Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Kart races are back

THE KART RACES are back in Quincy, and we are excited for Terry Traeder and the crew. It used to be an annual event and was sorely missed around here, and South Park will be the place to be Sunday.

The official name is the Quincy Grand Prix of Karting. I remember the event in South Park when I was sports editor at The Whig more than 20 years ago. One Sunday I walked up there and spent the day with the late Gus Traeder writing about the races, and it was a blast.

The details are blurry now, but I do remember the end of one race. A karter was in the lead the whole way and came around the last corner in the clear. The karter right behind him had no chance to pass, so he simply rammed into his competitor. There was a huge crash into the hay bales, and one of the guys simply got out of his kart and pushed it across the finish line to take the checkered flag. I was somewhat horrified and amazed the two karters weren't seriously hurt, but everybody shrugged it off as "just racing" and continued on like nothing happened.

I moved to Quincy in September of 1996. I stayed at a downtown hotel but I couldn't get near it because there was a massive karting race in the downtown streets. I thought, "Geesh, this town really loves its sports and events and karting." I was right on all accounts.

South Park is the perfect place for the kart races. The road has been resurfaced and the park itself is in great shape. I wandered up there for Germanfest last Saturday, and since it was a nice night, it was packed. How cool is it to see thousands of people hanging out on a summer night enjoying one of our oldest and most classic parks?

If you are going Sunday, get there early to grab your spot on the hill. Bring some bug spray and an umbrella, it's supposed to be hot, and enjoy a Quincy tradition making a long-awaited return.

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