1970 - 1971

When Alain is 15, his mother decides to put him to secondary school. With his friends from college he often goes to the "café Continental". There, they play pinball, table football and they also play cards (Tarot and Belote). They do a lot of crazy things, but when Alain mounts on the table to perfectly imitate an over-excited chimpanzee, the whole group dies laughing.

Sometimes, Alain takes his antique scooter to visit a motor-cycle race on Nürburgring in Germany or to see a rally hold in the region.

In May 1970, Alain has his first contact with Formula 1. Alain's dad André makes the proposal to his sons to visit the Monaco Grand Prix... Alain's dad got some tickets for a good price. They are sitting on a small grandstand next to the chicane. The Formula 1 race takes part on 10th May 1970. Only 16 cars qualified for the race, Jackie Stewart on his March starts from pole position. Next to him in the first row of the grid is Chris Amon, also on March. Jackie Stewart has a good start and stays in the lead from first lap to lap 27, when he has to retire because of his engine. Jackie Stewart was 17 seconds in front of Chris Amon, who gets outbraked by Jack Brabham in the same lap. So, now Brabham is leading the race. But behind him, the Austrian Jochen Rindt, "the man without nose", as they called him, comes closer and closer and is able to overtake Brabham in the last lap, after Jack Brabham struck some straw bales and nearly touched a wall to avoid hitting the slow car of Piers Courage. So, it was quite an exciting race and Alain really enjoyed seeing the F1-race and the Formula 3 race as well...

But when Alain came back to Saint-Chamond, he forgot Formula 1 again, he was back at the loved soccer fields and at the gym. But he can't escape his destiny. During an exercise at the beam, he fell and got an arm in plaster. Of course, Alain hates that, as he just likes to be physically active. Anyway, being physically active with an arm in plaster is kind of difficult. The Prost family is spending their holidays in Cannes (Côte d'Azur/France) again - Alain has no idea, what he can do there with an arm in plaster, he is not somebody, who wants to lay on the beach all day long, he needs some activity...

To distract Alain, his older brother Daniel goes with him to a small amusement park... There is a big disco playing loudly at nights, trampolines, a nice water park, and last but not least a small karting track with some karts. The two boys go to the karting... But there they learn that they would have to be 16 years or older to hire one of the karts, so Alain is too young to do so... That's disappointing! Alain gets informed, that he just needs the signature of his parents... Soon, Alain and Daniel are back with the "official" paper in the hand... A friend from Saint-Chamond who accompanies them, drove some first laps in one of the karts... And of course, Alain really wants to try this, too. Although he has the arm in a sling... The owner of the track has to smile because of the restlessness of Alain and proposes a mini-competition. For the first time in his life, Alain Prost is sitting on a kart. He tries the steering and it is possible for him to move it with one hand. The kart is not really the best, it had been used for many hours, the engine is losing oil and is smoking blue and the steering doesn't work very well neither, the karts are not very fast, but it is amusing anyway... Alain loves to overtake the others and to drive round the track faster and faster... The time was really flying and, by the way, Alain won this small race... He really liked it!

Just a few days later, Alain has the desire to drive with this karts once again. He goes to the track again, this time alone. After some more laps, he knows for sure, that he wants to do this in future - he enjoyed it so much...

So he goes back to his parents and tells them he wants to have an own kart, but his parents tell him to forget this idea right away... No more discussion about it. The parents of Alain think, that it's absurd, but mainly karting was something for rich people only, especially back at that time... Anyway, Alain searches for a karting club in the region of Saint-Chamond as soon as he is back from the holidays and he finds a club in Rive-de-Gier, just some kilometres away from his home... In the late summer of 1970, although he has no kart, Alain is signing in as a member without any hesitating. But before he promised his parents that he will continue his studies. Then he contacts Patrice and Jacky Richard, two friends, who have a kart to sell. They tell Alain, that they would sell it to him for 700 French Francs, but Alain has not even one cent and his parents don't give him money for a kart. Anyway, he decides to buy the kart. To earn some money, he helps his dad working every evening after coming home from college. Alain makes everything he can to earn some extra money. He goes shopping for his mom, even if he just gets some cents for that. For a few French Francs, he does any job now. Alain puts aside the money he got from his grandma Victoria and Alain doesn't go to cinema anymore, so he saves 7 French Francs per film... When his dad asks him: "What do you want for Christmas, my son?", Alain replies: "Some money." And, thanks to the money he got for Christmas, after 1 ½ years of working and saving money, he has finally the 700 Francs he needs to buy his first kart with a Mercadier chassis and a McCulloch engine - and four worn down tyres... His parents are happy for Alain, but also angry. They say: "You made the mistake of your life, Alain! Actually, Alain paid too much for the old kart he got.

The first tests with the kart are disappointing. It's not a very big surprise as the material is worn-out, and Alain needs more time for repairing and working at the kart than driving. At least, Alain learns a lot about the mechanic of the kart, and he doesn't give up.

But Alain wants to drive races. So, he is soon signing up for a regional race held in Hauteville. As one of the Richard brothers is not there, he gets the chance to use one of their karts, which has more power than his own kart. The whole thing didn't start too good for Alain, he had several collisions during trainings, but fortunately, his kart did not get damaged. On race day, just three drivers are at the start in the "junior" category... And Alain takes the chance and wins the first race he has participated in with a "hired" kart. So Alain realises, that he needs a better kart to win races in the future...

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