Originally located in what is now known as Aviemore Highland Resort, Aviemore Kart Raceway is coming back, twelve years after it closed.
Bigger, better and bolder than any other karting venue in the north of Scotland
Opening this summer, things are taking shape. The first coat of tar has been poured, the new, shiny karts have started arriving, and the main building is looking pretty damn smart.
There is a feeling of excitement and anticipation (and for some, utter exhaustion) among those who have been involved in getting it to this point, as well as those in the community who have been rooting for it for so long.
It has been a long, hard struggle for Aviemore resident Colin Bain, who was the previous owner of AKR, when it was located “Up the centre” as the locals still call it.
Searching for the perfect new site for this big baby of his took many years, with a few disappointments along the way. However he is really pleased with the new site, which is located off the main road opposite Granish Farm, within a mile north of Aviemore, yet in a stunning location with great scenery.
Karting may look like a straightforward operation, but it is anything but.
Maintaining the karts and track, as well as providing an enjoyable but safe karting experience is not an easy thing to do for those lacking any experience of such an operation.
After a lot of red tape, bureaucracy and some objections,construction finally began last year.
Colin opened his first track in Sydney Australia , and over the course of 19 years in Australia owned four different very successful go kart tracks as well as other amusements including bumper boats, speed boats and water slide parks.
As a young man, he and his future wife and their pals would holiday in Aviemore, driving up from their homes down in the Borders. They would enjoy weekends spent in the Discos at Aviemore Centre and the lads would spend hours and hours hooning around on the Karts at Aviemore Kart raceway.
The very same Aviemore Kart Raceway that he would purchase and become owner and operator of years after opening the first in one Sydney.
After the first track was a success at a theme park in the west of Sydney, he expanded and opened up several more. The tracks were successful, but eventually he and Dorothy decided it was time to come back to Scotland.
After returning to Scotland, he purchased AKR from the original owner Tom McLaren. He revamped the tired old track, breathing new life back into it and ran it very successfully for several years, until it was closed down due to the lease ending.
And now, as AKR rises from the ashes, all of those years of experience have been poured into what can only be described at this point as potentially if not the best, then at least one of the best, kart tracks in Scotland or even the UK.
The site is only a couple of minutes by car from the centre of the village. There is a path being constructed which will link the village to the track for pedestrians and cyclists.
The track is about 550 meters long, and 6 meters wide for safer overtaking, with plenty of wide sweeping bends on a positive camber to assist with cornering. There are undulations as well as a huge long straight down one side, to make for an action packed racing experience. State of the art timing will also be used.
The pit lane and loading area are indoors. At the end of each race the drivers will be directed into the indoor pits area to disembark whilst the next lot are waiting, kitted out in helmets, water proofs and gloves. All of this will take place under the cover of the main building, keeping the karts dry and the drivers too.
This indoor/outdoor set up is awesome because it provides the advantages of having an outdoor track including a better, bigger, longer track, fresh air to breathe, daylight and scenery to take in, instead of indoor engine fumes. Drivers can embark and disembark in the relative comfort of the enclosed pit area.
There is a large reception building, with briefing area where all drivers will be taught how to drive the karts safely and efficiently, after which they will be directed into the changing area to get kitted out and into the loading area ready get into the karts.
There are three different types of karts, 26 in total; Cadet karts for kids aged 7-13, with adjustable pedals to accommodate their shorter legs. For older teens and adults there is are the 270 cc and 200 cc Sodi Karts.
The Sodi kart comes from France and is considered to be the best available in the world. Beautifully engineered to the highest spec, these powerful karts hug the corners tightly even in wet conditions.
Using state of the art software and hardware, the lap times of each driver in each race will be displayed on a big screen in the reception area to allow drivers and their friends to compare their lap times. This of course will stop any arguments amongst your friends and family about who won that last race!
A warning to all you petrol heads out there, be prepared to get hooked!
With the finest karts available to use, on a track that has been designed with the art of kart racing completely in mind, Aviemore Kart Raceway is a dream come true for those who are into anything with wheels and an engine.