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Tkart magazine

Editorial | Ivan Capelli: my karting debut

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19 February 2019

My first lap in a kart is still vivid in my memory, as if it were yesterday. I was at San Pancrazio, in Parma, on a track that no longer exists. It was a rainy day.

Obviously, I was there accompanied by my father and a collaborator of his, who was a mechanic. I had a "Cadetti" kart (it was the entry-level class at the time), a Birel with a 100 cc Parilla engine.


The tyres, an American brand, were rock hard, so you could use the same set for 5 or 6 races! They were slick, too, because rain tyres didn’t exist, in order to keep costs down. I remember that first lap in a kart well, because my father had bought me a beautiful new red leather racing suit by Gaaman and it cost him an arm and a leg. As it was raining, he said to me: "You’re not using the suit today, otherwise you’ll ruin it!" Doing a fine imitation of "Archimedes" and being a provident person, he took my Mares diving suit out of the boot of the car. So, I found myself racing in rain boots, a wet suit, kitchen gloves and my Nava helmet. I remember that nobody else took to the track and it was freezing cold! If you then consider that, again to keep costs down, karts at that time had steering wheels that were basically metal rings without padding... you can imagine how cold your hands got and how they hurt. Nevertheless, it ended up going really well, despite a few spins and sorties out onto the grass. However, the thing I can’t forget is that, from the very first lap, I began laughing uncontrollably in my helmet and couldn’t stop: I was so happy to be in a kart and racing around the track!"

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