A NOTE ABOUT OUR RIVERSIDE VINTAGE KARTING REUNION
FROM THE RACE DIRECTOR
I’m Mona Sturgeon and I was your race director for the 5th Annual Vintage Kart Reunion held in Riverside, California this year. I’m not sure if there is a VKA Newsletter anymore, so I just thought I would offer my two-cents and hope you find it informative and/or interesting. I am certainly no journalist, as you will quickly learn, but wanted to share my perspectives on our event.
I have attached to this note our “2009 Cast of Characters” which was prepared prior to the event so it does not include many who were actually in attendance. A small group of us began our “Cast of Characters” three years ago and gladly accept contributions if you know someone who will be attending the event next year. My email address is email@example.com for any submissions. We make changes to the Cast of Characters every year as we obtain new info and new and different participants. This is only the third time it’s been produced, but has some interesting facts and historical content you might enjoy. I ask that you read it in conjunction with this note so you can get a better understanding of this event and some of the people who make it so unique.
This event is intended to be a celebration of the heritage of karting in real-life, up close and personal. The living history at this event is almost overwhelming in and of itself. If you have never attended you need to know that this event is an extraordinary social event as well as an exhibition kart meet. Where else can you see so many of karting’s finest enthusiasts and a whole bunch of legends in the sport we all hold so dear. Even newcomers to the vintage karting movement, and there are many, have the most wonderful stories about how karting impacted their lives at some point, mostly in their youth. Just to keep this straight, there are no “elderly” people in karting, just some “elderly” and quite fabulous machines!!!
After attending Quincy and joining VKA, the concept for a southern California vintage karting reunion was born by Faye Pierson and Tom Medley. They are still your host and hostess of this event each year. Medley and Pierson arranged a meeting with Timel at Adams Motorsports Park in Riverside, CA and our karting reunion has developed from that meeting to celebrate it’s 5th year now……wow.
On to this year’s happenings……………………………
First and foremost, to those who attended, thank you so very much for being there!!!! If you were in attendance at all you contributed to the success of this event and we fully realize the effort you put into joining us. The entire coordinating team at this event makes every effort to make sure you, our guests, have a good time and we hope you will join us again every year. You’re the best.
Karters begin arriving on Thursday and it is simply an open practice day for getting to know the track and for putting their vintage karts through the paces on the very challenging road course at Adams. The track is one of the oldest kart tracks and is steeped in karting history. The Adams family built and has continually operated the facility since it’s inception almost 50 years ago. Their contributions to this event are much appreciated. And we got a special treat this year when Thelma King (Adams Family matriarch) stopped by our Tent Gala for some of the festivities and to say a few words. Many others of the Adams Family were there as well including Jerry Adams (our honorary flagman) Tim Adams, and little sister Sharon. The track is currently operated by Troy Adams and Timel (Adams) Sebastian.
Most importantly there was Starbuck’s coffee, muffins, and the sweetest California oranges (thanks Louie) waiting under the big tent every morning open for all in the pit. The big tent is race headquarters, coffee shop, and where serve supper and have our raffle and awards on Friday night when we host the Annual Tent Gala and Kart Show.
On Thursday evening after practice Vince Hughes, former VKA President and always part of the coordinating team for this event, hosts “Vince’s Roast” where you’ll experience the best hot dog feed you’ve ever attended in the pit. He and wife Linda are a special part of this event and their efforts tremendous. Vince also keeps up with pre-entries for us and this year had t-shirts designed for our participants. Cool stuff! Thanks again Vince. Vince has won nearly all of the awards at one time or another for his impeccable machines, then he drives them in a couple of classes on Saturday. A treat to watch his karts on the track. I also saw on the vintage website a photo of four of the past president’s of VKA, check it outl.
Friday is chock full of fun and special events as well. The track is open all day for practice, and at noon a good many of us leave for John Julis’ “Earl Larson Memorial Geritol Gang Luncheon.” This was the biggest year ever with over 100 in attendance as many of us shared lunch with some of karting’s royalty. Just sitting in the room is amazing. Ruth Ingall’s joined us again, as did so very many others. This event has been going on for many, many years and was “invitation only” during Earl’s lifetime. John has now opened it to karting enthusiasts attending our event. Everyone should go at least once as it is something you will never forget. The track stays open for those not attending as well.
When we return to the track after the luncheon the Kart Show and Tent Gala begins at about 4:00 p.m.. More than 30 entrants brought their masterpieces to the show area and the entire pit joins in the fun. Each entry is such a unique addition to the show and to the history of karting. The enter the show there are no fees, just the purchase of a pit pass ($10 per day) and we even feed you during the festivities. Just walking around looking at the entries is incredible and while everyone cannot win an award, we so very much appreciate the participation and the sharing of these incredible karts, not just by the kart owners, but by everyone in the pit.
