Sugar River Raceway, Brodhead, Wisconsin July 8 – 10, 2021
By Bill McCornack Photos by Haley Morrall
Once again, the gods smiled on The Brodhead Historics and brought us perfect weather. It was overcast, but the temps were in the low 70s all three days. It was so pleasant in the park-like atmosphere of a track with five enormous trees in the circuit.
We had 93 class entries and began practice on Thursday. Friday morning brought more practice until the heats began at noon. We had two rounds of competitive heats. The Kart Show was held at 4:00 p.m. There were also special awards, the 50/50 raffle (which brought in a $530 donation to the VKA) and a catered dinner of beef and BBQ chicken at 6:30.
Saturday, we ran the last round of heats. Awards were given out and everyone was on their way home about noon.
Four VKA board members attended: Gary Wlodarsky (President from Ohio), Deo Curts (Membership from Illinois) John Copeland (Enduro Director from Indiana) and yours truly (Midwest Coordinator from Wisconsin).
A special “Thank You” needs to be given to all the volunteers and staff and particularly to Mike and Joann Morrall who handled registration and safety inspections in addition to kart show set-up. They also served beer and wine during the kart show and so much more. Events like these can’t be successful without volunteers. Thank you for making our event run so smoothly.
Sugar River Raceway’s historic past includes the 1965 IKF Nationals, WKA’s first National in 1972 and WKA’s Nationals again in 1981.
And we can’t forget that this track was Danica Patrick’s training ground for her racing career. If you haven’t already seen it, check out the You Tube video, “Danica Patrick and the Ladies of Sugar River Raceway.”
On the heels of their record-setting Enduro event at Mid-Ohio, Dart Kart Club and AKRA will present the “Vintage Enduro Kart Celebration” during their September event at the Pittsburgh Race Complex in Wampum, Pennsylvania. Organizers anticipate another huge event after they hosted 942 entries at Mid-Ohio in July.
This special 20-minute event will be run on Friday, September 24th at the conclusion of the Friday practice sessions and will feature 4 Vintage classes; Vintage Piston Port/USA, Vintage Open, Vintage Twin, and Vintage Exhibition and will run on Pitt’s 2.8 mile long course. There will be special trophies and other awards for top finishers and entrants.
Organized by Arthur McKinney and Steve Benford, Jr., the Vintage Enduro Kart Celebration gives those who have older enduro karts sitting in the garage, as well and those who have already been racing in the Vintage enduro races, a chance to showcase their older iron and to revisit the glory days of Road Racing. “We’re urging as many vintage karting enthusiasts to enter their karts as possible; there will be a place for everything vintage, enduro and psrint, and it will be a great opportunity to showcase your kart,” McKinney said. “ Our goal is to make this a true celebration of vintage karting. With the Pittsburgh event growing in numbers every year, it seems fitting we have our inaugural celebration at this outstanding track. Many thanks to Dart Kart Club and AKRA for working with us and allowing what we hope will be many Vintage Enduro Karting Celebrations to happen.”
For more information and specifics about the events surrounding the Vintage Enduro Karting Celebration, please go to the AKRA website at AKRAracing.com or the Dart kart Club site at dartkartclub.com.
After covering New Castle (without a kart), I was glad to get back on the track. Nicholson is close enough so I could commute each day. It’s an easy drive over the iconic Chesapeake Bay Bridge … when there aren’t any jumpers like last year.
It was a small but enthusiastic crowd. Classes were combined into five groups. As with New Castle, the weather was “iffy” for Saturday. A good decision was made to adjust the schedule to allow two Heats to be run on Friday.
As is customary at VKA events in the NE, the participants gathered at a local restaurant to enjoy Maryland crabs and other seafood. The gathering was organized by the track manager, Joe Weisner, at the iconic Harbor Shack in Rock Hall. It is on the water and was a fun time for all. All 24 people enjoyed the seafood menu and socializing that is always plentiful when vintage karts start bench racing.
The Nicholson staff provided seamless flow of both Heats followed by a very well attended Kart Show. The Show was organized and managed by Natalie and Kurt Bogerman with assistance from judges John Wolkiewicz, Sr. and Bruce Ristow.
By Jeff & Sherri Brown Photos By Rolf Hill, Don Roll, Tony Cassata & Deo Curts
Newcastle, IN- If you drove past the Newcastle Motorsports Park (NCMP) June 17 -19 you would have seen a sea of multi-colored canopies filling the pits for the 13th Annual Vintage Thunder event. Over 168 vintage karter entries were part of this historic turnout for the three-day event!
The event was a huge success and included many activities for karters, pit crew, spectators, and guests. Thursday evening provided everyone an opportunity to socialize at a “meet and greet” social hour we provided, along with the employees and staff of NCMP.
Friday was a full day. Sunny skies and robust breeze made for a perfect day. Practice and demonstration Heats were spectacular and provided endless thrills for the drivers and spectators alike. Due to the threat of rain on Saturday, the schedule was adjusted to include two Heats on Friday. This necessitated moving the ever-popular Kart Show to Saturday morning, leaving time for a fabulous fried chicken dinner with all the fixin’s for over 200 hungry fans in the track restaurant.
Honored guests, Don Freber from Margay, Terry Traeder from Quincy (TNT), and Bill Jackson from North Carolina all received Vintage Hall of Fame awards. The chant of USA…USA could be heard, loud and clear. Old Glory Flag was present at the highest peak.
Peoples’ Choice of Rocky Buff … complete with tire temperature sensors!
They say, “patience is a virtue.” How true for those who stuck around. The rain stopped and the track was dry by 11AM. Heat 3 came off without a hitch. The final results, in many cases, depended on the outcome of Heat 3 … which, of course, made for some exciting demonstrations.
