WHITE CITY, Ore. — Indy Car racing can wait. Dirt cars will come. For Austin and Ashton Torgerson, right now i’ts all about go-karts.
“It’s pretty fun,” said Austin. “You’re not going to be good your first time, but when you get more into it, you’ll get better and better every time you come out.”
That’s a message the brother racers pass on to their non-racing schoolmates.
“I tell them that I have a go-kart and it’s fun to drive,” said Ashton.
That is pretty much the only incentive seven year-old Ashton and eleven year-old Austin need to get out on the track. As their go-kart racing has evolved, though, so have their motivations.
“These two, they want to win,” said Ryan Ruth, their instructor. “At the end of the day, racing is a result-driven sport.”
The Torgerson brothers travel the country competing in national tournaments, trying to improve those results.
“It’s pretty fun,” said Austin. “Me and my brother travel with my uncle to all the different states.”
They’ve competed in Arizona, Utah, California and Washington. It’s a busy life for two young boys, but that may actually be a benefit.
“They’ve actually excelled in school and their confidence level has just skyrocketed to where they’ve actually been doing better in school when they’re doing better at the go-karts,” said their father, Danny.
They are also learning responsibility at a young age.
“These guys work on their own carts at times,” said Ruth. “We make them clean them after the session, wipe them down, clean their helmets, get all their gear ready.”
“Ryan taught me all about the go-karts and what all the stuff is about,” said Austin.
Austin is already learning the mechanical side of racing.
“We do full data analysis on the carts,” said Ruth. “I’ve been teaching the boys how to operate the computer, how to download the information off of their cart.”
Ashton is still learning the basics.
“I know if you hear something rattling, you want to go in and ask your coach or someone,” said Ashton.
The important thing is they are learning together.
“One always wants to beat the other, especially with an older brother,” said Ruth. “You know, the little one’s always trying to beat big brother, and then big brother doesn’t want to let little brother beat him.”
“Practice days are totally a rivalry,” said Danny. “When it comes down to race day, it’s absolutely a partnership, how they can better each other, and Austin is a great big brother. He’s always looking out for Ashton.”
For more information on the Torgersons and go-kart racing in Southern Oregon, check out: http://www.sokarters.org/