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Announcement*** Clarkdale Grand Prix March 10, 2018

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SteveV Avatar
SteveV Steve Vinson
Phoenix, AZ, USA   USA
1924 Ford Model T "Viscount Vinson Special"
1927 CycleKart American "Mono Wasp"
Here is a copy of the article Carlos Carniero posted on our Facebook page.

Clarkdale Grand Prix:
Round 2 of the 2018 Arizona CycleKart Championship.
A bit of AZ history and a basic race recap.

Clarkdale..., a small town few ever stop at on the popular drive between Jerome and Sedona, was the stage for Round 2 of the 2018 Arizona Cyclekart Championship. Located just south of Jerome, Clarkdale requires a slight detour from RT89a in the direction of an enormously unattractive cement factory. Most travelers opt to speed up ahead as quickly as possible on RT89a, remove the digging operation from their panorama, and head east in search of the more scenic destinations in the area. The few who make the detour and visit Clarkdale's small old town center find a gem of a place, a bunch on nice friendly people, and take a step into the past. Originally built in the 1910s, Clarkdale was founded and named by its original "owner", William A. Clark, a 19th Century mining entrepreneur. Clark was actually one of the wealthiest American citizens ever, with a net worth estimated at 4 Billion dollars (today's value) at the time of his death. He was also an important politician in his native state of Montana, and served at the federal level as Senator.
Then private property, Clarkdale was a smelter town serving William A. Clark's United Verde Copper Company mines in nearby Jerome. Although it was located in what was then a difficult to access harsh high desert environment, Clarkdale was Arizona's first planned community, and quickly became one of the world's most modern early 20th Century mining towns, with telephone, telegraph, electrical, sewer and spring water services. The people of Clarkdale lived in the middle of nowhere, and mining never was a very pleasant job, but their town was apparently a very nice place to live.

Town King William A. Clark eventually died in 1925 at the age of 86, and left a large sum of money dedicated to the construction of a town Memorial featuring a Library and a large community Clubhouse. The Clubhouse included an auditorium, kitchen, reading room, men's lounge, ladie's lounge, soda bar, bowling alley, and even a swimming pool. It was the entertainment center for the town. Although Clark died, prosperity continued in Clarkdale for many more years... but as the world turns, the town's copper mining operations declined in the1940s, and ended in 1953. That put Clarkdale in hard times and heading for an uncertain near future. The town was bought and sold by a few different companies through the 1950s, and in 1957 became self-governed and no longer a private property. In 1959, the Phoenix Cement Company comes into the picture and establishes itself in Clarkdale. A huge cement plant was opened and it re-sparked some prosperity to the town. The Phoenix Cement Company was the sole provider of cement materials for the building of the Glen Canyon Dam in the early 1960s, so people of Clarkdale were busy again. Word is that for 5 years, from 1959 through 1964, a truck full of cement would leave Clarkdale every 15 minutes heading to the dam site in Page. That adds up to about 100 trucks a day, for 5 years. Now 50+ years later, the Phoenix Cement Company is still running strong, and is the main force behind Clarkdale's economy. The Clarkdale historic town center, as well as the Library and the Clubhouse are well preserved and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

These historical landmarks would be the backdrop for the inaugural Clarkdale Cyclekart Grand Prix. The Grand Prix would be part of a bigger town event, already in its 7th yearly edition: the Clarkdale Classic Car Show and Chili Cookout. The idea for a Clarkdale Cyclekart Grand Prix was born 1 year earlier in 2017, when Arizona cyclekart builders Steve Vinson and Dennis Thomas attended the 2017 Clarkdale Classic Car Show with their superbly built cyclekarts. There they met Clarkdale city officials, who were captivated by the downscaled 1920's style racing machines. The Government officials were presented with and were receptive to the idea of a cyclekart Grand Prix in their town. After a few more meetings with the Club, the city agreed to provide a venue and the hay-bale barriers needed to build the circuit. The AZ Cyclekart Club would secure insurance and provide the participants. This was major breakthrough for the Arizona CycleKart Club which until then had never organized an event with any sponsorship or government support.

