Binh Duong on track to become Vietnam go-kart hub

By Thanh Nguyen   July 25, 2019 | 11:39 am GMT+7
A go-kart track in the southern province of Binh Duong has become popular and has racers coming regularly from its neighbor Saigon as well.
Binh Duong on track to become Vietnam go-kart hub

During weekends the Dai Nam Racecourse in Binh Duong comes alive with the muted roars of go-kart engines.

Trinh Thanh Hai, manager of the go-kart race, said the track has 16 pro vehicles with eight racers aged 20 to 28.

“We mainly race for show and also lease the training track and the go-kart for VND650,000 ($28) for 10 minutes.”

The machines were bought in Italy for $12,000 each and their monthly maintenance costs are very high, he said.

Binh Duong on track to become Vietnam go-kart hub

The racers suit up before show time. The cost of the protective gear, including helmets, racing shoes, gloves, mechanical suit can go up to thousands of dollars.

Binh Duong on track to become Vietnam go-kart hub

A technician checks the pressure in a wheel to assure the vehicle is roadworthy.

Binh Duong on track to become Vietnam go-kart hub

Nguyen Anh Tuan, 27, (front) is confident before the start. Tuan won the semi-pro kart race last year in Binh Duong.

He says: “Go-karting is my passion and profession. I go on shows eight times a month. In the beginning I had difficulty dealing with bends, but the more I raced the more experienced I became in dealing with them.”

Binh Duong on track to become Vietnam go-kart hub

The racers do eight laps on a 1.5-kilometer course with many corners, at speeds touching 200 kph.

Binh Duong on track to become Vietnam go-kart hub

A crash in a corner meant two racers had to stop. Le Ngoc Quyet, 23, says: “In a race like this, collisions are common, but injuries rarely occur because of the protective gear.”

Binh Duong on track to become Vietnam go-kart hub

Bui Duc Minh, 12, with coach Pham Manh Lan (R) after doing 10 laps of the track. "I’ve been learning kart racing for six months. My family is very supportive of this. I really love this sport because it’s fast and simple," Minh said.

Lan says he has been going back and forth from Ho Chi Minh City to train his team for an upcoming go-kart race in Thailand.

“Compared to an F1 track, this track is smaller but all F1 racers have to start from kart racing, from the legendary Michael Shumacher to Ayrton Senna.”

Binh Duong on track to become Vietnam go-kart hub

Another 12-year-old racer, Pham Hoang Nam, learned how to race two years ago and has won some races in the region. Nam is also the only young racer to be chosen to promote the 2020 Formula 1 race in Hanoi.

Binh Duong on track to become Vietnam go-kart hub

Nam shows off his skill on the track. These young racers can go up to 95 kph.

Lan says: “This sport is pretty new to Vietnam, but this is the first time we have a kart racing team to compete overseas, and I think that is an exciting sign for people who have a passion for the sport.”

Binh Duong on track to become Vietnam go-kart hub

Vuong Gia Nghi, 14, of Ho Chi Minh City, is the only female racer and is on the track with her father.

Vuong Dan Thinh, the father, says: “I bought this go-kart from a friend and my daughter loved it. So I decided to let her learn to race. This sport is very expensive but as long as she’s happy, I’m happy.”

 
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