HAVANA, Aug. 29th Go-karting is continuing to gain a following in Cuba, with the sport’s competition circuit returning after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.At the Playa El Salado go-kart track in the municipality of Caimito, Artemisa province, about 40 kilometers from Havana, karting fans meet at weekends to test their skills behind the wheel on the 1.2 kilometer circuit.
Among them is Abel Valdes, who started karting around 30 years ago. He told Xinhua he has to import everything from tires to spare parts.
“We don’t always fix them, we struggle, you can see it here. The spirit of the people is good. We fight to be able to drive, which is what we want,” he said minutes before entering the track.
Ruben Cantillo started karting at the age of eight and now pursues his hobby while also working as a mechanic, and running his own garage in the municipality of La Lisa.
“We are making every effort, almost superhuman, we would say, so that karting stays afloat and can have the boom it had in previous years,” he told Xinhua.
Cantillo added that he had thought about quitting, but it was difficult to do so because his family was one of the founders of the sport in Cuba in the 1970s.
The popularity of karting in Cuba is on the rise, with new drivers like 17-year-old Pablo Raul Nascianceno, who started racing this year after passing a preparation course for young drivers, eager to unleash their adrenaline.
“My passion for motor racing and karting, in general, began when I was little. It is the motor sport that can be done here. My biggest goal is Formula 1 on the big international circuits,” he said.
According to official sources, the island currently has around 200 go-karts and karting enthusiasts from all over the island turn out for the annual Cocomar Cup, held at the Caimito track.
Angel Luis Amador, president of the working group for the development of karting in the province of Artemisa, told Xinhua that there is a local development project underway to improve the infrastructure of the kart track in Caimito and to further promote the sport.
“We have the Grand Final in December. In addition, we are qualifying referees for our competitions. Karting is part of Cuba’s sporting identity,” he said.