During the show the People’s Choice Award is voted upon by everyone in attendance. More about that later. This is also when our judges begin the very tedious process of picking the other award winners. I just have to tell you how very difficult this judging stuff really is. This year Louie Figone, Richard Kennedy and Dick Florey so graciously accepted my request to be judges. They truly toil with their task and do an excellent job. Make sure you thank them for their efforts, as it is a job I certainly couldn’t begin to do. Each year I pick the judges at the last minute from those who know these things that are in the pit. Ask Dick Florey about it………………………..it’s tough duty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
While our judges go about their very difficult mission, we begin the Tent Gala and Raffle, which includes dinner and drinks for all in the pit. Dave Williams, the best announcer in all of karting, does a great job. During the raffle we break it up with special presentations and this year we had some folks doing very special things, all of which I cannot remember…..but these I do remember……………
Richard Kennedy presented an Australian flag to our Aussie visitors and had everyone in the pit sign the flag for them to take home. Graham and Margaret Powles and Graeme Barwick were here again from Australia, they have such a grand time and we so enjoy their visiting our event. This year Margaret also helped Gretchen Berieter in registration so you probably got to meet her there.
Richard also presented none other than Jim Donovan of Max Torque himself (his first trip to our event, welcome Jim) with a huge replica of a Max Torque Clutch that was about 14 inches across. Jim says he will most definitely be back. He tells me he’s putting his award presentation on the wall as soon as he returns home.
There were also presentments to Faye “Ladybug” Pierson from Jerry Imboden of KART ART (the best photographer/artist in vintage karting), from Cliff and Carol Hightower of Fun Time Memories (you should have seen the lamp made with die-cast karts) and Bill and Dodie Freeman gave her a photo superimposed with a real ladybug, I think Dodie won most of the raffle gifts as well. And did you see her drive on Saturday??? The Freeman’s are just great and we thank them for joining us………..
Duff Livingstone was presented with, among other things, a cool little replica of a Duffy trophy by Tom Wilms as well. He also gave Duffy a framed article about the Duffy trophy. Tom is just a great guy and always helps with anything that needs attention. Duffy has attended this event every year and it’s great to have him. Duff also autographed IKF Duffy trophies brought by prior Champions……………cool stuff indeed.
Another true gem of vintage karting is Terry Ives, who was presented with a wall plaque commemorating his contributions, and they are many, to keeping vintage karting alive and well. Terry is and has been a part of the coordination of this event since it’s inception. He is also my assistant Race Director for this event and if you got the chance to see him on the track, that alone was worth the trip. Terry was joined for the first time this year by wife Carol and it’s great to see her back in the pit again. She tells me she had a great time and is coming again next year. Thanks Carol, and thanks for lending us your husband from time to time. Terry really does make a difference to all of us in vintage karting and for that let me thank him again.
Before I tell you about our award winners I need to tell you about the history of the trophies as they are quite special. I’m sure you all know Tom Medley, legendary cartoonist of NHRA/Hot Rod Magazine’s “Stroker” fame. Well, Tom and friend Randy Holt, custom design each of the trophies for this event each year. Tom collects peanut butter jars all year to make the trophies and asks that I remind you that he designs them so you can screw off the top and place your own photo inside rather than the one he puts in each trophy. Tom is more than 80 years young and his work is incredible and very special to us. In fact, there is an entire exhibit at the NHRA Museum dedicated to Tom’s work. He also designed our little VKA “joe karter” cartoon/logo.
KART SHOW AWARDS
LONG DISTANCE AWARD was presented to Graeme Barwick of New South Wales, Australia, and we made sure that our friends from New York, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and parts all over our country. We thank you each for joining us this year.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD went to Tom Smith of Vallejo, CA for his incredible triple, a reproduction Max Torque special with 3 Mac 10’s. There were also two honorable mentions in this judging. I want to thank Jack Murray for his assistance in the part of the event. If you were there you heard great stories from two of the honorable mentions and the winner, Tom Smith. More than 30 karts were in the Show and each was noteworthy. Thanks to all who participated.
UNRESTORED ORIGINAL was presented to Timel (Adams) Sebastian from Riverside, CA with her Dragon Fly Kart with a Mac 10 engine. Her father, Tim Adams, originally purchased the kart and it has been in the family ever since. The kart is always on display at the Adams Kart Track Pro Shop. The kart is priceless to the family and we thank them for sharing this piece of their family history.
RESTORED ORIGINAL……Leon and Carol Rippy of Van Nuys, CA won this category with his superbly restored 1962 McCullogh R-200 kart with a Mac 30 engine. Leon told the wonderful story of karting with his father in North and South Carolina when he was a young lad. Leon took his time finding this little gem, with some help from Bill Pryor and others. Great stuff. Bill Pryor was equally shocked and elated with the recognition of the kart. You might recognize Leon from his nearly three decades on the big screen. His recent notable starring roles have been in THE PATRIOT, and he is currently entering shooting for the third season of “Saving Grace” on TNT. He plays “Earl” the angel and we are simply delighted to have him and his lovely wife Carol join our vintage karting family. A little birdie informs me that Leon may be working on putting a dual together for next year’s big show.
