Mayors take wheel in go-cart ‘test’ race

Cascade Locks Mayor Roger Freeborn is taking to the road with a new community event.

He expects Sunday’s “test” go-kart races to draw even more people than the popular Mayor’s Ball he held earlier this year. He is hoping the preliminary race in the Gorge will lead to an annual full blown competition each summer.

“We initially set out to attract 30 drivers and karts for the test day but have since succumbed to the fact that there are a lot more than 30 drivers interested,” said Freeborn, who obtained sponsorship for the event from Brian Ferguson, owner of Hot Track Indoor Go-Karting in Vancouver.

Freeborn has challenged Hood River Mayor Paul Cummings to get behind the wheel for a duel at the event — a challenge that Cummings will not pass up.

“Due to my past racing nature, I can’t refuse that one,” said Cummings, owner/operator of an automotive repair shop.

The activities at Port Marine Park will start at 8 a.m. when drivers, ranging in age from under 14 years old to over 50, will be introduced to the track and answer public questions while setting up their karts.

Freeborn recruited drivers from the big four Kart Shop owners in Portland and members from two of the largest tracks in the Willamette Valley.

“You will be pleasantly surprised to discover what a family-oriented sport this is, you will see fathers, mothers, sons and daughters all working together on their karts which is quite a reassuring sight that the American family is indeed still intact,” said Freeborn.

“This event is absolutely rated ‘G’ for all audiences.”

Racing will begin at 12:45 p.m. and continue non-stop until 4:30 p.m., with a brief halt for a drivers meeting about 2 p.m.

There is no charge to attend and Freeborn said a number of classes will be running, including children in their 50, 60 and 80cc automatic clutch karts, senior citizens with the Briggs and Stratton Animal and Raptor engines, Rotax and Leopard 125cc, KT100cc, 80cc Shifter Karts and the popular 125 Shifter Karts.

Three of the Kart Shop owners will be available to provide more information about the vehicles that are capable of accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than seven seconds with some capable to speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour.

“These aren’t exactly the same karts you may remember as a child,” Freeborn said.

He is available to answer questions about the races at 374-44460 or by e-mail at

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