Need for Speed: EL Sophomore Not Phased by Go-Kart Crash

By Trevor Laliberte, ’16

Sophomore Brittany Jalbert's  go-kart was totaled after a wreck during her last race of the season in late October.

Sophomore Brittany Jalbert’s go-kart was totaled after a wreck during her last race of the season in late October.

The final go-karting race of the season was just about underway at Richmond Karting Speedway on Oct. 20. Edward Little High School sophomore Brittany Jalbert, a regular racer, was preparing to enter the first lap of what seemed like any other race. The normal feelings of anxiety and excitement rushed through her head as she waited impatiently for the race to start.

As soon as the racers took off, Jalbert’s nervousness was replaced with pure adrenaline. This particular race was her first time without the aid of a restrictor plate, which is designed to limit the speed of the vehicle for beginning drivers. As drivers become more experienced, they are allowed more speed. This was the first race Jalbert could go as fast as the engine would allow.

This new freedom, and everything else, came to a quick stop when another driver lost control, hit her, and drove her into the wall. There was no time to avoid it, Jalbert had no choice but to let it happen. She felt confusion and fear in a matter of seconds, and then it was over. The moment was sudden, and the aftershock was overwhelming. The first lap of the race abruptly became her last.

“After the hit, I just heard screams and saw everyone running out to me,” Jalbert recalled.

After racing go-karts for three years, this was Jalbert’s first crash. “It wasn’t scary, it just hurt,” she said of the crash that left her with a concussion that kept her out of school for a few days. Plenty of safety precautions prevented her from getting worse injuries. Drivers are required to wear helmets, neck braces, fireproof suits, and of course, seat belts.

While motor vehicle racing is a well known pastime, it’s not the most common sport in high school. Her whole family is involved in racing, which is how she started, and she wants to continue doing it as a hobby. Jalbert is often the only girl in races, and is one of the few people at EL that races go-karts.

The accident didn’t slow down her motivation to get back on the track. “I just plan to keep racing, and hopefully get into a car sometime,” she said.

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