After a couple of years of waiting to get back behind the week of the go-kart, I finally pulled the trigger and competed at the first two club races of the season at Point Pelee Karting. While it was great to get back behind the wheel, it was also was a chance to check out the PPK, a track that has produced some great karters over the years.
For those who don’t know Point Pelee Karting is located in Leamington, Ontario about 30 minutes away from Windsor and Detroit. The track is operated by Jason Papp and his team while the club now is run by Earl Lajoie and a team of board members. Together both parties are working together to increase the popularity of the sport in the local area as the club was able to double its membership count from 2018. This was evident in the Briggs Cadet and Jr. Light categories where the numbers grew significantly compared to previous years. Not only is there a strong group for the younger competitors there is also a big TaG Senior category which has been strong for the past few years.
It was great to see the positive and energetic atmosphere from the club members after the first two race events of the year were both rained out. Due to the rainouts, Sunday turned out to be a double race day in order to make up for one of the first two races. PPKC uses a heat racing format instead of qualifying much like the Waterloo Regional Kart Club does in order to promote more racing throughout the day. Not only is this more fun for the karters it also allows younger drivers the opportunity to improve their race craft. The club also has initiatives to help keep the costs of karting lower for its competitors during the seasons with new tire days meant to limit the number of new tires they purchase during the year.
As for me, I raced in the Briggs & Stratton Senior category on a Sodi Kart chassis that was provided by Papp from his days being the Canadian distributor of the brand. From my first session, I was surprised how smooth the track was considering it hasn’t been paved in a while. Even after shaking off the rust, I was quite a bit slower than Aidan Bonham who completely dominated the rest of the Senior field. But, considering it was my second time racing at PPK and the first time was back in 2010 racing in the Brian Stewart Racing Karting Championship, all I wanted to do was stay consistent and have fun, and I did. Aside from the first heat race where I was involved with a racing incident and lost my chain, the day went pretty well as I would finish second in both of the finals.
At the end of the day, the biggest take away from my weekend in Point Pelee was that the club and all of its members are doing club racing right. While the competitive atmosphere is there, the group all understand it’s all about having fun and being one big community. This is evident with the yearly memorial race they have for the karters they have lost throughout the seasons. This year’s Memorial weekend for the club will be on September 14-15 and I highly suggest everyone make the drive down to Leamington to compete at the event. I can guarantee you will have a great time.
For more information about Point Pelee Karting, and the Point Pelee Karting Club check out their website.