Go-kart racing sees growth among youth at RRVS
Nick Skalicky, a veteran stock car racer, stood along the edge of the pit and watched as other racers prepared to hit the track.
With engines roaring, fingers clenched and eyes focused, the racers took off and swerved around the corners at 30 miles per hour while their parents cheered them on.
For Skalicky, racing has always been a thrill.
"There's just something about the speed," Skalicky said.
Skalicky no longer races stock cars, but he found another way to be involved with racing by organizing the Red River Kart Club.
The club makes kart racing an affordable option for anyone looking to get involved.
Skalicky encourages sportsmanship as well as strong competition from the racers.
"The kids might be competitive when they're racing, but when they're done they all go out back and throw a football around," Skalicky said. "We want everybody to get along."
The kart track sits on the northwest corner of the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo.
Mostly kids race the karts, but Skalicky says there are a number of adults who are interested in racing. Children ages 5-14 currently race in the club.
The season lasts from May 31 to August 30, but Skalicky thinks that they will extend the season to the end of September.
There are five classes to race in: Rookie, Junior 1, Junior 2, Stock Medium and Animal.
All riders are required to wear a leather racing jacket, full helmet, neck collar and leather gloves.
Last year, about 10 karts raced on a regular basis. This year, that number has doubled.
The Red River Kart Club gives new racers the option of renting a kart for $30. This gives kids interested in races the chance to try it out to see if they like it.
A new kart can cost anywhere from $800-1500 dollars.
Most racers get their karts from Hard Hitter Racing in Alexandria, Minn., but karts can be ordered online.
Mark Estenson and his wife, Marcy, came out to watch their 8-year-old son, Tim, race in the Junior 1 class. Tim's grandmother, Linda Coss, came up from Illinois to cheer on Tim.
After his race, Tim had only one word to describe the experience.
"Awesome," he said.
For Mark and Marcy, nothing can beat seeing the smile on the kids' faces.
"All the kids are good sports," Marcy said. "If you like auto racing, you'll love kart racing, especially when the kids get out there and have a good time."