Go Speed Racers
story: Melissa Gulden
photo: Brent Van Auken
SHASTA KART KLUB HAS THE NORTH STATE RACING
Right here in the North State, near the airport and Drag Strip, is Redding’s answer to NASCAR – the Shasta Kart Klub.
The Kart Klub gives drivers – even meek ones – a chance to slash and burn their way forward like Scott Speed. “To call them go karts is actually quite misleading,” says Club Promotions Director Lane Amlin. “They’re really racing vehicles.”
The Go-Karting industry has been attracting more and more sports enthusiasts, and the Kart Club has become a full-fledged, family-oriented recreation center. Kart racing, or karting, is a variant of an open-wheel motor sport with small, open, four-wheeled vehicles. They are usually raced on scaled-down circuits. Karts vary widely in speed, with some reaching speeds of 70-100 mph.
Karting is commonly perceived as the stepping stone to the higher and more expensive ranks of motorsports. According to Amlin, many top racers, including Jeff Gordon, got their start in karting. And at the Shasta Kart Klub, racers can begin learning as young as 5 years old in Kids’ Karts. “The Klub has become very family-friendly,” says Amlin. “It’s a fun, safe, inexpensive form of racing and a way for families to spend time together.”
The nonprofit organization got its start in the 1960s and ‘70s, but had its resurgence in the ‘90s when Ken Murray and Carl Schutte redesigned the track. Now, the SKK is stronger than ever, with about 100 family memberships. Members must have their own kart, but can enjoy discounts on entry fees and races, as well as access to the track every day of the week, any time they want to practice. And because it is nonprofit, SKK relies on memberships to keep it going. It is a member of the IKF—International Kart Federation—and sanctioned under its rules and insurance. Racers young and old can participate in the racing season, earning prizes and the title of champion. Each racing season has about 10 races, with about one event per month. There’s even a Powder Puff race, where wives or sisters have a chance to compete. “Kids are taught respect for others, but also respect for speed as well,” says Amlin, whose own 14-year-old son races with him. “As long as we’re in the sport, we’ll get to spend time together, and that’s a great thing.” •