This month we visit Go Karting San Bartolome and meet up with owners John and Irene.
LBA. Hi John and Irene, thanks for sparing the time to talk with us, particularly as you seem very busy at the moment. Do you ever get a lull or is it always this busy?
JI Lucky for us it is nearly always this busy, from when we open in the mornings till late evening, and it´s constant, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and we love it.
LBA How long have you been here?
JI At the track, 3 years in April, but in Lanzarote just over 6 years.
Coincidentally John & Irene, who both originate from Yorkshire and had holidayed in Lanzarote for many years before they made the move here, arrived independently on the island 6 years ago, with a view to semi-retirement following their previous hectic working lives in the UK. John was the owner/manager of a large successful city courier company, and Irene a nursing sister/tutor in a busy NHS Trust hospital. They got together on a personal level 3 years ago, and then, when taking on the challenge of the track, they combined their management skills and knowledge, ultimately making them the formidable working team they are today. Since taking over the track they have worked hard continuously building the business month on month, and now even the quiet times are busier than what were originally the busy times!
One thing that makes them unique among tourist attractions is the number of repeat clients. Not only do they return when they holiday here, but quite often visit the track two or 3 times during their holiday. They also have a huge number of local users and have built a strong rapport with the Spanish community.
LBA There seems to have been quite a few changes since our last visit, what´s been happening?
JI Yes you are right. We have had a lot of changes. As mentioned, it’s been 3 long hard years of work but at last we have the track exactly where we want it to be. We have totally reinvested all our profits and energy into the project. We have a new fleet of 45 karts, and offer free transport in our new vehicles. We have overseen the development of a second track, revamped the bar and viewing areas and totally rebranded the business. We have an Inauguration day on Friday 1st March and are thrilled to be able to say this is Go Karting San Bartolome, loud and proud! We were delighted to be voted the number one tourist attraction on Lanzarote and are determined to remain in that spot.
LBA So lots happening at work, any other news?
JI Yes, now we have completed the plans that we initially had for the business, we felt it would be nice have a bit more time for ourselves, (for the moment anyway) so we decided it would be nice to get engaged, which we are going to do on Valentines day. We will be celebrating with our families in England, and then with our staff and friends here in Lanzarote on our return.
LBA How lovely, congratulations to you both, when´s the wedding?
JI John and Irene both laugh, and say not for a few years yet! John is due to start on phase two of the plans for the business soon, so there will certainly be more projects on the table to complete first. Ah…lets watch this space we love a wedding at the LBA.
LBA We hear there is a new addition to the family?
JI Not one, but two new additions. The first a 1976 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow we named BESS! We bought in very poor condition, rusting away, not been driven for over 3 years, needed a lot of TLC. We bought her as a restoration project, and with total time and dedication she was completely restored by the team in 3 weeks. She is to be used as a promotional vehicle for the track, and for charity/fund raising events.
Newest addition is a Kart Cross Racer, we have named BLADE. He again needs much restoration work, but will be given the same loving attention as BESS and again will be used for track promotion. You can see step by step photographs of both restorations of these vehicles on our facebook and website.
LBA Not that you have lot of time off, but when you do how do you like to relax?
JI Up until now we have had very little spare time, due to building the business. However, when we do, we like to spend it by going off-roading in the jeep, just walking along the beach, and enjoying the many spectacular views that this fantastic island has to offer, which we sometimes forget about, when focusing on the work aspect.
LBA 3 tips or words of advice for anyone new or planning a move to the island?
JI Firstly, come and live here for at least 6-12 months, see how things work, talk to people who have businesses and listen to their advice. Learning a degree of Spanish is a must also.
Be prepared for many challenges along the way, with paperwork/red tape etc. Joining the LBA, is a must, they are here to assist, advise and represent you along the way, with all these obstacles.
Remember it’s not all about work, you have chosen a beautiful sunny island to live on. ENJOY IT!
John and Irene, thank you so much for your time and as always your enthusiasm and zest for life is inspiring. Once again Congratulations on your forthcoming engagement.