It’s Official! Karting Can Make You More Successful!

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 No Comments

You may have noticed an upturn in the fortunes of Premier League football club West Ham United over the past couple of weeks. But did you know that their improvement in form coincided directly with a team kart race and clay pigeon shoot?

Early in February, the relegation battlers were beaten at home by Birmingham City, before scraping a late draw against similarly relegation threatened West Bromwich Albion.

That’s when manager Avram Grant decided to introduce a brand new tactic; but not on the football field, on the kart track.

Grant took his underperforming athletes to enjoy a day of high speed karting followed by clay shooting. In his own words, the manager told The Telegraph “we decided to take the individuals to be as a team together”.

Since then the Hammers have picked up two very impressing victories, thumping Burnley in the FA Cup before doing exactly the same to an in form Liverpool in their last league game. It’s widely thought that their 3-1 demolition of Kenny Dalglish’s reds ranks as their best performance so far in the season, and Grant is in no doubt that the club’s rubber-burning, trigger-pumping day out has played a vital role in their sensational resurgence.

“It was good for the team. It was very successful. It was nice to see them enjoying themselves away from everything.”

Action-packed away days are a great way for any team or company to escape the rigours of their daily workload, and recharge their batteries so that when they return to work, they’re ready to give their best.

There isn’t a better way to turn your ‘individuals’ into a ‘team’.

Don’t believe us? Just ask the nearest West Ham fan.

If you’re interested in organising a lightning fast go kart grand prix, a spectacular clay pigeon shoot, an all guns blazing paintball war, a skydive or more, there are hundreds of options available through The Activity People, and you can find them all right here.

The Activity People’s Top 5 Movie Car Chases

Friday, February 18th, 2011 No Comments

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Throughout this week, The Activity People have been counting down their Top 5 Movie Car Chases via our Facebook page. We’ve chosen the ones that make us want to get behind the wheel and burn some rubber just like our cinematic heroes.

It was a tough decision to make, because there’re just so many great scenes to choose from, and plenty of epic, big screen wheel-spinners missed out all together.

There was no place on the list for the awesome Vanishing Point or Smokey and The Bandit. In The Bourne Supremacy, Matty Damon manages a riveting chase, despite crashing his car around fifty times, and it still didn’t make the list. They made two whole movies full of gas guzzling, car smashing action and called them both Gone In 60 Seconds, but neither could accelerate into our Top 5; nor could any of the brilliant Fast and Furious franchise.

The movies which race onto our Top 5 list are there because we think they embody all of the reasons that everybody loves a good car chase: the thunderous engine noise, the screaming tyres, the shiny bodies zipping through impressive locations and, of course, the trail of destruction they leave in their wake. And these cars are responsible for plenty of silver screen carnage.

So sit back, strap yourself in, and enjoy The Activity People’s Top 5 Movie Car Chases. Is your favourite on the list?

5. The Blues Brothers

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Jake and Elwood Blues are on a mission from God (apparently), and they’re not going to let anything stand in their way…not even a crowded shopping mall.

At the time of release, this movie held the record for most cars crashed. A total of 12 ‘Bluesmobiles’ were used throughout the film, including one built especially to fall apart.

To view the scene click here.

4. The Bourne Identity

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His Supremacy chase didn’t make the list, but a chase from this equally great movie did. The Italian Job might be a little more famous for hurtling through a grand European city in a Mini Cooper, but the live action driving in this flick really puts the beloved little car to the test.

The release of the film had to be rescheduled, after director Doug Liman ordered a series of re-shoots, including this riveting chase. We’re certainly glad he did.

To view the scene click here.

3. Bullitt

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The undisputed Daddy of the car chase and a title usually preceded by a Number 1 in lists of this nature, this exciting Steve McQueen vehicle only reached Number 3 in our list, but the iconic San Francisco streets and the unmistakable muscle car rumble will ensure that this movie lives forever in the annals of cinema history.

Director Peter Yates called for the chase to be shot at speeds of 75-80mph but the cars used managed insane speeds of over 110mph. Filming of the chase scene took more than three weeks and resulted in less than ten minutes of footage. But it’s great footage, indeed.

Two Ford Mustangs and Two Dodge Chargers were used to shoot the chase scene. All were expertly modified for high-speed chasing.  Both Chargers were junked after filming along with one of the Mustangs. McQueen attempted to purchase the remaining Ford many years later but the private owner refused to sell and to this day the car sits, un-driven, in a barn.

To view the scene click here.

2. The French Connection

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Another all time classic at Number 2. This time it’s Gene Hackman’s iconic portrayal of tough cop Popeye Doyle behind the wheel. He’s pushing the pedal to the metal in pursuit of the bad guys. The trouble is they’re not in a car. They’re in a runaway train speeding by on an overhead track.

Like Bullitt, no music accompanies the scene, though director William Friedkin edited the sequence to the tempo of Carlos Santana’s Black Magic Woman. The only sound we get during the movie is the harrowing noises of the carnage that unfolds.

The crash that takes place at the intersection of Stillwell Avenue and 86th Street was unplanned but included in the movie because of its realism. The man involved was driving to work, oblivious to the fact that the chase was being shot. Producers later paid bills for the car’s repairs.

