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Reflections on vintage karting growth in the last few years.
hi guys,
been a while since i've posted.
 i've been distracted.


Rolleyes  Shy  Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin  Shy Rolleyes

As many of you know, for deeply personal reasons i've been unable to attend the events these last two seasons.
I have been hearing small accounts of what's been happening and dearly wished i could be part of it all .
From every person i talked with i heard event attendance is up.
It seemed to indicate Vintage Karting had turned a corner and is growing.

I've monitored the facebook posts as time allowed , read posts here atother sites and generally kept in the loop.
 that's best i could do considering but from what i saw i was sure vintage karting is growing.
Today, I just opened my new , VKA first turn magazine , and read the articles.
As with the issues before i read with great interest about how many people attended.

With this magazine in hand and the season ended i can safely say it's absolutely true.

The numbers are up , the events were all fun and reported to be reasonably safe considering we are driving race machines.
The food , as usual was great, the guys helped each other to keep running and newbes got sold on the sport.
There was mostly sunshine and whole families or groups of friends had a blast.

Bench racing , as usual was really fast and memories of past races faster.
People got sore butts, ran equipment to it's best potential and a few won prizes for awesome restorations.
Others got bragging rights from the exhibition demonstrations (races???) and EVERYONE  had fun.

Back in the day, ( a short fifteen to twenty years ago) we talked about this possibility of growth but few believed we'd even get consistent track time.
The tracks were totally non interested in us running obsolete , dangerous equipment.
so we ran in parking lots and the street if we could find one not used much.
insurance was an issue and hard to secure.
we had to beg tracks,  tell tall tales about attendance numbers and accept whatever access was offered.

Plus the parts were hard to find.
Back then , were more concerned about "soft part" replacements than building the fastest motor.
Things like pistons , tires ,seals and gaskets were getting old tired and really hard to find.
We were experts at running down leads swap meet sweeps and craigslist/ebay as they came into being.

We had endless discussions about how to reman some things, where to get seals ect ect.
we created modern exchange tables matching old to new parts so we could replace 50 year old seals and bearing.

Occasionally we had an event and were happy if 20-30 guys showed up , fifty was huge.
We all helped each other and established a habit of helping newbes that continues to this day.
It was hard but fun and we constantly expected "the fad" to end but we were to stupid to quit
We kept going loving the karts everyone forgot and kept finding more "lost" stuff.

Somewhere along the line , dedicated people started filling the holes in our supplies.

We had pickers who literally devoted their lives to finding and selling us those hard to find things.
It's a rare picker/seller of these parts that made much money.
 their time could've been used to make alot more cash at about anything else.
These pickers got a ration of spew from us cheap guys but they did what others couldn't.
they found parts sold them to us and kept us running.
and we kept growing
There were other guys who worked tirelessly to grow and promote clubs , to expand knowledge , invent sensible rules and produce order at the track.
Other guys who made and manufactured new parts more often losing money or barely breaking even.
and we kept growing
Promoters who tirelessly begged tracks for access , arranged events and more often then not lost money every time they hosted an event.
and we kept growing
Then we got old manufacturers to reproduce some things.
We got a tire guy who invested a silly amount of time and money to recreate the obsolete tires we need.
and we kept growing
Rules were added changed and new classes allowed.
we even ahem?? decided that vintage four stroke vintage karts were cool too. Rolleyes
and we kept growing

The amount of crazy arguments and bickering we had and have was epic at times.
But throughout it all we kept going loving the karts the fun the people we met.

personally i never have had more fun than when i'm at a vintage karting event.
at least g-rated fun!!

and we kept  right on growing
having fun
making friends 
generally having a blast

Now , it's paid off.

In the last couple of years
Events have been getting consistently higher attendance numbers with many tracks breaking 100 entries. 
Promoters are making enough to break even or show modest returns.
Tracks are contacting the clubs asking how to host events and more people than ever are restoring future entries.
Pickers still aren't getting rich and the guys doing repops are still insane to do it.
but i love that they are there helping grow a sport i love.


In the last several years karting magazines have noticed us and have had many articles about vintage karting. 
At first we were viewed as oddities running insanely old,creaky, obsolete machines.
But like cars and motorcycles in the past guys who also loved the old karts heard about us and started showing up.