March 10, 2018 finally arrives. Race Day began as a cold dark cloudy morning. A dusting of snow on the nearby mountains became visible as the day broke. Workers begin to show up and put up barricades. Soon, unique looking cars start to arrive and fill the town. They all get parked along Main Street. The smell of coffee fills the air as car enthusiasts try to keep warm strolling through automotive memory lane. The Classic Car Show featured over 150 classic cars and hot rods, the Chili Cookout featured delicious recipes from local chefs, and 8 cyclekarts showed up for the innaugural Cyclekart Grand Prix. Included, were 2017 Champion Driver Carlos Carneiro driving the #23 Vintage Kart Co. "Italiano", 2017 Champion Team and Constructor Steve Vinson in his #7 Viscount Vinson, his team mate Steve Vinson Jr. in the #75 Vinson MonoWasp, world famous cyclekart builder Dennis "The Godfather" Thomas in his #35 BMW Wartburg, Garrett Schander in the #26 Roemke T-Bucket, Lowell Roemke in his lastest creation the #111 1935 Magna, Jon Roddewig in the new #8 Rat-Rod Gen2, and Antony ??? from Payson with his cyclekart, making his first ever appearance at an Arizona CycleKart Championship event. His cyclekart was the oldest of all 8. Built in the early 2000s, the distinct looking cyclekart's body was a fine example of great metal shaping craftsmanship. The cyclekart also had a very unusual and creative front suspension, as well as dragster style slicks at the front and knobby dirt tires at the rear.

The Clarkdale Grand Prix circuit was created using the parking lot of the two most significant historic sites in town, the Library and the Clubhouse. Both buildings date back to the 1920s, but are restored to perfect condition. The circuit lay-out was conceived by driver Carlos Carneiro, and was a challenging mix of 50% twisty technical sector, and 50% high speed sector. it used part of the natural geography of the lot with additional corners delineated by hay-bales and cones. The pits were located within easy access for the public to come talk to the builders, see the cyclekarts from close, and even take one out for a test drive. It was a short circuit, with fast lap in the 20sec range. The event schedule included practice, 4 Heat Races, a Final, plus a cyclekart "Best-in-Show" voting contest, and the "Gentleman Racer" Award.

During the initial morning practice sessions, some of the cyclekarts encountered mechanical troubles, and only 4 lined up for the start of Heat 1. Both Lowell Roemke and Carlos Carneiro lost their exhaust pipes in one of the early practice sessions. After an extensive search, neither driver could find the missing exhaust nuts which were lost on the track. The only solution to fix the karts was to drive to another nearby town to find an open store that sold that type of nut. Lowell Roemke volunteered to go pick up the part. By the time he returned, Races 1 and 2 had already been completed, with victories by Steve Vinson and Dennis Thomas respectively. Once the exhaust pipe was attached back onto his VKC cyclekart, Carneiro was able to win Heat Races 3 and 4 with ease, but the 2 top results combined with 2 DNSs (Did Not Start) were not enough to overcome Vinson's, Thomas', Vinson Jr.'s, and Roddewig's sum of point results from all their 4 Heats. The VKC driver had to be content with a 5th place overall finish and watching Team Vinson extend their Championship lead even further.

The Clarkdale Grand Prix also marked the debut of Jon Roddewig's new "half-built" machine, the low and fast "Rat Roddewig Gen 2". The cyclekart had just been half-finished the night before, so Roddewig was mostly testing it for weaknesses. Its clearly a faster and better handling cyclekart than its previous incarnation. It should be a new strong victory contender. Also having problems early on was Garret Schander, missing the 1st Heat, breaking down during the 2nd Heat, but coming back with a solid 3rd and 4th places on Heats 3 & 4. Dennis "The Godfather" Thomas had a good run all day, ending with a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th place finishes on his 4 Heats, being narrowly beat for the overall win by Vinson by only half a point!!

This GP was a valuable double-points race, where each of the 4 Heat Races was worth 1/4 points, and the Final full points, so a possible 40 total points for the winner. Ironically, the weather related cancellation of the Final, and 3 different drivers winning Heats resulted in no driver scoring even a single "full 20" victory points. Steve Vinson, the winner, collected a mere 16 points with his victory. Dennis Thomas came a very close 2nd, with 15.50 points. In 3rd, Steve Vinson Jr., with 12.75 points. A Grand Prix win is a win, and that's 2 in a row for Steve Vinson, also the victor at Round 1, "The Gila Bend Grand Prix" just 3 weeks ago. Current Champion Carneiro now sits at a distant 4th place in the Championship, and needs to play a serious game of catching up. The VKC driver and team need to get it right from here on to have any chance of making up the 14 points difference that separates the top VKC and Vinson drivers.

The "Best-in-Show Cyclekart" voting contest big winner was the #75 Vinson MonoWasp. The public in attendance was asked to vote on their favorite looking cyclekart, and #75 received the most votes by a large margin.

As to the "Gentleman Racer" award, it was a very tight vote between Lowell Roemke and Dennis Thomas. After 2 rounds of voting ending in ties, both drivers were gentlemanly pleading each other to just take the trophy. Neither was successful in outgentlemaning the other. There was only one way left to resolve this matter: a coin toss. The result finally tipped the scale to Lowell Roemke's favor, who was finally and officially declared the "Gentleman Driver" of the day!!!.

