WKA: CIK: Rock Island Grand Prix awarded FIA license

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. -- The Rock Island Grand Prix street race is the first and only internationally-licensed kart race in the United States in 2003. The licensing announcement was made jointly by the Rock Island Grand Prix, the Automobile...

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. -- The Rock Island Grand Prix street race is the first and only internationally-licensed kart race in the United States in 2003. The licensing announcement was made jointly by the Rock Island Grand Prix, the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States (ACCUS), the World Karting Association, and the Commission Internationale de Karting (CIK).

The announcement is the culmination of a lengthy effort to bring international racing to Rock Island, Illinois, located on the Mississippi River west of Chicago. The CIK, with headquarters in Switzerland, is the karting arm of the Federation International de L'Automobile (FIA) which governs auto racing worldwide. The Charlotte-based World Karting Association is the largest sanctioning body for kart racing in the United States.

Beginning with this year's races, August 30-31, 2003, the Rock Island Grand Prix will feature CIK Intercontinental C and Intercontinental A races in addition to a full slate of American kart classes. The Rock Island Grand Prix will be listed on the international race calendar as an International Restricted event. This will allow CIK-licensed foreign racers to also race in the non-CIK classes. The license application was filed through ACCUS with the assistance of Randy Kugler, president of the WKA, and Burdette Martin, national sporting authority for the FIA in the United States.

``We are happy to have an event like this,'' Martin said, adding that the CIK would like to see more international races in the United States. ``We are anxious to see this event come off well.''

Kugler played a key roll in working the application through the process, including track inspection, national approval and, finally, granting of the international license.

``Rock Island has succeeded in bringing the karting event to the people. WKA is excited to be a part of the Rock Island Grand Prix experience. Promoting karting to the masses can only help grow the sport,'' Kugler said.

Roger Ruthhart, president of the Rock Island Grand Prix, said that opening the door to international competition seemed to be a logical next step, given the race's history.

``This race started out nine years ago as a means for businesses in Rock Island to attract tourists to the popular Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District. During that time we have hosted drivers and spectators from throughout the United States and several foreign countries. We have created one of the premier karting events in the world. It is time to welcome more foreign race teams and let them discover what the American racers have enjoyed for some time. That is made easier by becoming CIK-approved and listed on its international race calendar,'' Ruthhart said. Rock Island will continue to renew its license in the years to come, he said.

Rock Island is located in an area known as the Quad-Cities on the Mississippi River where it intersects with Interstate Highways 80, 88, 280 and 74. The area has a population of 375,000 and welcomes karters with open arms. The Quad-Cities features three riverboat casinos and a great variety of entertainment and attractions. The Rock Island Grand Prix is held in a temporary circuit constructed through the downtown city streets. SBC Communications and Bi-State Home Improvement are the Presenting Sponsors and Jumer's Casino Rock Island is sponsor of the race's $25,000 purse. Kart Expo International, one of the largest karting trade shows in the world, is also a major sponsor. The race draws over 400 race entries and more than 30,000 spectators.

Information on this exciting motorsports event is available on the internet at www.rockislandgrandprix.com . Call the Grand Prix office at (309) 292-8133 or email grandprix@qconline.com for race and entry information

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