Monday, December 31, 2012

Speed Raceway Electric Go Karts in Cinnaminson

Indoor high-speed electric go-karts have come to the Philadelphia area, and OnTheBandwagon heads over to check them out... with YouTube goodness.

I found out about Speed Raceway on Reddit, which linked to local paper's story and video on the new entertainment facility.   Although, despite being open for two months the web site still shows the Cinnaminson location as "Coming Soon".

But don't be fooled by their website.  OnTheBandwagon took a trip there over the holidays and had a great time racing with a big group of our friends.

The Cinnaminson location of Speed Raceway is their third and the second on the area, with another facility located in Horsham PA

They use a custom built electric cart which they state can go as fast as 50mph, but because of the twist and turns of the two tracks, they don't get that fast.   But make no mistakes about it, you will definitely get the juice you need.

Our group of 7 consisted of all adults, five of them around 27 and two in their 40s... and after completing 3 races no one was complaining about a lack of power, including one of our friends who has sprint car experience.

Not only are the cars electric, they also have sophisticated remote control capabilities which significantly improves safety.

Racers are teamed up in age groups and the central booth can limit the speeds for younger racers.   Everyone starts out the first lap slow to give all the cars a chance to enter the track, and if there is a wipe-out... they can cut back everyone to "caution flag" speed.

And yes, if you are an idiot on the track or simply a little slower than others and not letting them pass, they can pick you out and slow your car.

Click for large size panoramic

Races don't start out in a traditional racing formation.   As mentioned, cars are brought on to the track one at a time with spacing.  The tracks are big, but not big enough to support 6-8 racers starting at the same start line.  That being said, in every race there will be slower and faster racers, and passing will take place.  A warning flag will indicate to you that you need to allow an encroaching racer to pass.

Watching the video, it may not seem incredibly fast, but when you are low on the track navigating the tight turns... the adrenaline definitely gets pumping.  If you don't wipe-out initially, as soon as you are passed by a friend you definitely will as you start pushing the pedal harder, causing you to brake harder into the turns... and there goes the back-end!

Speaking of speed... Winners are determined 2 ways.  Individual times, or points.

Each car is tracked for lap speed, and a projection screen shows each racers best lap-time.  This seems to be the best measurement of the best racers.  Last lap speed is also shown

Race points are also used to indicated winners.   Each racer starts with 1200 RPM points, and as racers perform better (and others don't perform as well) the points are shifted to the better racers.   My best analogy is playing in a poker tournament where everyone starts with 1200 chips.  As the game progresses the poker players in the lead have increased their chips by taking from those who aren't doing as well.

Each racer is provided with a post-race printout showing stats on their driving, their race, and the "hall of fame" runs of the week and all time.

The facility provides racing helmets, head socks which are worn once (and then washed?), and a quick overview of the rules and flag meanings.

Click for large size panoramic

And the cost?
They did a good job finding the right price point, for me at least.   Some may find it expensive.  First you'll need the $6 membership card (one time).

Then it's $20 for a 14 lap race, which can take 7-10 minutes.  Packages reduce the price.

The lunchtime special is a great deal.  $15 for each race during a few hour window starting at noon. 

So our first trip out, with membership card consisted of 3 races... and a total of $51 per racer.  That starts sounding a little steep, especially for a family with several kids.  But please contact the facility for updated pricing and specials.  I present simply what we did.

They also have racing leagues, and I am curious to know how that works.

Helpful Hint: You must register first.   There are computers at the facility...  on your first visit don't wait in line for a cashier, just go to a computer and register your information first.  Then head to the cashiers and give them the username that you created.

We had a great time at the Speed Raceway in Cinnaminson.   With 7 racers, we were given our own races and it was fun to compete with friends.... and hear all the crying "He wouldn't get out of my way so I could pass"

I'm definitely heading back, and possibly on some secret missions to learn the tracks and driving techniques.  Our racing friend said its more about consistent speed without braking.  Anyone can push the pedal down hard, but then you are braking and sliding.   He did a great job staying off the brake, and in fact I noticed as he passed me for the 20th time, I never noticed his brake light go on.

Speed Raceway  Cinnaminson
Captured in HD.  Watch at Youtube to change video settings

Speed Raceway
The new facility address is:
1103 Route 130 South
Cinnaminson, New Jersey 08077
For Information:

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lots of new beginnings... For OnTheBandwagon

Lots of big, big changes in the Philly sports scene as we roll into a new year.  Probably by the time you read this, it will be official that Andy Reid is no longer the coach of our Eagles, the NHL seems like its getting close to pulling a season together so our Fly-guys can get started, and the Phils... well they haven't done too much this off-season.  Sixers.

But none of that is the big news.

The big story is.... OnTheBandwagon is being reincarnated.  Again.  Maybe the third, or is it fourth time?  Losing count.  We spend more time changing the blog game plan and format than we do posting.  We haven't really posted much these last 6 months.  But, we have been planning, scheming... OK, a lot of drinking.

But in between all the Beers and Irish-Breakfast shots, we've been thinking about what they heck we are trying to do here.

What's staying the same:
Facebook:  At our page we're going to start again with the sports posts and info.  The 3,000 fans of our Facebook page seemed to like what we were doing with that.   Philly team info, a few jokes, insight and fun... without being annoying.

So what's going to be different?
For the blog web site, while we are still going to cover sports, we are moving our original content more towards the fun of Philly (and Jersey, and elsewhere).   Parties, Bands, Events, TAILGATING!   With some sports mixed in.  And LOTS OF PHOTOS.  Six months from now, we hope our little web world is most known as a photo-blog on Philly and the region.   Fun and interesting things.   Honestly, while we've actively posted sports news and links on FB, we never really had a lot of original sports content over at the web blog.  Too damn lazy.

So for 2013, maybe we're a photo-blog?  Maybe an event blog?  Maybe a sports blog?

I explained it to a friend as, "We're going from trying to be a blog version of WIP, to a blog version of the WMMR morning show".

The irony is, we think the shit we do each week is pretty interesting. Even for us "not as young as we think we are guys"...   so really just need to take pics and post about what we normally do.

Here's the run-down if you haven't been paying attention:
  • Blog posts here
  • Photos (most) on Facebook to tag, comment and share.  Free.  Nothing to sell.  Deal with our watermarked logo, or be nice to us and we may send ya a clean copy with no logo.
  • Photos (some) on Flickr.  We plan on being a PG-13 blog... but if something a little edgier comes up, like the Philly Naked Bike Ride... well we want to post those pics for you guys but we don't want the Facebook police shutting us down.
  • Maybe sell crap later?   Maybe ads on the blog?   Ahh... it ain't about that, so if we get there great... if not...great.
In January you'll see a few posts and photo albums back-filling what stories we already have, and we'll quickly be up to date.

Happy New Year to our Philly Phamily!  We're glad to be back.  Hope you're glad to have us back.

Good luck to Andy Reid and his family.  I have a feeling he won't be too far out of sight.


P.S.   Did I mention we were at the Philly Naked Bike Ride this year?  More on that in a bit...