The International Karting Federation Region 6 Gold Cup Series comes to the Spokane County ORV go-kart complex this weekend with much of the racing action available for viewing in the main grandstands. Spectator admission is free and showcases a family-oriented sport for ages 5 and older.
Organized locally by the Spokane Kart Racing Association, the series draws entries from the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. With more than eight hours of action each day, there is a division, age group or type of kart for any fan to cheer on, SKRA co-facilities manager Rick Schultz said.
“We’ll have over 150 karts here this weekend,” Schultz said. “They’ll get started early in the morning and we’re hoping to wrap up our events by 6 p.m.
“This sport races rain or shine, and some of the best racing can be seen from the track’s grandstands located at the end of the front stretch where the karts have to make a 180-degree left-hand turn from a nearly dead stop.”
With a strong turnout of racers coming to the area for an all-day practice session today and two solid days of racing to follow, fans can come and go as they please and not miss much action, Schultz said.
“We’re hoping to have the kind of response to this race that it has attracted in the past,” he said. “Memorial Day weekend gives everyone that travels from across the region a chance to have Monday to go back home and it also gives the local group that organized the race a strong turnout.”
SKRA and its members hold many volunteer work parties to get ready each season for the Gold Cup. Much of that work is directed by a dedicated leadership board, Schultz said.
“We have a great group of people that come together and make this event happen,” he said. “They’ll also work just as hard for our local races, and each of us that sit on the board has taken on a role in preparing the facility or getting all the details put together for this race. (Wife) Juanita has a barbecue planned after racing is over on Saturday night, so we expect to offer everyone that comes to our facility a really good time.”
Newcomers to IKF Gold Cup events compare the atmosphere to Indy car racing, Schultz said.
“It is a lot like watching Indy cars, but the go-karts hit those speeds and G-forces very low to the ground with close- quarters racing,” he said. “These karts accelerate quickly and we have a long front straightaway where someone in the grandstands can really get a grasp of the overall speed of the sport. Karting has been a training ground for many of the world’s greatest racers, and in our Gold Cup will be some great drivers in their own right.”
Kart racing has been in the Spokane area since the 1960s.
National champion Burt Gasaway and Gold Cup front-runner Robbie Calhoun are just two of the many drivers to keep an eye on this weekend.
“Robbie and Burt are a couple of great racers and a testament to what our local club offers each week from all its drivers,” Schultz said.
“Many of the local karters have been going to the Gold Cups this season and doing well, so we are hoping for some good results.”
There is even a Schultz connection to the IKF series in the form Rick and Juanita Schultz’s 14-year-old son Colton, who was crowned the Fastkart Indoor Speedway karting champion in January and has several top-five points finishes on his Gold Cup resume.
To learn more about go-kart racing in the Inland Empire or this weekend’s IKF Region 6 Gold Cup, log onto www.spokanekarting.org.