Overwhelming survey request leads to popular stop in Pacific Northwest
When the event was announced in December of last year, racers from up and down the West Coast penciled the race onto their 2021 calendars. This past weekend, the California ROK Championship ventured north to Pat’s Acres Racing Complex in Canby, Oregon to host a race that would introduce the growing program to the Pacific Northwest and would also introduce this iconic racetrack to many of the California-based CRC competitors. During the off-season, series promoter Andy Seesemann sent out a survey to his team owners and racers asking which track they’d like to see on the CRC schedule in 2021, and the overwhelming majority asked for Pat’s Acres. Heading that far north was a bit of a gamble for Seesemann, but with the California ROK Challenge enjoying a surge of momentum in its third year, it was an extremely positive addition to the program. Several major teams filled the paddock at Pat’s, including Rolison Performance Group, GFC Karting, and Aluminos. The positive feedback has motivated Seesemann to confirm a return trip in 2022.
“While the entry count this year was a bit lower than my goal for the first attempt at Pat’s, the turnout in several classes and the overall vibe in the paddock makes me want to come back here next summer,” Seesemann told EKN. “I chose to stay at the track for this event, with several of my staff and many racers. It was great to see everyone just chill and grill at the track at night. Several of the kids even took poles and went fishing in the river out back!”
Pat’s Acres Racing Complex is truly one of the most iconic venues in the sport, having held the largest ever IKF Sprint Grand Nationals event in 1995, and it’s also held major events including stops on the WKA Constructors Championship and the SKUSA ProMoto Tour in the late 90s and early 2000s. It’s an ‘old school’ track, which has seen the addition of a new section of asphalt since those earlier days. It’s a technical layout and a physical one as well, and the cream always rises to the top.
“Pat’s Acres is always excited to see big programs come to the Northwest,” offered Chris Egger, the owner of the facility and a long-time karting industry member. “The ROK program is currently building momentum here in the West and it was awesome to see most of the top drivers on the left coast compete here. The ROK Shifter field was as deep as the industry has seen all year. Lots of the team owners and veteran tuners raced here back in the SKUSA ProMoto Tour ‘heydays’ and their return to Pat’s Acres was fun to see. Apparently, we have changed a little in the last 20 years. The racing was top shelf in the top classes and Andy’s staff always does a great job with the events. Hopefully next year, the event will see more local drivers challenge themselves against top level racers. I think the event is on the calendar to stay and we look forward to hosting again in 2022”
Like many in the paddock, ROK Masters driver Ed Quinn had not yet been to race at the facility, but he’s already committed to coming back in 2022.
“My first time at Pat’s Acres lived up to my expectations, and then some, and is now one of my favorite tracks,” Quinn offered. “The Eggers and their staff were very friendly and accommodating, and the facility as a whole is really beautiful. The facility has a throwback feel with modern amenities. I’m already looking forward to next year’s CRC event.”
Industry veteran Gary Carlton of GFC Karting was also thrilled with the event, having brought eight Team GFC and Squadra Trackmagic pilots to Pat’s Acres. The team brought in five victories, two new track records and, with what Carlton is most proud, all three GFC chassis models won on the same day. Jackson Baldus won the Mini ROK category on both Saturday and Sunday, while Josh Campbell set the track record before going on to a full sweep of 100cc Senior class on Sunday. Kyle Wick won Shifter ROK on Saturday then on Sunday, just like his teammate Campbell, set new track record before going on to sweep the weekend.
“It has been 20 years since I have been to Pat’s Acres and it was an event I was super excited to see on the calendar this year,” Carlton admitted. “The Egger family has arguably the most beautiful track in the country and this makes it not just a race track but also a destination you want to go to! We have supported Andy and his series from the beginning of GFC, because we believe in their level of professionalism and ability to put on a well-rounded event. From quality track selection to the friendliest staff, Andy always puts on a phenomenal event and we look forward to the next one in Sonoma!”
This is the type of feedback that everyone wants to see from a race weekend, and it also plays into the current atmosphere in the sport. People are simply enjoying being at the racetrack. If you missed this year’s trip to Pat’s Acres with the California ROK Championship, it sounds like you’ll have the opportunity to remedy that mistake in 2022.
Make sure you visit www.challengekarting.com to learn more about the California ROK Championship or Challenge of the Americas programs, and follow them on Facebook.