The start of the 2018 CKN Summer Tour has been a great one. SH Karting feels like it was just yesterday until I realized I’ve been to Goodwood twice, Calgary and Hamilton since, and I’m okay with that. Now six weeks into this year’s Summer Tour and I get a bit of a relaxing weekend, or maybe not. I’m heading to Waterloo Regional Kart Club this Saturday and the Innisfil Indy on Sunday. Two smaller events than normal, but both packed with potential.
The WRKC will always have a spot in my karting heart. Some know that I got my start at the club back in 1999 and raced there on and off for five years, while the club operated out of Bingemans Park. I also got my karting photography start at the club, capturing some of my first races with a camera at Bingemans and Erbsville.
While the club has been through some changes in the past two decades; different tracks, board members and more, the focus on affordable grassroots karting and family fun have never drifted and they continue to thrive as one of Canada’s most successful karting clubs.
They keep it simple. Four-cycle only, fast-paced race days and they still utilize Honda engines. Their track is truly unique. They race out of Flamboro Speedway, an oval track for car racing, with a configuration on the inside to make up a kart track. The club is still operated by volunteers and the executive board ensures everyone is doing their part each week, including track setup and tear down every race day. The days are shorter than most as the club needs to move out in the early afternoon so the big cars can set up for their Saturday night racing, but’s always been like that, even when I raced. Their race day operation is a well-oiled machine and the clubs program is great for the sport.
Each year I do my best to attend at least one WRKC race, and more often than not it’s their annual season-ending Oktoberfest Grand Prix as my summer schedule gets a little busy. Not this year. I made room on my schedule to visit a little earlier in the season to snap some photos of the karts before they get fully rubbered up.
One thing I’ve really enjoyed seeing since the club moved to Flamboro is how much interest the oval car community has shown. It is great to see the kids of legendary Flamboro car racing families putting on a helmet for the first time and karting at the club. While they don’t quite last as long in the sport as most kart racers, since they move up to full-size cars and other racing opportunities around the age of fifteen, many come back to support the club and race as often as they can. It is a great partnership between the club and Flamboro Speedway.
I must also give a shout out to Collison Racing and the Collison family. They are the heart of the club and have been since well before I started racing at the WRKC. Jake Collison is by far the winningest driver at the WRKC and helps keep many families in the sport, whether it’s with product support, building engines or simply providing information to racers, new and old. His daughter Ciarra has also followed in his footsteps and races at the club every week, winning quite often. Along with the Collison’s, there have been so many families who have been a part of the club since it began in 1981, ensuring success in each karting season.
While I may not be getting up quite as early this Saturday morning like my childhood memories (my family used to leave at 4:30 AM), I’m looking forward to getting a good start to the day this Saturday and supporting one of my favourite karting clubs. To learn more about the WRKC, visit their website, http://wrkc.on.ca or come on out to Flamboro Speedway on Saturday morning to see it for yourself.