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     Volume 4 Issue 16 | October 8 , 2004 |


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On Campus

Racing Without Limits

Imran H. Khan

“There are no speed limits on the road to excellence." So says Anonymous and it seemed an excellent philosophy for some courageous students of North South University to follow last Friday, October 1. What better way to celebrate the heavens than being out doors, with the wind whizzing by and an adrenaline rush the only thing in control of one of man's better creations, the automobile. Take the thought of a Beamer or even a Lexus out of your head. Compact the SUV to one-tenth its size to the basic set of wheels, add a very low seat, a few metal bars around to suffice as a body and a motor of (just maybe) a boat (yes with the cord, the pull-action-start and all) and you are all set. On your mark! Get set! Go! Go! Go! Go-Karting that is.

If Formula 1 Racing is a steroid of speed, Go-Karting surely has to be the homeopathic version of it, coming not in sweet little balls, but in a compact lawnmower-type gizmo. Organised by North South University Games and Sports Club (NSUSC), Go-Karting Competition 2004 was a venture into the unknown realm of racing, a trend that has recently opened a window in Bangladesh. This event also marked NSUSC's 10 years anniversary this year. Before, racing only involved overtaking another speeding sports car in our 'highway', one whose occupants may have shown you some signs but not anymore. Now, these Go-Karts are the perfect machines to board and as soon as the grid is full and the chequered flag is up, well what you do next is totally up to you.

Go-Karting gained its popularity in America in 1956 when a man called Art Ingells built one of these contraptions for his son using a lawnmower engine. What used to be controlled by a rope has evolved into the modern day steering wheel, and with evolution came speed. These little contraptions can easily attain speeds of 60 to 70 kmph within a short time, given the distance. Low-slung in design, the Go-Karts pack a lot of power in their 4-stroke engines, which are modified generators and consume petrol as fuel. What makes this contraption even 'user-friendly' is that there are only two pedals; one hurls the wind on your face (the acceleration pedal) and the other stops it (the brake). One tends to forget the latter when the tug of the kart takes control of the tracks.

With your posterior inches away from the ground, you can see specs of dust whiz past you. Even average speed seems intense at such a low altitude. The thrill is in the eyes of the rider and surely, this is a step closer to Formula 1Racing, a chance to be in the league as Michael Schumacher who started his career from Go-Karting.

Thanks to Speedway Go-Karting located in Ashulia, speed demons of all ages can come and put their racing to the test. The track may be small but the chicanes and hairpin turns are challenging, and to master them, one has to have, not only the skills and experience of a racer, but also a strong body to withstand all the crashes on the side banks. The whole track is cushioned with tyre wall but beware, crashing into it headfirst may not be a thrill for everyone. For one thing, it hurts like hell!

The event was a colourful one with the music of accelerating motors, growling to unleash their powers. And, of course, no event is complete without food. There were two categories in the event based on gender. Each category had groups of four and after the back-breaking and leg-aching rounds, two leading drivers from every group moved on to the next round. Faculty members Samy Ahmed and Syed K. Ibrahim Bakht were present to kick off the event. They too were induced to take to the tracks, amidst cheers and shows of support, to prove that they still had the zest in them. They were fast all right…fast to leave the race as they failed to move up the championship ladder.

After the exciting and electrifying competition from the very first round to the finals, four of the 84 male participants got the chance to compete in the final and a shot to hold the cup of pride and glory high in the air. Masud, Fahim, Shahdab and Gazi were the finalists as they battled for the ultimate supremacy and the excitement ended with, Masud ending as the runner-up and Fahim became the first ever NSU's Go-Karting Champion. After the gruesome showdown, what a moment it must have been for him as his eyes got all misty, probably from all the aching parts of his body.

The girls' final was not an event to miss. Four brave and skilful drivers shoved and accelerated their way to the final 4 from 16 competitors. The race started off neatly but once the girls got to the S turn, all hell broke lose, and that included the tyres that made the track boundary. Amidst the aggressive driving and few miscalculated overtaking manoeuvres, Ishrath won the Champion's trophy and ruled supreme whereas, Elita, Kanti and Saria had to be satisfied with the fun and the thrill, not to mention all the cuts and bruises, they had to experience throughout the tournament.

The evening came to a fitting end with the prize giving ceremony. The Pro-VC of NSU S.A.M Khairul Bashar handed over the trophies to the Male Champion and Runner-up and the Faculty Advisor of NSUSC Syed K. Ibrahim Bakht handed the trophy to the Female Champion. This event, staged only for the students of NSU, provided a day of relief from the hectic toils of university life. The event was co-ordinated by the President of NSUSC Sakibus Salehin, with assistance from Ahmed A. Rahman Ashik and Eam Md. Nasrul and a hoard of others, all students of NSU. This sport is an exciting venture into a new realm though what else the future holds, we have yet to see.

 

 

 

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