Having hung around the go-kart racing scene I was intrigued when I first saw the trailer for Racing Dreams, especially when I first saw it in the theaters. This movie hit the right notes for me, because I am extremely fond of go kart racing and it really gets my blood pumping when I get out there to see the smoke and sounds from the go kart track. Also, one of my good friend’s sons won the Grand National championship for go karting a couple of years back. He and his brothers have a go kart shop too…so it is good times.
There is something about racing that is in our blood that makes this high energy sport intoxicating. Racing Dreams helps put into perspective this thirst for speed, intensity and glory.
Racing Dreams is a documentary of three young athletes, or go karters that are in their final year of go kart racing. That might sound funny, final year of go kart racing, but it becomes a reality after sitting down and seeing what these kids have to go through.
The expert racers have been racing since 5 years old. They get strapped into a go-kart, put on all the racing gear, helmets, gloves, shoes, Hans type devices, rib-tech gear… the whole get up and their off racing against other five year olds. That almost sounds insane, but it happens every weekend, and thousands and thousands of dollars are pumped out by parents and sponsors to get these youngster molded into professional go kart drivers.
The Racing Scene
In Racing Dreams we jump right into the go-kart scene and we have missed a whole gamut of racing. You will see stacks of trophies and wonder in your mind, do they have a life? Racing is what they do, every weekend. The young girl driver, Annabeth points out that Thanksgiving Dinner was immediately followed by some racing.
Racing Dreams is a wake up call to anybody considering racing as a career. It delves into the realities, the dangers, the costs and the heartache of racing. It takes devotion, dedication, and smarts to become a Jeff Gordon, or Matt Kenseth. Many don’t realize that any race driver must start out as a go kart racer before even thinking about “real racing” such as Stock Cars or Formula 1. The unseen is all the years spent training, the weekends on the road, the equipment needed to become a professional racer.
What the Movie Is About
This movie is about three kids with the dream of becoming racers. It goes behind the scenes and shows how these kids are ordinary, but actually extraordinary. They are dedicated.
God and Go Karts?
One thing that struck me as a universal theme with all the racers was their fear of God, and their respect for authority. Several times you will see them participating in some religious activity, such as prayer, or singing, or even talking one on one with their parents about serious things in life. I was impressed with the one boy who actually implemented a higher penalty on himself for doing donuts. He said “Okay, two months….no carting.” Where-as his Mom only said “two weeks.” To me that was his seriousness about kicking his “show off” habit.
There are some elements that I didn’t relish too much, such as the boy-friend girl-friend development, because I personally view that as a distraction… Let me explain. I remember as a teenager wanting to date this “ice skater” and I was point blank told by the Mom, she doesn’t have time. This girl was going for the Olympics. Same thing with the seriousness of go karting and racing. Anything other than racing can prove to be a distraction. I think the movie points that out.
Its a Fun Movie…
On a whole the movie was a fun watch. It is earthy and personable, complete with go kart wrecks, flips, sounds, and good old fashion humor.
If you are looking to show it to the whole family, be aware of the “adultish” content in the “girl friend- boy friend” issues. Some parents might not expect to see this in a go karting movie.
Days of Thunder Has A Challenger
Other than that, the movie was fun. I liked the go kart sounds, the in-the-driver’s-seat feel as the movie shots were pretty intense showing parts flying off of carts, complete with dust and smoke. It was almost like you could smell the nitro-methane gas and the burnt rubber irritating your nostrils.
It was one of those movies that ranked up there with “Days of Thunder” but more for kids, and more real.