Arts and Entertainment

In high-speed pursuit of something with a kick

Teenagers, adolescents and kids at heart are all likely to enjoy a controlled high speed burn at KartTrax - Jesse Beals/Staff photo
Teenagers, adolescents and kids at heart are all likely to enjoy a controlled high speed burn at KartTrax
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff photo

Kids (and kids-at-heart) of all ages are likely to find a little piece of paradise at a new place in East Bremerton.

Maybe not the kind of paradise that provides nothing but time for sippin’ cold drinks on the beach under the tropical sun, or the kind of paradise held in a mansion harboring all the material possessions one could ever want, and it’s not quite nirvana. But come on, it’s Bremerton we’re talking about.

This is a speedster’s paradise.

On a slow day last week, drifting off in the gray doldrums of January, I was in search of excitement — something new, something fast, something with a kick.

Since conversation is a great combatant of boredom, I enlisted my friend Mr. Moran in the quest for kicks. And to get in the proper kickin’ state of mind we went to the corner store, picked up the stiffest energy drinks we could find, and proceeded with an outdoor chugging contest.

After about 15 minutes, I couldn’t sit still, but the listlessness persisted.

So we went to the batting cages, but found monotony in the machine-controlled pitches. We went to the pool hall, but found uniformity of the replicated rectangle tables all set in a row. We went to the coffee shop but found only a bunch of people mundanely sipping, sighing and reading.

After a few other stops, we ultimately ended up back in front of the screen, watching the Sex Pistols in “The Great Rock and Roll Swindle.” Finally there came a brazen idea.

“A high-speed chase!” I proclaimed. “That’s it, that’s exactly what we need right now.”

Nothing gets the adrenaline going on a lazy afternoon quite like a high-speed car chase. Still feeling the effects from our chugging contest (which I won incidentally), I sprang to my feet, picked up my keys and paced quickly around the room for supplies.

Mr. Moran, still sitting in his recliner with a bit of a smirk, was seemingly oblivious to my exhilirating idea. He systematically shot down my suggestion of provoking Bremerton’s finest with a bit of mischief and reveling in the ensuing, likely invigorating (and incriminating) chase.

“You drive an AstroVan, man, you’re not going to get too far,” he scrooged. “And I’m not going to jail.”

After a few wise-cracks about his Grand Tourismo skills, and how the only way we’d be going to jail is if he were behind the wheel, I challenged Mr. Moran to a slightly more sane style of race than a high-speed pursuit.

Go-karts.

Which brings us back to paradise in Bremerton — Kart Track Formula Racing, Kitsap’s NASCAR alternative which recently feted its grand opening in a business park off of Wheaton Way, near Goodwill.

Pulling into the parking lot of the drab-looking, big-box department store-style building, one wouldn’t guess the bliss held inside — it’s an absolute adolescent paradise. All centered around the track and go-karts, the place boasts a bounce house and video arcade in addition to a snack bar with a menu diverse enough to feature Reese’s muffins.

Dropping our cash in the till — $5 for a membership and $6 for our first race — we hit the snack bar for a Mountain Dew pick-me-up and pre-race hazing while we waited for the track to clear.

When our turn came, we belted into our respective cars and listened to instructions like “no text messaging while driving” and “don’t stand up in the go-kart.” Finally, the green light illuminated and the pedals hit the floor.

Alas, the listlessness persisted!

We jaunted around the track, almost lazily at the standard rate of 18 miles per hour.

To race turbo (that kick I’ve been talking about) I was informed you must first get your go-kart chops by completing at least five standard races.

I needed my turbo license that day, I told Tyler, the pit manager.

He said people don’t usually pick up the license in one day, but he would help me and Mr. Moran graduate on one condition — that he get to race the turbo cars with us.

Four races and $24 later, zipping at turbo speed down the straight away side-by-side with Mr. Moran, he looked over at me with that crazed look that you can only get when you’re gripping the steering wheel and punching the gas pedal in a high-speed chase.

The seasoned pit manager and his colleague ended up beating us both by a sound margin and Mr. Moran edged me into last place, but at least we’d found our kicks.

And, of course, they can count on a rematch.

Kart Trax Formula Racing — the place where kids can pretend to be race car drivers, and grown men can revert back to being a kid who’s pretending to be a race car driver — is located at 4205 Wheaton Way in Bremerton. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. Info: www.kart-trax.com or call (360) 478-RACE.

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