by EMMA MURPHY
WESTFIELD, Ind (Jan. 22, 2020) - Samuel Hinds was rounding the sharp corner of the track, expecting it to be an ordinary race. Suddenly, another kart from the right lost control and ran over the top of his own, causing Hinds to bend his steering wheel to the left and swerve off the track. Meanwhile, the uncontrollable kart pulled through with hardly a scratch to be found.
Sam is a 14-year-old freshman at Westfield. He runs cross country and track, and races go-karts every year from April to September.
Sam has been racing practically his entire life, nearing 10 to 11 years, with just as much interest in it as ever. Amazingly, he has never had any prominent injuries, and he doesn’t “ever worry about it.” However, his dad doesn’t quite feel the same about potential hazards.
“Any form of racing has been proven to be dangerous,” Sam’s dad Steve said. “We take every measure and emphasize on safety, and Sam understands the risk.”
Although racing seems like a fun extracurricular activity, it’s not for everyone. There are many threats to safety, and it’s not every day that one meets a high school go-kart racer. For Sam, it’s a very serious sport.
When asked if he would recommend racing to others, Sam said “For competitive people, yes. It is a very physically demanding sport but it has its ups and downs.”
Because Sam is involved in multiple activities outside of school, it can be hard to balance each one, while focusing on what is most important.
“Racing is a distraction from school,” Steve said. “Sam has to meet our school expectations to be able to race, and he’s doing a great job!” Sam makes sure to keep his priorities straight so that he doesn’t lose privileges.
The karts are one of the most significant parts of racing, especially making sure they are safe and well constructed. A company in Lebanon produces the karts, called ‘Midgets,’ but more people are involved in the preparation process.
“Sam, I, and his Uncle Al all tune, work, and repair his cars together each race,” Steve said. “A lot of time goes into preparing, testing, and repairing between races.”
Sam’s dad is extremely involved in his racing life. During the racing season, it practically consumes his schedule.
“Racing involves a lot of work during a race, but three times as much off track,” Steve said. “During the off-season, things slow a bit. A few years back, Sam raced all year long. That was a fun but tiresome season.” Steve’s workload has greatly decreased over the years.
Although kart racing for a teen may not seem serious to some, it has great potential for being a future career for Sam. It has become a very important part of his life, a passionate hobby.
“I plan on driving and racing for the rest of my life until I can no longer physically compete,” Sam said.