Skip to main content

Go-karting is an art of resilience that brings together enthusiasts from both banks of the Nistru River

It’s cold. The outdoor thermometer reads 5 degrees Celsius. Near the Nistru, we discover the special karting track that’s unique to the region. In the town of Grigoriopol on the left bank of the Nistru, enthusiasts and professionals gather to drive go-karts.

Due to a growing number of people wanting to engage in the sport, the first karting school in Grigoriopol was opened in 2022. The sports track needed investments to revive it, as it was already impractical.

“At the beginning, it was challenging because we had to asphalt the track, which was already impassable. Later, we needed a building to store the cars, conduct theoretical lessons for our school students, and it had to be equipped with sanitary facilities. Now we are planning to equip the classrooms with furniture, an interactive board, TV, etc.,” says Serghei Piskun, the director of the karting school in Grigoriopol.

Thanks to the support provided through the European Union’s (EU) Confidence Building Measures Programme, implemented by UNDP, internal improvement works were carried out, modern boxes were procured to store the karts, and changing rooms and sanitary blocks were equipped. The EU investment costs for modernizing the karting school amount to 116,000 euros.

“We invest a lot in children’s education—the youngest or beginners first acquaint themselves with karting, have theoretical lessons, and only later practice on the track. After that they join the junior or professional team, depending on the qualifications they obtain. Safety techniques are equally important. Each school student has their own equipment—helmet, gloves, and a suit,” says Serghei.

Ivan and Maxim are among the youngest students of the karting school. When they get into the cars, they say they feel equal to their older colleagues, but the instructor reminds them of the rules and safety on the track and that, being smaller, they need to reduce speed.

“My dad insisted that I go kayaking, but I didn’t succeed there; I always capsized and gave up. I came to karting and enrolled myself. I like that besides going absolutely for free, I also learned overtaking rules, especially when we’re at speed,” says Ivan Vidrașco, 8 years old.

“I like being on the track, I like driving, and I especially like the ‘eye-of-the-needle’ manoeuvre,” says Maxim Smirnov, 9 years old.

“He has wanted to train and drive these cars since he was a little child. That was his choice, and we supported him, and we will continue to do so. We hope he grows up and participates in competitions,” says Maxim’s mother, Olga Smirnova.

The track is the heart of any karting track, and the Grigoriopol circuit is 1080 meters long, allowing for sports competitions for professional drivers from both banks of the Nistru River and beyond.

Besides the track, other facilities are needed, especially when championships are organized.

“The support of development partners was like an impetus for us to grow. We continue to invest to have a safe karting track,” affirms Serghei Piskun, the director of the karting school in Grigoriopol.

The spectator stand is under construction. The arbitration room, the technical team area, and the medical room are yet to be arranged. The school is attended by both girls and boys. The youngest students are 5-6 years old.

Ana has been attending the karting school for a year and a half, and in the last competition, she took first place in the category for girls.

“Previously, I had no driving experience. I was looking for activities that would bring me more adrenaline, new sensations, and decided to come here. I liked it from the start,” says Ana Nirșa, 16 years old.

Another student is Ecaterina Morosevici, 15 years old. “I still remember the first lesson. Just like today, we took out the karting cars, and the teacher explained them to us, including how to get in or out of the car correctly, safety techniques. Then gradually, we went out on the track. Everyone in my family drives, so when the karting school opened, I took my brother, and we came to register,” recalls Ecaterina.

“Karting helps a lot in building self-confidence, you become smarter and more attentive at the same time, you temper your character. When you’re on the track and speeding and need to control the car, it’s something special, and it’s not a type of sport suitable for everyone. But I liked it from the start, I never thought of giving up. We have a united team, and coming to karting is really interesting,” says Ecaterina.

Students dream of joining the professional team. The school has two instructors who help children and young people progress.

“I am a sports teacher, and my experience allows me to teach here as well. I tell my students that safety on the track is crucial—safety techniques, maintaining the trajectory, how to react on the track, how to work as a team and overcome psychological barriers. Many will say that karting is not complicated. It’s not like that; pilots need to develop both physical strength and resilience,” declares instructor Veaceslav Seniuc.

From Monday to Friday, the karting track is a training ground for students, and on weekends, professional drivers from both banks of the Nistru River train hard to improve their technical skills and achieve performance in competitions.

Every year, the National Karting Championship is organized in Grigoriopol with teams participating from both banks of the Nistru River.