When I saw an email inviting me and a friend along to try out the go-karts and track at Absolutely Karting in Bristol (there's also a track in Maidenhead if you're closer to that one), I just couldn't turn it down. Me and Greg are both speed demons at heart, so it was right up our street. And what with recent events, it was just what we needed.
Absolutely Karting prides themselves on being "one of the UK's prime go-karting destinations for thrill seekers to go and experience the country's most popular form of motorsport". Having been go-karting about eight times at different locations, this was definitely one of the best, well-thought out tracks I've been to. The track consists of an upstairs and downstairs option (with the possibility of doing both), with the upstairs better suited for beginners and the downstairs track for more experienced drivers. Of course we went for the downstairs option!
The venue was 40 minutes drive from our home, so not too far to go for a few hours out of the house. We decided to leave George at home for the day (with a babysitter of course) and treat it as a "date day". Just off the M32, Absolutely Karting was really easy to get to and because we went on a Sunday, the roads were slightly quieter than usual. Yay. Nobody likes traffic!
We parked up in the free on-site car park and made our way to reception. The entrance was big and welcoming, where we were greeted by a gentleman named James (Manager of Absolutely Karting Bristol).
As soon as you walked into the reception area, you could see the track behind a glass window. People were whizzing around it and it got our adrenaline pumping even before we were kitted and booted.
The bar and "lounge" area is comfortable and clean, with game machines to occupy children and those big-kids inside us. We didn't get the chance to taste the food, but if you've worked up an appetite after your racing, there is a menu offering freshly cooked pizza (yum!), hot bacon rolls and sandwiches. We did however manage to grab a can of drink before we left.
There was a racing track times board (which you can see to the left of the below image), showing some incredible track times. We looked at these after we raced and were surprised to see how fast some of these drivers were. Although having said that, we weren't miles off. Apparently these drivers have been racing here since it opened (believe James said three years ago), so they're bound to be getting some fantastic times!
We were directed to the Race Suits Room, where there was a suit to fit any shape and size, from children to adults. Once we were ready to go, we were taking into the Briefing Room where we watched a 10 minute video on health and safety. The video went through what different flags/lights meant (from "accident on track" and "slow down" to "race finish") and how you should behave and drive on the track. Once we'd watched this we were ready to go!
Before getting into our karts, we put on a balaclava, helmet and gloves to protect our head and hands. We were given a quick briefing about where the stewards would be on the track and were then shown to our karts.
It was just the two of us on the track, which was great for really testing out the track, but would definitely have been more challenging to have a few more drivers. We set off one-by-one and got to grips with the track within a few laps. No surprise, I got lapped by Greg twice, which actually isn't that bad for the 20+ laps that we raced.
As you can see below, the "racing shots" weren't so great because we were going like the clappers. I'm surprised the photographer (thank you to one of the staff members taking photos for us) managed to get shots of us as we were going that fast. Only joking. Well, not entirely joking because the karts did feel really quite fast. Great if you enjoy a bit of speed like us!
I haven't yet driven a track that has so many corners. If you're driving quite fast like us, it does take some concentration as particularly by the pits, it's quite tight. Definitely no room for over-taking there. After the pits, the track becomes straight enough for you to really put your foot down, before hitting some tight turns. The few times that Greg was in front of me, I was trying to follow his racing line. Fat load of good that did as he still managed to lap me various times!
We came out of our karts aching like we'd just done a two hour work-out. Our fore-arms, backs and legs had a great time. I'm guessing this is probably quite normal for people who don't drive go-karts regularly. Overall we had a brilliant day and couldn't say enough good things about this place.
Whether you're looking for an activity for a birthday, stag do, hen do or day out, we would both highly recommend Absolutely Karting. It's got everything you need for an adrenaline-fuelled day. The staff are hot on health and safety, which reassures you that whilst they want you to have fun, they also want you to be careful. Other tracks I've been to, have basically chucked you out on the track and not mentioned anything about safety whilst driving a go-kart.
It's suitable for all of the family, with somewhere for elderly relatives to sit comfortably (and watch you whizz around the track). One of the reasons I didn't bring George was because I wasn't sure if there would be somewhere for him to be, away from petrol fumes. In this case, I would have been more than happy for him to sit in the lounge area with my sister. Next time...
Yes, that means we will be back again in the near future. With a few petrol heads in the family, it's definitely somewhere they would appreciate and it's not too far for us to travel either!
Thank you to the staff at Absolutely Karting Bristol for having us!