To view the scene click here.

1. Ronin

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A gritty and intense, rocking roller coaster of a chase shot on location on the busy streets of Paris. Ronin mightn’t be the biggest movie name on the list, but with the unforgettable chase sequences director John Frankenheimer set out to create the textbook car scenes that all subsequent Hollywood speedsters would learn from and emulate. Everybody here at The Activity People thinks he definitely succeeded.

The film enlisted the crème de la crème of stunt drivers from all over the world, including former Formula 1 driver Jean-Pierre Jarier.

The chases in the movie are famous for being some of the most authentic ever committed to film, and one of the subtle tricks used to do this was a set of modified right-hand drive cars. In these impressive machines, the passenger side was made up to mirror the real controls. Robert De Niro and Natasha McElhone then mimicked the stunt drivers while the action played out.

To view the scene click here.

There you have it, The Activity People’s Top 5 Movie Car Chases in all their petrol powered glory. The films we can’t watch without wanting to leap behind the wheel and satisfy our own burning need for speed.

If you’re looking to burn some rubber, too, we offer a number of great activities that allow you to do so. Get behind the wheel in karting, rally driving and many more. They’re fast and fun adrenaline explosions, and they’re also perfectly safe.

Visit our website to find out more, then get out there and really floor it.

The History Of Karting

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 1 Comment

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The sport of Go karting or karting as it is more popularly referred too, has undergone some major changes since it’s inception in the USA as little more than feisty ride-on lawn mowers ridden by the odd amateur enthusiast.

Modern karts driven by the professionals of the sport can now reach speeds of around 160mph and are used as training for aspiring F1 world champions. Karting as a leisure activity made it way across the Atlantic into Europe during the swinging 60s and has steadily grown in popularity on this side of the pond ever since.

Karting’s origins in the USA

Art Ingels is generally accepted to be the father of karting. A veteran hot rodder and a race car builder at Kurtis Kraft, he built the first kart out of scrap metal and a surplus two-stroke cycle engine in his garage in Southern California in 1956, and his new invention immediately caught the imagination of an audience of a few hundred people when he tested it in the car park of Pasadena’s famous Rose Bowl.

In 1958, American outfit Go Kart Manufacturing Co became the first kart manufacturer, whilst another American company, McCulloch, was the first to produce engines for karts. Its first engine, the McCulloch MC-10, was an adapted chainsaw 2-stroke engine.

Karting quickly caught on, with karting facilities springing up in many towns and cities across the USA.

This initial widespread enthusiasm, however, lasted only until a lack of finances towards the end of the 1960s saw many of these facilities begin to disappear and karting become a much more select sport with only those who could afford it able to take part. Karting as a sport also suffered at this time from lacking a governing body, meaning it had no basis on which to develop a bona fide professional sport, so for decades was predominantly enjoyed on a recreational basis.

The shift to Europe

Unlike other motorsports with origins in the USA such as Demolition Derbies, Drag Racing or Stock Car Racing, karting and kart racing has succeeded in making the transition from the States to Europe, becoming a highly popular leisure activity as well as a key learning ground for professional drivers.

In the late 1960s, European engine manufacturers became more popular than their American counterparts. This trend continued into the 1970s as McCulloch, the leading American Go Kart engine manufacturer, was bought by Black and Decker, who had no interest in producing kart engines. It was during the 1970s that today’s modern Go Kart designs came into force. The engines were at the side, rather than at the back of the kart.

Karting becomes a sport for real

The creation of several regulatory bodies in the 1980s strengthened the idea of Go Karting being more than just a hobby. Karting had, for several decades, predominantly enjoyed on a recreational basis, but the introduction of regulatory bodies helped it to open up to people who wanted to get a good grounding in motor sports.

Though it is a relatively short one, the history of karting as an organised sport is extremely illustrious, to say the least. Karting has acted as a high-octane kindergarten for some of the greatest drivers in the history of modern motorsport. Senna. Prost. Schumacher. Alonso. Räikkönen. Button. Hamilton. All of them used competitive karting as their first stepping stone towards the eternal glories that F1 world championships bring with them.

Karting as a leisure activity

Kart racing is generally accepted as the most economic form of motorsport available. As a free-time activity, it can be performed by almost anybody, and as a motorsport in itself, it is one of the sports regulated by FIA (under the name of CIK), permitting licensed racing for anyone from the age of 8 onward.

Besides traditional kart racing, many commercial enterprises offer karts for rent, often called “recreational” or “concession” karts. The tracks can be indoor or outdoor. Karts are rented by sessions and use sturdy chassis complete with dedicated bodywork to provide driver safety. These karts also often contain limiters, which allow those running the circuit to slow down or even completely stop karts remotely if they feel that there might be any danger to drivers out on the track. Most of these enterprises use an ‘Arrive and Drive’ format which provide customers with all the safety gear (helmets, gloves and driver outfits) and allow them to show up any time to race at a reasonable price, without the hassle of owning one’s own equipment and gear.

Karting, then, has enjoyed a varied history, but has now firmly established itself as one of the most popular motorsports in the world.

Book your Karting Experience NOW.