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Vintages karts filmed at fabled local track

The Georgia Sprint Karting Association was filmed for a Vintage Kart show Sept. 14, at the Lamar County Speedway. Filming by the Atlanta Public Television crew focused on vintage karts but some modern karts were there for comparison both on and off the track. While ‘parade’ races were set up for the filming, there were several one-on-one races between vintage racers and those with updated and even next-generation racing carts that average 100 miles per hour. Georgia built karts included Hamilton Brothers, which has operated on Piedmont Road in Atlanta for years. ’And they’re still going,’ said Jimmy Gay, who was tinkering on his own kart with others out for show. There was even a couple of other models out for show, such as Mark Collins’ 1980 Margay Bandito, hauled all the way down from Chattanooga, Tenn., and Chip Berringer’s unrestored Krupp. Racers included long time karter Ruben Tarca with his restored Hamilton Bros kart, an updated model and even one of the next generation karts. John ‘Putt Nik Dude’ McCorvey had restored Hamiltons and Putt Niks built in Washington, including 1960 and ’61 models, the last to be made. He lent one of his Putt Niks to new-kart racer Marissa Kearney of Atlanta, who eyed the metal frame on wheels with suspicion before taking it out on the track. ’I’ve never driven anything like this before,’ she said before gamely taking it onto the track. First-year racer Hunter Johnson, driving a next generation kart numbered 88, stayed out for a personal record of 59 laps and maxed out his governors at 50 miles per hour on the straightaways. At one point he and Junior Neal, 78, on a vintage kart, held a head-tohead battle for the cameras. Neal is famous for getting his karts up to more than 140 mph. ‘But he says he’s not fast,’ said racer Xander Clements, who had come to both race and commentate, but the press box was not open. ‘I like coming to the Lamar speedway. I run the local schedule.’ The concession stands are run by the Empty Stocking Fund as its year-round fundraiser. Vicki Forsyth turned out cheeseburgers, hamburgers and hot dogs for the crowd. Many, when they found out the concessions were free for film day, put the money in the tip jar instead. ‘This is always such a generous crowd,’ Forsyth said. Marissa Kearney of Atlanta, a next-generation racer, looks over a Hamilton kart far older than she is before taking it out on the track. It is being worked on by its owner John McCorvey.

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