Road Race Karting - Over 100mph... one inch off the ground
The Vega Tire / TS Racing Road Racing Series driven by Mazda is WKA’s national series for enduro-style karting. Enduro karting, or “road racing,” as its now referred, is different from sprint and oval-track karting in many respects.
Big tracks, high speeds
Road racing takes place on full-size road courses built for racecars, generally ranging between 1.5 and 3.5 miles in length. Traditional WKA National Road Racing venues include the Daytona Int’l Speedway road course (the same track used for the 24 Hours of Daytona), the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, VIRginia Int’l Raceway and Summit Point Motorsports Park.
The generous length of the tracks, most of which include long straightaways and fast corners, allow karts to reach speeds well over 100 mph. Some of the fastest road racing karts top speeds in excess of 120 mph.
Road racing offers the widest range and variety of classes and setups. Divisions include traditional laydown enduros, as seen in the photo, 250cc super karts, 125cc sprint and laydowns, 100cc 2-cycle sprint and laydowns, sprint TaG, 4-cycle Animal and Clone sprint and junior divisions for laydowns and 2- and 4-cycle sprints.
While sprint and oval-track karting’s minimum age is as young as 5 for kid karts, drivers must be at least 12 years old to compete in WKA’s Road Racing Series.
Races are timed events scheduled for 30 minutes for sprint and 45 minutes for enduro. Sometimes race lengths may be shortened five or 10 minutes on account of weather delays and the like.
Similar to some forms of sports car racing, many classes are on the racing surface at one time and are scored separately at WKA Road Racing events. A WKA Road Racing national event features 13 race groups – seven on Saturday and six on Sunday – with over 50 classes spread among the 13 groups. Some groups start two or three classes, while others include up to eight different classes on track at one time.
A road racing start is unlike any other form of karting and one of the most exciting sights in the sport. Karts are lined one after another on the grid and a pre-race drivers meeting commences before racers gear up and sit in their karts.
The starter puts the green flag up 60 seconds before it’s waved. A team member usually starts the kart’s engine around 20 to 30 seconds before the flag is waved, when a swarm of go-karts takes off from the grid and onto the racing surface.
There are usually two to three separate (staggered) starts per race group for the different classes in each group.
Similar to other national series, a typical WKA Road Racing national includes four days. Thursday is parking and registration; Friday is practice and Saturday and Sunday are reserved for racing. Normally, two rounds of practice go off Saturday and Sunday before the first race.
While you probably could find a road racing team located in every state of the union, the form of karting has its pockets of popularity.
The Ohio-based Dart Kart Speedway Club has long promoted road races at Mid-Ohio and other Midwestern tracks and has a large following throughout the region.
The northern Virginia-based Woodbridge Kart Club, which has promoted road racing events for over 40 years, has numerous teams located throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The WKC hosts two WKA national events – VIR and Summit Point – in 2012.
In Georgia, the Southern Kart Club has been a mainstay at Roebling Road Raceway, located near Savannah. The SKC promotes three to four events per year at Roebling, including a WKA national, which has teams from all over the South traveling to the historic track.
While WKA does not sanction or promote road races west of the Mississippi, there are numerous road racing kart teams located in the western United States that run with other sanctioning bodies.
Road Racing companionship
While many competitors and teams are very serious and competitive, the atmosphere at road racing events usually is viewed as more relaxed than other forms of karting.
A “check your problems at the gate” attitude is sported by many, and when the hard-working practice and race days are over, cookouts, good conversation and fun times are found throughout the pit area as people unwind and reminisce about the previous days’, months’ and years’ events.