A great track record

Apologies for my recent absence here. It’s the time of year, I’m afraid, and work has kept me from my blogging, reading and writing activities just recently. However, this is a blog I’ve been wanting to write for a long time so since it’s the festive season, this would seem to be the time to celebrate another success. Be warned, though; it’s another mother’s pride post. 😊
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my elder daughter’s graduation for her Master’s degree in Historical Linguistics. My younger daughter has also gained a title this year, but in quite a different area. I should say up front that she has academic qualifications aplenty, but I am so proud of her for what she has achieved as a kart racer.
Until she took up the sport, I really knew nothing about karting, other than taking both girls to the sandy outdoor track near Krugersdorp in SA, where karts were of the pedalling variety and bore little resemblance to the sport as it is really done. Correction, I did know that most of the current Formula 1 drivers started out as karters, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to name two. But that was all I knew, so when Mo and her boyfriend Stephan started getting involved, I became quite interested and even did it once myself with them on an indoor track.
What I didn’t anticipate was how seriously they would get into the sport and to what lengths Mo would go to set up her own kart, do all the mechanics for it herself and even outstrip many other male karters with her knowledge and technical skills. Not only that, she soon proved to be an excellent racer, giving many boys half her age a run their money, as evidenced by the photo below.
Back in May, I went to an outdoor circuit to watch her race seriously for the first time and I was so impressed. To my surprise, I found it tremendous fun despite the awful weather. I’ll admit to being a long-time F1 fan (since childhood when my father used to listen to the racing on the radio), but I can honestly say going in person opened my eyes to the skill needed to drive these little rockets on wheels successfully on a wet, outdoor track. Mo had been karting for several years already, but this was real racing.
The day was extremely wet, and it was a real watery baptism for my daughter. We watched while she prepared her kart for the conditions and, with Stephan, wheeled it out to the track ready for her laps. 

Family support in place

Preparing the kart for racing

Almost ready to go
Her race was fast and exciting and she came in third place out of (around) ten participants, a couple of whom didn’t finish. The track was horrendous: rain-soaked and covered in debris from the various mishaps.
Taking the inside of the bend away from 
the debris
It really was quite something to be there and to watch my girl screaming around the circuit in hot pursuit of the much more experienced male participants. The spray flew off the surface, but she held her corners and only lost a place by spinning off once. It was a thrilling experience with, for me, all the nail-biting excitement of a mini Formula 1.

Chasing the front runner
And here she is on the podium after coming third in her race
Mo and Stephan are also part of a team, all of whom are friends they have made while karting. Earlier in the year, they took part in an endurance event that involved each member of the team driving some mind-boggling number of laps over several hours. I forget how long theirs was, but endurance races can be anything between 4 and 24 hours and I think this one was closer to the upper end of the time scale.

The endurance champions
And then the moment when she came third in the Club Championship. Who says women cannot compete against men successfully? I was so chuffed for her. She started karting some years ago now, but most of the men have been doing it since they were kids. She’s also said goodbye to her thirties; a terrific achievement, don’t you think?

A proud and happy moment

And lastly, I’m very touched to know that her kart is called ‘The flying V’ after me, but also inspired by Stephan’s mother, Vera, and the Dutch word vrouwen (women). 

The Flying Vs

Mo with Stephan (on the right) and a team mate

So, bragging aside, I hope you’ve enjoyed the story of Mo’s speedy hobby. When I think that Max Verstappen’s mother was a top karter and Susie Wolff (the wife of F1 Mercedes boss) was a karter and racing driver, I know it’s not unheard of, but they both stopped before Mo even started. It just goes to show it’s never to late to give it a go 😉
Enjoy the last weeks before the festive season, allemaal, and I hope I can fit in a blog or two before the end of the year.