After spending the day all dressed up indulging in a three course lunch and schmoozing with my work colleagues from all over the country, at around 6pm I swapped my sequin dress for jeans and pumps – Cinderella style – and ran through the Manchester rain all the way to the other side of town. It was there, in the basement of the MEN arena (sorry the Manchester arena, not that I ever call it that) that me and G were about to compete against each other on the newly opened TeamSport go karting track. One of the countries leading go-karting facilities, had finally opened a site in Manchester and after a few last minute changes to my schedule, I was chuffed to be given the opportunity to check it out.
Just like Cloud 23 is the exclusive venue to visit high above ground… TeamSport have created a speed haven below. It’s strange to think you can find a 550m two level race track right in the middle of the city centre?!? Definitely adds to its appeal. One of the benefits of being in the arena is there is ample parking around, a train station right next door and for anyone working in town, it’s the perfect stop for an after work get together or team building session.
The track can take 16 karts at a time, top speed of 40mph, which is pretty fast, I definitely felt some serious G-force on my last few cocky circuits.
There’s a bar area, separate room for private parties and meetings – it’s a versatile venue that can cater for a number of events. Kids as young as 8 can book in and they’ve built in a nice spectator area where you can watch the race from, quite a mesmerising spot actually.
Of course, I’m an interiors nut so I was obviously scoping the place out as a whole, not just for the racing, and I was pleasantly surprised. I expected quite harsh, bold interiors, with lots of references to cars but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The bar area is cosy and comfortable – lots of warm colours and I love the inclusion of plants too, it’s the last thing I expected to find in the basement of an arena!
We joined 14 other racers in an open timed race session. After a safety briefing, we hopped down to get fitted with helmets ready for our practice circuits – which are actually a race in itself as you want to make sure you nab a good time so you can start nearer the front in the final showdown. As the track was pretty much brand new we were flying that night! I literally had butterflies the whole time we were racing, and I was determined to beat G in at least one of our race sessions (I got nowhere near btw).
After the first 15 minutes we stepped off for a quick break. Once the helmets were back off you could see everyone was pumped and ready to fight for the medals. It got quite heated actually, especially with the introduction of the TeamSport Stig (who was a total speed demon).
Unfortunately I didn’t win 🙁 or beat my bro 🙁 BUT we both had a lot of fun and it was nice to spend some quality time together after a very busy week. The service that evening was spot on and the whole experience ran smoothly.
Overall I think the best thing about TeamSport opening, is how accessible they’ve made this activity. By opening such a central location, it’s stopped karting from being a once in a while activity. It’s now one more thing to add to my ever growing list of exciting things to do in Manchester. I may even join the #grid membership program and get in some practice. Can’t seem to win a trophy at the moment… so maybe I should aim for a medal instead!!! 🙂
Some tips to remember:
- They’ve got great changing rooms, but if you’ve been busy with other things during the day you may have some baggage – the lockers here are secure but you’ll need a pound coin to use them (you’ll get it back)
- Race gear is provided, but not gloves. If, like me, you can’t help but grip the steering wheel super tight you may want to bring some driving/grip gloves to use
- third tip is a racing tip – It’s a new site so it’s track is not as worn down as most places, watch those turns… I managed some mega unintentional spins!
Have you been to TeamSport? Do you enjoy indulging in a speed session or do you prefer a more leisurely driving experience?