More than a month ago, a one-eighth mile oval strip of asphalt appeared about two or three miles east of Elkins beside U.S. 33. It is the go-kart racers' favorite place to convert gasoline to noise - and a place to see just how fast their tiny race cars will run.
The Mountaineer Kartway and Laser Skirmish WV opened on Oct. 1.
Owner and operator Scott Smith said, "We are running go-karts and mini-wedges. We have six karts for rent and, if the weather doesn't get too bad, we hope to run all winter. I have ordered winter-tread tires for the rental units and hope we can run at least on weekends during the winter months."
Smith noted that he will have laser tag guns in about two weeks. "The laser tag guns are about the same thing as paint ball guns without the bruises," he said.
"We will begin having competition races for both the regular go-karts and the mini-wedges next spring," Smith said. "Believe it not, there is a tremendous amount of interest in this kind of racing in Elkins and Randolph County - young and old."
The karts, according to Smith, are powered by 6.5 horsepower Honda Clone engines and reach speeds between 35 and 50 mph.
When asked how he became interested in building a facility of this kind, he said, "Well, I was looking for something different for our kids to do. Every kid I know loves racing and this gives them an opportunity to something they love to do. Not only can they come out here and ride around the track in a make-believe world of the 'big-time racer' they can also get involved in competitive racing."
Those wishing to ride the karts must be at least 58 inches tall and not exceed 72 inches in height and weigh no more than 300 pounds. Riders must wear a helmet, eye protection and gloves and are not permitted to wear open-toed shoes. Helmets, gloves and goggles are available at the track.
Current fall hours of operation are Fridays from 4 p.m. until dark. The track is open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until dark.
For more information call 304-642-8669 or visit www.mountaineer-kartway.com.