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Last Updated: Saturday September 27 2008 09:30 GMT

Abs takes on Go Karting for Sportsround

Abs hits the track

Another week, another challenge! This week it was Go Karting, but with a bit of a difference.

I found myself teamed up with fellow Sportsround presenter Sonali.

I'd seen her in action out in Beijing at the Olympics and knew she would be fiercely competitive - perfect! However she wasn't to be my teammate, but my opponent.

Our coach for the day was a young talented driver called Callum. He had huge ambitions of following the likes of Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, who both started their careers on the Go Kart track.

Tough work

Abs and Sonali chat to Callum
Sonali and I were going to have to race each other at the end of the day, so Callum was very helpful and took us through some of the basics. Braking, accelerating and finding the right 'racing line' - the quickest route around the course.

It was a lot to think about! The best thing we could do was to get out on the track and put what we'd learnt into practice.

The track was massive - even at top speed it took me a whole minute to do one lap.


I definitely struggled in and out of the corners too, as my kart was skidding all over the shop.

The main reason for this was that I was carrying too much speed into the turns, so the back end of my cart was sliding out. It's a great sensation and I felt like a stunt man in some sort of action movie. However it is the slowest way to get around the course - and today was all about SPEED!!!

On the straight the karts were super fast. I'd say my top speed was about 25/30 miles per hour. It doesn't sound a lot, but because the kart is so low to the ground it feels like you're doing 100 miles per hour.

It was clear after our practice session that Sonali was having a few problems handling the corners as well, although she was a lot quicker on the straights, because she was a lot lighter than me.

Abs and Sonali get ready

Then Sonali told me that we would actually be racing under floodlights. I've got to say I was really excited about the sound of this and the extra challenge it would provide. It would be just like this year's Singapore Grand Prix!

In the daylight I was following the black rubber marks left on the track by other drivers' wheels. Under the floodlights, these were hardly visible. Still, having adjusted to our new set of conditions, we were ready to rumble.

Race on!

Sonali was on pole position and I started a bit further back, just off her left shoulder. The lights turned from red to green and we were off.

I was hot on Sonali's heels and trying to put as much pressure on her as possible. On hairpin number three she buckled and skidded off onto the grass, I saw my opportunity and hit the accelerator and whizzed past her on the inside.

Being one of the most competitive people in the world I decided to really go for it! I wanted to win big!

My corner taking was way better than in practice and I was absolutely flying around the track.

I ended up crossing the line a solid 43 seconds ahead of Sonali. I've got to say though; Sonali put in a brilliant final few laps. It was only the fact that she had skidded off onto the grass a couple of times that made it such a big gap.

Well chuffed!

Still I was chuffed with my efforts and I totally loved the whole experience. The extra tuition Callum gave me completely changed my style of driving as well as my approach to Go Karting.

After a lengthy victory lap, saluting the massive crowd (six or seven dirty, tired mechanics desperate for their beds, as it was almost 10:30pm!) I was presented with a trophy, which is now sitting pretty on my mantelpiece. I'm actually considering buying a trophy cabinet!