Dave Oryschak says that in eight years of go-karting at South Sask. Kart Club, he has never seen anyone seriously injured.
“I’d say if you looked at the statistics injury-wise, I would be very safe to say it’s much safer than even hockey or soccer, any of the other ball stick sports, definitely football,” said Oryschak.
Oryschak and his two children enjoy racing together as a family.
“It’s very family oriented, it’s challenging, it also instills discipline, goal setting and goal accomplishment for the kids,” said Oryschak.
Oryschak and his son are a part of the senior grid, which is the largest group in the club. His ten year old daughter has been go-karting with the club for the past three years and is a part of the junior grid.
“She’s growing with the sport. As she gets more comfortable, she goes a little faster and she likes the thrill of driving and passing,” said Oryschak.
Club president Dave Gulash takes pride in making his go-karting club family friendly.
“It is a sport that the entire family can participate in together and sometimes race against each other,” said Gulash.
The club used to operate out of the Lumsden area, but in 2017 was able to build its own track, WF Botkin Raceway located north of Regina. Gulash describes this location change as a “massive turning point for the club.”
The track is outdoors, which means the club’s go-karting season lasts only as long as the nice weather.
Regina’s only indoor recreational go-karting track, located at Sky Park, is currently closed for unspecified reasons. An employee declined to comment further.
Gulash believes recreational and professional go-karting go hand-in-hand.
“Kart clubs all over do benefit from these businesses, we see people come out and join the club and get the full experience of a race kart racing against sometimes 30 other karts on the track at the same time,” said Gulash.
The club sees racers of all ages. There are go-karters that start as young as five years old that are doing laps. Once they turn eight years old, they can officially race. The club sees older racers too, Gulash said, mentioning some club members are older than 60.
Gulash hopes more people learn about their club, and go-karting in general. He provides free admission to all of the races to help generate interest and curiosity in the sport.
The club hosts 11-13 race days per season, which usually occur on Sundays. Becoming a member of an affiliated karting club allows members access to other clubs in Canada. Neighboring drivers from B.C., Manitoba and Alberta will often drive up to watch races here in Regina.
In terms of safety, Gulash agrees that go-karting is safer than people may know.
“The go-karts have evolved as well as the safety gear the racers wear, which make kart racing one of the safest forms of motorsports. While kart racing is safe, it allows a level of competitiveness and adrenaline unlike any other sport,” said Gulash.
Nicole Wotherspoon is a beginner go-karter from Saskatoon. She enjoys trying new recreational activities that pique her interest. She has only attempted go-karting a few times, always enjoying her time on the track.
“It’s fun, it’s kind of exhilarating in a way, I suppose. Similar to going on a roller coaster, I think. It’s not dangerous,” said Wotherspoon.
Featured Image: go-karters racing down the track at South Sask Kart Club. Photo courtesy of SSKC’s Facebook page.