Head out to Western Speedway on a Saturday afternoon in early spring or Monday nights in summer, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find go-karts racing around the track.
Not to be confused with the go-karts available to the public for six-minute rides just inside the Millstream Road gates of the sprawling property, these are bona fide racing karts, piloted by drivers age six to adult on a course that winds its way on and through the tri-oval used from spring to fall by full-sized race cars and trucks.
“We’ve revitalized it over the years,” says Ian Walker of Victoria Karting, which oversees the drop-in race days. Where karting was once in a funk at the track, it’s now back to operating on a more or less year-long basis.
“The last couple of times we’re getting a lot more young guys involved, says Walker, who looks after safety, schedules and general information for the organization.
Victoria Karting is a family friendly body that avoids such competitive aspects as points championships and does its best to prevent the same drivers from winning all the time. It nonetheless races under Canadian karting regulations laid down by ASN Canada FIA, the governing body of motorsport in this country.
Four-stroke motor classes include the Honda lights for age six through 10, junior Honda class (age six to 16) and Honda seniors (age 16 and up). There’s also a Honda Rotax class for the more powerful two-stroke engines, but Walker says most area drivers tend to fall into one of the two main classes.
Victoria Karting’s tech and regulations man Jonathan Reaume, whose family has played a key role in rejuvenating karting locally in recent years, says it’s an activity everyone can get involved in, from driving to pit crew.
“A lot of people get into lacrosse or other sports during the summer, but this is one of the only year-round things available,” he says.
Walker’s family is a good example of how karting can be a real family affair. He competes in the senior class, while his two sons also drive.
Kart racers pay a $35 fee on race day, but the $50 family rate makes it more affordable, Reaume points out.
For would-be drivers interested in trying out karting as a hobby, pre-built Honda-powered karts eligible to race at this level can be somewhat tough to find on the Island, he says. Victoria Karting can help motivated people acquire a kart, if need be.
For people keen on building their own machine, guidelines are available at victoriakarting.com.
The next kart racing Saturday is April 25, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., followed by May 16 and June 13 and 27. The racing shifts to Monday evenings on July 6, when the busier summer schedule gets underway.
For more information, visit victoriakarting.com or contact Walker at 250-661-7445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.