THE cart is less than 1½ metres wide, about two metres long — the seat 24 millimetres, about a thumb-width off the ground.
It’s a pocket rocket — on the tight and twisting tracks across the nation it can reach speeds of up to 135km/h.
A mistake that can cost as little as 2/10ths of a second’s enough to take you from the podium to the tail of the field.
This is kart racing, the proving ground of future motor sport stars, and Lavington’s Jordan Boys is on the fast track to success.
A “bingle” in one of the final rounds of the pro tour last year cost the now 16-year-old a spot at the world finals in the US.
Boys’ immediate goal is to make amends this year.
But the year 11 Murray High student’s long-term aim is to drive in the V8 Supercar series.
“I want to use kart racing as a springboard into other motor sports,” Boys said.
“I love the sport, racing go-karts, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it but it is also a chance to develop my skills with a view to going further.
“I want to go to V8 Supercars — that’s my goal but in all truth it wouldn’t matter what country or what vehicle.
“I’d love to make a career out of motor sport and whatever that takes or wherever I have to go to make that happen, I’m happy to do that.”
Boys is already well accustomed to travel.
The Rotax Pro Tour and other kart races have taken him to every state in the country.
“Most of the races this year are in Victoria and NSW but we still go to Queensland and there are two rounds in South Australia,” he said.
“Luckily we don’t have to go to Western Australia or the Northern Territory — they are long trips.
“I don’t think there is a better track than what we have right here in Albury-Wodonga but I love racing at new circuits and the whole process of working out the best racing line.”
The racing season covers most of the calendar year — the summer heat of December and January are the only months when the karts stay in the garage.
“I want to use kart racing as a springboard into other motor sports. I love the sport ... I want to go to V8 Supercars — that’s my goal.”
Boys said a weekend of racing began with practice on the Friday and a series of qualifying rounds that led to the points events.
“It’s five races over the two days — generally three heats and two finals with points for those races,” he said.
“In the heats you are setting yourself up for a good grid position but then the two finals is where you get your points, need to be consistent.
“The racing is so competitive that you can’t afford to make a mistake.
“At the nationals there were 46 karts and in qualifying there was half a second between the field.
“If you make a mistake and lose two tenths you lose about 20 positions.”
It was that intense competition that partly cost Boys a spot in the Australian team at the world titles in New Orleans late last year.
“We messed up in the round at Pucka-punyal — I ended up in a bit of a bingle in the first final and that meant we were at the back of the grid for the decider,” he said.
“I had to come from 44th to 9th and only made it to 22nd.
“But that was an experience to learn from and has probably made me even hungrier for success this year.
“There have been two rounds so far this year and I was fourth in the first race and then looked like getting on the podium at Dubbo but never got off the start line — I got water in the electrics and couldn’t get the kart to start.
“Earlier in the weekend I’d struggled in the wet but when we went to the dry I had a kart that was in the top three pace wise — I was fourth on the grid and looking to go better in the race.
“But I prepped the kart and had no one to blame but myself.”
Kart racing is a family affair for the Boys, who were also founding members of the racetrack in Wodonga.
“We travel a lot, spend a lot of time away from home and everyone pitches in,” Boys said.
“My dad and twin brother are also the pit crew, my whole family has been fantastic.”
Boys said kart racing was physically demanding and keeping fit was a priority.
As well as race training the lean teenager runs almost daily.
“The karts are heavy and most races are generally 30 laps of a course that is somewhere between 800 metres to a kilometre long,” Boys said.
“So the fitter you can be the better you are off mentally, as well as physically.
“If you can keep your heart rate down you concentrate better, makes you a better driver.
“In this sport you are looking for any competitive edge available.”
This is Jordan Boys’ second nomination for the Norske Skog Young Achiever of the Year.