This week marked both my first born grandson’s 18th birthday and my second born granddaughter’s 16 birthday. Both major milestones. I can hardly believe it. I can close my eyes and see them both – their baby faces crystal clear. I am often in denial about how fast the time has gone. They have been a joy all these years. From the time I saw them swaddled in hospital gowns until today, they have been such a wonderful addition to our family. We have six grandchildren in total – six! That in and of itself seems impossible.
Our grandson lives nearby so we were able to celebrate with him. His parents chose to schedule some races at the LeMans GoKart racetrack. Those that have followed for a while know I suffer from vertigo so the idea of going around a sinuous track over and over for 20-30 minutes was not going to be my cup of tea. I opted to be the photographer and document the occasion.
Every driver must have a valid drivers license or go through some specialized training before they are allowed on the track. Each driver must watch a safety video and the safety rules are fairly strict. As I watched the video and the other racers, I knew I was making the right decision by fulfilling the role of observer rather than driver.
You have the option of wearing a racing suit and gloves, but everyone must wear a neck brace and a helmet. Before long, my family was suited up and in their cars. It was fun to watch and it was quickly apparent who the competitive souls were! My grandson and my husband. They ran two back-to-back 10 minute races. Then they came into the lounge for a break. Evidently it was cold on the track. Everyone was talking about how hard it was to steer and they could feel the effects in their arms and shoulders. After a rest, they went out for their third and final race.
After the races, we went to the local Outback restaurant for a celebratory dinner. It was so nice to listen to the chatter as all of them had a good time racing. I captured their lap scores from the closed circuit television in photos so they were able to talk a little smack to each other about their driving prowess. All lighthearted and fun, it was a perfect evening.
After hearing everyone talk, I was able to add to the list of reasons I was glad I did not attempt to race. If you are my age, you may want to consider these things before taking on such a feat:
- the smell of gas/exhaust
- the vibration of the car on the track
- the noise of the engines for 10-20 minutes straight
- my neck!
- the cold
So, yes, I am a wuss, but I am fully prepared to fill the supportive role. Everyone, including me, had a great time. I kept thinking about the movie “Ford vs Ferrari“ and the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. I do not know how professional drivers do it. There is a reason you do not see grandparents my age on the professional racetrack!