Trump Coin Ad
Kickin The Tires

Ryder Wells looks to another successful karting season

Photo by Jerry Jordan/Kickin' the Tires

By Jerry Jordan, Editor

TURKEY CREEK, LA. – Because of continued rainy race days, ithad been over two months since Ryder Wells was behind the wheel of his No. 24 racing kart but he found speed and success in the season-opener Friday night atLil’ Dega Speedway, a small track carved out of an abandoned rodeo arena and tuckedaway in the backwoods of Turkey Creek, Louisiana.

On this Friday night, Wells, who won the Louisiana State Championship in his age class last year, would win the first heat in the Junior1 Class. It was his actual age group but he was relegated to the back of the pack for the J1 Main after the second-place racer spun in the final lap and Wells got the blame. In the J1 main, Wells and his crew chief, Zach, a.k.a. Dad, made some changes on the kart’s gearing and Wells got loose with a handful of laps to go and spun up the track. He would finish the race in third – a podium finish that paid $20 at the end of the night.

It was in the Junior 2 class where Wells shined brightest, finishing third in the first heat and advancing to the J2 Main despite having a damaged kart from being forced into a tire barrier. After repairs were made, it was time for the 15-lap main event, where the eventual winner blocked hard and chopped down on Wells as he went for the lead. It was one of the defining moments of the race and Wells was warned for rough driving. He went to the back of the field even as fans and other parents questioned the call by race officials. The young racers were told at the beginning of the night that two warnings would get them sent off the track. Still, that didn’t keep one racer from being forced to leave the race after crashing Wells and other drivers in back-to-back incidents a few laps later. Wells fought back and finished second, unable to pass the leader – fearing that if they touched, he would be disqualified. However, she continued swerving back and forth to defend her lead on the final lap as if she were cleaning her tires on a late-race restart in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Ryder Wells and the driver of the No. 29 kart were locked together at one point when a caution flew for another incident on the track. Photo by Jerry Jordan/Kickin’ the Tires

“It was a rough race, getting wrecked a couple of times,” Wells said, as he and his dad loaded their hauler, secured both karts and ensured everything was good to go for the ride back home in Lumberton, Tx., including the additional $30 he won for second place. “Got beat and banged into the infield, so it was a rough race but we ended up in third and second. We cashed out, so I think it was a pretty good night.”

Wells said this is just the beginning of racing season and he intends to defend his title, as well as, moving up to the mini-sprint division with a new winged car he got as a surprise from his parents.

Turkey Creek is probably not the place most would think of as a hotbed of go-kart action but the racetrack, owned by the city, is one of the most-liked in Southwest Louisiana and regularly draws more than 60 racers of all ages on Fridays and even more on Saturdays. It’s run by Tessa Doyle, who had high-praises for the 11-year-old Texan. Being the defending state champ is an accomplishment that also puts a target on his back from some of the locals, who aren’t thrilled about an up-and-coming “interloper” racing in and taking home their trophies and cash to the Lone Star State.

“It’s a 1/10th-mile clay oval and we just added some banking to it,” Doyle said. “We have a rookie class for those in their first year and then we have a Junior 1 and Junior 2. The Junior 1 is for those 8-to 11-years old and Junior 2 is for those 11- to 14-years-old. We also have a Junior Pro class but that is our Saturday group but our Friday nights are more for our locals.

“There’s a lot of competition, and several kids including Ryder, Ryder wasn’t raised in racing, some of these kids were raised in racing but he found it on YouTube and fell in love with it. And he is awesome at it, you know, he’s very natural.”

Doyle said some of the locals have been racing for most of their lives and Wells is in a group of two or three other talented racers who are competitive, no matter which track they are racing at.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *