Worn ‘n’ Torn

Day 1:

The other day, I was leaving office. Back at the parking lot I looked at my Motorbike; old, worn and tired…kind of like the person who drives it. Since it is from a previous era, there is no push start buttons to your aid. Just the old school kick start.

While making my way through the traffic, I couldn’t help but think:

‘I wonder what must be on it’s mind? Will it be happy with itself in comparison with other motorbikes around? sure couldn’t be’

‘The newer bikes could run a riot around this one. They will achieve in less than 4000 rpm, what my bike won’t be able to at redline. What still keeps this motorbike running other than the fuel I pour in?’

I must admit it looks decent,the body is still in good shape especially the paint. It looks classic with it’s old school naked bike styling. I haven’t done much to ruin its look.

‘But how long just with your looks? Not fast, not really efficient, just an average motorbike.’

Would the motorbike feel itself useless, if it had a soul… I wondered. Times have changed so have many things.

‘No one cares for how much of a head-turner you were once upon a time. That time is clearly over. It feels today though that you have no real value apart from a few people looking at you once in a while. You are being over-taken left right and center by bigger, better and more desirable motorbikes.’

‘Knowing all this how do you put yourself on the road every single day. Just literally to be mocked and over-taken by well-equipped , better sounding and better looking motorbikes. How do you manage son? Isn’t it an inch by inch death?’

Day 2:

It rained heavily in the past 3 hours and there is no signs of rains stopping for another couple of hours. I was moving alongside the slow traffic. The water was ankle deep and didn’t concern me at this point.

Moving further, water level rose and soon it reached knee level. This concerned me a little but I chose not to stop. The engine is still clear of water, so is the exhaust.

In just a matter of minutes, the water level rose from knee level to hip level. Cars stopped, other motorcycles stopped by the side. I could see those motorcycles almost submerged in the water. My logic was to open the throttle and not let water in the exhaust, since the exhaust was below water level. Stupid logic, but at that time it occurred to me as a bright idea. Did the motorbike stop? Yes at the last stretch of water logged street it did. Did it start again? Yes. It limped with me on our way back home.

Day 3:

The motorbike was still alive. It worked as if if nothing happened yesterday. It kept running and it still does.


 

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Go-Karting in Bangalore

Whenever I visit a new place, I check for karting facilities nearby. A vice that I have been nurturing for long. Many great Formula 1 drivers have started their career on karts, also they are comparatively lesser expensive way of connecting poor people like me to Motorsports.

Like many say they can forget their worries listening to music, I say I forget my worries behind the steering wheel of a kart (wish I could afford more,lol). You take your focus away from the job in hand only to end up in a pile of tires or a cloud of dust. In the last karting place I’d been to, I saw a lady who was trying her hands on go-karting, crash into the dusty tires. Re-affirmation to the importance of focus.

Now to the actual subject…

Google handed me a huge list and it was up to me to select the places. Based on my search here are the 10 places (with useful links)I bookmarked.

Since karting tracks are away from the city and Bangalore being notoriously bad for it’s traffic, I couldn’t visit all of the above mentioned places. Most of them aren’t worth your time and money from the YouTube videos I watched.

Priorities vary depending on people and hence I will put down a quick review of places I have visited. My priorities are simple:

  • Driving experience
  • Condition of go-karts
  • Technicality and condition of the track
  • Customer service
  • Value for money

There are people who kart with their families/friends/cousins/relatives as a weekend getaway or a family outing. My opinion won’t be of much help to them, they probably want to have a good time which is not the primary intention of this post.

Gurukuls Go-Karting: (Rs. 250 for 6 laps)

The place had 4+ stars review in Google. To me this place was a big disappointment. The track was small, karts were below average and nothing great about the staff (two young lads). I went there on a weekday. Also I believe they cheated on the number of laps and I was only allowed 5 laps instead of 6. I couldn’t care less. I’m never going back there.

I would rate this place a 2/5. Make sure you count your laps or have someone counting it for you.

Meco kartopia: (Rs. 750 for 6 mins for Rotax karts and other options…)

My favorite of the lot. They have variety of options in terms of price (differ according to the power of the kart and time); the one I chose was the most powerful Rotax kart, the most expensive option as well. They claim to have 21 horsepower but I doubt that. The track was nice and long, though not very technical. The corners are low to medium to high speed after a long straight which makes it exciting. I visited the place on a weekday and they had one section of this track closed which makes this track very simple. The karts were powerful, would be an understatement. Give it to a person doing this for the first time and see him end up in dirt trail outside the track. I had difficulty fitting in those karts but I take full responsibility of that. My body weight has been on the higher side for the past 1 year due to laziness.

I would rate this place a 3.5/5. Check with the reception and they will give you the lap timings. This place also organizes various autocross events, karting events and I hope someday I can drive in such events.

