A big weekend is coming up for the B.C. go kart racers and the Vancouver Island Karting Association at the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit.
The VIKA-GAIN Group Summer Series races six and seven will be run at the track in conjunction with the BC Regional Series championships.
The Regional Series was launched last year by the Vancouver Island Karting Association and two other clubs, the West Coast Kart Club in Chilliwack, and Kartplex in Oliver.
“We already ran two races in Chilliwack and two over at Kartplex so this is the championship weekend,” VIKA president Gary Smith said Tuesday. “We have karts coming from Washington, Alberta and all over B.C. It’s going to be a big event.”
There were 147 entries as of Tuesday morning and drivers will race to determine winners in seven separate classes for different ages and kart makes.
“There will be champions crowned,” Smith confirmed.
Each driver gets one practice session, followed by a qualifying round, then the pre-final, then the final. The fastest lap time in the qualifier gets to start at the front for the pre-final, and a driver’s finish in the pre-final determines where they start in the final. The winner of the final, of course, gets the trophy.
The weekend will feature drivers as young as five years old all the way up to those well into their 60s.
“We have an exhibition for five to seven year olds, who are the youngest,” Smith said. “We’ve got four kids from ages five to seven entered. Their karts are scaled down, mini versions with smaller engines and they’re only going to run a section of the race track.”
Other age groups include drivers aged 7-11, 12-15, 16+, and 32+.
The older two groups are the largest.
“We’ll have 40 karts on the track at a time in a couple of the senior classes,” Smith said. “That’s the most we’re allowed for insurance purposes.”
With the success of events like this one, Smith said the sport is “100 per cent” making a resurgence.
“We used to race at Western Speedway years ago and then the club built a track in Cassidy in the ’90s for six or seven years,” Smith explained.
Then the club went to Youbou and raced out of there for a number of years before sitting dormant for 17 years, from 2003 until 2021.
Smith credits the location at the VIMC, just west of Duncan, with the rapid growth of the revived club. Because of zoning, karts are the only vehicles that can race at the VIMC, although full-size vehicles and motorbikes can use the track for other purposes.
“The track is beautiful,” Smith said. “I think that’s really helping. It’s a world class facility, a little bit bigger than most go kart tracks, wider, faster, it’s unique but it’s certainly helped us grow this sport.”
What’s more the track’s owner GAIN has stepped in to help sponsor the VIKA.
“They see the potential,” Smith said. “It’s been a good relationship with the track in helping [the sport] grow.”
Practice is set for Friday while qualifying begins around 11 a.m. Saturday. Racing is set to begin by 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with everything wrapping up by 4:30 p.m. both days.