RESTORED MODIFIED……This award went to Greg Richardson, otherwise known as “slow greg” His stunning kart is very indeed, a Rupp Kart, a 1964 Grand “A” Model with a West Bend. The kart is not only rare but truly beautiful as well. Congratulations Greg and thank you for sharing as well.
TOM PIERSON MEMORIAL BEST BUG OF SHOW AWARD Tommy and Jon Pierson judge and present this award each year in honor of dad BIG TOM PIERSON. This year’s recipient was Ralph Johnson with his reproduction 1964 Bug Sprint. This kart was so shiny and beautiful you almost needed sunglasses to look at it. Again, this is the kart that got the honorable mention for People’s Choice as well. Ralph had a smile on his face all weekend as did his charming bride, and you may know of him as he has been master percussionist for more than two decades of playing with “Earth, Wind & Fire” A special treat for him and for all of us. Thanks for sharing your kart and your story Ralph. We look forward to seeing you again next year.
If you were at the festivities you got to hear each of our award winners tell us all about their karts and karting history. My favorite part of our event is Friday, the Kart Show, judging and awards, and of course, we share a meal and truly priceless stories.
Saturday’s exhibition racing is a great part of our event, but it is really such a small part when taking the entire event into consideration. This event appeals to all of your senses and almost gives you goosebumps just walking around the event. I do not mean to diminish the racing exhibition at all, in fact, it’s simply incredible to see these grand machines perform, and I’ve driven them so I really do know and appreciate what it takes to get them around the track. I only wish to convey that the Vintage Kart Reunion in Riverside is an event to be slowly absorbed like good chocolate and wine over all three days, not just for a few hours on Saturday.
Exhibition Races Awards. We use the old motocross scoring system for our event as that is what was used back in the day.
Sportsman Junior -----------------------------Eric Pierson (first time winner)
George Friend and Michael Thorin put on a great show as they always do, but both had DNF’s sending the consistent third place finisher to the podium. I’m not sure but I think all of our junior drivers will be moving up to seniors in the next year or two.
Sportsman Historic ………………………………..Frank Mulkey from Albuquerque, NM (biggest class with 22 entries) Great show and congratulations to Frank. This class showcases the best of karting’s original greatness and is always a sight to behold.
Rear Single (100cc – 6.1 and under)……….Tom Wilms of Redlands, CA won all three heats handily. Tom is a class act and a joy to watch on the track. Tom always contributes to this event in other ways as well and we so appreciate his involvement.
Rear Single (135cc – over 6.1)………………..Steve O’Hara from Laguna Hills, CA took the checkered in this event. Always great fun to watch…………and he thanked Jay Mendoza for the ride.
Rear Dual………………………………………………..Ron Weimer of Sacramento, CA took the lead and kept it all three heats. The man who said earlier in the event “I never win anything” won this class and at a driver’s raffle he won a really cool racing jacket sponsored by Tom Patronite of Azusa Engineering. Mr. Patronite of Azusa Engineering always gives graciously to our raffle and this year he made sure he got his gift to me at the luncheon, thanks so much Tom. Congratulations again Ron.
Sidewinder Single…………………………………..Jon Woods of Whittier, CA led this class all day. If you were watching this entire class, the Aussie, Graham Powles, was really exciting to watch as well.
Vintage Driver (age 60+) (100cc 6.1 max)…Nine entries in this class made it quite interesting. Faye “Ladybug” Pierson won her very first vintage trophy and was far and away the fastest kart in the class. Bet her competitors wish there was a weight limit now………….haha It’s always awesome to see Faye enjoying herself behind the wheel.
Sidewinder Dual…………………………………..Also went to Jon Woods, and his trophy was accepted by the most adorable 2-year old blonde boy who stole the good-bye show.
So, there it is……………………and while I’m sure I’ve forgotten lots of important stuff and even more important people, I truly enjoyed myself and hope all of you did as well. Judging from your comments since the event, I know that most will return next year.
Look, I don’t do politics, I just do karting, but I ask one favor from all of you who read this…….I simply ask that whatever your politics, if any, that you do not ever take things so seriously that it keeps you away from this event because it is so much more than just a vintage exhibition meet. It is a heartening part of karting and an experience you will not forget. No one really knows how long this event and this movement will last, so you have to enjoy it while we can.
We wish to send our best to those from the Midwest and East who were here last year but could not join us for reasons including economic uncertainty and other personal reasons. We hope to see you all next year. Until then, hope to see you at a racetrack somewhere………………..
Again, much gratitude to the many who put in so much effort, Troy Adams & Timel Adams -Sebastian, Tom Medley, Faye Pierson, Terry Ives, Louie & Joey Figone and Tom Corso, Vince & Linda Hughes, Bruce & Gretchen Berieter, Randy Holt, Pete & Carolyn & Ann Preschern who do our computerized scoring and take care of the grid every year, and Dave Williams for his wonderful announcing and entertaining commentary……………..and all of you I haven’t mentioned….thanks
Most respectfully submitted,
MONA L. STURGEON
Vintage Karting’s 5th Annual Reunion
Riverside, CA 2009
CAST OF CHARACTERS
ADAMS KART TRACK
Riverside, CA From humble beginnings at Christmastime in 1959, Adams Kart Track (currently Adams Motorsports Park – AMP) has been and remains an historic track for karters everywhere.
