I soon realized that the red 1962 Fox Kart, built by Randy Gryczkowski, and sold to me by Tracy Schooler, was too beautiful to drive. Randy and I have become friends and he is helping me build a blue 1961 Fox Go-Boy that will be a driver. Recently Randy informed me that the 62 Fox was given a nickname when it was being restored -- "Sparkle".
In the past year I joined the Vintage Karting Association and have met a group of nice, helpful, enthusiastic Karters. They are not only helping me restore the 61 Fox (which has been nicknamed "Shine"), but also are encouraging me to participate in some of the karting events held all across the country. Last weekend a VKA event was held in Bakersfield, California. Nancy and I took Sparkle to be judged; we also wanted to learn more about what would be needed to race Shine.
When we arrived at the Bakersfield Kart Track on Friday we didn't know a soul. Soon we were greeted by three of the event organizers, Joe Swantek, his brother, Richard, and Richard's wife Theresa. They showed us around and introduced us to other Karters. Two amazingly friendly and helpful guys were Louie Figone and Tom Corso. Residents of Half Moon Bay, California, they have been friends for many years and brought a trailer full of vintage Karts. Nancy and I watched them racing against each other with enthusiasm! Thursday and Friday were reserved for practice and tuning; Saturday would be Race Day and Judging of Karts. After getting the scoop on the schedule for Saturday, we went to our hotel room to watch some college football.
Saturday morning we returned to the track to find a familiar face, Jack Murray, a fellow San Diegan, and a serious Kart collector. Jack has been helping me find all the parts I need for Shine. Jack showed us his unrestored Kart that would be judged, and gave us some pointers as we prepared Sparkle for the inspection.
Nancy and I camped under our USC pop-up, polished the Kart, and listened to the Trojan game.
Getting ready for the Races to begin, I visited with (from left to right) Tom, Louie, and Jack. They ran two heats with four or five different classes. These guys are so competitive. And so fast! They reminded me of the GTLM racers.
Between heats, the VKA organizers treated everyone to lunch! Amazing! Theresa came to the track with sandwiches, cookies, and drinks. I love the VKA hospitality.
When the races were completed it was time for the Kart Show/Judging. Everyone was welcome to have their Kart (or minibike) judged in one of six categories. The entries were assembled and inspected by the three judges.
I was crazy happy that Sparkle won 1st in its class. Of course, all the credit goes to Randy and Nancy! Jack's unrestored Kart won in its class too. A good day for San Diego Karters.
At this point I thought that the excitement was over for the weekend. But I was wrong! Louie and Tom graciously offered me the chance to take a few laps around the track in Louie's Dart Kart. I had not driven a vintage kart in about 50 years, and man, it felt so good to be back on the track.
(Above photo courtesy of Jerry Imboden)
All I can say is thank you Nancy, Randy, Tracy, Jack, Joe, Richard, Theresa, Louie, and Tom for a really fantastic weekend!
The next event will be in February, 2017 in Riverside, California. I'm hoping to take Sparkle and Shine!