At the Speeders
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  Posted September 24th, 2012 by Zdenko  in Edmonton | No comments yet.

Team building event

By: Zdenko Kahlina

Our team visiting the SPEEDERS – an Indoor ProKarts facility
Indoor SPEEDERS Indoor ProKarts offers go kart racing in a European style F1 race experience. Their ProKarts reach speeds of up to 70km/h and by the end of it we were all adrenaline pumped up!!!

Our company, organize several social events each year for all their employees, but once a year our small IS team gets together for a social gathering. Every year we try to do different things. First we gather ideas from all team members, and than take vote to pick one event from the list, which works best for most people. This year our team voted to attend ‘SPEEDERS’ an indoor ProKarts facility at the West end of the city.

Main entrance to the SPEEDERS building

One group is ready… just waiting for the start signal

The team building
This team building event was more success than anyone imagined. Everyone had a great time and the staff was very accommodating to our needs. I would recommend this venue to any company. Our small team of twelve people was thrilled and excited and completely reenergized after the event. This was the perfect team building or staff appreciation activity. I’d highly recommend any company who is looking for a different way to mark any event to go with Speeders.

The SPEEDERS building is 50,000 square feet indoors track

The lack of creating a team atmosphere or the lack of creating a sense of belonging can often be at the root of many labor problems in companies. It can be a very impromptu affair or planned in a huge variety of ways and held in a multitude of different locations. Organizing any social event for a group of people who work together is a great way for any team to get together outside of work and create a bond that should last at least until next team event. We don’t always pick racing as our preferred way of socializing. In previous years we did the barbequing, bowling, playing pool games, drinking (just kidding!), but this was by far the most exiting event we’ve organized so far.

Computer guys playing ‘Air hockey’ while waiting for our scheduled time.

For a moment Rod was pretending to be part of F1 team

How it works at the SPEEDERS
At 50,000 square feet indoors and high performance adult electric karts, there are no speeding tickets no matter how fast you go! It opens 11:00 am everyday. They are located in the city West end at 13145 – 149 Street, in Edmonton.

The track and spectators area was very clean, the staff was polite and helpful and they offered a European style race with ProKarts that go very fast on electric motors.

This is how it works. You pay for a membership (once/year) and then you choose a race package where you can pay per lap or buy a multi-lap package for a deal. There are several packages available, just visit their web site to learn more about it. Our package included 3 races and we were divided into groups of 6-8 in each category. We got 2 x 14 qualifying laps and a 16 lap final race (three races total). We had a short break in between each event. We did get tired, so the break was welcomed by all.

We were supplied with the ‘head socks’ and helmets

Mark and Sunny, waiting for the race

Miroslav all pumped up for the race

Preparation
Before the race we all watched safety video. The video explained the meanings of flags and signs, and does mention the black flag will appear when someone crashes and you will be kicked off without refund. So be careful!!!

The carts are fast and fun! The course is a little small and if you get a cart with cold tires you’re in for a slow drive because you slide into a barricade, which isn’t too much fun. It happened to me during my first race.

The pit crew comes in after the video was finished and made sure everything is clear so that everybody has the best race possible. Your name is listed on the screen and your cart is already assigned to you. We sat in the cart with helmets on (they provided helmets) and waited until the race in progress would finish. Than it was our turn!

Everybody had their own problems getting into the small carts

Jason: Let’s begin this game!

The races
Visors down, and off we went! It starts you off fairly slowly so that you can get used to the carts and the track, but be prepared for when they unleash the full potential of the cart…it is quite a difference. When they turn the medium speed on, you go little faster. Even then, I never had to use my brakes. Just full gas and hold your steering wheel tight! I don’t know until how many laps they turned on high speed. Couldn’t count… I was all concentrated on racing! It was death or life! Lol! Serious business, since I always had someone pushing me from behind.

And then we were off for the race

The trick was how fast you can go through the turns

The race is on!!

Than at one point we suddenly started flying and this is when the real fun begins. Now you need brakes and maneuvering becomes very tricky. Still, I was using brakes only after the finishing stretch in the first 90 degree corner. The rest of the course it was always just adjusting the speed by removing my foot from the gas pedal. At the finish line there was a guy shoving us panels with the ‘commands’ what to do… ‘Move Left’ was the worst one I remember, because it meant someone was faster than me and I had to move to the left, to let him/her pass me!! Grrrr… They were also showing different color flags if something would happen on the course (see rules at the end of this blog).

Move to the left and let the guy behind pass you…

Oh no, we have a crush!!! Sunny had a tough day.

Auwww… slow down Zdenko!!!

