Rumbling engines, screeching wheels and cheering families. That’s only the beginning to describing the go-kart races Joey Bairaktaris ’16 competes in almost all day on Saturdays in the spring and fall.
Located in a blocked off parking lot next to the Long Island Sound in Norwalk, the race track consists of blue and yellow barriers and bright colored cones.
Bairaktaris began racing seriously when he was around 11. His father is now the vice president of the 45-year-old Norwalk Karting Association.
After years of racing, Bairaktaris said his favorite memory was when he flipped over. He explained it made him appreciate his sport even more. “It just brings you to a whole different world,” Bairaktaris described.
At the track, parents and grandparents talk to each other as they work to tune up the neon-colored karts.
One man, Jim Ross, has been involved with the program for a long time. He loves the atmosphere of the race track and likes seeing kids develop life skills through racing. “It’s all about the competition, and the kids learn a tremendous amount of camaraderie [and] sportsmanship,” Ross said.
Even though people are competing against their friends, they still manage to have a great time. “On the track we may be enemies, but once we’re off, it’s back to being friends,” Bairaktais said.
Bairaktaris hopes to stay a part of the association and introduce his future family to the friends he has made.
“It’s not just a kid’s sport or an adult’s sport,” Ross stated with a smile. “It’s a whole family sport.”