The modern karting guys all seemed a little bit sceptical about us at first.
But now see a fast growing segment of Karting.
Some even claim it's the fastest growing segment in all of karting.
Me , i have no idea if that's true but the idea does please me and scare me all at once.

Others i see coming in to enjoy the fun are:

  • Modern karters are tired of endless rule changes and constantly evolving "stock" classes.As a result some are moving over to  vintage karting.
  • Then there's guys who loved the older karts but lost interest when things changed. now they can run again
  • Car guys who want more than just static displays maybe even a tiny bit of risky behavior actually driving. and vintage karting is fun and an active sport if you want it to be.
  • People who just miss the fun and simpler times we had "back then" . and as we mostly never grew up they finds it at our events.
  • Or maybe a guy with a kid looking for a hands on hobby. and what better place to learn and spend time than with a simple machine with simple motors that can be immensely complicated to fix, for no good reason other than greemilins!!
There's articles showing up in big car magazines and car guys are noticing the noise we're making.
There's even been a few news segments done on us.

It's all very exciting as we did want vintage to grow.
I truely hope it continues to be fun. i suspect it will as we seem to attract guys like us.
experienced guys that'll spend all day getting a newbe running
guys who will lend tools, parts and give advise to anyone needing it at an event.
and especially,
the guys in the back round , working hard to make it all happen, often with little praise.
Club officers, promoters,repop guys and the pickers all working together to build the sport.
they do it as we all do because we love the sport.
i hope that never changes
D Cool
Dave L.
There's big money in this affordable motor sport. An original American invention lives thru a bunch of great guys. Long live the sport!
David ,,,

what a great post,,,your heart is still in it, more than ever,,,,I think most us know your personal issues and we all hope and pray for the best.....

Hope you are able to get out in the future and "'have some good clean fun"""....

Great to hear from you Dave! Thanks for the great post. I hope that what you posted is a reminder of what I and possibly others take for granted: what a great sport and hobby this is and such a wonderful group and friends we are involved with.Kudos to all that have been involved with this and kept it going all these years!

We miss you Dave and hope to see you back!
I have a blast every time we go. Great people, historic tracks and the karts are fun too!
Welcome back Dave and keep the keyboard close: Yes our sport is growing.
VKA 2020 is going to unique with 5 vintage karting celebrations in the NE and more than 3 times that number nationwide.

Here's what we've lined up for your "return" : )

2020 VKA Schedule

LAFAYETTE MOTORSPORTS PARK will be a 3 day event (Thursday through Saturday) - May 28, 29, 30
NICHOLSON SPEEDWAY, will be a 3 day event (Thursday through Saturday) - June 25, 26,27
GENESEE VALLEY KART CLUB, Avon, NY, will be a 3 day event (Thursday through Saturday) - July 23, 24, 25
OREVILLE KART CLUB, will be a 2 day event (Friday & Saturday) - September 11 & 12
SANDYHOOK SPEEDWAY, Street, Maryland, will be a 2 day event (Saturday & SUNDAY) at an early October date to be announced.
Great Upper East Coast Vintage Kart Celebrations line up.
All Great East Coast Tracks .
I may be able to attend a few next season , but kinda am hoping i won't be able to , which is weird but true to me right now.

The first two i haven't personally seen but have heard very good things about. 
The last three are all AWESOME tracks run by Highly Experienced and motivated owners or managers.
I've had the good luck to attend vintage events at those three and know the guys who make it all happen.

I'd love to see pix posted of the events especially ones of the attendees as that helps put faces to names.
Perhaps a few videos this year could also be a goal for us to get posted on the forum.

 keep up the great work guys.
i'll be back sooner or later.
d Cool
Dave L.
Well said .... and that is an understatement‼️  

EXCELLENT doesn’t even do your piece justice.  It’s a beautiful summary/history of where we’ve been and where we are now. 


See you at the track.
wow.....excellent ...

thank you David...

I'm with Dave and the rest. It'll be up to the event promoters to ensure that the Yammies do not push the Macs, West Bends, PP's and Homelites out as they did back in the seventies. I hope and believe that there can be room for all. Ted

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