Family matriarch, Mrs. Thelma King, is a very special guest at this event each year. She only makes it for a little while now so don’t miss her. In 2007 this event honored her late husband, Charles, who left us in 2006. A good many of the remaining “Adams’ Family” will be here and of course Troy and Timel still operate the facility in a long standing tradition. We thank them for their partnership and support of this event each of the five years it’s existed, and for their nearly 50 Years of partnerships with karting. Our honorary flagman for this event is Jerry Adams of course, and sister Sharon (Eunice) still takes time to welcome karters and in the early days of this event her administrative expertise and assistance to Timel made it happen.
As you can tell, without the Adams’ family this track and this event would not be here to enjoy and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.
New South Wales, Australia Graeme Barwick belongs to the “Vintage & Historic Association of New South Wales.” He owns a 1972 Devenson with a Yamaha rotary motor. His father began karting in 1959 and manufactured the “Victa Sports Kart” and has written a book about karting. We extend our heartfelt welcome to Graeme and his friends from Australia, Graham Powles and his wife Margaret.
We also wish to thank all of our friends in Australia for welcoming in late 2008 Faye and Duffy and Richard Kennedy to their country and their vintage karting festivities.
Bruce and wife Gretchen call Stanton, California home. Bruce owns and drives his green Hornet sprint with a Bonbright built West Bend. Proprietor of Jocko’s Speed Shop and Museum, which is the site of an infamous December motorhead party each year. Bruce also produces the clever VKA buttons we all so proudly wear. Wife Gretchen can be seen just about anywhere there is a job to be done and the track with a beautiful smile on her face. Bruce is always at our planning meetings for this event and his contributions are so very much appreciated. Gretchen is always at this event to help us with operations and administration and anything else she sees needs tending, and we thank this very special couple for just being who they are.
Lancaster, CA IKF Hall of Fame Expert in Sprint. Conners began racing in 1959, the same year he sat off-pole next to Faye Pierson at the very first Grandnationals. He went on to win six titles from 1962 to 1965. Three of those titles were from one event in Fort Worth, TX in 1963. All karters from that period admire his accomplishments and we certainly welcome him here.
Tom began karting in 1968. Tom will be here with his Original kart, a Rupp A-Bone and still has the original engine he ran then. Tom helps with pre-tech with Louie Figone and we very much appreciate his help. Anytime you see Tom you are guaranteed a smile. Thanks for being here Tom.
Half Moon Bay, CA Louie began racing in the early 60’s with a Clinton A400. Louie became involved again in the mid-80’s when son Joey began to compete in modern karting in northern California. Joey became an IKF Grandnational Champion in 1993 in Sprint. Louie was heavily involved in the IKF as a committee member and then a member of the IKF Board of Directors in the late 80’s through the mid-90’s.
Louie returned to vintage karting in 2002. In addition to assisting with tech and coordination of this event each year, Louie will also be driving his original Dart Chaparral with a West Bend. Son Joey will be driving both the single and the dual again this year. I think they take turns on both karts. Louie Figone’s contributions to karting and particularly to this event are above and beyond the call of duty and we most sincerely thank him.
Gualala, CA Vintage karting’s most colorful starter/flagman. Ernie’s karting career began in the 60’s but didn’t stop when he stopped racing in competition. One of the finest flagmen in all of karting, Ernie was starter for six IKF Grandnational events.
While Ernie fell just shy of a duffy or two he won many, many IKF races on the west coast for Dart Kart in the 60’s. He was on the cover of Karter News in 19 67 and twenty years later Ernie won the IKF Troy Ruttman Roadrace Award for his Bug laydown kart. Ernie recently restored his Hovey Hawk, which won a show award here last year, and we are told it will be entered and on the track this year. Ernie was made a lifetime member of VKA in Quincy in 2006 along with Duff Livingstone and Tom Medley.
Dick hails from Central Point, OR and was heavily involved in building the Medford, OR Kart Track. If you’ve never been there it is a great track. Dick is a huge motorcycle fan, he owns six or so, and rides them to GP events all over the country. Dick has some really cool vintage karts and is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. We gladly welcome him back to this event. He left the “zoo” to be with us, and I will explain. Dick’s wife Coney has been rescuing animals for years, hence the zoo, and she cannot leave the animals to be with us but her efforts are appreciated by all.
We welcome our special guest, Bill Freeman to our event. This is Bill’s and his wife’s second trip for our event. Bill’s involvement and contributions to not just karting but all sorts of racing are impressive indeed. He began his karting career in 1961 in the Midwest, then in 1972 – 1974 he relocated to California to race karts here. From 1974 to 1978 Bill raced in the SCCA Trans-Am, IMSA GT racing. Tom was also an SCCA B-Production National Champion and from 1977 through 1983 he was involved in Newman-Freeman Racing. Paul Newman, God rest his soul, and Bill Freeman formed a racing partnership in 1977 to compete in various forms of auto racing. The “Newman-Freeman Racing” team dominated North America’s Can-Am series in its Budweiser sponsored Lola team. The team drivers included Keke Rosberg, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Bobby Rahal, and Danny Sullivan, to name a few.
