`Are we nearly there?'

Weekly outings for children: Go-karting

The National Pro-Karting Centre, Upper Diamond, Gladsmuir, East Lothian, EH33 1EJ (0131-665 6525) Indoor lessons for junior (13-16 years) and cadet (eight-12 years) non-members cost pounds 50 and consist of two sessions of two hours each. The pro-kart Grand Prix, which lasts from two to four hours, costs pounds 33 per driver; and the Super Grand Prix, three to four hours long, costs pounds 37.50 per hour. Winners can hold aloft their trophies and shower their friends with champagne courtesy of the centre. For the less ambitious motorist, children over eight years old can enjoy the fun-karts : sessions of five minutes cost pounds 3.50; 10 minutes on the outdoor track costs pounds 5.

Playscape Pro Racing Ltd at Streatham and Battersea, London (0171-498 0916)

This company specialises in training children. A cadet school is usually run on the first Saturday of every month at Streatham from 9.30am to 12.30pm at a cost of pounds 25 per child. For an unusual birthday treat, Playscape can arrange parties which offer exclusive use of the circuit and all facilities for one hour for up to 10 drivers. Full instruction and supervision are also provided. Parties are held weekends and weekdays, at a cost of pounds 125 per party. Individual test sessions are held on weekdays and cost pounds 18 for 30 minutes or pounds 30 for an hour, per child. Race overalls, crash helmets and gloves are provided but all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Daytona Raceway in London and Milton Keynes (0500 145155) If you are aged 8-14, you need parental permission to join a practice and there is also a height restriction of 4ft 6in. Over-14s also need permission but can take part in an actual meeting - a competition consisting of four heats and a grand final. Twenty minutes' practice costs pounds 15, half-an-hour costs pounds 30, but it's free to watch.

Top Gear Indoor Karting, 13 Rennys Lane, Durham (01642 765145) Although safety is of optimum importance at this circuit, drivers will be exhilarated by the party atmosphere. The circuit is set amid pumping music, ultraviolet lights, strobes and a smoke machine. There are 20 senior and two junior zip-karts; junior club is for ages 8-14 and senior starts at 16. Individuals can attend open Grand Prix Meetings at pounds 35 per driver. Endurance races of over two hours are pounds 160 per team of up to five people. Optional extras include commentators, video coverage, special trophies, laurels and still photography.

Club Formula Karting, Unit 4 Greenbank, Warrenpoint Rd, Newry, Co Down, BT34 2QX, (01693 66220) This huge complex provides facilities for up to 100 spectators, it has a 700m track and can accommodate more than 100 drivers. Events include Grand Prix race meetings (pounds 27.50 per driver) - three- to four-hour sessions consisting of practice, four heats, quarter, semi-finals and final at which winners receive trophies and champagne on the podium. There is also a mini-prix (pounds 20 per driver) and endurance racing (pounds 60 per team)

Abigail Rayner

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