History: 1959

Karting History
as recounted by Don Boberick (9/18/98):

Duffy Livingstone and partners, Roy Desbrow and Bill Rowles,  built a new Go Kart Mfg. facility in Azusa, California, for manufacturing karts. The facility included a test track in which we tried to incorporate a variety of turns from sweeping corners, to tight turns and even a high bank turn. It incorporated one straightaway of sufficient length to allow the karts of the period to reach speeds of 55-60 m.p.h.

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This is the old Drone (now a more reliable "B" class kart with West Bend engines) testing on the new "Azusa" track in early 1959. In July of that year, the GKCA put on its first "Grand Nationals" at the Azusa track. At that date, no current kart manufacturer was fronting organized racing teams;we were all still running with our own "colours." Several weeks prior to the race someone (I don’t remember whom) contacted me, told me that Jim Rathmann wished to enter a McCulloch powered kart constructed by him, and asked whether I would consider driving the kart in class "B" in lieu of my own. I, of course, knew of Jim Rathman, but had never met him. I agreed that if they brought the kart over (from Texas) for the practice days before the races, I would test the kart and then decide whether I would race it. They brought it to Azusa and I made a number of practice laps with the kart. After efforts (through changes in tires and tire pressures) to get the Xterminator to handle to my satisfaction were without success I opted not to drive the Xterminator.

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This photo was taken in the course of those tests. The man to the right of Rathmann was a person whose name I can no longer recall but he was a VP of Sales for Cushman. The man to Rathmann’s left, whom I also cannot recall, was a VP of Sales for McCulloch engines. At the time I knew both men fairly well as I was also on the board of directors for USKA, a fledgling organization that was trying to become the USAC of karting with representation of the manufacturers and kart clubs in one hopefully giant group. All it ever really did was provide a source of liability insurance.

Here's another photo of Don with Jim Rathmann:

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