Since 1981 the Waterloo Regional Kart Club has closed out each season of racing with their annual Oktoberfest Grand Prix. 33 years and 3 different locations later the volunteer based karting club keeps this tradition alive.
This Saturday, well over 100 drivers will invade the Flamboro Speedway near Hamilton, Ontario for the event. The four-cycle only event has maintained it’s status as the largest single-day four-cycle event in Canada and this year will feature both the Honda and Briggs & Stratton power plants for the first time ever.
Through the years the Oktoberfest Grand Prix has been held at three different locations as the WRKC moved around. Bingemins Park in Kitchener was the primary home for a majority of the years, but Erbsville Kartways hosted events in the early years as well as the early 2000’s. Now the club’s new home at Flamboro Speedway hosts the event each year with a strong presence from the stock car community getting involved.
One thing that has been associated with the Oktoberfest Grand Prix is it’s unknown for weather, especially bitter cold weather. Lifetime club member Jim Collison recalls years where snow and hail has delayed the start of the event. He also remembers years where puddles had froze overnight on the track and the club rolled out cars on track to create heat and melt the puddles enough to be removed. Even this writer remembers years arriving at the track before the sun was up, snowball fights and drivers hovering over propane heaters just trying to stay warm.
Many successful motorsports drivers coming through the Canadian karting ranks have made an appearance or two at the Oktoberfest Grand Prix. The likes of Mercedes DTM driver Robert Wickens, Indycar driver James Hinchcliffe, NASCAR driver Pete Shepherd and Paul Tracy are just a few of them. A trip to any short track around the region and it also wouldn’t be hard to find a driver who once competed at the WRKC Oktoberfest Grand Prix.
In keeping tradition, every entered driver receives a goodie bag filled with all kinds of excitement at registration. Additionally each driver receives a door prize from table upon tables of excellent donated gifts. The club prides itself on keeping it’s members happy and rewarding those who show up to support this great event.
While nobody will come close to matching WRKC veteran Jake Collison’s 21 total victories this weekend, there are many new challengers who will look to add their name to the memory books with a prestigious WRKC Oktoberfest victory.
So if you have a break in your Thanksgiving festivities this weekend, head on over to Flamboro Speedway on Saturday morning bright and early. With a full day of racing on tap, there is something for everyone to enjoy. CKN will be there, you should too.
Do you have any memories of competing or attending the Oktoberfest Grand Prix? Share your thoughts below using our comments section. We would love to hear them!