Kartfest 2003: bigger and better than ever.
HICKORY, NC-Despite snow covered roads leading from every direction to Hickory, NC on Thursday January 23rd a record 10,412 karting enthusiasts visited this year's KartFest 2003 Trade Show and awards banquets at the Hickory Metro Trade Center and Holiday Inn Select Ballroom surpassing last year's record breaking attendance by 1,400.
"I'm extremely pleased with the turnout, I've never seen so many people in line waiting to get in," said WKA Director of Administration Marie Borsuk, who, as the show's organizer was largely responsible for its success.
Hundreds of exhibitors had the latest in karting technology on display for visitors to see demonstrated like the new one man kart stand invented by Chris Seay of Seay High Performance and a new engine warmer invented by Frank Bondatti, Jr. of Bondatti Performance.
"I was worried about the weather, but it's been a real good show for us, I'm surprised at how many people showed up," said Chuck Dill who owns Dill Fabrication makers of Ultramax Racing Chassis. John Klutz of Competition Karting echoed those sentiments, "I'm surprised at the turnout considering the weather we had yesterday, but it's been a good show for us."
Saturday afternoon Kerry Parnell was crowned the first champion of the WKA/Briggs & Stratton Pro Kart Tour after which he joined three Triple Crown winners; Justin Cassity, Nick Bussell and Bret Spaude, in an autograph session for fans and visitors.
That Friday night 25 national champions in the WKA/Briggs & Stratton Speedway Dirt Series were crowned and top 10 racers in each class received their awards during a dinner banquet. Dan Wilson of Briggs & Stratton was the guest speaker for that banquet. Wilson, while assuring racers that Raptor motors and parts would be available as long as racers wanted them, told the audience that Briggs & Stratton would also be looking to the future of kart racing motors with their new Animal and World Formula motors.
Also that night WKA 4 Cycle Tech Director Ralph Helms was inducted into the WKA Karting Hall of Fame that includes having his name and photo on a plaque that hangs in the WKA section of the Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega Super Speedway in Talladega, AL.
Saturday morning 19 national class champions in the WKA Horstman Gold Cup Series were crowned during a breakfast where Triple Crown Winner Cassity was the guest speaker. Cassity recalled his family's karting beginnings when he and brother Justin had to toss a coin to decide who would get to race the only kart they owned at the time and how karting helped his family bond over the years since.
That night 22 champions in the WKA/Bandit Racing Chassis Speedway Pavement Series were crowned during a dinner banquet. Veteran Winston Cup Crew Chief and current Fox Network broadcaster Larry Mc Reynolds was the guest speaker at that banquet. McReynolds stressed the importance of communication between drivers and their crews and told the audience that three key words to success in racing and life were; focus, dedication and commitment.
Sam Triplett, founder and owner of Bandit Racing Chassis was inducted into the WKA's Hall of Fame that night for his efforts in supporting the Speedway Pavement Series from humble beginnings to the successful growing series it is today.
A full report and more photos can be read and viewed in an up coming issue of the WKA's Karting Scene. To subscribe visit the WKA web site at www.worldkarting.com or call the office at 704.455.1606
-Bruce C. Walls, guest writer