In all tree races we raced, the scenario was always the same. We started slowly, than faster and than really fast. The results are always based on the fastest time in ONE lap. So, it doesn’t matter who actually gets through the finish line first, but who had the fastest lap in this race. There are two different strategies you can employ. You can choose to race everyone and try to be first over the finish line – which is more fun, or you can stay at the back and make sure you have a clear track in front of you and than go full gas! This is much smarter choice, because if you get the best time in the single lap, you will still be at the top on the results! Remember this when you can’t manage to pass the guy in front of you, and you feel that you’re just a little faster than him. In my last race one of the guys used exactly that tactic to beat me on time, since he couldn’t pass me on the track. Very clever!!

The best three on a podium!

Zdenko (2), Mark (1) and Michael (3) with the medals

After the races
We got print outs after every race with racers stats, which really gave all of us a picture of how we classified. We had medals and a podium pose at the end, which provided as with the perfect picture taking opportunity. I found this to be really detailed and well organized on speeders staff’s part.

The pit crew was exceptional by organizing these races and giving us some very helpful tips on how to improve our lap times throughout the track. I heard people complain about the crushes during the race when they get disqualified from the race. This probable sucks, when you pay almost $100 to ride and have fun. The races are short as they are, not to mention if you get thrown out. I think they should be less strict using this rule… just like real cops issuing speeding tickets in our daily lives. Warnings have disappeared from their manus!

The ‘Speeders’ at the victory lane – The IS team 2012

Conclusion
The staff at Speeders made our late September visit extremely enjoyable! Having the opportunity to participate in a team building event like this one hosted by Speeders, gave us the piece of mind knowing that our event would not be spoiled by conditions beyond our control such as poor weather.

The whole event really instilled a competitive environment. It really bonded the team well as we saw team work on the track trying to qualify for the best time. This is one great event for corporate groups trying to socialize and build their team spirits! They also have corporate discount packages available for larger groups. For the price, it is not very good value, but in our case it was paid by our employer. The races are short and only last a few minutes and they let you go full speed only for the last half of each race.

It was very well organized event. Hats down! The most important thing was, we all had fun!!

SPEEDERS Youtube clip:




The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

Racing Rules:

1. All racers MUST sign a waiver form and the release of liability.

Our indoor ProKarts provide a real racing experience and are not an amusement park ride. All racers must understand that they are responsible for their actions and while driving.

2. Drivers MUST be at least 12 years old, a minimum 61” tall and be able to safely operate our ProKarts.

Drivers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who will co-sign their release of liability waiver.

3. Racers MUST attend a safety briefing on rules and regulations.

All new racers receive a mandatory briefing that covers our safety regulations and rules. The safety briefing also covers the racing flags to ensure that all new racers know what each flag means and what to do when they see them.

4. Bumping karts is not allowed.

Indoor karting is a non-contact sport. SPEEDERS does not tolerate any bumping or blocking of the ProKarts and intentional contact may result in drivers being ejected from the race.

5. Do not crash into the barriers.

All racers must be able to safely operate our ProKarts. If you are unable to stay in control of the kart and crash into a barrier, you become a safety hazard to everyone else on the track. Remember to use your brakes prior to the corners to slow down on the track. Any racers who are unable to safely operate the kart would be removed from the race.

Respect the flags and marshal

6. Respect the flags.

The racing flags are important and a way for the marshal to communicate to the drivers on the track. Please become familiar with the different color flags and their meanings in the next section below.

7. Never stop on the track for any reason.

Unless you see a red flag, are instructed to stop, or in the case of an emergency, the marshal will stop all karts remotely.

8. Stay in your ProKarts at all times.

If your kart is stopped by the marshal, please remain in your kart when you are on the track, unless otherwise directed. When the race is finished and you are parking your ProKart, do not exit until instructed to do so by the pit crew.

9. Helmets MUST be worn at all times with the visor down.

The track is swept and cleaned every morning, but for your own safety, please remember to wear the helmet with the visor down when racing to protect yourself from any track debris.

10. Long hair must be pulled back in a pony tail.

Please ensure long hair doesn’t get in the way of your vision to ensure that you can safely operate the kart.

11. Closed toed shoes must be worn by all racers.

For your own safety, please wear closed toed shoes if you are racing.

12. Please wear clean and dry shoes.

To keep our facility clean, especially during the winter months and spring thaw, we ask everyone entering SPEEDERS to bring a pair of indoor shoes.

13. SPEEDERS has a zero tolerance on drugs and alcohol.

Nice touch by SPEEDERS: Medals for the best three

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