Spring is always a happy time for motoring enthusiasts in the Ohio Valley. The salty, slushy, sloppy roads are fading into memory, garage doors are opening and the fun is about to begin. The number and variety of events and activities awaiting enthusiasts in the Tristate is impressive, but here are some of our favorites. Time to get off the couch and behind the wheel!

For aviation enthusiasts, Sporty’s Fly-In offers the equipment and resources to grow your aviation hobby or take to the skies for the first time. Performance boaters, on the other hand, look to Lake Cumberland for the Midwest Donzi Club’s Awakening of the Horses featuring Don Aronow-designed boats each May.

Get out the polish and cruise over to Sharonville for the 38th annual Classic Car Show, or head to the Fastiques Swap and Cruise and find what you need to enjoy your ride. Fuel’s Cars & Coffee, along with the weekly Cruise Ins, are spontaneous recurring shows where any make and model can shine.

With many late model cars offering sports car-like performance, even your everyday grocery-getter can be used for recreation—drag racing and autocrossing offer the opportunity to be your own Walter Mitty. Edgewater Sports Park and Tri-State Dragway each offer Test ‘n Tune sessions where you can safely experience the performance capabilities of your machine, and then, if you enjoy the sport, go racing. Autocrossing is another achievable choice in motorsports. Everyday street car eligibility is one of the attractions. The autocross tests the maneuverability of the vehicle and skills of the driver. The Ohio Valley Region Porsche Club sanctions a fun and relaxed autocross program, the Ohio Valley Austin Healey Club offers Gymkhana/Driver Education events that cater to vintage sports car aficionados and the SCCA promotes hard-core competition events.

In the Cincy area, we are fortunate to have fun geographic phenomenon like ridges, valleys and creeks resulting in hilly, curvy roads that beg to be enjoyed. At the Cincy Motorsports Journal we still play with cars and these two things add up to our Spring Classic Driving Tour on Saturday April 18. This rolling car show includes American, British, Italian, German, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, Vintage, and Collector cars and drivers on stunning roads across southern Ohio, with regular stops at points of interest along the route: an Amish market, underground railroad station and a goat farm top the list for 2015. To join this celebration of motoring, email me at kniemeyer@cincymagazine.com for details.

Fast Track to Fun

The question often comes up, “How do I start racing?” Without a doubt, karting is the best route. The Ohio Valley Karting Association (OVKA) provides Tristaters the place and opportunity to race and win, according to Association President Josh Wagar.

The majority of today’s racing stars started in karts; Rahal, Hornish, Patrick and Stewart are well-known names that came through karting into racing careers. The incomparable F1 champion Ayrton Senna started in karting—his 1981 DAP Kart just sold at auction for close to $50,000.

Serving as the “Little League-Pop Warner-AAU” for auto racing, karting is the place to bring youngsters to get them on track for a career in racing. Plus, mom, dad and the rest of the family can race, too, instead of sitting in the stands. Karting is the road to racing. Whether your bend is sports cars, open wheel or stock cars, karts will hone your skills and provide you with a solid foundation for fun and success.

The OVKA is an enthusiast-run organization sanctioning kart racing events in Ohio and Indiana, with G&J Kartway in Camden, Ohio, the home track and the place to start if you want to go racing. Approximately a dozen times each year at the G&J Kartway, the OVKA draws 120-150 race karts, while national events in conjunction with the World Karting Association Gold Cup attract over 200 karts.

The classes in kart racing are determined by the age of the driver and the performance of the engine/chassis. The range goes from kids karts to blindingly fast shifter karts that professional drivers use for training and as a warm up for major auto races like the Indy 500. Racing at the OVKA level is a sport in which the entire family can participate thanks to the inclusion of race groups for kids as young as 5 and groups for “masters” over 35 years old that stretch to include several very speedy septuagenarians.

The longevity of the OVKA belies the popularity and quality of the racing action at G&J Kartway. Both are now in their sixth decade of competition and still growing. The annual OVKA swap meet in Dayton, Ohio, is one of the largest in the country and a place where you can assemble all the required kit to go racing and stretch your budget. The investment required to go racing in a kart is very reasonable compared to many other forms of motorsports, with a very favorable investment/adrenalin ratio that makes the sport attractive as a family activity.

The thrust of the competition is for the season-long class championship rather than trophies for each race. The year-end awards reward the drivers with many contingency products and valuable equipment to enhance their next season.

The February Swap Meet in Dayton was a fun day and we thank the OVKA Josh Wagar, Don Boles, Lynda Coombs and Gary Gregg for highlighting the path to fast fun. More details at ovka.com.

See you at the track.

Cincy Motoring Events
Fun with wheels, keels and wings!

April 18, Motoring In Focus, Think Spring Classic Driving Tour, departs Milford

April 18-19, Ohio Valley Karting Association, Karting 101 & Races, Camden

April 25, Chatfield College Classic Car & Bike Show, St. Martin’s

April 26, Sharonville Classic Car Show, Sharonville

May 1-3, Bluegrass British Bash, Lexington, Ky.

May 9, OVR Porsche Club Autocross, Fairfield

May 14-16, Midwest Donzi Club AOTH, Lake Cumberland, Jamestown, Ky.

May 16, Sporty’s Fly In and Sweepstakes, Clermont County Airport, Batavia

May 17, Porsche 356 Drei Staaten Gruppe Show, Sharon Woods Park, Sharonville

May 24, Austin Healey Club Gymkhana & Driver Training, Live Oaks Campus, Milford

June 7, Lunken Airport Aviation Days, Wilmer Avenue, Cincinnati

June 12-14, Mercedes Benz Club Star Tech 2015, CVG, Hebron, Ky.

June 14, Ault Park Concours d’Elegance, Cincinnati

June 20, OVR Porsche Club, Red Brick Reunion Car Show, Oxford

June 21-27, Porsche Club of America Parade National Meet, French Lick, Ind.

July 15-19, MG Gathering of the Faithful (GOF) & Warbird Fly In, Carmel, Ind.

July 16-19, Keeneland Concours d’Elegance, Lexington, Ky.

Aug. 6-8, Indian 4 Club Annual Meet, Seneca County Fairgrounds, Tiffin

Aug. 30, Cincy Motorsports Journal Bellefontaine Hillclimb Classic Driving Tour

Aug. 31- Sep. 2, Put-In-Bay Road Race Revival, Middle Bass Island, Lake Erie