Smaaash Skykarting Experience: Minion Rush

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One look at a Go-kart and it’s easy to dismiss them as dinky little nothings meant for kids to scream in glee. However, almost all F1 legends stepped into the lap of one of these things to master their skills, before graduating to full blown track monsters. Mumbai can now boast of another such place, where budding racers, aficionados and thrill seekers can get their dose of pint sized adrenaline. True to the megapolis’ image where everything only grows vertically, in a pleasingly eccentric manner, Smaaash Skykarting is perched upon a rooftop, surrounded by the city’s towering skyline. We had an opportunity to slither around the track on a rather balmy evening and here’s what we came back with.

Smaaash Skykarting (58)

The Facility

Smaaash Skykarting (30)

As we entered the floodlit, glitzy venue, it came across as the closest emulation of the Singapore F1 GP, only miniaturized. The entrance leads you to a pit area, which also hosts a little refreshments counter and a seating area for those who’d like to cheer their mates. The staff was courteous and well informed about their job. Although we threw a gazillion questions at them, they never fluttered even once. Since the facility operates from 4 pm, all the way till 1 past midnight, in addition to super bright floodlights, they’ve even got an F1 style signaling system. It remains lit in Green when the track is clear, blinks in Amber if there is an incident on track, and glows in Red when racing has to be stopped and everyone needs to head to the pits.

Smaaash Skykarting (74)

 Smaaash Skykarting (33)

Smaaash Skykarting (34)

Enhancing the experience are screens which show your lap times and how you stack against your buddies if you’ve tagged them along. There’s also another display across the start/finish line that shows your remaining time in the session, every time you whizz past it. All the staff members are armed with radio sets and have the ability to control the signaling system through a console, according to the happenings on the track. Maldonado fans stand to be disappointed, as all karts can either be slowed down or brought to a dead halt if you think of them as dash cars.

Smaaash Skykarting (16)

Smaaash Skykarting (54)

 Smaaash Skykarting (66)

Smaaash Skykarting (67)

The safety of revelers is taken seriously. Before getting behind the wheel of a Go-kart, one has to mandatorily wear a helmet (which is of quality make) that sits above some protective headgear to avoid perspiration seep through in the foam, gloves, a neck brace and an elbow guard that protects the skin against a very hot engine that sits next to you. At the far end of the track is a maintenance area for servicing the karts and also where they stack fuel.

The Machines

Smaaash Skykarting (7)

Smaaash Skykarting (6)

 Smaaash Skykarting (57)

They’ve got three types of Go-karts at the facility. One is meant for kids and is powered by a 160 cc engine, while the adult kart gets a 250 cc Honda engine that produces 6.5 bhp. The staff informed us that the 250 cc motor has been detuned to keep speeds low. If there for a joyride with a partner, you guys may choose to go around the track in a twin-seater Go-kart, seated side-by-side. Since the other two were out of contention, the adult kart is what we sampled. Seated in the bucket, controls felt taut and precise, without too much play in the pedals or the steering.

Smaaash Skykarting (5)

Track Layout & Experience

Smaaash Skykarting (25)

Smaaash Skykarting (18)

The track layout at Skykarting takes inspiration from some legendary international racing venues. The section from the Start/Finish line till the first hairpin is a full throttle sector that mimics the famous Imola circuit, with a Monaco like swimming pool chicane encountered in between. Post the hairpin is a left hander, where in order to get the right line, one needs to brush past the rubber barricade without actually doing it.

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 Smaaash Skykarting (51)

What follows is a long straight that includes an S-curve which can be straight lined and approached at full throttle. Still on the gas, a Catalunya like fast right hander culminates into another hairpin, which opens up followed by an immediate left. One encounters two hairpins post that, the second, a straight liftoff from Sepang, finally bringing you back to the Start/Finish line.

Smaaash Skykarting (43)

Smaaash Skykarting (35)

The Go-karts hit an approximate speed of 45 kph on the straights, which might not seem too much. But with a tight track layout and your body an ant’s height away from the ground, it seems adequate. It is around the corners that one has to avoid sliding too much in order to gain time, where over correction will send you in a spin. For those who think this must be an activity which doesn’t demand much from your body, unless you are on a joyride, if done properly, Go-Karting has the ability to burn a lot of your fat.

Smaaash Skykarting (1)

Once you drown your racing demons and come back exhausted to the pits, a sheet with all your lap times is handed over. It tells you how you stack against others who’ve posted, weekly, daily or the fastest ever time across the track. I was quite content having posted the fastest time for the day.

Smaaash Skykarting (75)

Smaaash Skykarting (65)

Priced at par with a couple movie tickets for a sleep inducing movie you might watch, for the same money, Go-karting scores much higher on the thrills for a buck factor. With the added enigma of driving under the lights, on a rooftop that overlooks a twinkling city skyline, Skykarting is an experience we’d definitely recommend. Go on then, take it to the track!

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