Bill and Paul Newman also co-drove many professional races together during that period. In ’83 and ’84 he was involved in Gurney-Freeman Racing. During this time Bill was Assistant Team Manager, Indianapolis 500 CART racing team and partner at All American Racers in Santa Ana, California.
For the last two years Bill has contributed mightily to our event just by being with us and we cannot thank he and his wife Dodie enough. Should you get a chance, he and his wife are positively delightful to talk with. THANK YOU BILL
Arcadia, CA Dick became the first IKF (then Go Kart Club of America) Grandnational winner in 1959. Dick won all three heat races that day on his Bug Dual. Initially a partner in Bug Engineering, he helped build the very first karts used by Team Bug. Dick was a Team Bug member and toured in the famous Bug bus all over the U.S. in the early days of the company.
Lancaster, CA Randy began karting as a kid in 1959 and ran for Tom Medley for several years. He came back to karing in the early 90’s to participate in roadrace with Kathey Hartman. Currently Holt drives Medley’s vintage karts as well as his own reproductions and a modified Hartman endure/roadrace kart. Randy has become a fine mentor to junior driver George Friend, a partnership both of them are quite proud of.
Randy also assists Tom Medley in creating our most unique show trophies for this event each year. Thanks Randy………
From Oceanside, CA Vince was VKA President in 2005 and has been an advisor and part of the steering committee on the Riverside event since it’s inception. He is heavily involved in this event and very much a part of it’s success. Thank you Vince Hughes.
“Sterling and much respected” best describes Mr. Hughes reputation in vintage karting. This man could certainly open his own museum with his personal karting equipment and you can eat on his karts they are so incredibly immaculate. His restoration skill is quite evident as well. Vince has taken home more show awards than any other in vintage karting. Vince has contributed mightily to karting just by being Vince. In addition to all of his other talent, he is also our chef for Thursday evening’s hot-dog feed in the pit.
Nickname: Jack Shaft Jones…………….a character indeed
Citrus Heights, CA is where Terry calls home. Terry Ives Industries (Tii) has amassed Championships all over the country, not just in northern California, over the past quarter century. Terry’s nickname is “IronMan”
A master engine builder, Terry was part of the NorCal-IKF gang that made Region 11 the biggest IKF Championship Series in the country in the late 80’s and early 90’s. At that time Ives was also a major player on the IKF Board and committees and remains an advisor to all sorts of karting related clubs and organizations, including IKF, and VKA of course. Terry is a lifetime member of IKF. Terry is an IKF Roadrace rated “expert” with 6 Duffys (Grandnational Titles)
Terry Ives is known for his skills as race director, tech director, fabricator and mechanic…….and if you’ve ever seen him drive a dual, you know it is nothing short of amazing. Terry builds Mac engines for vintage karters everywhere. For the past eight years Terry has devoted most of his efforts to vintage karting. Vintage karting simply would not be where it is today without Terry’s support and attendance. We are proud to have his better half, wife Carol, attending this event for the first time. Welcome Carol, and thanks for joining us this year.
Terry Ives is your assistant race director for this event, and please join all of us in celebrating Terry Ives contributions and support of this sport and this event.
Riverside, CA John raced roadrace karts in the 60’s and 70’s and won the 1969 Roadrace FKE-II class in Indianapolis, Indiana. John is the host and organizer of the ever-popular and growing annual “Geritol Gang” Luncheon held the first of every year in Southern California. In the beginning the luncheon was by invitation only by none other than karting hero and icon Earl Larson, and even then John coordinated everything for the luncheon for Earl. Now that karting has lost pioneer Earl Larson of GEM Products, the luncheon is now held in his honor each year. Thank you John. If you wish to attend the Luncheon John can be reached at (951) 689-1221 for reservations.
Montebello, CA Sets raced in the early 60’s and joined the famed GO KART team traveling and racing from coast to coast. He is a welcome addition to the vintage karting family now.
KENNEDY, Richard “This Side Up”
Gualala, CA Rich is a long, tall fellow who handles his kart on 2 wheels rather than 4 with consummate skill and a huge grin on his face. They call him the “Bishop of Balance” and he holds track records at kart raceways across the USA.
Richard’s unique driving skill demonstration entertains even the most accomplished drivers. And to the children in the pit he is the Pied Piper of Karting! Kids flock to him and to see him negotiate turn after turn with his kart on the edge, literally defying gravity. On occasion they do get to see him roll over, but that’s just part of the drill………. it does happen.
His is truly a one-of, his skills quite unique in motorsports. He literally throws his kart into a roll-over situation and catches it, balancing on two wheels with the engine in the air while he precision steers it to keep it on edge on two wheels. Needless to say it takes tons of practice, enduring bruises and scraping body and bodywork. Each attempt requires intense concentration and superior skill to keep from landing on his head. The only thing equal to his skill is his passion for what he does. Richard uses an Emmick and a vintage Bug Wasp.
