Feature Story                                                                                                   Friday, August 15, 2014


Fast Track to the Podium

Strong family support helps propel racers toward Kart World Championships

Staff/Voice photos


A dad and Kart driver daughter push their racer to the starting line last Saturday for the West Coast Kart Championship at Greg Moore Raceway.


ey dad, can I borrow the Kart keys? How lucky can kids be, who are too young to have a driver's licence, but have parents that let them rocket around a race track in a $4000 machine not much bigger than a John Deere lawn mower? Let's just say very lucky.

The ROTAX race crowd rolled into town last weekend for the Western Canadian Kart Championships at Greg Moore Raceway. The parking lot at the track turns into a small city as drivers and their families disembark from beautiful rigs. Hotels on wheels loaded with more gear and gadgets than movie set trucks.

High noon on Saturday and Greg Moore Raceway is dead silent. Drivers and crews are hunkered down under tents and awnings, resting and having lunch out of the pounding sun.


Soon, the PA calls the drivers back to the starting line. Jessica Dunning stands in front of a row of idling Karts. The drivers home in on her upraised arm. She drops it and they peel out in a cloud of blue smoke.

Dunning volunteers as a Track Timer. She comes in from Edmonton with her husband and 17-year-old son Skylar.

They're road gypsies and they follow the racing series from place to place.

"My son races in Rotax in the WCC series and for the past several years I've done pre-grid for the whole series. I travel with the series," she told the Voice.

The Dunning family love Greg Moore Raceway.

"Chilliwack is a beautiful place and has an absolutely beautiful track," she says.

Greg Moore Raceway is over 4000 feet long and was designed with precision surveying using laser technology. It takes Karts about a minute to make the loop. With all the twists and turns in the track, it's difficult for drivers to go too fast. That makes it one of the safest tracks on the Kart circuit. But it's still fast. Drivers can reach speeds up to 125 km/h on the straightaway section.

However, it doesn't matter which track her son is racing at, Dunning still gets unnerved whenever he climbs behind the wheel.

"I feel like throwing up every start, every race, and he's been doing it for ten years," she says. "Overall its a very safe sport. Of course there's injuries. You're going to have injuries with tires and gas and speed."

Kart racing is a huge family sport. Dunning says they got into Kart racing for the family aspect of it.

"My son was 7-years-old when he raced his first race," said Dunning.

When asked how he was doing on Saturday, Dunning says he did well in the pre-qualifier final.

"He qualified first in the pre-final in the senior Rotax and he finished third in the pre-finals. He will be racing in the finals."

According to Race Lab, Canadian driver Kris Hoffbeck made a move on series leader Bryce Choquer in the pre finals on Satuday, but worn tires got the better of him and he ended up placing 5th. Because Hoffbeck had a good pole position for the finals on Sunday he was able to work his way up into second place. But that's as far as he got and couldn't get past Oregon driver Luke Seliken's big lead.

Jessica Dunning holds her arm up ready to signal drivers to begin the race.

"Bryce Choquer won the Western Cdn Gokart Championship in the Senior class. Bryce is from Langley and has been to the World Championships 3 times so far. He placed 6th in Italy his first year (2010) in the Senior class. The highest Canadian finisher in this class to date," said Dan Choquer in an email to the Voice on Friday.


"Clay Van Eerd from Ontario won the junior rotax title and will also be going to Valencia Spain this coming November," said Choquer.

They're here again this weekend vying for Western Canada's crown jewels in the Kart circuit at the Rotax Pro Kart Can Am Challenge. This race features the best drivers and teams from all points in Canada and the US. Winners also receive tickets to the next World Finals.

"We have some coming in from Oregon and other parts of the states Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The race starts on Friday," says Steve Hames, youngest brother of former mayor Clint Hames.

"I think today went really awesome," he said. "I was a starter at this event. I was quite privileged to be here and really proud of it. To be told you're a starter at the Western Canadian KART Championships is quiet an honour."

On Saturday, you can catch Hames working the scales at the back-end which he loves doing as well.

There's no charge to get in to the races for those who want to show their support and meet some great people from elsewhere. There's also an excellent food truck on site.

The track is located off of Dyke Rd. which runs off Wolfe Rd.

Greg Moore Raceway thanks their sponsors and partners including: Formula K SRL, KGK, FreeM, Unipro and DWT.

For more information, visit www.westcoastkartclub.com. For directions to the track, go here.

Connect with Greg Moore Raceway on Facebook.

See more photos below.



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