AT THE age of seven Ash Mitchell had a choice to make between racing go karts or playing football.
He chose karting because it was something he had grown up watching his parents do at the Southern Mallee Kart Club in Hopetoun.
“When dad couldn’t play football any more because of injuries he had to find something else to do,” Mitchell said.
“He and mum started racing when I was really young – when I was seven I jumped at the chance to start.
“I had the choice between footy and go karts and I’m happy I chose go karts because I can still race.”
Mitchell regularly travelled to the Hopetoun club from the family farm in between Beulah and Birchip until the age of 19.
He progressed through the rookie and junior classes before spending three becoming a senior driver in 1997 as an 18-year-old.
He had a 15-year hiatus from racing before being lured back to the fast paced sport at Dooen’s Wimmera Kart Racing Club in 2014.
“I just like the thrill of driving fast on a bitumen track,” he said. “It’s the wheel to wheel racing that gives me a real adrenaline rush.”
For the 38-year-old the Country Series is also a great social environment along with satisfying his competitive nature. He said it is the people he meets that keep him in the sport.
“It’s like one big happy family,” he said.
“Myself and a couple of mates actually camp at the track when we are away racing.”
After being on a farm driving a tractor or harvester it’s great to be able to get into something and just put the foot down for a weekend.Ash Mitchell
Mitchell will compete in the TAG Restricted Medium Class at the weekend.
He started the season in the light class in the first round at the South West Kart Club where he finished 11th.
After a move to the medium class for the second round at Ballarat Kart Club in April he finished sixth.
“If there is twenty in the class I aim to be in the top 10,” he said.
“I just like trying as hard as I can to outrace the others.
I understand that not everyone is going to be quick enough on the day but then on other days you might have that extra edge over someone else.”
Despite it being his home meeting Mitchell will need to travel an hour to get to the Dooen track for the weekend’s round.
He will set up camp track side on Friday ahead of what he hopes will be a successful weekend.
“I’ve got family in Horsham but I want to camp because it means I can wake up ready and it will be the same as any other round,” he said.
“For me its just relaxing to get into a kart and try to drive fast.
“After being on a farm driving a tractor or harvester it’s great to be able to get into something and just put the foot down for a weekend.”