The New Paper
20 January 2011
By Cheryl Tay
SINCE he first karted in France, Timothy Tyler Birnbaum has been itching to do it again but he had no idea where to go karting in Singapore. Now, the Grade 8 student of St Joseph’s Institution International (SJII) has great reason to cheer as his school has announced the inclusion of go-karting as a co-curricular activity (CCA) for this year.
“I”m very interested in anything to do with driving or flying and I really enjoyed karting when I tried it in France. I moved to Singapore two years ago and haven”t had the chance to kart,” said Timothy. ”I’m very excited about having karting as a CCA in school and I”m looking forward to it.”
Fully supportive of his enthusiasm for karting, Timothy’s mother Regina is equally ecstatic. “I think karting is a wonderful sport that enhances responsiveness and awareness,” she said. “You have to allow your child to be exposed to certain risks so that they are able to understand how to react to them and not panic.”
Offered by Singapore’s only karting facility Kartright Speedway, SJII high school students who are keen to take up karting as an after-school activity may do so for fee of $1,200 for 12 two-hour lessons. The weekly CCA will be at Kartright and the fee includes professional coaching, the usage of rental karts and helmets.
Scheduled to start in August this year, 16 have already registered their interest. Singaporean Andrew Tang, who has been with the school since it started in January 2007, has made quite a name for himself in the region. The 16-year-old’s kart-racing achievements used to be announced during morning assemblies, hence karting is not unknown to the students of SJII.
Now, the school boasts another karting star in Malaysian Akash Neil Nandy – a Grade 9 student who competed in the Rotax Max World finals in Italy last November and the Macau International Kart Prix last month when he finished on the podium. Based in Singapore, Akash was approached by a team to test for the Formula Pacific Championship 2011 on his return from Macau.
Karting has been a popular sport among the SJII student body, with at least seven of them active at Kartright. They include Gabriella Teo, 12, who was the first female to participate in last year’s inaugural Singapore Karting Championships.
“Every year we review our CCA programmes and try to add new activities for our students,” said Vincent Anandraj, SJII’s Director of Development & Communications who is the overall-in-charge of the CCA programme. “We knew what karting was but we didn’t know what avenues were available until Jude Benny, the director of Kartright Speedway, approached us.
“Karting will be very beneficial for our students, as it teaches them how to respond quickly and think on their feet, as well as learn safe driving techniques before they are eligible to drive.”