PROVING KART RACING ISN'T JUST FOR THE YOUNGSTERS Go-kart racing is considered by many to be a young person's sport, however, up to 200 racers from all across the country will be out to dispel this rumour when they take part in the 12th...
PROVING KART RACING ISN'T JUST FOR THE YOUNGSTERS
Go-kart racing is considered by many to be a young person's sport, however, up to 200 racers from all across the country will be out to dispel this rumour when they take part in the 12th Australian Masters Games in Geelong, Victoria next weekend (February 21/22).
One such driver is 83 year-old Great Grandfather Jack Cole, who is a regular campaigner at his home track in Mount Gambier in South Australia.
Cole's love for karting first came in 1973 when he and wife Gwen purchased the Willowvale Caravan Park in Mount Gambier. At the time Cole was competing in trials with the local car club but as he was on call for his guests day and night he wasn't able to travel so he found his speed fix on the go-kart track.
Since he had his first race over 35 years ago, Cole has competed at all but a few club race meetings held at the Mount Gambier venue. During that time his love for the sport became infectious through his family as his two daughters, Lynece and Elaine, grew up around the race track.
Over the years Cole has been joined by his two daughters, along with their husbands, followed by his three grandchildren, Paul, John and Darren, who started racing at the age of seven, on the kart track.
"At one stage every member of my family was involved in the sport in some way or another but at the moment I'm the only one who is racing competitively," said Cole.
"I just love the sport, these days my mind is still very willing but my body is less willing so I don't race as much as what I used to a number of years ago.
"I raced at the last Masters Games Event two years ago and had a lot of fun, so I'm heading back for more next week.
"Geelong was where I won my very first trophy back in 1978. I was racing in the Western District Series with a McCulloch-powered kart, I'm not sure if it was my home-made one from water pipe or an Ace Kart, in the Box Stock Heavy class."
In a true showing of loyalty to Australian products Cole has competed aboard a Drew Price Engineering chassis, manufactured in Melbourne, for the past 30 years.
"I've always run an chassis made by Drew Price Engineering, with the exception of one year when I bought a DAP raced by Drew overseas, starting from the Ace kart through to the Ax6, Demon XP and I just got one of the latest karts late last year," said Cole.
Three years ago Cole celebrated his 80th birthday in style, at the Mount Gambier kart track, with his family and many old friends which he has made over his time in the sport. Ironically, Cole won every race he contested throughout the day.
"My 80th birthday was one of the best days of my life, I spent it with my family and some great friends at the place I love so much," said Cole.
Throughout his time in the sport Cole has competed at a number of circuits across South Australia and Victoria which has netted him a numerous championships, the most recent of which came in 2006 when he was crowned Club Champion for his class.
With only drivers over the age of 30 eligible to compete the Event will see the 'more experienced in life' take over the circuit as many will have their children, who would normally be competing, on the sidelines as a their support crew.
One such driver will be John Pringle, the father of leading Australian karters, Rick and Jason, who along with George Sera, the father of multiple-time Australian Champion, David and Uncle of current Leopard Light Champion, James, will take to the Geelong circuit for the Event.
It is expected that there will be up to 200 competitors in action at the February 21/22 Event to be held at the Beckley Park Raceway, in Corio just outside of Geelong.