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An RAF Mildenhall spouse celebrates crossing the finish line at Red Lodge Karting.
An RAF Mildenhall spouse celebrates crossing the finish line at Red Lodge Karting. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

RED LODGE — The smell of exhaust and burning rubber. The rumble of a 200 cc engine. The exhilaration of speeding 30 mph only inches from the ground. And don’t forget the outfit: gloves, helmet and a full-body coverall.

It can only be one thing: full-throttle go-cart racing.

Roughly an hour from London and only a 10-minute drive from RAF Mildenhall, Red Lodge Karting is the place to go for some high-speed, small-cart fun. The 10-acre facility features a 1,000-meter (3,281-foot) track with lights for night racing, which is recommended only during the summer.

And with prices that start at £15, racing at the rural facility will bend but not break your family’s budget.

Go-carting is one of those pastimes that binds generations.

The thrill of pushing a pedal and accelerating conjures images of the freedom tied to a driver’s license for a 12-year-old while the simplicity of the cart — two pedals and a steering wheel — takes an experienced driver back to their youth. The sport has become so popular among the young and old, in fact, that grown men line up against youngsters on the weekend to race their own carts, which can top at roughly 50 mph.

Red Lodge Kart’s promotional brochure states that anyone age 7 to 77 is eligible to race, but all riders must be at least 4.5 feet tall.

This reporter spent an afternoon at the Red Lodge Kart track recently and left nothing short of satisfied.

Fifteen minutes is sufficient to get in about 15 laps of racing — plenty of time for a few spin-outs, lead changes and a near-miss or two into a wall of tires.

And when it’s over, win or lose, racers get a printout of their performance on the track, which includes the fastest lap time. In theory, one can lose the race but save face by claiming the fastest lap.

For me, it was 53.84 seconds in a 200 cc cart.

Can you beat it?

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