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Lightning Valley of Junction City brought their Karting show to the Ag/Expo Center on Saturday, January 29th. It was their third trip to Liberty in a month’s time and they’ll be back on Saturday, February 12th. Each event has drawn about 100 drivers, ranging in age from 6 to 60, in multiple kart classes, all competing for their share of prize money. As of the last set of races, over $20,000 had been awarded. Drivers come from nearly a dozen states, some as far away as Michigan and Florida to participate.
Ed Hasty, owner of Lightning Valley and organizer of the Liberty event said, “I couldn’t ask for more from the facility and staff along with local sponsors like Bob Allen and Dowel’s Furniture. It took a lot of effort getting the track in place and they all worked with us to make it happen. I can’t thank them enough.”
Lightning Valley has been in operation for 11 years but this is the first time they’ve had a facility available to do something in the winter months. “I’ve been keeping my eye on the construction down there and when I saw the enclosure taking place I got with Christy Edmiston to see what we could work out,” said Hasty.
The range of drivers and karts provides something for every race fan. You have young kids that have been driving for years like 8yr old Blake Skinner from Louisville and 13yr old Justin Clark out of Hamersville, Ohio. Then the next race you might find a Rookie, like 44yr old Jeff DuBois from Chillicothe, OH who has only been driving since last October or 8yr old Mathew Henon II out of Bardstown.
The karts themselves vary as much as the drivers; a chassis and motor could run $600 to get a hobbyist started or you could see machines pushing the $10-12,000 range with official sponsors helping pick up the tab. Depending on the class of kart, engines could run on standard pump fuel you’d put in your car, methanol or even nitrous.
According to Hasty, the speed of the karts is more a product of the track size than the motor. The Liberty event saw speeds in the 40-45mph range but the track they run at Clay City can push 80mph or better.
For those that say “there’s nothing to do in Liberty” and anyone else that loves speed, noise and exhaust, I highly suggest you check out this spectacle. The people are friendly, the action non-stop and when you need a break you can walk around the pit areas, talk to drivers and see the karts up close and personal.
Racing starts at noon with hot laps and time trials, followed by heat races and main events that will run until 8pm or later. Gate admission is $15 but children 10 and under get in free. For more information check out their website at: www.lightningvalley.bizland.com or visit their Facebook page.