Karting track, Meco Kartopia
Rotax Kart, Meco kartopia

Red riders sports: (Rs. 650 for 12 laps and other options…)

I have a love-hate relationship with this place. I love the fact that the track had number of corners, but at the same time hate the fact that karts were pathetic. The karts felt absolutely under-powered. Unlike Meco kartopia, there are lack of straight sections where you can go super fast and even if there were, you would been a year older by the time you cleared it.

I would rate this place 2.5/5 for their facility and good staff.

Red riders sports, go kart track

Play Arena: (Rs.240 for 6 laps)

Seriously?

The track is the smallest with lap times less than 20 secs. So you are paying Rs. 240 for 120 secs of fun and the real question… is it really fun? I stood outside the track and wondered, then promptly left the place.

I rate this place 1/5

Go kart track, play arena.
  1. Patels Inn, RT Nagar: (Rs. 140 for 6 laps)

Patels Inn is a resort, so nothing much to expect. The only thing that is positive about the place is price. The track is small and I think I finished 6 laps under 75 secs. Karts are in pathetic condition. Make sure you get the elbow protector (they gave me one without asking) because the rear is not insulated.

I rate this place 1.5/5. The fact that it is cheap made me give it a higher rating other wise it was 1/5 or less.

Patels Inn, Go kart trackThe above mentioned places, I visited personally and these are my thoughts regarding the place. In future, if I happen to visit any of the places that I have missed out or any new place, I shall update them here.

Go-karting in India is mainly a pass time; mostly a weekend fun getaway or a friends meeting spot. Karting deserves much more. Watching the European karting championship is as thrilling as watching a proper race. I hope karting gets bigger and better in India in the coming years.


 

 

Adieu, Auf Wiedersehen, farewell my dearest GTi

Around 3 years before, even before I started this blog, I had bought my first car. Must have cost me 4500$ in total, but was entirely my money. The first car in my life, the first car in our family. My parents don’t use a car even today and we are quite used to that. Motorbikes have always been my first love and somehow that spread to cars as well. I see them as things of passion unlike many who think of them as metal boxes with four tires and airbags. That’s why it hurt a bit lot to see my car go, but alas it had to be done. I had to let go of it and move on with life, so no regrets at all.

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But what I regret the most is that I couldn’t do a few modifications to the car and enjoy it a bit more. Don’t get me wrong, I loved driving it every single day. Not a day I was bored of it. Yes, there was a lack of power as compared to the bigger cars but the fun factor was there. A bit lighter and this would have been a pocket rocket. Finally when I sorted everything, it was time to give it away. That’s life I guess.

 

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I’ll miss the beautiful engine noise from this old school engine.

 

I'll miss taking pictures of it in the desert
I’ll miss taking pictures of it in the desert

 

I'll miss this steering wheel with no electric steering assist; plain and simple. I'll miss this bomb proof yet butter smooth gearbox.
I’ll miss this steering wheel with no electric steering assist; plain and simple yet handles like a go-kart. I’ll miss this bomb proof yet butter smooth gearbox; precise and slick shifts. Those heel & toes and rev matches, I’ll miss

 

I'll miss seeing the revs fly from 3000 to 6500. So linear and void of any induction.
I’ll miss seeing the revs fly from 3000 to 6500. So linear and void of any forced induction.

 

I'll miss those seats, they give me a warm hug from the back whenever I sit in the car. Was so low to the ground and felt home.
I’ll miss those seats, they give me a warm hug from the back whenever I sit in the car. Was so low to the ground and felt home.

Is there anything I do not miss? No.

I hope the car has found a better parking spot and a better owner than me.

 

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Goodbye GTi!


 

Chapter Porsche – 911

Read the first part here.


I walked up to the reception. Everything looked good until they asked for my Passport. Must be a mandatory requirement for every tourist, they needed to see the originals and not even the copy. I forgot to take the other bag, which I had been taking out every single day except that day. On top of that I forgot to get my IDP (International Drivering Permit) which was in the same bag.

What a mistake! It had completely slipped my mind that I should have carried them both. It was in the requisites that they had communicated clearly in the email but I didn’t double check. All the excitement didn’t help me much. Instead everything backfired. Why is that I have screwed up every single time in my life, when I was expected to deliver?

The gentleman and the young lady at the reception made it clear that there is absolutely no chance I can rent a car without the documents. My fault, but then the guy, checks if there is any other car available after 2 hours. It takes me an hour from PorschePlatz to the place I stay. So he checked all the bookings and told me there was a Targa 4S available and if I were to come back in 2 hours I could drive that. Cayman was out of question. It is one of the most ‘in demand’ model. So I had lost my opportunity to drive a Cayman. Now what, I was sure going back but thinking if I should make my way back to drive a Targa 4S. More than the Targa, I was disappointed by the fact that I couldn’t drive a Cayman.