Rich is supported by his crew and long time friend Will Guyan and Ernie Fisher. Richard Kennedy has achieved fame and success as a professional sculptor, hot rod builder, engineer and designer, and real estate mogul in Gualala, CA, a coastal paradise in the Redwoods.
In the Fall of 2008, Richard also joined both Duff Livingstone and Faye Pierson on a trip to Australia to participate in the Aussie Vintage Movement, which is a huge success for our cousins down-under. Richard is a stellar gentleman and has become a fine and proud tradition within this annual event. Thanks so very much Richard……..
LIVINGSTONE, Frank “Duffy”
Grants Pass, OR. Livingstone and Roy Desbrow had a muffler shop in the Pasadena/Monrovia area in the fifties (Duff & Roy’s Muffler.) In the late 50’s Livingstone raced in roadster races in southern California in a home-built Model T-Bucket built quite literally from scrounged together parts. Duff did well with his “jalopy” partially made from WWII military parts, and surprised the sports car scene with consistent solid finishes against what was clearly better equipment. Ask him about it, he has great stories.
In 1957 the muffler shop partners saw Art Ingall’s little miniature racing machine (karts) and formed Go Kart Mtg. Co. and began to build their own and raced Go-Kart chassis until 1962. Livingstone went on the roadrace periodically through the 60’s and 70’s. Duff won his first Sprint Grandnational title in 1960 in Azusa, CA in the “C” sprint class and won another championship in 1967 at the IKF Roadrace nationals in the FKE class in Washington state. He drove a chassis of his own design called the GP Glove with B-Bombs.
When the little bronze man we call the “Duffy” was originally introduced in the 70’s the IKF Board of Directors called it “Joe Karter” and “Karting’s Oscar,” which prompted the Hollywood folks to promptly issue a “cease and desist notice” and the IKF Board needed to come up with a new name for this most prestigious award. So the IKF Board went on a mission to come up with a name. Therefore, in honor of his service on the Board and his myriad accomplishments and contributions to the sport of karting during the early days of the sport, the coveted Grandnational classes trophy was renamed the “Duffy” in the mid-70’s. Duff was on the IKF Board in the early days and is also a Lifetime Member of IKF.
Duff now builds and flies model airplanes and attends special karting events. Over 80 years young now, we are proud to have him. If you have brought your own Duffy to our event, Duffy would be more than happy to autograph it for you.
From lovely Burbank, CA, Tom is our absolute guru of all things automotive. He is the creator of the “Stroker” cartoon of Hot Rod Magazine fame and Tom was on the Peterson Publishing staff for 40 years. An entire section of the NHRA Museum in California is devoted to Mr. Medley.
Tom and son Gary were karting in the 60’s and 70’s and Tom is a collector of Mac engines and parts and still owns a couple of karts including the Faller that Faye “Ladybug” Pierson drove at the very first Quincy event in 2002. So it was Tom that helped to get her so involved in the current vintage movement.
In the early days of karting Go Kart Mfg’s “Stroker”-like cartoon originally created by Tom Medley has been modified for us as VKA’s logo Thank you Tom. Today Tom still contributes photos and articles for our vintage events. In fact, he and Faye were and are your original host and hostess of this event, as it was they who first approached the Adams’ to arrange this event, and they are still your host and hostess, please take a moment to give them a big “thank you” should you get a chance.
Tom is over 80 years young and still going strong. Presently he designs and creates, along with his long time friend, Randy Holt, all of the show award trophies for this event for years and continues to contribute by doing any and all artwork needed for decals, plaquards, collector pins, and even T-shirts.
Truly a legend in his own time, we are so very blessed to have him be such a special part of this event and this sport. In 2006 Medley was made an honorary lifetime member of VKA for his incredible contributions to vintage karting. Thanks Tom, we love you. And if you get a chance to visit with him, he has the best stories in karting.
La Jolla, CA John began his career in karting in the early ‘60’s in the Chicago area. In 2007 he too returned to karting participating in several vintage karting events in 2008. 1963 saw John drive a Lotus Super 7 in SCCA National Competition. He has driven virtually every roadracing machine there is from Cobra proto-types to Porsche Mazda Lola Y-616’s. Best known for his performance in Datsun 240z’s and Nissans and brought home one victory at Sebring.
Laguna Hills, CA Steve has 8 Grandnational Titles. He owns and drives his original 1970 Bug Sprint and shows his twin Bug. Steve is listed in the Hall of Fame Experts in the current IKF rulebook.
PATRONITE, Tom (Azusa Engineering)
Azusa, CA Azusa Engineering always assists in sponsoring raffle gifts for our event and we thank him tremendously for his efforts. Thanks
PIERSON, Faye “Ladybug”
Azusa, CA Faye, along with Tom Medley are your host and hostess for this event and have been since it started.
