Racing4Vets Kart Team Kicks Off Their First Race Season

Racing4Vets all-injured veterans kart racing team kicked off their first race season at G&J Kartway in Camden, Ohio on April 14-15, 2013. Our karters are the FIRST EVER kart team of service-disabled veterans in the United States.

Injured veteran karters entering the track!

Injured veteran karters entering the track!

Randy approaching the green flag!

Randy approaching the green flag!

Racing4Vets fielded 3 karts on race day, with veteran Randy running in the very fast TaG Senior class, and veterans John and Alex competing for the first time in their newly built 420cc Clone Lite class karts.

Displaying a great qualifying effort after a long layoff, Randy started 8th in the #09 TaG.  He made a great pass on the first lap and fought wheel to wheel for most of the race.  The competition caught him up eventually and the #09 finished a credible 12th among some serious hot shoes.

Alex at the drivers meeting

Alex at the drivers meeting

Driving Clone 420 kart #4 Veteran John qualified 3rd for his first race! After the start John made a move up to 2nd, then on the 3rd lap the engine developed a sputter and he quickly pulled off to assess the issue.  It turned out to be a minor fuel delivery problem.  John brought it home for the team, successfully putting points on the board in the team’s first outdoor kart race.

Racing4Vets kart pits

Racing4Vets kart pits

Not so lucky was the Racing4Vets 420 Clone kart #3.  Early in the weekend we ran into mechanical problems, losing a flywheel and sidelining the kart.  Something wasn’t quite right after too many long nights rushing to build the karts.  Lesson learned boys!

Racing4Vets’ successful weekend was the culmination of over 6 months of tremendous dedication and hard work from our all-veteran race team.

Racing4Vets indoor kart racers

Racing4Vets indoor kart racers

In late 2012 Racing4Vets embarked on our plan to create the first-ever kart racing team comprised solely of service-disabled U.S. military veterans.  With the help of Aaron and Kerin Banfield our Regional Director John Vann established a home base for the team at Full Throttle Indoor Karting in Cincinnati.

Service-disabled veterans from Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky were recruited to join the team.  Regular indoor kart races were held throughout the Winter at Full Throttle,  giving our vets the opportunity to build speed and confidence.

Used karts from the swap meet

Used karts from the swap meet

In January 2013 we purchased two used karts and set about completely rebuilding the karts from the ground up.  We made the kart build mandatory for every vet to develop knowledge, skills and pride.  Starting with used Birel and Arrow chassis, new seat mounts were welded in, the chassis were cleaned up then powder coated white.

Grinding off the old seat mounts

Grinding off the old seat mounts

New 420cc Clone motors were purchased and built to race spec by PFM Racing.

New 420cc Clone racing motor

New 420cc Clone racing motor

Every nut and bolt was inspected and replaced if necessary.  New race tires were fitted.  Every team member was responsible for working on the team’s karts — on the Racing4Vets team you have to earn the right to race!

Crew Chief Alex working hard

Crew Chief Alex working overtime

The effort needed to get to the first OVKA race with three race-ready karts was intense.  Our veterans faced significant health and personal challenges in the weeks leading up to the first race, temporarily reducing the team’s strength but not their spirit.

As a strong team should, several vets took up the slack, putting in double overtime to get the karts ready.

Racing4Vets is about racing and succeeding as a team, and our team doesn’t quit!

 

Racing4Vets kart racers in the shop

Racing4Vets kart racers in the shop

With their first kart racing success on the books, our vets are looking forward to a full season on the OVKA kart circuit against some of the fastest kart racers in the Midwest.  The journey from concept to race team has been a tremendous and rewarding challenge.  This is just the beginning!

Racing4Vets would like to extend special thanks to the Ohio Valley Karting Association (OVKA), G&J Kartway, Full Throttle Indoor Karting, Appco Racing, SignTech, PFM Racing, ChallengerFest4, R/C Madness, Rick Coombs and many others for supporting our veterans.  Their donations of entry fees, transportation, fuel, tools, shop space, parts, money and an unlimited supply of advice have been invaluable in getting our injured vets on the track.

For more information about our Racing4Vets veteran kart racing team, please see the Schedule page, visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/racing4vets or email us at info *at* racing4vets.org.

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