One more positive of this event … most everyone, including those at the trophy presentation, were on-the-road by 3PM … great for those with 5+ hour trip home. Thanks to all who came to “the greatest spectacle in vintage karting,” especially the Dismore crew. Hope to see you all soon. God bless you all.
New Castle Kart Show Results
The threat of rain necessitated an adjustment to the schedule on Friday. Instead of one Heat, two Heats were run. Despite the warm weather, the “snowball-effect” required the need to move the Kart Show to Saturday morning. Even with the horrendous, canopy destroying storm Friday night, the show was held inside the spacious café.
P.S. Thanks to “Mrs. Rocky Buff” for taking the “Class Picture” out on the track.
Dart Kart Club Brings Biggest Enduro Event in Decades to Mid Ohio
By VKA Enduro Director John Copeland
“Road racing’s dead” they say. “Nobody goes enduro racing anymore” they say. Well, tell that to the hundreds of Enduro Racing enthusiasts that flocked to iconic Mid-Ohio Sports Car course in mid June for the largest gathering of big-track karters in decades. There were, in total, 942 entries. That’s right, 942. These are numbers that haven’t been seen in more than 2 decades at any track; not even Daytona. The question on everyone’s lips was “Why?” “Why here?” ”Why now?” It’s likely a combination of factors: pent-up demand, creative promotion, collaboration between sanctioning bodies AKRA, WKA, KART, and CES. In the vernacular of the 60’s, this wasn’t just an event, it was a HAPPENING. Racers came from California, from Massachusetts, from Georgia, and from Oregon.
And while Vintage Karters made up only a small part of the enormous entry list, it was a wonderful opportunity to share our passion with many “modern” karters who had never seen a Vintage Enduro kart. And it was a chance to show that you don’t need fancy bodywork to be fast. In fact, in several races the Vintage Karts either led or were the outright winners.
Rain cancelled most of the practice time on Friday, but it stopped and the track dried in time for each practice group to get in a full session before the end of the day. Classes (and there were a lot of them) were grouped into 7 race groups each day, but only 4 practice groups, so there were A LOT of karts on the track at any given time. Rain returned Saturday morning but, by afternoon, the track was drying and racing began. The compressed schedule meant that races were shortened to fit the remaining time on Saturday. But Sunday was clear and comfortable all day and the races ran their full scheduled distances.
A quick shout-out to the folks from Dart Kart Club and the dozens of ordinary karters and their families who volunteered to get this event done. They did an incredible job. An event like this is powered by PEOPLE. From getting the crowd into the paddock (and the campgrounds, and the roads into the paddock), to registration, to the grid, to the scales, Dart Kart, one of the oldest Road Racing clubs in karting, outdid themselves. Well Done, one and all.
The first Vintage Class to grid Saturday was Vintage Piston Port, with 10 entries. With a total of 8 classes on the track at once, there was always someone to race with. Perennial front-runner Ben Eberhart blasted into the lead at the start and never looked back. Eberhart ended up turning the fastest lap of the race, a few tenths quicker than Makena Rice in a TaG kart. Other than Rice, no one else was within 3 seconds a lap of Eberhart. Woodbridge Kart Club stalwart Art McKinney was 2nd in Vintage Piston Port, followed by William Anderson. Unfortunately a red-flag incident involving vintage racer Herb Dickel, Jr. ended the race a bit early. Dickel suffered minor injuries, but his kart took the brunt of the damage.
Eberhart was back for the much-anticipated “Battle of the Twins” B-Stock race. He was 1 of only 3 Vintage Twins sharing the track with 15 of the best full-bodied B-Stockers in the country. Imagine the surprise along the pit wall when, at the end of the first lap, it was Eberhart, in his unbodied, twin LMR Vintage kart that led the field of modern B-Stocks. Eberhart battled with B-Stock ace Tom O’Reilly until contact with a slower kart put Eberhart out. Eberhart’s departure put Mike Schlager’s twin-B-Bomb Dart Mean machine into the lead. Schlager’s kart, with it’s overhead pipes and Goodyear Blue Streak tires (where does he get those??) always puts on a great show. Unfortunately, a lap after Eberhart’s departure, one of Schlager’s engines called it quits, handing the win to Tom Tretow.
While the twins were in the spotlight in race 5, Vintage Open was also racing. Fred Stoll was the class of the Vintage field, lapping in the 1:47’s. In a field of 59 karts that included B-Stock, 100cc Controlled, Open Sprint, TaG Enduro, and Vintage Twin, Stoll finished 14thOVERALL. Arthur McKinney ran 2nd early, but dropped out, handing the position to Terry Armstrong, a lap down at the finish. Tony Ellison claimed 3rd.
Sunday’s Vintage Piston Port saw the same cast of characters as Saturday’s race, and with the same results. Eberhart led from flag to flag and was, incredibly, almost a second faster than he was Saturday. Arthur McKinney was also quicker than the day before and beat William Anderson by 2.7 seconds for the runner-up spot. Anderson ran toe-to-toe with Fred Stoll, nipping him by less than 3 tenths of a second for 3rd.
The final Vintage race of the weekend was Sunday’s Vintage Open event. This one was a battle of attrition with Ben Eberhart running off into the distance before mechanical woes sidelined him at about half distance. By then Don Axe and John Konkle had already retired and Terry Armstrong took the lead. Armstrong’s day ended 5 laps later but, as the last man standing, he took the win, followed by Eberhart and Axe.
In total there were 36 Vintage Enduro entries. The weekend was a reminder of how enduro racing used to be, and how it can be again, if everyone just works together to help grow this important part of the karting scene. There are several more Road Race events in the coming months that will welcome Vintage Enduro racers. And the promoters at Pittsburgh Motorsports Complex are already talking about breaking 1000 entries at their event in September. So dust off those Vintage lay-downs and come join us.