grouped for racing according to those engine categories in international competition. Chiangmai Speedway has go-karts for all ages, from beginners to competition models, you can choose your own level of thrills and speed. Famous drivers like Michael Schumacher, Mika Habbison, Jan Magnussen, Niki Lauda and many others started their career in go-karts. Drivers at Chiangmai Speedway are instructed in the fine points of go kart conduct and protocol before racing by the Dutch owner, Gerrit van Veen. Go Karting is one of those sports that everyone can participate in and enjoy. It is exciting, competitive and its a full healthy, safe way to have loads of fun.

Don't worry if you have never driven a go-kart before. All necessary equipment is furnished and training is provided for beginning drivers. Also, don't let your age or your beginner status deter you from enjoying this exciting sport for fear experienced drivers will go whizzing around you, spoiling your good time. The operating rules of the facilities insure that drivers of all abilities and levels will have a safe and enjoyable run around the asphalt track.

It may seem a mystery why a sport one might associate with the 1950's is doing in Chiang Mai. But why shouldn't the residents of this city enjoy an exciting recreational pastime which has become a worldwide phenomenon?

The first go-kart was made by a man named Art Ingels in Los Angeles in the 1950's. It was fabricated of hollow metal tubes and was powered by a lawn mower engine. The inventor built in no protective body work, and the plywood seat was located only a few inches above the ground. Kids in the 1950's would jury-rig go-karts together with wheels stolen from supermarket shopping carts and scrap materials from the garage. The primitive steering mechanism was nothing more than a piece of rope attached to the front wheels. They were fun, perhaps, but not terribly safe.

The 1960's saw the go-kart become a relatively safe household toy, and in the 1970's the Europeans took it up and it became a continental craze. Go-karts were manufactured with better-quality parts and safer seats, a steering wheel was introduced, and some were capable of speeds as high as 100 miles per hour (160 km. per hour). As the sport developed, go-kart tracks were standardized worldwide and constructed to be safe for drivers of the new, high-speed vehicles. Safety helmets became a necessity of go-kart driving also.

When the go-kart was new, America's highways were being paved with asphalt for the first time and the huge rubber companies had introduced the safer black tires for the family car. Safer tubeless rubber tires were also introduced for the go-kart.

The 1980's saw rapid economic growth and many of the countries in the region, such as Thailand, found themselves with the new status of Newly Industrialized Countries, nearly on a par with the West industrially and economically. The decade was also a time of great cultural exchange, and the newly affluent Asians became introduced to and interested in Western sports such as football and wrestling through expanded TV coverage.This set the stage for the advent of go-karting in Chiang Mai.

Go-kart tracks are laid out like those for automobile racing, but are limited to a length of approximately 1,000 yards or meters. Kart races may be as long as 4.6 miles, which requires a great number of laps around the short track.

The maximum allowable length for go-karts is 6.6 feet but most are around 1.5 meters (5 feet) long. The body is made of tubular steel or chrome, with chrome steel bumpers. The seat is fiberglass and the tires are tubeless for racing safety. Steering parts are manufactured to aircraft grade specifications for precision.

While the quality of materials in manufacturing go-karts has improved over time, the seat is still situated only inches above the ground. Go-kart steering has improved greatly in the last 40 years. The high speeds which modern go-karts can reach necessitate fine-tuned steering. Go-kart steering responds to the slightest touch or movement which allows for precise maneuvering in races, but also adds an element of danger to the sport. Proper training can reduce the danger by teaching the beginning driver to turn precise steering movements into reflex action on the track.

The minimum width for standard tracks is 20 feet (approx. 6.5 m.) and narrower portions constructed due to layout or the terrain are very limited. The track surface must be uniform throughout, with clearly marked edges and protective barriers for spectators.

Drivers are required to drive three practise laps around the track to insure they are familiar with driving their go-kart on an unfamiliar track. Other rules govern start-up positions and entry into events according to events according to engine size, kart class and sometimes drivers' ages.

Rules governing driver dress are very important. An approved safety helmet must be worn, either with a visor or the driver must wear goggles for eye protection. The driver must wear a leather or heavy-duty polyvinyl chloride racing suit and gloves, and boots or shoes which cover the ankle for protection on the low-slung seat and from flying debris on the track.

The final category of rules governs driver conduct. A sportsman-like driver is expected to exhibit good behaviour on the track, drive on the right, and overtake another driver on the left. Penalties are up to the referee in a race, but a driver has the right to appeal a questionable call or penalty imposed by the referee. Guidelines for this are set forth by the international Go-Kart racing organization.

Visitors to Chiang Mai's Chiangmai Speedway will receive training in everything necessary to enjoy an exciting but fun and safe run around the track. Try something out of the ordinary on your holiday, or a form of competitive recreation you might never have tried before. Head out to the Hangdong Road location and take a few turns around the track in a go-kart! Vroom vroom.


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