Always on the go
To many, the Bachmeier name goes hand-in-hand with racing.
John Bachmeier has been a familiar face at the Red River Valley Speedway, and is still going strong. Frank Bachmeier is a Go-Kart legend, as is Powder Puff Queen Donna, his wife.
And now Levi Bachmeier is getting into the act.
The 14-year-old West Fargoan, who will be a freshman at the high school next fall and turns 15 this summer, is in his seventh year of Kart racing. Obviously, he's had his influences.
"It's really a family sport for us," he said. "It started with my grandma and grandpa. My Uncle Mike loaned me my first car. And my grandpa gave me the first car I could own. My dad, Jeff and I have worked on a couple since then, so it's been something that we can do together."
Bachmeier got hooked by watching his cousin, Mike's daughter, race at the West Fargo Kart Track back when he was just seven. He's been racing seven years, and is currently making his way up the standings in the World Karting Association's Heartland Dirt Tour.
That tour has taken him across the Midwest, to destinations in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas. Since the season starts in the beginning of May, it does get in the way of some school work, but Levi makes do.
"I get a lot of it done when we're on the road," he said. "Really, it's just that first event of the year and the very last one that kind of cut into school. I try to get as much done as I can so when we come back Sunday, which is usually very late, I can be in school again by Tuesday and I'm ready to go."
Recently, Bachmeier and his family headed to Stanton, Neb., for the X-Caliber Racing Nationals. That weekend event allows him to compete with two friends from Fargo that travel the national circuit. It was his second National event of the year, with the first being that first race to interfere with school, the X-Caliber Racing Nationals in Warrensberg, Mo., at a raceway named after the family of Outlaws legend Danny Lasoski.
"A lot of people got their start Karting," Bachmeier said. "Even if you look at the guys in NASCAR, people like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, they ran Karts first. It's a good place to compete. Usually, most of the drivers are fair. And if you are willing to put the time and money into it, it can be good competition."
Admittedly, Bachmeier has loftier goals than the low-to-the-ground fiberglass Karts. He'd like to race, someday, at the RRV Speedway like other members of his family have, either getting into a Wissota Modified car or a Street Stock. For his mom's sake, he thinks this might be after he's done with high school.
"She almost has a heart attack every time I'm out on the track, so it might be a while before she's up for me doing something like that," Levi said.
But mom Eileen said her son's maturity makes her feel a bit more comfortable each race, and she knows that racing will be part of his life for the considerable future.
"He's a smart racer, and a level-headed kid," she said. "He's just not in it to win it. He wants to compete, but he has respect for the other drivers, the cars and the track when he's out there. That makes me very proud of him."
Not to say that Levi doesn't seek success. Thanks to the help of his sponsors, his dad and uncles, and even a bit of input from his grandpa, Bachmeier has put his name in the thick of things when it comes to the WKA Heartland Standings. In the Briggs Junior Heavy Division, he's currently sixth overall with two Nationals races left.
His sponsors include O'Day Equipment, Sanders Metal, SRG Consulting, Bachmeier Racing and teammate B-Man Racing.
"We couldn't do it without the help," he said.
When Levi's in the area, he continues to compete most Mondays out in West Fargo, and Saturday mornings on the dirt track out near Glyndon at the Buffalo River BMX/Kart track. It's not as stiff of competition as he sees at the National events, but chase races and friendly rivalries with his fellow National competitors make the days interesting.
"The people out at the Glyndon track have put in a lot of work to make that a competitive place, and it's a lot of fun. It's not as fun as a Nationals meet, but those only happen once in a while. It's a good place to practice and keep the car running right," Levi said. "And none of us want to wreck there, so we race pretty clean."
Continuing the family tradition, Levi's little brother, Cole, is getting into the act. Taking one of Levi's old cars, Cole is racing with the familiar Bachmeier number, No. 77. The 10-year-old is having a "pretty good" season according to his older brother.
"I try to give him some advice, but he already thinks he knows all there is to know," Levi said. "Actually, he's doing much better this year. He started racing last year a little more seriously, and now I think he's getting the hang of it."
Levi's next Nationals event will be back in Nebraska, when he heads to Greenwood for the Avenger Nationals at Little Sunset Speedway. He'll wrap up the year with a race in late September at the Grand Karting Nationals in Winfield, Kan.
"Hopefully, we'll stick near the top," he said. "I think we're doing pretty well."