We’re a long time away from the heyday of karting in America. In fact, there is a feeling among veterans of this form of racing that the era of karting for the sake of karting is behind us, having been replaced by video games. Many abandoned go-kart tracks across the country can attest to this. Some say that the sport has shifted to merely serving as a stepping stone for those aiming to start a career in racing and has become too reliant on modern technology—in contrast to the white-knuckle, ear-splitting chainsaw engine days when blowing up an engine, cracking a few ribs and going home with road rash was called a good weekend of racing.
The golden age of karting may be in the rearview mirror, preserved now only in photos and grainy home movies, but it’s not gone completely. There are more than a few die-hards out there keeping that flame alive—even when the flame is an engine fire—and they’re more than willing to find and restore vintage karts to race them again.
One of those die-hards is Rusty Becker, whose one-car Long Island garage has become a go-kart bay hosting two vintage machines—including a ’73 Margay Cheetah—that are back in action after decades, like Becker himself.
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