Words by Adam “Gunnslinger” Gunn
Photography by Vincent Knakal and Ernesto Araiza
To most, Crandon Wisconsin is just a little town in the heart of Wisconsin; to off-roaders it is the off-road shortcourse mecca and host of the Shortcourse Off-Road World Championships. For 40+ years Crandon International Raceway in Crandon Wisconsin has played host to countless races on its traditional Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Known for it’s full throttle mile and a half race course, infamous turn 1, 40,000+ fans and the iconic “landrush start”, Crandon International Raceway broke new ground in 2013. For the first time in the existence of Crandon International Raceway a Trophy Kart World Champion was crowned.
Unlike the traditional West Cost tracks that the Trophy Kart drivers are accustom to, Crandon International Raceway is by far the fastest and most on the edge racetrack that a Trophy Kart driver has ever seen. Traditionally Trophy Kart courses are an edited version of the larger more extreme Pro track. Although the Crandon International Trophy Kart course was scaled down, it wasn’t because they didn’t think they could handle it, it’s because they wanted to make sure every single one of the 40,000+ fans could witness every bit of history in the making. Never has there been a track where a Trophy Kart driver could driver their Kart at full-tilt absolutely pinned in 5th gear wide open until Crandon International Raceway.
With a previous days racing action behind them and some time to get a feel for the track, Kart drivers lined up elbow to elbow on the grass covered starting grid for the infamous “landrush start” into turn 1. If there was ever a time to be nervous, this would be the time. Turn 1 isn’t for the faint of heart or the timid; it’s all or nothing. When the green flag dropped Brock Heger and Myles Cheek led the pack of Trophy Karts though turn one and out onto the front stretch. They weren’t clear of danger just yet, soon after turn one Cheek and Heger would get tangled up causing Cheek to fall back to 5th place while Heger wasn’t so lucky and would find himself at the rear of the field after flipping the #511 Trophy Kart.
Darren “Hot Sauce” Hardesty and Broc Dickerson now led the field followed closely by Jeff Hoffman and “The Prodigy” Sheldon Creed. Dickerson and Hoffman would wind up following suit of Cheek and Heger after getting tangled together allowing Creed and Cheek to make up valuable real estate.
Just one lap later the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series reigning Trophy Kart Champ (running the #1 plate) Myles Cheek would put the pressure on full time Pro Lite driver “The Prodigy” Sheldon Creed and work his way into the second place position right behind Darren “Hot Sauce” Hardesty in the #599. “Hot Sauce” would go on to lead the majority of 5 laps before Myles Cheek was at it again and working his way to the front of the field.
After the mandatory caution, Myles Cheek would go on to lead the remainder of the Trophy Kart World Championship race crowning Cheek the first ever Trophy Kart World Champion at Crandon International Raceway. Aside from Myles Cheek’s incredible display of talent at the front of the field, there was still a battle brewing behind him for the second and third place podium. Although Brock Heger had some back luck at the beginning of the race, Heger was able to battle his way back through the field from the last place position and overtake the second place position just in the knick of time to clinch a podium spot. Darren “Hot Sauce” Hardesty drove an absolutely phenomenal race securing himself a third place podium.
The Trophy Kart World Championship race wasn’t only ground breaking for Crandon International Raceway and for the fans of Crandon, it is something that the young Kart drivers will always remember as they continue to progress through their racing career. There are very few seasoned professional class drivers that can say they have won a World Championship, but for Myles Cheek he can say he won the very first Trophy Kart World Championship!
Myles Cheek commented, “That was the absolute fastest I’ve ever been able to drive my kart. It was really cool to be in Crandon racing on the same track as all of the guys that I look up to, winning the World Championship just made it even better”
Congrats Myles, we wish you nothing but great success in your racing career.
To all Kart drivers: You are the future of our sport and have a very bright future ahead of you, dream big.
Trophy Kart Drivers at Crandon International World Championships:
Myles Cheek #1
Brock Heger #511
Eliott Watson #503
Trevor Briska #559
Broc Dickerson #523
Cole Mamer #535
Scotty Steele #548
Jeff Hoffman #547
Parker Steele #549
Sheldon Creed #555
Jimmy Weitzel lll #59
Darren Hardesty Jr. #599