Go Karting Aviemore
Those who have travelled into Aviemore through the highlands from the Granish side will be no stranger to the prominently featured sign for AKR – "Aviemore Kart Raceway" on the way through to the centre. This was certainly the case for my family and me, having passed the site on numerous occasions over the years it was always noted as something new that we would definitely need to try out someday. However, we never seemed to take the plunge and go for the full karting experience.
This year was different, on this particular trip I was accompanied by a particularly cocky nephew who’d recently hit the age where an interest in cars and motors and therefore go-karting was igniting. The chance to show up his old man and Uncle was obviously a fun and appealing prospect. Naturally, as any Uncle will attest when the gauntlet is thrown you need to show the children how it’s done!
Aviemore Kart Raceway
Spurred on by family rivalry, we took the plunge and booked two 10 minute time trials on the course allowing a first session to improve before “playing for keeps” on the second race where all was at stake. This was easily achieved through the AKR – Aviemore Kart Raceway website which was located easily by a simple google search. We arrived at the outdoor track in good spirits as the weather in Aviemore was fantastic that morning, the location was easy to find and parking was ample. The go-karting circuit was immediately visible and we were pleasantly surprised by the size and complexity of the track before us.
Checking in on our visit was a breeze, and we were shown to a seated area to view a safety and instructional video regarding the track, the karts and what to do in various scenarios such as the Kart not working, or if you needed to stop for any reason. This was all succinct and down to business. While this was ongoing the staff prepared protective boiler suits and helmets that were mandatory before going through to the Karts.
Note: Additional purchases may be required on the day, the boiler suits and helmets are provided inclusive of the booking fee, however a suitable balaclava and pair of protective gloves are also mandatory. You can take your own but we opted to purchase some from the front desk for a modest fee. This is detailed on the Aviemore Raceway website. You are also allocated a small digital card, which is scanned at the start of the race and records your lap times for later comparison against your families and friends.
A wide range of Karts were available, and were allocated by ages as follows; 120cc for 8-14years, 200cc for 13years+ and tandem karts allowing for an adult 17+ to allow children ages 4+ to experience the track. 270cc Karts are available but these are restricted to specific go-karting events and are not permitted on the track at the same time as the other karts for safety reasons.
We were individually allocated a kart and strapped in by the safety marshal, who also adjusted the Karts to suit your height as the karts are one size fits all. He also offered a final review of how to operate the kart. For those who are nervous about this, the Karts are fully automatic and feature only 2 main pedals, press one for braking and press the other to accelerate.
There is also a small track on offer for children aged 3 and up.
Once all participants were seated the marshal waved out each driver one at a time, and it was off to the races! I found the Karts to be remarkably swift and they were capable of building up speed quickly as we emerged onto the outdoor track from the ranks. The handling was great and surprisingly responsive and allowed corners to be taken very tightly which allowed for a very fun experience. The course offered a racing experience with a variety of twists and bends as well as good lengths of straight road where you could press the pedal to the metal and reach the top speed of the kart which felt adequate for the size of the track.
Lap times at the end of the race are presented on a leader board and printouts as a souvenir were popular. Unfortunately, the younger and naturally lighter generation prevailed, I was nonetheless content with my experience despite the racing outcome and my location on the leader board - it was so much fun and a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. There are friendly staff and it is a very professionally run business open all year round.
If you are looking for a fun, succinct but decisively speedy outdoor activity (with some potential bragging rights attached) you need not search far in the Aviemore area as this can all be found at Aviemore Kart Raceway.
On review, while our party were all in the teenage and up category, the karting experience offered could easily offer fun and enjoyment for children of all ages 4+ through the use of the tandem karts. There is also great potential here for stag and hen parties, it would be so much fun with a big group of friends.
There are also ample areas where families and kids not participating in the go karting activities can get a great view of the action for the sidelines.
We found that 2 laps of the course was ample in one sitting.
Top tip - Trust your kart brakes and make sure to really get the go-karting thrill at the top speed on the straights.