A Go Kart Race to Remember

Sept. 16, 2023

Matthew, age 9, started racing go karts at the legendary Action Karting located at Bendimere Speedway grounds just outside of Denver, CO. Shortly after attending the infamous “Run your rust off” season opener, Matthew knew this was the place for him. At 7 years old he started competing with his kid kart in the Colorado Karting Tour premier kart racing series.

Any form of motorsport will have a certain level of risk and go kart racing is no exception. In his first year of go kart racing Matthew (#97 below) got in an accident where another kart flipped up and hit him across his body and head. A trip to urgent care and a splint on his arm, wrist, and hand, meant that he would be unable to race the following day.

Matthew has progressed from his kid kart through the Micro Max class and now races in the Mini Max racing class. In this racing class the kart and driver must weigh no less than 255 lbs and the engine will accelerate the karts and drivers to speeds of over 60 MPH. Since competitive go kart racing is open wheeled racing (meaning tires and wheels are exposed), any wheel to wheel contact can cause karts to become airborne.

This last weekend Matthew had a race at IMI motorsports in Dacono, CO; an exciting track that allows for maximum speed. As is typical on race day, Matthew started with a warmup session followed by qualifying where racers compete for the fastest lap time which determines the grid lineup for the pre-final race.

With qualifying behind them the racers line up and start their formation lap for their rolling start. The green flag is waved and the racers are off! The battle for podium (1st, 2nd and 3rd place) is a fierce one and 4 of the drivers are pushing their go karts to their limits all within feet of each other around the track. After a few laps one of the karts in the front spins out causing a chain reaction of collisions where Matthew’s kart ultimately becomes airborne and flips over with him underneath and then catches on fire.

Here is a quick YouTube short of the accident:

After Matthew comes to, he is met by a cameraman who urges him to get away from the kart still glowing in flames. The Colorado Karting Tour race director and corner workers wave red flags to signal to the other kart racers that they need to come to a stop; that the race is halted. There is always a medic on site for situations such as these, but the kids said they didn’t need one. After the incident, Matthew said that he didn’t remember anything about the crash itself; only when he started limping off.

With the race stopped, Greg Welch, owner of Forward Direction Motorsports (FDM) and long time go kart racer, ran to the kart with a fire extinguisher to put the fire out. Matthew and the kart were soon recovered by truck and brought off the track. Matthew was met by a group of young racers that wanted to see how Matthew was doing and to see the condition of the kart.

Full of adrenaline still and only minor bumps and bruises, Matthew decided that if the go kart could be fixed in time for the final race, that he’d like to race in it. Greg quickly got with his team and laid out all that needed to be done with the kart in order to make it race ready for the final race. After replacing both bent and burnt parts, Greg and his amazing team were able to get the kart in a condition where Matthew could race in the finals.

As Matthew made his way around the track again for the final formation lap before the green flag, the race commentator came on the loud speaker to make the announcement that the young man who’s car flipped and caught on fire was back out to finish what he started.

If you’d like to see more of Matthew’s go kart racing videos, please consider subscribing to his YouTube channel. Matthew’s uncle also set up a GoFundMe for Matthew to help him fulfill his racing dream of competing in a Supernationals kart racing event.