CKI All Stars Event at the PRI Show
This year was no different, and the racing was tough and tight form the very first turn of the first race, where there was a pile up of at least 20 karts. On a track that small, that is a pretty big scrap. The race was red flagged, and all of the teams scrambled to replace broken parts and make it back to the grid.
The stands were packed full and the crowd was several bodies deep all around the fences to the track. We would venture to say there are few other places in the karting world that a karting driver can get exposure to an audience like this. Many of these people didn’t seem to be very familiar with karting. So it is not a crowd of family and friends, or even the hard-core kart fans. It is a fantastic way to expose the world to kart racing, and the drivers that come out of the sport’s grass-roots level.
The track is perfectly positioned in the parking lot to the convention center building for the PRI show. So most of the people leaving at the end of the day to go to their car, see a great race going on, and they stay to watch. That is the beauty of this event, and why it is so good for the sport and karting’s significance therein.
This year, the event had a new promoter as Championship Karting International (CKI) took over for the defunct Stars of Karting. We are told a number of the same people are now with CKI, which surely contributed to the seamless transition of the event.
CKI is owned by a group of partners that includes racer-businessman R.J. Valentine, who also is the east coast dealer for CRG karts, Kiss Kart Barriers, and a number of other businesses including the F1 Boston karting center and a charter private jet service.
They did a nice job with the event overall, and the unique part of this event is that the paddock tent area where the karts are being prepared is entirely open, and the fans can walk through and interact with the teams and famous drivers as they prepare their karts. It’s a really cool immersive experience for any racing fan.
Scott Morris represented AutoRacing1.com (AR1) with support from K1 Race Gear and took to the wheel as well, and showed well in a wet qualifying session, with second qualifying position, 1/10 sec. behind David Cole from E-Karting news, and ahead of renowned motorsports writer Jeremy Shaw.
"Driving the karts on this tight track in the slightly slower karts still gave a very obvious indication of how much a kart beats on the body, and especially on this very tight twisty track. We ran three 20 lap sessions and a 20 lap race to the main karter’s several sessions at more than 30 laps each, with a 40 lap main event. It is easy to understand why race drivers have to be in top physical condition." said Scott.
K1 Race Gear produced a custom suit for us, to show us their product. Having worn a lot of different karting suits, Scott said this was the most comfortable suit he has ever worn, with a very breathable design.
"To me the low price almost doesn’t make any sense, and they turned around a custom suit for us in about two weeks!"
This company is all about making affordable quality essential racing gear. Be sure to click on their banner ad on the top of the AR1 page and check them out.
In the media race, which was the first race of the evening in front of the capacity crowd, who seemed to take a genuine interest in anything that was on-track, even if the karts were a few seconds slower than the 125cc Rotax and TAG karts of the main event.
The green flag dropped and Jeremy Shaw scooted inside Scott for second. Then, in the third turn, he was mercilessly drilled from behind by the driver from Racecar Engineering, and demoted to last, with the entire field already a couple of corners ahead by the time he got turned around and back up to speed. He picked his way through the field and into fourth position and was challenging Shaw for third at the final turn, but could not quite get by.
Like they say in racing “Sometimes you are the windshield, and sometimes you are the bug”
But overall, it was great fun to participate. This is really a great event that is great for the sport.
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