The Unlimited All-Stars National Office

4412 W 6th Ave

Beaver Falls, PA 15010

USA

Contact: Mark Bergfelt, Executive Director

mark@bergfeltracing.com

724-462-7440

UAS Home Page

AMK Editorials Directory Page

UAS Champions

This page is brought to you by

amk masthead

This article appeared in the summer 2008 American Muscle Kart, Volume 1 Number 2. It breifly describes why and how the UAS was first started.

We're All In This Together

by Mark Bergfelt

Let's face it, unlimited class drivers in the kart racing family are a small minority. By the very nature of what we do it is likely to stay that way. After all, how often have you heard from accomplished drivers of tamer divisions, "You guys are nuts". I've even received similar comments from drivers of sprint cars, 8 cylinder modified and late model drivers when I invited them to give an unlimited kart a try. I guess you could say we are a different breed and there are naturally fewer of us in any given geographic area. It was the realization of that factor that inspired the creation of the Unlimited All-Stars in the first place.

About 20 years ago, when the ground work was being laid to get the Unlimited All-Stars started in the Greater Pittsburgh area, it was recognized that although there were definitely enough open class kart racers with-in a 100 mile radius to put on a good show it was not likely that they would all show up at the same place at the same time. There were also a number of tracks in the area and all of them offered an open class and at one time it was not difficult to get full fields at each track but at that time the stock 4 cycle classes were beginning to explode in popularity and most new racers felt comfortable in those classes and stayed there. As time went on the open class racers moved on to other things and the stock four cycle racers, who didn't understand the technology of the open classes, for the most part, did not move up to the open classes and participation started to dwindle. It got to the point where two might show up at one track on Friday night, three at another Saturday track and one at another track. On Sunday a couple more would show up at the those tracks and some just stayed home since racing against one or two others just is not the same as running in a full field. The open classes were about to die quietly.

Although there were no longer enough open class racers for each track to have a full field for each race, there were still plenty of those racers to fill a race track if they were all to show up at the same track at the same time. So the natural question at that point was, how do you do that?

Around 1989, Don Gamble a shop teacher, stock car racer, publisher and racing radio show host that I was fortunate enough to have met while I was studying to be a tech ed. teacher myself, invited me to write a karting column for his publication, The Official Speedway Program that he sold at stock car tracks in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, New York and a few other locations. (Please check out the article"Don Gamble, the man who made the Unlimited All-Stars possible", in this issue of American Muscle Kart.) Almost all of the open class kart racers in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area were sprint car fans who frequented the tracks where Don's publication were sold and were readers as well. Keep in mind that this was at a time when the internet was something that relatively few people had access to. After about a year of writing the Karting Connection, Don invited me to do a Karting Connection segment on his radio talk show, Rappin' on Racin'. What a deal! Due to Don's graciousness I was now in a position to effectively promote the Unlimited All-Stars concept in print and over the radio.

The Karting Connection was part of Rappin' on Racin' and Don's publication that eventually was renamed Racing's almost Perfect Magazine (RPM) for about 7 years. Without a doubt that made getting the UAS established possible. Good things don't last forever and Don eventually sold the magazine and I was no longer able to contribute for the new owner due to family obligations. Don also got the opportunity to move the radio show to a major Pittsburgh station but as a result had to shorten the show. The karting segment reluctantly had to be cut due to lack of sponsorship.

For several years after that it was difficult to communicate with racers about the UAS and participation in the original region began to drop off. Around 2000 that changed when I finally got on-line and found Bob's 4cycle.com. The forums on that web site allowed the UAS concept and rules to spread across the country and grow to what it is today, but even though the UAS message is now communicated differently, the basic goal is still the same, to get a limited number of open class racers all to the same race tracks at the same time.

Because there are a limited amount of unlimited class drivers in any geographic area, it is important that we all pitch in to help each other to develop as racers and exercise the highest level of sportsmanship. We all need to realize that we need each other in order to be able to even fill the field on race day. I think that most UAS racers realize that and will bend over backwards to help coach their competitors to improve, and as a result a high level of comraderie has developed. That rarely happens in any other karting class or even any other sport. Because of that I think it is correct to say that in the UAS, racers compete WITH each other and not against each other and that makes all the difference.