Faye’s late husband Tom started his karting business in 1958 and Faye participated in the first Grandnationals in 1959 where she finished 2nd behind Jimmy Yamane in the “A” Class. Over the next three years Faye went on to race the world over including the U.S., Mexico, the Bahamas, England and Italy. In the early 60’s she was the only lady to join the 14 man team at the first World Championship in England and Italy. Faye counts among her accomplishments winning two years in a row the infamous and quite grueling 100 Miler in Tecate, Mexico. No wonder they had to start enforcing overall weight requirements in karting, otherwise it might have been impossible to get down to her weight to compete with her. haha
Faye remains a principal of K&P Mfg. (Bug Karts) along with her sons, Tommy and Jon, and has recently been joined in the business by grandson Colin.
Faye returned to karting with the vintage movement in 2002 at the behest of long time friend Tom Medley. Faye and best friend, Mona Sturgeon, took off for Quincy and needless to say have been hooked since.
Faye will be driving her 1963 reproduction Bug Sprint this year. She is also hosting our guests from Australia this week. Faye attends a few vintage races a year across the country and in Fall 2008 she and Duffy and Richard Kennedy traveled to Australia to participate in one of their vintage events. HINT: Ask her about putting Duffy on his head (an accident) while in Australia. Not to worry, no one was injured. Faye’s nicknames in karting are “LadyBug” and “Queen Faye.”
PIERSON, Jon & Tommy
Sons of Tom & Faye Pierson, these two boys have been involved in karting all of their lives. Both raced in the 70’s and Jon still has his ’73 Stinger with a Mac and has recently restored his Bug Sprint which will be driven by nephew Colin Reese again at this year’s event. Tommy got into vintage with his Mom of course and he has a unique, one of a kind, scaled down version of a 1973 Stinger you will see at the kart show or in the pit. It is so cool, and absolutely adorable. Jon & Tommy know so very much about vintage kart chassis they are often called upon for the expertise from vintage karters the world over. Today the two of them, along with Faye, still carry on the company that their father, the legendary BIG TOM PIERSON started in 1958. The company remains the oldest karting company still in existence in the world. Big Tom began manufacturing karts and parts and became a Bridgestone/Firestone distributor of racing tires, an enterprise continued to this day. The Pierson family will be presenting the “Tom Pierson Memorial Best BUG of Show” award on Friday evening. This trophy is a permanent vintage presentment at each of our annual VKA/Riverside events in honor of Tom Pierson and his legacy.
New South Wales, Australia Please welcome for his second trip to our event this special guest from down under. Graham is a 2-time national title holder and karting legend in his country and this year he brought his better half, Margaret, to join in our festivities. Welcome to you both. He is said to own some 25 show quality restored vintage karts as well as McCullogh engines. Graham build karts in ’58 & ’59. A special thanks to him for making the trip and we’re so glad he is hear.
Oxford, Michigan Mark owns and drives his original 1962 Caretta. Mark won “Best Original Equipment” award at Quinvy in ’05. He also owns a 1960 GoKart 800 and a rare left-handed Bug Stinger Sidewinder. From ’64 through ’69 Mark won three Grandnationsal Championships making him an IKF Hall of Fame listed expert. One of his Championship wins was in Riverside-1964. It’s always great to have Mark at this event and we appreciate his love of the sport.
Novato, CA Tom raced karts as a kid in the mid 60’s throughout the Midwest. He later became right hand man and good friend to the late Jerry Garcia of Grateful Dead fame. After Garcia’s death Tom began collecting and restoring vintage karts and has had as many as nine at a time, though there are those of us who believe he really has more than that stashed away. It is true that every room in his house, and even his underwear drawers, have vintage kart parts in them. Tom’s day job is restoring vintage race cars so restoring vintage karts for his personal please was a natural for him. Tom prides himself on having among the most beautiful and rare equipment out there, and it’s not just for show. You’ll understand what that means when you see his stuff on the track!!! By the way, a little birdie told me that he has a real “surprise” in store this year….can’t wait.
Bennettsville, South Carolina Robert and wife Wanda bought out the Rupp/Dart Kart inventory, jigs, etc. from none other than Mickey Rupp in 1974 and to this day reproduces the Rupp/Dart Karts at Robron, Inc. with the original jigs, etc. Wanda says “he’s just possessed!”
Robert’s involvement in karting spans 50+ years with both IKF and WKA. Robert quite literally started the 4-Cycle division in the south with WKA and it’s board and members at that time. Robert had to cancel his trip to Riverside this year due to family illness, but will return next year. He will be sorely missed and we extend our heartfelt wishes to he and his family during this time. Robert did, however, send some very nice additions to our raffle so check those out, and it is much appreciated. “He positively knows everyone in the country with any racing background at all, past or present” says Mona Sturgeon We are always honored when Robert comes to visit.
Ashland, OR Mike calls Medford his home track, as well he should. He has been involved in karting in that area for about 3 decades, and was really involved in tech and a great flagman as well. His karting business in Oregon was SMI. This is Mike’s first trip to our reunion and we certainly welcome him with open arms.
Madera, CA Mona began karting in the summer of 1985 at age 25, when she began dating her husband Rick. She drove for Team Bug and was a member of Team Bridgestone her entire karting career.
