Born in British Columbia, Kevin Glover was once the top kart racer in the USA, enduring a winning streak in the Stars of Karting series that has never been duplicated. He dominated races, left his mark and upon retirement, vowed to stay involved and help the sport.
A favourite face in the karting paddock all across North America over the past decade and a half, Glover now calls Bradford, Ontario home and has settled in nicely, building his KGR racing team and helping guide drivers from rookie orientation to the biggest events on the Canadian scene.
KGR enjoyed great success with Robert Soroka in 2020, scoring ROK Senior race wins at the Motomaster Ron Fellows Karting Championships while also helping mentor young guns like Christian Menezes and Sara Vico. He’s also helped guide racers Mark Davis, Logan Cusson and Justin Di Benedetto through their transition from karts to cars, with all three still returning to KGR when they want to jump back into a kart.
We caught up with Kevin for our latest CKN Q&A to chat about when he fell in love with karting, his past and present, and where he hopes the future of Canadian karting will go.
How has your winter been? Are you getting the need to visit the kart track and fire up some engines, or have you already been out to the track with this great Spring weather?
Winter was good, this one seemed to go by faster than most, having such nice weather In November helped that for sure. I’m definitely getting the itch to get to the track as many of the team members are as well, a few have been out but I’ve been busy getting everything else ready.
Covid has been tough on everyone and with the current stay-at-home order [in Ontario] it makes the winter long again but we will get through it, and once we get the green light to race, KGR will be there in full force.
How are things shaping up for the race team?
I’m excited about our team for 2021, with a few drivers moving up to the next category and with the addition of 8 rookies, we have a great group of club and national drivers and continue to work on a strong driver development program.
That’s great to hear. So you’ve been busy building some new karts. How awesome is it to work on a fresh, clean, new kart?
Thanks Cody, it’s always nice to build up a new kart for sure, make everything perfect all the zip ties placed perfectly, the details are key. I also enjoy bringing used karts back to race conditions. I find it therapeutic to take a kart from a season of racing and get it ready for the next one.
Adding the OTK Redspeed last year was a huge thing for KGR, it gave us brand identity which was something that was missing and otk has a winning product so I am happy to be representing there brand.
As you continue to grow as a race program, are seeing more new Briggs racers or drivers advancing up to ROK Cup competition?
It’s a mix, some drivers went directly into two-cycle and others that will be starting in the Briggs categories. There is a lot of arguments on what class is the best to start karting in but it really doesn’t matter that much, karting is a challenge either way. So no matter where you start, you will be faced with the exact same challenges, just a different process.
I’ve heard you are hitting a milestone this year. While KGR is only a handful of years in business, what does 2021 mark for Kevin Glover and the sport of karting?
Haha yes, this is a big year. I got my first kart in 1991 so this will be year 30 for me. It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for so long but when you’re doing something you love time flies!
KGR is only a few years old but over the past 15 plus years, I’ve worked with multiple drivers and teams and have learned a lot about what to and not to do when it comes to running a team/karting business.
What are some moments from those third years that stand out to you?
It’s hard to say there is a lot of memorable moments good and bad.
I would have to say seeing the CIK world championship at SRA karting in the early 2000s was one of my fondest memories. I had just joined Genesis Racing, which was the CRG importer in Western Canada, and they brought me to this race.
I saw karting at its purest form and its highest level and at that moment I knew karting would be in my life forever.
Another stand out is getting to grow up racing with my older brother and eventually coaching him after I decided it was time to hang up the gloves. My family has been able to see a lot of amazing places because of karting, and every family vacation was planned around a kart race somewhere. I’ve met a lot of people and have a lot of great friends from karting, the karting industry is one big family and even though we all compete every weekend we will all be there to help each other when we leave the track.
Over your thirty years, you have been almost everything in karting; driver, coach, mechanic, mentor, engine builder, team manager. What has been your favourite and why?
It’s hard to pick just one as I’ve enjoyed all of them. Each position presents its own set of unique challenges, but I would have to say coaching/mentoring is the most rewarding for me. Getting to help someone achieve their goals is even better than achieving your own. It was also the hardest for me to learn as I found quickly just because I had success in racing, didn’t mean I was able to translate that to coaching. You have to look at each driver individually and learn how to insert your own knowledge into their style of driving and not change them to do it only my way. I had to teach myself how to coach.
You moved east in 2013 from your home in British Columbia, do you miss the sport back home? What are you thoughts on the sport in Western Canada at the moment?
I do miss it, I moved here because karting had changed a lot out west due to the politics, not much different than what’s happening now in Ontario.
When I moved out east it was an era that I had to be a part of, it was an ultra-competitive environment that ultimately produced two Canadian F1 drivers. Some will argue it’s money which plays a major factor in it for sure, but if the competition wasn’t top-level like it was back then, they would have only been Canadian drivers in F1, not Canadian drivers in f1 who competed in Canada.
What are some of the noticeable differences between karting in the east and west?
There has always been a lot of very talented drivers in Western Canada and there still are. One thing that stands out in the east is the number of tracks within a few hours of each other versus the west, where it’s a few days drive to some of the tracks depending on what province you’re living in. This makes travel cost a lot higher for anything outside of club racing.
One of my favourite tracks of all time is Caribou Raceway Park in Quesnel, BC. It’s 7 hours North or Vancouver and this was considered my home track. They hosted the ASN Canadian National Karting Championships in 2000 I believe and it is still the best one to date in my opinion.
While travel may still be limited this year, do you have any plans to return to the west for any races in the future?
I would like to get back there for a race or two. What I would ultimately want to see in the future is Canada to get back to having a true National Championship that alternates between east and west each year. There is a lot of talent out west and maybe with travel restrictions something like this is now more possible than it’s been for the past 15 years.
This year we will see some drivers and teams make there way out east this summer which is nice to see.
Finally, what do you miss most about driving and competing as a competitive karter?
I miss the battling on track. It’s a high-speed game of chess and I miss the adrenaline pumping while you’re catching the guy in front on the last lap, planning where you’re going to pass them for the win. I don’t miss the anxiety though, but I do find I’m more nervous watching my drivers versus when I raced because once they’re on track, I have no control over the outcome.
Awesome. Thanks for chatting Kevin, any final thoughts you want to add?
Just for everyone to stay safe and I hope to see you all sooner then later.