In case you haven’t noticed, I´m a massively oversized kid. Sure, masquerading as a philosopher is fun sometimes, but you know what’s really fun? Going really fast in circles.
That’s why when I spotted this junior speedway pop up in the Macroplaza parking lot while hanging out an open bus window like an excited dog, I pushed all of my other planned Vallarta visits one slot down. No offense to any of the other fine establishments that will appear in this space over the coming weeks, it’s just…y´know… go-karts, man. Go-karts.
The Vibes: Despite my all-consuming need for speed, I had been bypassing the track on assorted errands and other adult appointments for about a week, which is about 3.6 years in impatient child time. In fact, even as of last Sunday night I found myself headed home after a long afternoon at a friend’s house, where we spent hours eating brisket and space cookies.
A perfectly legitimate and downright enjoyable use of a day, don’t get me wrong–thanks yet again for the invite, Jimmy and Frankie–but as I stood on the Libramiento and watched every bus but mine roll by for about half an hour, I couldn´t help but feel a twinge of disappointment that I had let two weekends slip through my fingers without taking the wheel in them.
At least, that’s what would have happened if my recent hosts had not passed by in their car on the way to the store or something. They offered me a ride to a nearby dropoff point of my choosing, and thinking quickly, I chose Macroplaza instead of my home in Versalles. I even found a nice, mature excuse in the form of a trip to Wal-Mart for…um… kale and paper clips, yeah that’s it. So responsible.
After a short ride, we pulled into the parking lot and there it was… flashing lights, the strangely acceptable scent of gasoline, and that familiar lawnmower drone. I had arrived.
My friends, being people I choose to spend my time with, retain some youth in their spirits as well, and so the new attraction also appealed to their interests. While they deliberated on whether they had time for a few laps, my ears were listening out for a call to action. It came. ¨Tenemos un kart individual libre, quien quiere?¨ Yo. Seizing the opportunity, I tossed my backpack to the side, brushed past a waiting family of two-seat suckers and took my place at the starting line. After a quick sobriety test in the form of handing over 60 pesos in exact change, I was ready to make a run at the checkered flag in the Vallarta 5.
The Vices: It was all SnG until I actually stepped onto the track… that’s when things got cinematic. My vision narrowed to widescreen as I lowered myself into the seat, choosing a kart behind the one in front of the pack to have a better chance at a red shell to knock out the leader on the home stretch. Veteran move.
Through my racing goggles I cast a gaze around the track…a crowd of spectators too young or ‘too old’ to compete looked on with interest as the drivers began to take their marks. My grasp on the wheel tightened to a white-knuckle grip– okayfine, not so much–but I did feel my heart start to pump faster as I awaited the signal. No mistaking it…I was alive and feeling lucky.
The moment the starter twitched, I stomped a size 12.5 on the gas pedal and leaned into the first turn. I was pleasantly surprised to feel the engine accelerate gamely under my ideal 100kg test weight. The rest of the field was mostly populated by smaller children, who should be ashamed of their driving skills with all those hours they spend on the simulator.
I even gently nudged a rival into the wall because as any NASCAR fan knows, if it ain’t rubbin´, it ain’t racin´.
I took full advantage of their inexperience, weaving into the tiniest passing lanes at speeds that were just enough to put a bit of flutter into my head tassels. I masterfully protected the inside with precision turns and a very sparing use of the brake. I even gently nudged a rival into the wall because as any NASCAR fan knows, if it ain’t rubbin´, it ain’t racin´.
Captain Falcon was here for Victory Lane.
Lap 3 went as smoothly as the first…better even, as I began to pass a few drivers for a second time. The gap between yours truly and the next kart began to widen, and as I hit the turn to pass the starting line for a fourth time I couldn’t have been feeling more in control…that is, until a miscalculated hair adjustment sent my racing goggles flying. They hung in the air for an instant, then an eternity before hitting the speedway surface with the sound of a meteor strike. Instantly, panic set in. These weren’t just any racing goggles, they had sentimental value…a painstakingly crafted custom pair made from about 150 pesos and a piece of my perspective…this was no place for our time together to end.
Skidding to a stop, I leaped out of the driver’s seat and onto the track and scrambled frantically back to the point where they had fallen. Luckily I was so far ahead of the pack that I had time to accomplish the task before hopping back into the Mach 5 and placing the pedal to the floor once more. As I climbed out of the kart after a grueling 10 minute race, I couldn’t help wishing the ride had been longer…which, I guess, is a fairly positive review of a go-kart track in and of itself.
The Verdict: I mean, sure…I would love some quarter-mile course with multiple elevation changes and non-lethal booby traps, but this will do just fine until that comes to town and we should all support it in the meantime. One may or may not be able to slip an attendant a crispy cien for a few dozen extra laps. All I know for sure is whenever I have some time to kill in the area of Macroplaza, I´ll be honing my championship skillset in high-performance superkarts…bet you can’t catch me there.
Info: Francisco Villa 1526, Los Sauces.