LIMESTONE, Maine — Jake Daniele of Pownal was the fastest competitor in each of the two days of the Cumberland Motor Club’s fourth annual autocross over the weekend at the Loring Commerce Center.
Daniele posted his fast times over the runways of the former Loring Air Force Base with his Intrepid shifter kart sporting a six-speed 125cc motorcycle engine.
He posted a time of 1 minute, 37.253 seconds over a 1.5-mile course.
The event utilized the 2.5-mile runways and taxiways at the base to provide top-notch courses where 75 sports car drivers raced their sports car or racing kart against the clock.
Freeport’s Dan Morency posted the second-fastest time for race karts on Saturday. Fernando Stelser of Brunswick was fastest of the karts on Sunday (1:43.61) after his engine blew on Saturday.
The highlight of the kart racing portion of the event was the debut of novice kart racer Kristina Hart of Old Town. She stepped into a shifter kart owned by Morency in Sunday’s event and turned times only four seconds slower than the faster veterans of kart racing. Hart never had raced any kart other than fun karts at amusement parks.
“I never have driven an autocross. I have ridden as a passenger before,” Hart said. “It was awesome. It was a wicked adrenaline rush. It was great, you feel everything.”
Hart’s friend Gary Bellefleur of Old Town invited her to Loring two years ago. This year, veteran kart racer Morency invited her to try his Sodi KM shifter kart at Sunday’s event.
“She did a great job. She took my kart out on the runway to get a feel for it,” Morency said. “Fellow karter Jake Daniele told her to put her foot in it and all of a sudden she was screaming up the runway in second gear.”
Morency said that Hart has a future as a shifter kart autocrosser.
“She came back after her run and said, ‘You’re right, everything happens so fast it’s like a tunnel. It’s like on Star Trek when they go into warp drive and all the stars blend together,’” Hart said.
“I think that somehow I will get into autocrossing, whether it is in my own car [Audi TT] or getting a shifter kart,” Hart added. “It is a lot of fun and I will be here more often, that is for sure.”
The fastest auto racer was Mark Chessick of New Hampshire in his race-prepared 2001 Honda S2000. Chessick was the pre-race favorite because of his reputation for precise driving skills and experience as an autocross driver.
Gardiner’s Carl Perry, a retired Air Force noncommissioned officer, set the second-fastest time for autos. Perry came back from a disappointing 2012 race at Loring when he was plagued by mechanical issues. Perry is the Cumberland Motor Club’s public relations chairman.
“This event was one of our best. We had great weather with strong attendance all weekend. It was a win-win event. We will be back next year,” autocross chairman Per Chris Moberg of Standish said.
Autocross is a temporary race course, defined by traffic cones, which challenges a driver’s skills negotiating the route as quickly as possible while maintaining control of the car. Cars run the course one at a time and are timed. Penalty points are added for off-course excursions or knocking down cones.