The 2022 16th Annual GSKA VKA Vintage Kart Winter Nationals

The 2022 16th Annual GSKA VKA Vintage Kart Winter Nationals

Lamar County Speedway, Barnesville, GA
4/7/22 thru 4/9/22

By Bob Barthelemy
Photos By Leah Bennett

The vintage karters started rolling into the Lamar County Speedway Wednesday morning and continued throughout the afternoon.  A monsoon type downpour started around 5:00 pm and continued throughout the evening.  We prepared for the inevitable track drying activity for Thursday morning.

Tony Severino (#52), Blaine Young, and Rob Rizuto in the sportsman Rear group

With wet/dry vacuums, blowers, and other hand tools we were able to get the track dry and ready for practice by 9:15 Thursday morning.  By the way, the weather was beautiful for the remainder of the weekend activities.  As many more vintage karters arrived and completed registration, and track-drying activity was happening, Tommy Hinson, and I (Bob Barthelemy) completed the safety tech inspection of all in attendance.  The track was opened for practice just before 10:00 am and continued through 12:30 as we shut down for a lunch break.  The Firehouse Cafe again provided a good variety of excellent food for the event.  We opened the track for afternoon practice by group with Juniors, Senior Rears, Senior Sidewinders, and Duals practicing in their respective groups.  This helped to keep the practice sessions safe with like speed karts on the track at all times.  The junior drivers (5 entries) were then allotted a (10) minute practice session followed again by the senior groups.  We repeated this order throughout the day and closed the track for practice at 5:30 pm.  I am very encouraged that the VKA has agreed to sponsor the junior drivers with a reimbursed entry fee to the promoters (the junior drivers are responsible for their wrist band and meal ticket fees, the VKA reimburses the promoters for the difference).

Sean was dominant in the 100 cc classic A group

Friday, we opened the track at 9:00 am and resumed practice with the same groups that ran Thursday afternoon.  Friday was another beautiful day with temps in the low to mid-eighties, similar to Thursday.  After lunch, we called all drivers and pit crews to the drivers meeting congratulating the drivers on their respectful driving during all practice sessions and encourage them to do so during the demonstration heats as well, emphasizing safety-safety-safety! We also recognized a long time karter, Bill Jackson, whose favorite track is Barnesville.  As many of you know, Bill has been fighting cancer over the past few years and has an awesome testimony of how God has been with him all the way.  We dedicated the sweeping 180 degree turn coming on to the front straight away as the Jackson Sweeper.  We mounted signs on both sides of the fence and presented one to Bill to take home.  Needless to say it was an emotional time.  Aubrey McClellan lead us in the national anthem Todd Shearin lead us in prayer prior to starting the heat/ demonstration events.  Pastor Todd also called the track activities on the PA system throughout the weekend, making it even more exciting for the spectators and fans.  We had 19 VKA classes represented and by grouping some of the classes together we were able to run all classes in 12 groups.  We completed two heat demonstrations Friday afternoon and by 5:45 pm then enjoyed a delicious heavy orders meal provided by Glen & Vicki Forsyth (Firehouse Cafe) & GSKA to the vintage karters and crew members.  

Sean Collins leads a pack of 100cc classics and 100 cc sidewinders into turn 1

Bill Stocksdale and his team of judges; Tony Severino, and Al Hasenfratz got the kart show judging activity going at 9:00 am Saturday morning on the front straight at the start/finish line. Fair showing of 14 karts entered in the show, and these were some beautiful machines.  The Kart Show awards were presented a little after 10:00.  We held a 50/50 raffle collecting $1200 ($600 to the winner Chris Hagan and $600 to the VKA.  Gay Wlodarsky also conducted a $50 ticket 50/50 raffle and raised an additional $350.  We recognized a couple legends of karting Dicky Wilson and Lake Speed and also provided a furthest traveled award to Colm Bryan O’Higgins from Ontario, Canada.  The track was then opened for 30 minutes of practice.  We called a quick drivers meeting, prayed, we started the third round of heat races by 11:00 am.  We completed the third round of heat races before 1:00 pm., then presented the awards for the demonstrations and finished by 2:30 p.m


Lanie Thigpen and Cloe McMillian did a fantastic job collecting transponders and getting them back to the starting grid for use in upcoming heats
Billy in his historic entry
Five entrie in the Junior event; Cale Boarman, Cole McMillian, Jammie Strobel, and Aubrey McCullen.
Sean Collins leads a pack of 100cc classics and 100 cc sidewinders into turn 1
Walter McDade & Dean Sauder lead the Yamaha Limeted group to the green flag.
Lake Speed leads a pack of 150cc sidewinders and classics thru turn 1.
Preparing for a single file restart in the 150cc sidewinder/ classic event after a minor racing incident
Mark Green leads a group of Yamaha Masters
The Juniors put on a great show with incredible focus and great driving skills.