Sometime I will find out who the genius was that fixed up a small vehicle with a lawnmower engine. I think of that guy every time I mow my lawn and smell the fuel. What a brilliant idea for a fun kid’s activity.
The Entrance to the Junior Speedway, where you race on the boards.
To my knowledge, there are four go-kart tracks on the Wildwood boardwalk. There may be more, I don’t know, and there may be something elsewhere on the island or in Rio Grande that I don’t know about. So for now I’m just going to talk about the four and the different characteristics of each one. They’re all cool in their own way, and most of them are modeled after NASCAR cars from the days when people watched NASCAR. But they all have different attributes between them.
The Sprint Karts track on the next pier north of the first Morey’s pier is the only one where the karts actually race on the boards, and the boards rattling underneath your go-kart is a cool noise. This track has a lot of twists and turns and is fun to ride on, but for the most part whether you pass other karts or not depends on the quality of your engine…you can generally floor it throughout and keep the kart on the inside lane, and you’ll either pass people or someone will spin you out for blocking them. (I almost got into a post-race fight with some jerk for doing this.)
Since I’m a clean racer who doesn’t dump people, if I can’t get around someone I just tail them and hope that they’re polite and move over. On occasion I can pull off a big move here but not often…the best place to pass is in the first turn.
The concrete track on one of Morey’s Piers. Braking required.
The track next to the Curley’s Fries pier is also on the pier, but you’re racing on concrete. While this isn’t as fun as racing on rattling boards, it does make the go-karts faster, and this is a track where at least a couple of spots, like the hairpin first turn, will require some braking. There is real racing on this track and it seems longer than the rest of them. Other than the first hairpin there aren’t many difficult turns to navigate, although there are plenty of turns to get through.
Of all of these I think this one is the best. The track is winding and requires braking, and the competition is usually better…for those of us who are competing, of course. Some people like to just ride around and others like to run into people like it’s bumper cars. But this track is at least more conducive to on-track battles.
The track on Morey’s Pier isn’t easy to find if you don’t know about it…it’s actually under the pier. It also requires a separate charge to ride on; you can’t use your Morey’s bracelet for the go-karts.
It’s a neat idea to have a go-kart track under the pier, but this track has the least efficient cars of all of them; many times your go-kart could just stop for no reason, and if there’s a heated race going on, that’s going to get you knocked in the behind. You can’t really blame people; it’s not easy to get out of the way so fast. The track is oval and has an uphill and downhill straightaway, and if you don’t have a strong car (and you likely will not), you could have some trouble getting up that hill.
It’s a fun track if you’ve got the car to handle it, but if you don’t you’re going to feel gypped.
The track on the other side of the boardwalk also races on concrete; this track is a bit smaller than the Sprint or Curley’s track. The track is narrower, too, and there are sometimes too many cars on it and logjams happen that aren’t easy to sort out. This track seems to draw a larger proportion of kids than the others for some reason; perhaps it’s the kiddie track next to it for the little tykes.
The early morning discount, at most all of the tracks.
Not that this track is bad; you get good enough value, and if you hit it at a time when there aren’t so many riders, you can have a fun race against someone. Not the best place for the crowded times, though.
Ooh…by the way, there’s an M&M’s machine at this one. Shhh!
So that’s the skinny on the go-kart racing on the boards; the tracks are all good in their own unique way but some are better than others. Also, I believe all of them offer double time in the morning before 11:00 or 12:00; despite that bargain this seems to be when the tracks are the least crowded. A race typically costs $6-7.
You’re also not supposed to be bumping, but most of the tracks don’t enforce this to the level that they should (the people working there often don’t even speak English). Most times if you’re pounding into someone with your go-kart you’ll get a warning; I’ve never seen anyone get removed from the kart for excessive bumping. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion; personally I don’t have a lot of patience with being rear-ended.
But for the most part the go-karts are a lot of fun. Just do it in the morning; there’s lots of other stuff to do on the boards at night and the tracks are usually too crowded anyway.