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Formula One dreaming at Rosso Karting Sport

By Douglas Habecker Translated by Ann Lee

Rosso Karting Sport
Behind 2-29, JhongJe Rd, Dadu Township, Taichung county (corner of
WuQUan W Rd, Sec 3, & JhongLong Rd)
(04) 2691-7856, 2691-7857
Hours: 10 am-10 pm (closed on rain days)
Credit cards not accepted.
http://www.rosso.com.tw (includes upcoming race info)

Getting there: Take WuQuan West Rd. west, almost to the top of Dadu Mountain. The entrance to Rosso is opposite a Smile gas station, where the road comes into the four-lane ZhongJe Rd. which also continues up the hill.

There I was, blasting down the straightaway, trying to keep the car behind me from passing. Tapping the brakes, I then power-skidded around a very sharp turn before yanking the steering wheel hard the opposite direction to make the next turn, as the G forces slammed my body from side to side in my seat. Squinting through my full-face helmet, I realized I was starting to tire after what seemed like endless laps and tried to focus. However, a gap in my concentration allowed my opponent to slingshot around me at the next bend, as I jammed my accelerator to the floor in an effort to catch him....

For a few exhilirating moments, it felt like a Formula One race. However, a quick reality check revealed that this wasn't Nurburgring or Monaco, my name wasn't Kimi Raikkonen and I wasn't driving a Ferrari. Instead, my machine was a 270cc British-made Bowman Karts go-kart, and the track was a 600-700 meter circuit at Rosso Karting Sport on the top of Taichung's Dadu Mountain. For the past six years, this track has been a leading go-karting destination for all ages, ranging from elementary-age kids and university boys with their girlfriends, to serious racers who no doubt see themselves as the next Mario Andretti.

Rosso's convoluted track, approved by the ROC Auto Racing Association, is good fun for all levels of driving. The karts--capable of speeds up to 60 or 70 kph--are well maintained and managed by staff members, carefully overseeing the drivers, who are also provided with a clean head "sock" and helmet. Another cool feature is the detailed computer print-out all drivers receive, providing lap times (to the 1/100th of second) and average time for all vehicles, and the day's best times. Drivers aren't the only ones who can enjoy the races, either, as there is a nice, second-floor viewing deck with tables and chairs, available for catered-in meals and barbecues.

The cost for normal go-karting is NT$300 for 12 minutes (two free ride coupons with advance purchases of 10 rides). Also welcome are special groups, which can book the entire facility at NT$10,000 per hour (10% discount for two hours). About once per quarter, Rosso organizes official races for different age and weight classes, in two general categories: a) average scores for two 15-20-lap races around the track, each in the opposite direction; b) 90-minute, multi-person endurance races, with each member racing for 30 minutes--a real test of endurance and strength, as I can testify from my short 12-minute ride.

Rosso's owners note that go-karting seems to be growing increasingly popular in Taiwan, with the number of racing tracks of all sizes increasing from about 10 six years ago to a current 100. Whether you're wanting a few leisurely laps, or in training for Monte Carlo, Rosso is your best option in Taichung.

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