Local go-kart racer competing at national level
By Anna-Claire Terry
Go-kart racer Sarah Black started out at six years old with a $175 go-cart. Seven years later, she is racing her $6,000 go-cart and taking home the gold from races all over the Southeast.
Black, accompanied by her father Gary, will attend races 40 weekends out of the year. Sarah also added that it is not unusual for her and her father to do things like leave for a trip to Missouri at 11 p.m. to catch a race. After being kicked out of the kids division several times for winning too much, Sarah now spends her Friday nights racing the adults in Talledega. According to Sarah and her father, she still wins big against the adults. “I don’t give up,” Sarah said.
Sarah competes on the national level where many races are invite only. She was one of two people from Alabama to compete at the National Championship where she qualified seven out of 31 in her age group in one of the races. In another race at the championship, she crashed and still managed to finish in 13th place out of 20 racers. Sarah also plans on racing for the $180,000 prize in the Thanksgiving Thunder race.
Although the 13-year-old dare-devil is small, she dominates the race track. “I have to put 20 pounds of lead weight in the go-kart because Sarah is so light,” Gary said. Sarah has not allowed crashes to hold her back in races or scare her away from the sport. After one crash, Sarah recalls a man asking her if she was alright. “I’m fine. Put this kart back on the track. I’m racing,” she said.
Sarah has claimed a top five spot in four national races this year. “This right here is big time – if you don’t qualify, you don’t race,” Gary said.
Along with go-kart racing, Sarah also enjoys getting her adrenaline fix from roller coasters and parasailing. “I’m crazy. I’ll do anything,” she said. She makes A’s and B’s as an eighth grade student at Auburn Junior High School and is active in her church. Not limiting herself to success in one sport, Sarah also participates in gymnastics and volleyball.
Sarah and Gary both said it takes a lot to be competitive in go-kart racing. However, Sarah does not plan on letting anything slow her down.
“Next year, we’re racing every weekend,” she said.