Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Brunei Town

Racing hearts

The go-kart scene in Brunei has evolved into a thrilling and dynamic subculture, drawing enthusiasts of all ages to its tracks.

This journey from its modest beginnings to a burgeoning community mirrors the nation’s growing interest in motorsports.

With a rich history and a promising future, Brunei’s go-kart scene is a testament to the kingdom’s spirit of adventure and innovation.

THE EARLY DAYS

The history of go-karting in Brunei can be traced back to the early 1990s, a time when motorsport enthusiasts sought new ways to indulge their passion locally.

The initial foray into go-karting was spearheaded by a small group of dedicated individuals who imported the first go-karts and established makeshift tracks.

These early enthusiasts faced numerous challenges, from limited resources to a lack of proper infrastructure. However, their unwavering passion laid the foundation for what would become a thriving community.

One of the first significant milestones in Brunei’s go-karting history was the establishment of the Brunei Darussalam Go-Karting Association (PGBD) in 2011.

The PGBD played a crucial role in promoting go-karting as a legitimate motorsport, organising events and races that began to draw a steady following.

Their efforts were instrumental in fostering a sense of community among go-kart enthusiasts and providing a structured platform for competition.

ABOVE & BELOW: Photos show go-kart racers in action. PHOTO: BRAVO SPORTS NETWORK
PHOTO: BRAVO SPORTS NETWORK
ABOVE & BELOW: Photos show team members getting karts ready for their drivers. PHOTO: BRAVO SPORTS NETWORK
PHOTO: BRAVO SPORTS NETWORK
PHOTO: BRAVO SPORTS NETWORK
A marshall monitors a race in progress. PHOTO: BRAVO SPORTS NETWORK

BUILDING THE INFRASTRUCTURE: TRACKS AND FACILITIES

As interest in go-karting grew, so did the need for proper infrastructure. Recognising this, several key figures and organisations invested in the development of dedicated go-kart tracks.

Since the inauguration of the Jerudong Park Circuit, it marked a significant leap forward for the sport. This state-of-the-art facility featured a challenging track layout designed to meet international standards, attracting both local and international racers.

The Jerudong Park Circuit quickly became the heart of Brunei’s go-karting scene. It hosted numerous events, from local championships to international competitions, elevating the profile of go-karting in the country.

The track’s success also spurred the development of additional facilities, such as the indoor karting track at Times Square Shopping Centre, providing enthusiasts with more options and helping to grow the sport’s popularity.

THE RISE OF COMPETITIVE GO-KARTING

With proper tracks and facilities in place, Brunei’s go-karting scene began to flourish. The establishment of regular racing events and championships provided a platform for local talent to showcase their skills.

The Brunei Darussalam Karting Championship (BDKC), launched in 2012, became the premier event for go-kart racers in the country. The BDKC attracted participants from all walks of life, from young aspiring drivers to seasoned veterans, creating a vibrant and competitive atmosphere.

One of the defining moments in Brunei’s go-karting history was the emergence of local talents who made their mark on the international stage.

Young drivers such as Naim Haji Harith, Awangku Hazim Harith and Alan Badzli bin Haji Zainurasri showcased their skills in regional competitions, bringing recognition to Brunei’s go-karting scene.

Their success not only inspired a new generation of racers but also highlighted the potential for Brunei to become a hub for motorsport talent.

THE HEART OF GO-KARTING

Beyond the competitive aspect, go-karting in Brunei has fostered a strong sense of community. The camaraderie among racers, families, and supporters is palpable at every event.

Regular meetups, training sessions, and social gatherings have become a staple of the go-karting calendar, creating a tight-knit community that shares a common passion.

The role of families in nurturing young talent cannot be overstated. Many young racers get their start thanks to supportive parents who recognise the value of motorsport in teaching discipline, focus, and teamwork.

The family-friendly nature of go-karting events ensure that it remains accessible and enjoyable for all ages, further solidifying its place in Brunei’s sporting culture.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

PGBD President Rosli bin Haji Ali Rahim shared how the future of go-karting in Brunei looks bright, with several exciting developments on the horizon.

This continued investment in infrastructure, such as plans for new tracks and facilities, is hoped to further enhance the sport’s appeal.

“Initiatives to promote go-karting at the grassroots level, including school programmes and youth academies, aim to cultivate the next generation of racers and enthusiasts.

“Additionally, the increasing recognition of motorsport by national sports authorities is expected to boost support and funding for go-karting activities.

“This support will be crucial in providing opportunities for local talents to compete on larger stages and gain valuable experience,” the president added.

PGBD co-founder and media liaison Noor Effendy Metusin noted how the go-kart scene in Brunei has come a long way since its humble beginnings.

“From the early days of makeshift tracks to the establishment of world-class facilities, the journey has been marked by passion, dedication, and a strong sense of community.

“As the sport continues to grow and evolve, there is no doubt that go-karting will remain an integral part of Brunei’s sporting landscape, inspiring future generations to embrace the thrill of the track,” he concluded. – Rizal Faisal

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