Thu | Sep 29, 2022

Zoom into karting

Published:Thursday | July 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMLatara Boodie
Peter 'Zoom Zoom' Rae (right) and members of the Reggae Racers Patrick (centre) and Rohan are on site and ready for you to experience the thrill of a lifetime.
These patrons are all geared up and ready to take on the Palisadoes Raceway Track.
Test drives are done to ensure all Go-Karts are safe for your racing pleasure by the Reggae Racers maintenance team.

For those with a need for speed, the heart-stopping turns, gracious purr of the engine and the pleasure that comes with flooring the gas pedal are part of the excitement of being on the race track in one of Peter 'Zoom Zoom' Rae's go-karts at the Palisadoes Raceway in Kingston.

The man who is deemed by many as the 'god-father' of motor racing, came up with a concept which allows people to fully enjoy the art of racing and the thrill that comes from being behind the wheel. "My whole theme for this is 'making Jamaican roads safe again'. I want to take the speeding off the road and on to the racetrack," explained Rae, founder of Peter Rae Karting Experience.

Rae's father got him into the business of bikes at a very early age. "I started out on two wheels doing motocross racing with bikes on a dirt surface in 1968," said Rae. "The whole idea was to come home from school and tinker with the bike and not get into any mischief," continued Rae. It wasn't until the early '80s that Rae established his love for go-karting after returning from England where he got his business and marketing diploma. While away, Rae did six years of motocross racing and returned in 1983 to indulge in go-karting by Hill Run near the old Spanish Town bypass in St Catherine.

"Go-kart racing is the foundation of all motorsports," declared Rae. He went on to explain that this is where a lot of the well-known circuit racers started out, especially the ones in Formula 1. There are many Jamaica motor racers such as Thomas Issa and Justin Sirgany who started out with Peter Rae's go-karts. Rae emphasised that there is a lot of opportunity for youngsters to progress in the sport if they have the passion for it. "In Jamaica, prior to coming into the rent-a-kart business, you had to own a kart. I saw a niche where people wanted to come to the race track and experience what it felt like to be a race car driver," said Rae. He then decided to invest and import karts from the United States to establish this business four years ago.

Creating a go-kart business is far from a Sunday stroll in the park, it requires a lot of work and preparation. "I have to transport the karts to the raceway every Sunday which is a bit of a trek. We have to load and unload the karts into and from the truck since I am not based out on the track," said Rae. He emphasized that many of the drivers who come to the raceway need to be educated on how to drive the go-karts. "The railings on the go-kart are not designed for bumping, they are not bumper karts. They are protective bars, and when people go and smash into each other, that causes a lot of damage and a repair cost that is not recovered from the rental fee," explained Rae.

The go-karts are available for rent on Sundays by the Palisadoes Raceway anytime after 1 p.m. Be sure to check out their Facebook page for any notifications or enquiries about go-karting at Zoom Go-Karting Sundays. "When you come to Zoom Go-Karting you can expect a lot of thrills and very little spills," said Rae.

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