Saturday, September 6, 2003
With vehicles exceeding speeds of 80 mph, the action at the Steamboat Grand Prix of Kart Racing appears to be a blur of color, noise and excitement.
"Last year's race was great for excitement," Steamboat driver Steve Peachout said. "But my view was from the back of the pack."
Peachout started go-kart racing three years ago and is aiming to change his vantage point in this year's Grand Prix, which will be held at the Meadows parking lot Sept. 13-14.
"There is a definite learning curve in this sport," friend and event organizer Byron Radcliff said.
Peachout has spent the past year competing in 125cc Master's Class events and will find out just how much he has learned when this year's races return next weekend.
But the driver said that where he finishes is secondary to getting out to the racetrack and pushing his custom kart to the limits.
"I've always been a big fan of open-wheeled racing," Peachout said. "But the idea of racing at that level is just too far-fetched."
For Radcliff, karting is a family affair.
"This is a family sport," Radcliff said. "About 90 percent of the drivers come with their families and make a weekend out of it."
Radcliff spends most of the summer traveling to go-kart races with his son, who also races. He brought the go-kart races to Steamboat Springs last year with the idea of making it an annual event.
The races are expected to draw at least 100 drivers competing in 12 classes. The racing action will begin with qualifying heats Saturday. Finals are scheduled for Sept. 14.
The gates will open at 8 a.m. both days with racing starting at 9 a.m. General admission is free, but there is an $8 charge to get into the paddock area.
Radcliff said top-name drivers, such as Bobby Wilson, the No. 1 shifter kart driver in the country, and Adrian Carrio, a top 80cc junior shifter kart driver, are expected to be in Steamboat for this year's race.
"Everybody out there is pretty serious," Radcliff said.
The races will be the seventh and final event of the Colorado State Sprint Championships. Two races were held earlier this summer in Erie, two races were held at Bandimere near Denver and two took place at the Grand Junction Motor Speedway.
Steamboat will host one event, with $1,000 purses in the 125 pro class and TAG class.