Burge keeps winning with support of family

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Even after winning four consecutive titles for his age division and finishing as the overall SEMO Raceway champion in October, Colby Burge's favorite part about go-kart racing isn't his success -- it's his family.

Burge, 12, is supported at every race not only by his parents and younger sister, but also his aunts, uncles and grandparents.

"It's really neat how all my family gets together," Burge said. "Go-kart racing is more of a family thing for me, and I know they enjoy coming."

The family travels to Blodgett, Mo., twice a month to watch Colby and his younger cousin Taylor Burge race at the SEMO Raceway. Colby has also raced in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Burge, a seventh-grade student at Central Junior High, recognized his need for speed when he was 7, a calling brought about in large part by the go-kart racing experience of his dad and grandpa. After watching his cousin compete in go-kart events, Burge began training on a three-wheeler, but that soon changed when he acquired his first go-kart and started entering youth races.

He's now in his fifth season of racing in the junior sportsman champ age division, which competes from April to October, and he recently won the overall track champion title.

"It doesn't really get any better than that," Burge said. "I was pumped."

But it's more family history and personal experience rather than practice that's made him so successful; the only time Burge can practice is the night before each race in Blodgett, when the racers prepare for the competition.

The next morning, Burge straps on his fire-proof suit, arm restraint, neck brace, gloves and helmet and prepares to drive around the raceway at about 45 mph. The preliminary heat race consists of 11 laps around the track, which is one-tenth of a mile long. The drivers wear a transponder device around one leg, which records the fastest two laps of each racer. The times decide each individual's position in the different feature races, which are 15 laps.

Despite the danger of the sport, Burge has been involved in only a few accidents, the worst of which occurred when he drove his go-kart into a ditch, ripping the wheel off. Burge had only a minor arm injury.

"I don't fear the racing too much," he said, "but it does kind of freak you out when you're heading into a cement wall."

Burge, who plays indoor soccer and is an active Boy Scout, said he can't ask for much more than the success he's had so far in his go-kart racing career, and he plans to continue his family tradition.

"I just went to keep getting better and win every race I'm in," he said.

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