I reached my place and picked up the Passport and IDP, started messaging my friends if it’s worth going back all the way and paying 69 Euros and getting my 2500 Euros blocked just to drive a Targa.  The answer was to go for it. At the end of the day it’s a Porsche. I returned back and it took me 2 hours to get back, as expected.

I went to the reception and showed them my documents, this time with least excitement. They checked them, took photocopies of whatever they wanted. I waited for around 15-20 mins, while I gave them my credit card so that they can charge the fees and block the credit required. Credit card was also mandatory. Also a drivers license from the country of residency on top of the IDP has to be shown. They take photocopy of that as well.

While the young lady did the documentation, I spoke to the guy. That is when he told me he is a native of Pakistan and his parents migrated to Germany while few of his relatives migrated to Dubai. I asked if I was going to drive the Targa, to which he replied negative.

Then what was I going to drive tn_DSC_0332

The new 911 Carrera coupe, a 3.0L turbo charged engine, 370 hp which 20 hp more than the Cayman. They said that they would give it to me at the price pre-agreed by us, which is 69 Euros, and not charge me the extra 30 Euros which they do for a 911 model.

About the Drive:

I’ll describe it precisely: Out of the world.

I carried a GoPro but the mounting was not proper, hence the videos were useless.

The young lady did a preliminary check of the car with me and we noted all the scratches and dents in the paper she carried with her. Then she quickly explained me about the car since this was the first time I was driving a Porsche. Once all of those things were done, I set off. Few people gathered around to take pics of the car at the signal, proud moment.

The idea was to drive for a bit on Autobahn and then drive through the country side. I entered Autobahn and the speed limit was 120 kmph. People drove at a much higher speed but the last thing I wanted to do was to get flashed. After the battle between brain and heart, I went above 120, at ‘unmentionable’ speeds on and off the autobahn. It would be a crime not to drive the Porsche properly.

I took a deviation to the country sides.

Oh! The roar of that engine with the rumbling noise while you shift the gear, just mega. I have my strongest doubts that the engine sound is artificial. How can someone make those explosions sound so melodic! Activate the sport mode and then you are in heaven.

I could go on and on and on….but to conclude this, I really enjoyed the drive. Porsche is magic. So much thought and engineering going into that car. I would choose a Porsche over most of the modern day supercars for the reason that Porsche still makes cars for the enthusiasts (though only rich enthusiasts can afford it).

I returned the car in stipulated time, after topping up the fuel from a nearby fuel station. We did the closing formalities and exchanged thank you’s. Their thank you was better than mine. Mine was verbal, but they offered me a free ticket to Porsche museum as well.

Gratitude Porsche, for being so nice to a commoner like me 🙂 Amazing people at the reception, very helpful. A five out of five for their customer service.

Very less time was spent on Photographs, so that I would get more time with the car.

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Christmas tree in the speedometer

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Along the country side
Along the country side

 

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Along the country side
Along the country side

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End of rant.


 

Chapter Porsche – Because every other thing can wait

 

I had never driven a Porsche before, maybe I’ll never drive one after that day… but that day I was allowed to rent one for an hour, clock less a hundred kms. It was kind of a rental thing by Porsche itself.

For this I had to book a month and a half in advance. While searching for rental sports car in Stuttgart, I stumbled upon the website of Porsche and program called Porsche Drive.

Just a quick info, all the sports cars manufactured by Porsche comes from Stuttgart. The global production is from their factory in Stuttgart which itself is very impressive. The factory tour I had been to, calls for a separate post.

So moving on, I had booked for a Porsche Cayman GTS which is one of my favorite cars. The Cayman series are very close to my heart for some reason.

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And I screwed up royally that day as well, as usual, like every other time.

I woke up that morning pretty excited. At the right time I picked up my camera bag and left my room. It was an hour’s journey to Porscheplatz. I reached Porsche Museum and there is it is. Wrapped in blue, it looked an angel. If given a chance I would have licked it all over like little puppy. I had 15 mins more to go to the reception and give my credit card. The cost of an hour of pleasure time was 69 Euros. Bloody Expensive, but again refer to the opening line of this post. No regrets at all.

So all I did for those 15 mins were walk around and take pictures. I looked in through the windows and it’s not a manual gearbox. Sad. It must be a PDK gearbox, which people praise a lot. For me if it’s not a manual gearbox, it’s an automatic…whatever fancy name you call it. In all fairness, the Dual clutch gearbox like PDK, DSG etc are quick shifting and properly fun gearboxes unlike those sad gearboxes which we have in the name of automatics.

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Didn't even want to watermark them and ruin their look. Still the pic belongs to me :D
Didn’t even want to watermark them and ruin their look. Still the pic belongs to me 😀

 

Those large air vents...lordy lord!
Those large air vents…lordy lord!

 

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The pride of Stuttgart!!!

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But then I wasn’t allowed to drive this Cayman GTS…. 😥

The reason …. will soon follow.


(Read the next part here.)