Hartington residents pick up trophies on the four-wheeler racing circuit
UTICA, SD - Temperatures may be falling, but four Hartingtonites reminisced on the summer warmth at a banquet on Saturday.
This summer the quarter raced quads up in Scotland, and they received trophies for their performances.
Joey Leise, Heath Walter, Adam Wortmann, and John Kusel all frequently traveled up to Scotland, South Dakota this summer to race at the Lonetree Creek Raceway. Other than a couple of races at the end of the 2017 season, this was the first time any had taken to the track.
The group raced in Knobby Quad Oval and Knobby Quad TT, two different track styles to race.
Leise, Walter, and Wortmann finished first, second third, in both types, and Kusel finished in fourth in the Knobby Quad TT.
“I think we pretty much dominated throughout,” said Leise.
Walter agreed, saying “There was a point partway through the season in the TT that I was in first and then [Joey] passed me.”
“After those first couple of races you were leading,” commented Leise.
“But after we kind of got established one, two, three it pretty much stayed there the rest of the year,” finished Walter.
The group admits there was a learning curve.
Leise learned in the race at the end of the 2017 season what adjustments needed to be made to make the quad read for racing.
Wortmann learned the same lesson in the first week of the 2018 season.
“You look at four-wheelerer [you change] almost everything,” said Leise. “You have to widen it, lower it, full suspension upgrade, engine work. It is a lot of time and money.”
“Mostly money,” chuckled Wortmann.
“The time doesn’t bother you when doing the upgrades, it is the money that makes it such a process,” finished Leise.
At the Scotland track this summer in the Knobby Quad TT class, Leise finished in first with 136 points, Walter finished in second with 116 points, Wortmann grabbed third with 106 points, and Kusel came in fourth with 87 points. In total, 28 races placed throughout the eight races during the summer.
In Knobby Quad Oval at Scotland, Leise, Walter, and Wortmann finished one, two, three as well. Leise had 147 points, Walter had 133, and Wortmann had 118.
Leise, Walter, and Wortmann also traveled to Sioux Falls to race. Walter finished in eighth, the highest of the trio, with 42 points despite only racing three times. Leise finished in 11th with 35 points despite only racing three times and only finishing once. Wortmann came in 12th with 27 points after only racing there twice. In total, there were 35 races at Sioux Falls this season.
Next year, the group will be moving up a class after finishing this season with enough qualifying races to be eligible. The trio will be moving up to an Open A class which features more changes and modifications that will need to take place. The biggest change will be changing to different sized tires, said Walter.
Being competitive on the track requires a big time commitment.
“I’d say between Scotland and Sioux Falls we were racing almost every other weekend,” said Walter.
Saturday was an opportunity for these racers to relish in their success from the summer. They each received trophies that will most likely be placed in their respective workshops, where hours of tune-ups, part changes, and quality time with friends has been spent throughout the summer.
There will be some offseason work to be done with the change in class, but the three admitted that it was time to move on to a different hobby for the winter — like snowmobiling.
Until next year though, Hartington holds the podium in the Scotland Knobby Oval and TT classes, and next summer the trio have their sights set for higher competition in Open A at Scotland and Open B at Sioux Falls.
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