A recent personal experience at the recent French Championship in Septfontaine helped to broaden the way we judge an event. We overheard a conversation between drivers and their entourage from the regional competition in a public place. Their comments revealed their pride in taking part in a national event, probably for the first time. “The races are great. Have you seen how well they drive? They’re all fast, but above all they’re clean. You can try and keep up with them without any risk. I’m really enjoying it!” Admittedly, this was just part of a conversation, but the enthusiasm emanating from it was sincere and, above all, far from what you might imagine. Indeed, the most important thing for them was to express the pleasure of racing with rivals of a higher level. Apparently, there was no jealousy towards the professional teams who provide the best equipment, no jealousy towards the over-trained drivers who monopolise the top places, no bitterness at being far from the best, just the pleasure of racing amongst them.
It goes to show that fighting for victory is not the only motivation for the participants. Some were able to retain the wisdom to enjoy taking part in a good race, on a well-prepared circuit, in a national event that is far from having a worldwide reputation. No records were broken in Septfontaine that weekend, nothing to brag about on social networks or to pretend that you’re the best in the world.
When you think about it, what’s the point in spending a lot of money on an event that brings together several hundred drivers, dozens of nationalities and many categories? Conforming to the zeitgeist, flattering your ego, impressing your friends, it all seems pointless, doesn’t it? In any case, it doesn’t measure up to the simple joys that kart racing can bring at a reasonable level. Surpassing yourself is undoubtedly the best reward, along with the motivation to progress, when you don’t forget to savour every moment for what it can bring you.
The competitive spirit is an important driving force in life that can be as beneficial as it is devastating. It sometimes makes us forget respect for others to the point of wanting to crush them in order to succeed. More importantly, while competitive spirit can offer satisfaction if you succeed, it can also distort the values necessary for good personal balance. Just like the exacerbated ambition that often accompanies it, its generalisation in the professional world is a trap to be wary of.
In short, it’s wise not to forget what can make us happy, even if we don’t win on all counts. And long live the simple joys of karting, to be enjoyed without moderation!
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