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Racing through Labor Day

Posted: September 1, 2008 8:19 p.m.
Updated: November 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Farrell Banks, of Valencia, spent much of his Labor Day burning rubber at MB2 Indoor Go-Kart Racing Complex in Sylmar.

With traffic backed up on Interstate 5 marking the end of the Labor Day weekend, some people beat the traffic and stretched their holiday weekend a few hours longer.

MB2 Indoor Go-Kart Racing Complex saw above average crowds Labor Day. When doors opened at 10 a.m., racers were already lined up. Those who arrived after 10 a.m. faced wait times of more than two hours, Rounds said.

For some racers it was all worth it.

"This is really fun," Farrell Banks said. Banks, 33, brought his son and nephew for an afternoon of racing, before the three headed back to Banks' home to fire up the barbecue. Banks said even though he is in his thirties, he is not too old to race a go-kart. "I don't care how old you are, this is fun," he said.

Rounds said he sees people in their 70s turning laps at MB2.

Racers run 14 laps, the karts are identical and a race monitor watches for any racer who pulls too far from the pack, Rounds said. A huge remote control takes over and slows the kart down bringing the lead kart in reach of the other racers. The opposite is true for karts near the back of the pack. Those karts are sped up to catch the lead pack. It makes for a more competitive race, Rounds said.

Labor Day is new for Phill Liveira. The former Canadian just moved to the United States earlier this year. He came to MB2 to blow off steam after spending most of the summer on a rock tour.

Liveira said racing go-karts is not much different than racing big cars. "It's all about tight lines," he said. Liveira should know. He restores and races classic cars. "This is just a big blast," he said about racing carts.

There are some tricks to getting a go-kart around the tight turns of MB2. "You need to shift your weight and move your hips," Liveira said. Just like racing a motorcycle, go-kart racers use their weight to negotiate the turns and keep the vehicle center of gravity in the right place, he said.

The technique worked for Liveira. He finished first in his race and gloated in front of his friends after the race. "Now we're going back to my house and have a huge barbecue," he said sporting a huge grin.

Labor Day truly was the last day of summer for Robert Tehee. Tehee starts high school tomorrow and spent part of his last day off sleeping in and the rest of the day racing his friends on the go-kart track.

"This is the best way to end the summer," he said.


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