Need for speed


Passions-Kandola2With nine state championships under his belt, Dr Amrit Kandola of Kelmscott Dental in Kelmscott, WA, loves the thrill of sprint-kart racing

“A sprint-kart is a highly specialised version of a go-kart. The karts have larger, high-performance engines, sticky tyres and big brakes. We race on specific tracks and obtain top speeds of about 170 kilometres an hour. If the track was longer and straighter, you’d be able to go much faster.

“Despite the safety equipment, it can still be a dangerous sport. There are no seat belts; it’s basically just you and a fibreglass seat. I’ve had a couple of crashes—rollovers and stuff like that—but not any major injuries.

“My family’s been into motorsports for three generations. It runs in our blood. I started when I was nine years old, racing with my cousin.

“I now have my own kart and I race in the West Australian championship. Back when I was at university doing dentistry, I was sponsored by a team in Sydney and raced at the state and national championships. I’ve won the Victorian championship twice, South Australian twice, New South Wales twice, and Western Australian three times. In the Australian championships, I’ve come second four times. That remains unfinished business. I’ll continue attacking the Australian championship for the next couple of years and hopefully win it.

“The cost of competing is quite high. A new set of tyres is about $200 and may only last for 40 kilometres. They’re soft and sticky in order to grip the road, so they wear down very quickly.

“I practise most Saturdays for about four or five hours. There’s a lot of car set-up—trying different component combinations and different engines. There’s also a lot of fine-tuning of certain driving characteristics. For example, as the tyres wear down, you need to be able to adjust your driving style accordingly.

“Sprint-kart racing is a good family sport. My brother races and is one of my main competitors. We’ve been racing since we were kids but I’m ahead of him in the local championship. We have a friendly rivalry!

“I love the thrill and the speed of racing. When you get to a level where you’re winning championships, it’s not about big leaps and bounds—it’s about fine-tuning your skills. It also gets my mind off work; it’s something that’s really different to dentistry.”

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