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So it isn’t Indy. But it figures to be a lot of fun.
The fourth Ceraland Grand Prix will be conducted Saturday and Sunday with about 120 go-kart racers ages 5 through 60-something expected.
This is one of those “best-kept secret” events in the area. The Grand Prix is probably better known outside the area than right here in the county. Event director Mike Hornyak said that the lion’s share of competitors come from out of town and from five different states. He said the park itself is a great draw for those who want to combine a competitive weekend with a camping trip.
Although Ceraland had hosted a go-kart event in a parking lot over the years, the Grand Prix was moved to the street four years ago.
“We use a corner of the park that is between a half-mile and a 5/8 of a mile loop,” Hornyak said. “We use a little inner loop of the park’s streets by the lake. We will close it off (today) and keep it closed until Sunday night. Officially, we say the track has six turns.”
The closed-off section of park streets doesn’t limit access to the lake, so those visiting the park aren’t stopped from enjoying any of the resources they have come to love. However, if they like a little racing excitement, this should get their blood pumping.
The competition includes an “unlimited” class where the karts, which cost between $5,000 and $8,000 to build, will be flying along at speeds in excess of 100 mph and turning laps that average in the mid-70s. Drivers mostly come from the Southern Indiana Racing Association, which hosts events all over the state down to northern Kentucky.
Besides the “unlimited” class, another class to check out would be the “four-cycle” or “clone” class, which doesn’t quite match the speeds of the “unlimited” class, but is hotly contested.
“You will have tighter racing, nose to tail, in that class,” said Hornyak, who is a former director of the Southern Indiana Racing Association.
Hornyak, who is a service engineering organization manager for Cummins, said the event continues to grow.
“People come from as far west as Iowa because they love the park,” he said. “The course has a lot of elevation changes and that is different from most of the events at other places. People really enjoy this race track and the word has gotten out.”
The Grand Prix expects to field 16 different classes this weekend that will be separated by ages, engine style and weight of the vehicle. One class is a “catch-all” class where people are invited to bring anything that classifies as a go-kart. “That’s for people who want to show up and participate and just have fun,” Hornyak said.
Two races pay $500 to the winner and other cash awards to fifth or sixth place depending on the amount of entries. One is a two-cycle class and one is a four-cycle class for drivers 15 and up. Each driver’s starting position will be determined by the amount of a food donation he or she makes to Love Chapel.
Practice sessions on both days begin at 10 a.m. Racing on Saturday starts at 2 p.m. and live action (which includes all the features) begins at noon Sunday. All classes will run both days. Action is expected to run through 5 p.m. each day.
Anyone who wants to sign up to race can to go the sirakarting.org website to fill out an entry form. Drivers also can sign up at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday or Sunday. Hornyak said drivers can actually attach themselves to the back of a feature heat Sunday but will be positioned at the back of the pack.
Spectators can watch the event by paying $5 per carload or by bringing two canned goods for Love Chapel per person in the vehicle.
Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at email@example.com or 379-5632.
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