52 Skillz: Go-karting 'one of the scariest things I've done'

In a year where Stephen Robinson climbed mountains and survived the Amazon jungle, it should take a lot to frighten him.

Karts reach 100 km/h with driver only 5 centimeters off the ground

University of Alberta student Stephen Robinson aims to learn 52 skills in 52 weeks. This week he put the pedal to the metal while go-karting. (Scott Lilwall/CBC)

In a year where Stephen Robinson climbed mountains and survived the Amazon jungle, it should take a lot to frighten him.

But nothing frightened the University of Alberta student who is learning 52 skills in a year like skill 43:  Go-karting.

"It's one of the scariest things I've done in a long time," Robinson said. "It's so freakin' fast."

The karts, he explains, are not the carts Dad takes your little sister on at the amusement park.

These karts go 100 km/h with your posterior only five centimetres off the ground while surrounded by other racers. 

"These are the vehicles professional Formula 1 drivers start out in," Robinson said. "It is the starting point for a lot of the great racers out there."

Robinson discovered the Edmonton Kart Racing (EDKRA) track near Warburg a year ago along with his father who has been a go-kart enthusiast since childhood.

There Robinson met Kevin Dahler, an expert go-karter and, as it happens, five-time CASCAR champion and former stunt driver on the television show MacGyver.

Dahler's tips included always looking into the next corner, not the one you're entering, and not gripping the steering wheel too hard.

"The first race I did, you literally had to pull my fingers off, I was holding it so hard," Robinson said.

Did his experience improve his everyday driving skills?

"My reaction time would be a lot quicker," he said. "And shoulder checks are definitely sharper."

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