Mona is the very first female to obtain IKF rated “expert” status. Mona is quick to point out however that legendary Kathey Hartman won Championships in the early ‘60’s in sprint and later in roadrace. At that time, there was no criteria for becoming what we refer to today as an “IKF rated expert,” though Kathey is surely that. The current criteria were not established until the early ‘70’s when IKF created the “Duffy.”
Heavily involved in IKF’s NorCal Region 11 & 7, Mona won two IKF Grandnational Championships in the late 80’s earning her “expert” status. Through the late 90’s she raced both Sprint and Speedway Divisions and retired from competition in 1997. She also served as an IKF Board member in ’95, ’96, and ’97. Mona has been race director at more than a dozen IKF National and Grandnational Events. Also a Lifetime Member of IKF. She will be your race director at this event as well.
Mona got involved in vintage karting in 2002 when best friend, Faye Pierson, asked her to travel to Quincy for Faye’s first vintage event in 2002. Once there Terry Ives offered Sturgeon his own personal 1971 Bug Stinger Sidewinder with an Ives prepared Mac 101 to drive and she was hooked on the movement, even though this Bug was built some 15 years before she started racing karts.
Faye says of Mona “She’s fast on the track and can still turn a wrench!” Mona’s nickname in karting has always been “Wicked Witch of the West” and more recently was dubbed “Princess Mona” by Gus Traeder due to her traveling with “Queen Faye.” However, “wicked witch” seems to fit better than “princess” somehow.
Rick and Mona Sturgeon raised four children in the pits over their careers and their children all still love karting. Their grandchildren are just beginning to race kid-karts. It is and always has been a truly family sport for them.
Madera, CA Rick began karting in 1980 and drove to claim six (6) IKF Grandnational Championships. Renowned for his 4-Cycle engine building, his engines have won a dozen Duffy’s. Two of those won by wife, Mona. Rick drove in every division in karting on both Emmick and Bug karts, was a driver for Team Bug and Team Bridgestone for more than a decade. Bridgestone’s 1990 calendar dubbed him “Mr. Kleen” because his equipment was always impeccable. Rick was a member of the IKF Technical Committees for a decade as well. He was chief tech inspector at more than a dozen IKF Grandnationals during that time. He retired from karting in 2000. This is Rick’s third trip to this event where you will see him helping take care of Faye’s kart during this event again.
Montecito, CA Bill was a Team Bug member for three years and involved with the company in sales in the very early days. He participated in both the 1959 and 1960 IKF Grandnationals in Azusa, CA and won the “A” Class on a Bug/Cad in 1960. Bill learned of vintage karting just a couple of years ago and is a great addition to our vintage family.
West Hills, CA Tom got his first ride on a Fox Go-Boy with a Clinton 400 in 1959 and is totally hooked on vintage today. Tom restored and drives a 1961 Simplex chassis with a Mac 101. Son Michael drives a ’72 A-Bone with a West Bend in the junior class. Tom was president of VKA in 2007 and has always been a huge supporter of this event each year for which we all thank him.
Arroyo Grande, CA For a few years Steve drove his 1962 Kart Grand Prix with a Mac 91 and then in 2006 moved into the dual class with a beautifully restored Bug. Steve has now taken home the coveted “Tom Pierson Memorial Best Bug of Show” award in 2006. Steve’s a great addition to vintage karting and just one of the nicest fellas you ever want to meet.
Van de Veere, Dick
New to our event this year, Dick and Duff Livingstone are lifelong friends. Dick owned “Go-Kart #2” in the early days, a high rider with a West Bend 750 lawn mower engine, built in the famous GP Muffler Shop in Monrovia. This was before they were known as Go-Kart. Dick was also on the original Go Kart Club of America Board of Directors before it became International Kart Federation in 1962. We welcome Dick to our event.
Another revered karter from the early days, and no wonder, he showed his mastery of the sport in the mid-60’s when he drove his Dart Kart to win three consecutive C-Open titles in ’65, ’66, and ’67. He also won B-Open in ’66 as well.
Santa Clara, CA Scott began his vintage experience in 2001. He builds reproduction chassis and a remake of the famous Go Power wheels. He drives his Go Kart 1200 with a West Bend 820. Son, Adam, drives a Jelich prototype with a West Bend as well. Thanks for being here yet again Scott.
Redlands, CA Tom began karting as a young boy in 1959 racing right here at Adams. He also raced in the 30th Anniversary Adams’ event. His father owned a kart shop and Tom got back into karting in 2002 with the vintage movement driving a dual Dart Kart with Mac 101’s. Tom also makes sure we have fuel for this event each year and we so appreciate his support and assistance. Welcome back!!
Yorba Linda, CA An IKF Hall of Fame rated expert, Jimmy raced and won the very first IKF Grandnationals in 1959 in the “A” class, where he passed Faye in the late laps to claim the victory, Faye finished second. Jimmy went on to work for McCulloch and helped develop the engine and later a chassis for the karting market. He also won the 1961 Nassau, Bahamas Grand Prix “A” Class.