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Photo from brochure of an Eastern Shore raceway where Bob Thompson caught the Go-Kart Racing bug. (Submitted by Bob Thompson)

Robust go-kart racing culture of fifty years ago

Bob Thompson commented about the strong Go-Kart Racing culture in York County during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. His home track, as a racer, was a half-mile raceway, located along River Road, south of Goldsboro. About the mid-1970s, Bob progressed into helping stage weekend Go-Kart races in large parking lots, throughout Central Pennsylvania.

A native of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Bob Thompson wrote: “I caught the go-kart racing bug during my senior year in High School. A job brought me to Newberry Township in 1962. I was elated to discover the robust go-kart racing culture in the area. Near my home was the Circle-C Go-Kart Raceway. It was a challenging track and larger than any go-kart raceway where I grew up. Besides our home track, the Circle-C Kart Club arranged for occasional go-kart racing on the half-mile oval of Susquehanna Speedway, as an undercard to regular sprint car racing.”

Bob e-mailed about enjoying the recent Go-Kart posts on YorksPast, however it was the Goldsboro Log House post, from earlier this week, which led him to inquire: “The aerial photo in the Goldsboro Log House post is dated 1971. If that photo covers a wide enough area, look about one-mile due south of Goldsboro, you will see the Circle-C Go-Kart Raceway. To help you locate it, I’ve created a sketch of what I recall was the shape of that raceway.”

I did as Bob requested. He did a nice job recalling the shape of the raceway from fifty years ago. That location is presently the site of a Junk Yard at 271 River Road in Newberry Township, York County, PA.

The 1/2-mile Circle-C Go-Kart Raceway was located about one-mile south of Goldsboro; during the 1960s and 1970s. That location is presently the site of a Junk Yard at 271 River Road. (Aug. 11, 1971 aerial photo; Annotated by S.H. Smith, 2021) Inset: Bob Thompson recalls the Circle-C Go-Kart Raceway (Bob Thompson, 2021)

Bob Thompson continued: “I started to volunteer as a track worker about the mid-1970s, when go-kart racing moved into parking lots. These were weekend races, usually held Saturday and Sunday in the parking lot of some business in northern York County. I was amazed how many businesses allowed us to race in their parking lots, although frequently, one of the owners of each business had a son or daughter involved in go-kart racing. By using a combination of straw bales and old tires, it was fun creating different raceway layouts each weekend. The racers enjoyed the added challenge of ever changing racecourses.”

Go-Kart Racing in parking lot; suspected weekend racing at some business in northern York County, during late 1970s or early 1980s (Photo submitted by Bob Thompson)

Continuing Bob’s comments: “Starting about 1980, our group helped stage weekend go-kart races in parking lots beyond northern York County; when we assisted in occasional track work in Cumberland, Dauphin and Lancaster Counties. We never got into southern York County; maybe another group staging those go-kart races in parking lots?”

Bob concluded: “In 1981, Park City Mall in Lancaster won the bid to hold the Eastern U.S. Grand Prix of Karting event. It became an annual October weekend event in Park City parking lots during the 1980s. Our group helped in staging all of those events.”

Bob Thompson submitted photos from the 1983 and 1986 Eastern U.S. Grand Prix of Karting events at Park City. I looked up details on the 1981 event, via Newspapers.com. The Lancaster Sunday News, of October 11, 1981, provided a photo of the go-kart heat races taking place on Saturday in the parking lots between the Sears and J.C. Penney auto service stores. Old tires and straw bales created a one-third mile racecourse. The feature race finals for 175 go-karts, in 14 classes began on Sunday October 11th at 1:00 PM.

Eastern U.S. Grand Prix of Karting event in Park City parking lot during 1981. (Lancaster Sunday News, Oct. 11, 1981)

The mid-1980s saw the largest participation in the Eastern U.S. Grand Prix of Karting event at Park City; by Go-Kart Racers topping 400 from a dozen states.

Eastern U.S. Grand Prix of Karting event in Park City parking lot during 1983. (Photo submitted by Bob Thompson)

The annual October go-kart races at Park City continued through 1988. After which the Eastern U.S. Grand Prix of Karting event was moved to other sites; beginning with a few years on the Auto Auction parking lot in Ephrata and followed by many years at the Schuylkill Mall in Frackville, Schuylkill County.

Eastern U.S. Grand Prix of Karting event in Park City parking lot during 1986. (Photo submitted by Bob Thompson)

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Links to related posts:

Go-Karting at Wagner’s Diner on Lincoln Highway east of Hallam

Mary Ann Furnace and Speedway locations

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