It has been a busy summer here at the CKN Headquarters, but our CKN Chatter series is back. We kick off our summer session with Canadian and World Champion Figure Skater Elvis Stojko as now seeks a new type of World Championship…Go-Karting. Stojko got hooked on the sport only two years ago and is now full-throttle taking in almost any competition he can. Taking time out of his busy schedule, we caught up with him for a few questions.
Name: Elvis Stojko
Hometown: Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico
Years Racing: 1.5
Chassis Raced (to date): Italkart, Intrepid, Praga
Favourite Track: Valle De Bravo, Mont Tremblant
Racing Idols: Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Jeremy McGrath, Rick Johnston,
Supporters: My Wife Gladys, Best Friend and Kung Fu Instructor Glen Doyle, Darryl Timmers my mechanic @ PRO, Paolo Solaroli @ Solaroli Motor sports, Alan Saks with Enagic/Kangen water, John Koveos @ Quantum Nutrition, Lorrie and Lou Neskovski @ Xocai Health Chocolates, Darren Doner @ Doner Nissan, Victor Nunes @ Sparco, Arai Helmets with Bruce Porter, Patrice Harvey at Smart Race Paint, and finally Emzone Automotive Products.
Accomplishments: Figure Skating: 3X world champ, 7X national champ, 2x Olympic Silver, 2 world records. Recipient of the Meritorious Service Decoration and Meritorious Service Cross. Martial Arts: 2005 WKA Kung Fu Champ and World Silver Medallist. Karting: Being taken seriously now…more to come.
To start, how did you get involved in karting after many years of professional figure skating?
I got my first dirt bike when I was 7 and always loved motor sports from that point on. Back in the mid 90’s I used to go and do lap days with my Porsche and fell in love with the feeling. After that I knew I wanted to race cars when I was done skating. It took me a while to get things going since I was touring around the world so much, but just under 2 years ago I found a kart track through a friend of mine in Guadalajara and knew that would be the place for me to start.
From a competition standpoint, are there any comparisons between karting and figure skating?
Both being an individual sport you need to have strong focus. In skating a mistake can happen so quickly by losing that focus and the same is for karting.
Both sports are very physically demanding, what affects has karting had on your body, and has your training regimen changed at all?
From all my years of dirt biking and martial arts I have good tendon strength and endurance in the hands, forearms next and shoulders. Skating also gave my good core strength and balance, and of course my legs and calves. The only real area that was weak were the ribs. I was injured constantly because I did so much lapping right away and did not build up to it. I lost count on how many times I dislocated ribs on both sides, but eventually they got stronger. I added some exercises for the intercostal muscles, stomach and lower back.
What is your most memorable karting moment?
This past March I raced in Valle De Bravo just outside Mexico In SKUSA Mexico race. I had never been on that track and had two days to test. After the first day my chassis broke in 3 places right along the cross bar under the seat. I thought for sure I was done for the weekend, but one mechanic buddy from my track welded it and out I went the next day. I qualified 3rd and finished 3rd overall in the final heat out of 16 or 18 racers with some of the best in Mexico. I had a blast racing that weekend and I made the kart work the best I could with my old beat up chassis.
First trophy ever won? Do you still have it?
I was 6 or 7 years old in my first competition ever and during that time there were not many boy figure skaters at our club, so they lumped me with another boy in with all the girls. There had to be over 20. Since they thought a boy would never win the competition they had a trophy with a little girl figurine on it. Well I ended up winning and sure enough I got the little girl trophy. I still have it.
What is your favourite thing about racing?
No freaking judges!
Who is your favourite person to race against and why?
Stuart Clark… I have not caught him yet. He pushes me. Most of the guys in our DD2 Masters class are great, but Stuart has helped me out and shared a lot his experiences with me since the beginning and he knows I share the same passion for racing. He has had a lot of respect for me even when I was making a ton of rookie mistakes and looking so “green” on the track. You are only as good as your competition and we push each other. He is a great driver but more important to me is that he is a great person.
What races do you plan on competing in this year in Canada?
All the ECKC rounds and the Nationals.
Do you have any major goals for your 2013 karting season?
Top 3 in the ECKC and top 3 at Nationals
If there is someone from another generation you could race against, who would it be and why?
I didn’t know too much about past drivers and only in the last while have I spent more time learning more about them. Not just about how many races they won, but who they were. Ayrton Senna reminds me of a part of myself during my skating career. Skating was not just skating, but a way to understand myself through pushing my limits. To this day I still wish to push my limits and I am constantly learning. Putting all of what I have learned from before into racing has been a great learning experience. To be able to have raced with Ayrton would be more about seeing our similarities which would help in learning about oneself. He always thought about being a better human being and essentially that is the true path of our spiritual development.
When you look at karting from a fan/spectator point of view, what do you see?
I see the intensity, excitement, anxiety of everyone pushing towards their own personal goals.
What is your current perspective on Canadian Karting and how do you think we could improve it?
Most people that are not involved in karting have a visual of the rental karts or its more for the kids. To be able to get the image of karting as the true stepping stone towards high end auto racing would be great. Though only being involved for a short period of time its tough for me to comment on how to improve. All I know is I hope I can bring more exposure to the sport and help it move forward.
If you could win one race, and only one race, then retire, what would it be and why?
This is tough because I love the journey of learning about this sport. I would need more time in the sport before I could answer this one.
What is something karting people don’t know about you?
For sure I loved skating and the drive to be the best made me push… but deep down my real passion has always been in motor sports. Dirt biking, quading, jet skiing, snowmobiling…. anything with a motor which was fast I was on it. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity to pursue my real passion and I will reach my goals…. but those personal goals are only for me to know.
Up next, we have two very special Western Canadian Champions. Stay tuned!