RACING: Kart racing is a passion for young drivers – The Edwardsville Intelligencer

Stamer, Richardson part of seminar at Gateway Kartplex

Published 11:00 am, Sunday, March 11, 2018

MADISON — Evan Stamer and Hunter Richardson have found success in kart racing, and they’re doing their best to spread the word about the sport.

The 16-year-old Stamer, a sophomore at Edwardsville High School, and the 16-year-old Richardson, a junior at EHS, race at Gateway Kartplex, located inside Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison.

On Saturday, Stamer and Richardson were among the young drivers on hand for a youth karting seminar at the Kartplex, where they talked to kids ages 5 to 15 about their racing experiences.

“The goal today is just to bring in a broader base of people that maybe haven’t been exposed to the sport of karting,” said Keith Freber, owner of Margay Racing, which manufactures the karts used at the Kartplex.

“We can tell them what it takes to get involved and a lot of the positive aspects of the sport that you can enjoy at the Kartplex.”

Stamer earned his position as a spokesman for kart racing through his achievements at the Kartplex over the past four years.

“I guess you could say I got started in racing when I was 4,” Stamer said. “I started riding lots of dirt bikes and really loved the motorsports category of it.

“When I was about 12, my mom and dad didn’t like me riding dirt bikes anymore because they felt it was dangerous. At the (St. Louis) auto show, we found the Gateway Kartplex tent and they gave us a flier for kart racing.”

Stamer and his parents called Margay Racing and soon bought a kart.

“It was really inexpensive for what it was and it got us started,” Stamer said.

Stamer quickly became a regular at the Kartplex, competing in nearly every local race as well as traveling once a month to other tracks.

“I really like the speed portion of it and kind of being on the edge and not really knowing what’s going to happen next,” Stamer said. “I like the close racing and having respect for all the other drivers.”

Richardson, like Stamer, got into motorsports at a young age.

“Me and my dad have always been around engines and four-wheelers and dirt bikes all of our lives,” Richardson said. “A couple of my friends, including Evan, brought me down to the (Kartplex) track and pretty soon I was racing.

“I started off strong and I then I took a break for a year. This is my first year back and I’ve been enjoying it a ton.”

Richardson enjoys what he describes as the “adrenaline rush” of kart racing.

“Sometimes you don’t think when you’re out there — you’re just racing,” Richardson said. “You have to be smart about moves, but I really enjoy the speed.”

The Kartplex, which opened in June 2014, is one-half mile and has 11 turns.

The 2018 racing schedule, which starts this spring, features 11 races on Saturday morning or Saturday night. The top three finishers in each class earn a trophy.

The program used at the Kartplex is called “spec racing,” which means that every racer is using the same type of equipment.

A typical kart is about 6 1/2 feet long and 4 1/2 feet wide. With a driver in it, it weighs approximately 300 to 350 pounds with a 10-horsepower engine.

A ready-to-race package, including all of the safety gear and other equipment, costs about $5,000.

“You’re not going to be outspent or out-engineered by somebody else,” Freber said. “You’re not racing checkbooks — the focus is squarely on the driver. It’s a very level playing field.”

After competing in the Junior class at the Kartplex, Stamer has moved up to the Senior class, which starts at age 16.

“It’s kind of surreal that we’re in the Senior class now with all of the good racers that have been racing for a long time,” Stamer said. “It’s really fun to race with those guys.

“I want to get more championships and compete in more national races. I want to get my name out there for sponsors to know.”

Kart racing is often called an entryway to other motorsports, and that’s definitely the case for Stamer.

“Later this year I’m planning on going to Florida and doing the Lucas Oil Racing School,” Stamer said. “I want to get involved in more car racing, so I’m trying to transition into that.”

For the time being, Richardson plans to stick to kart racing instead of moving on to auto racing.

“This year I’m trying to run for the championship and maybe get a couple wins,” Richardson said.

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