In conclusion, the 2018 Clarkdale Grand Prix was a success, and looks like all systems are go for a 2nd GP in 2019.
So far the plan for next year's Clardale GP is: Better weather, and more cyclekarts!!

But for now... its on to Round 3, the "Lake Pleasant Rockabilly Grand Prix", at the Lake Pleasant Marina, on Saturday, March 31, 2018 !!!

2018 Clarkdale Grand Prix Results:

Heat Race 1

1- Steve Vinson Team Vinson #7 Ford Viscount Vinson Honda Mod
2- Dennis Thomas Thomas Racing #35 1930 BMW Wartburg Honda Mod
3- Steve Vinson Jr. Team Vinson #75 Vinson MonoWasp Honda Stock
4- Jon Roddewig Team USF #8 Rat Roddewig Gen2 Predator Mod

Heat Race 2

1- Dennis Thomas Thomas Racing #35 1930 BMW Wartburg Honda Mod
2- Steve Vinson Jr. Team Vinson #75 Vinson MonoWasp Honda Stock
3- Jon Roddewig Team USF #8 Rat Roddewig Gen2 Predator Mod
4- Steve Vinson Team Vinson #7 Ford Viscount Vinson Honda Mod
5- Garrett Schander Team SMOR #26 Roemke Ford T-Bucket Predator Mod

Heat Race 3

1- Carlos Carneiro Vintage Kart Co. #23 VKC Italiano Honda Mod
2- Steve Vinson Team Vinson #7 Ford Viscount Vinson Honda Mod
3- Garrett Schander Team SMOR #26 Roemke Ford T-Bucket Predator Mod
4- Dennis Thomas Thomas Racing #35 1930 BMW Wartburg Honda Mod
5- Jon Roddewig Team USF #8 Rat Roddewig Gen2 Predator Mod
6- Steve Vinson Jr. Team Vinson #75 Vinson MonoWasp Honda Stock

Heat Race 4

1- Carlos Carneiro Vintage Kart Co. #23 VKC Italiano Honda Mod
2- Steve Vinson Team Vinson #7 Ford Viscount Vinson Honda Mod
3- Dennis Thomas Thomas Racing #35 1930 BMW Wartburg Honda Mod
4- Garrett Schander Team SMOR #26 Roemke Ford T-Bucket Predator Mod
5- Steve Vinson Jr. Team Vinson #75 Vinson MonoWasp Honda Stock
6- Jon Roddewig Team USF #8 Rat Roddewig Gen2 Predator Mod
7- Lowell Roemke Roemke Racing #111 Roemke 1935 Magna Predator Mod

Final Race
(Cancelled due to weather)

Clarkdale Grand Prix Final Results:

1- Steve Vinson 16.00 pts.
2- Dennis Thomas 15.50
3- Steve Vinson Jr. 12.75
4- Jon Roddewig 11.75
5- Carlos Carneiro 10.00
6- Garrett Schander 9.25
7- Lowell Roemke 2.50

2018 Arizona Cyclekart Championship Standings after Round 2:

Drivers
1- Steve Vinson 36.00
2- Dennis Thomas 29.50
3- Steve Vinson Jr. 28.75
4- Carlos Carneiro 22.00
5- Garrett Schander 20.25
6- Jon Roddewig 11.75
7- Dave Tank Jr. 11.00
8- Bob Christie 9.00
9- Lowell Roemke 2.50

Teams
1- Team Vinson 64.75
2- Thomas Racing 29.50
3- Vintage Kart Co. 22.00
4- Team SMOR 20.25
5- Team USF 11.75
6- Tank Jr. Racing 11.00
7- Witch Country Racing 7.00
8- Team Roemke 2.50

Constructors
1- Vinson CycleKarts 37.00
2- Thomas CycleKarts 29.50
3- Vintage Kart Co. 22.00
4- Roddewig Rods 11.75
5- Tank Jr. CycleKarts 11.00
6- Roemke CycleKarts 9.50



Steve Vinson
Arizona CycleKart Club

Design-Build-Race-Repeat

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Smoky Avatar
Smoky Silver Member Don Schmok
Salmon Arm, BC, Canada   CAN
Sounds like lots of fun. Do you expect this to become an annual event?



1929 Riley Bitsa

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LowellR Silver Member Lowell Roemke
Tempe, AZ, USA   USA
In reply to # 31454 by Smoky Sounds like lots of fun. Do you expect this to become an annual event?

That's the plan. Hopefully. it will continue to work out.

CmdBentaxle Avatar
CmdBentaxle Dave D
Federal Way, WA, USA   USA
1950 CycleKart Italian "1950 Ferrari 166 F2"
That's a fun looking little layout!
Goes to show what can be done with hay bales, cones, and a parking lot.
Good job guys!

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