Elkhart Go-Kart Grand Prix is back!

Elkhart Go-Kart Grand Prix is back!

After a decades long hiatus, the Grand Prix is back in Elkhart. Thousands took to the streets to watch go-karts race on the Riverwalk.

The last time the race came to Elkhart was in 1996.

That year, an estimated 40,000 people came to the race, but because of an accident that severely injured a driver and caused legal issues, the Grand Prix came to an end... until now.

For many spectators here, it's like taking a walk, or a drive, down memory lane.

"Growing up, ya know, ever since they stopped doing the races here, I didn't think they'd ever come back," said Elkhart native Derrick Rivet. "When I heard they were coming back I thought 'Hey, I'm going to take my kids to go see this. It seems like they'll enjoy it,' I did when I was a kid."

Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese says it's a significant event for the city.

"There has been a 20 year absence and I when I was running for mayor I said 'We are going to bring it back.'" he said.

Tens of thousands of people, old and young, showed up.

9-year-old Deangelo Bryant had never seen go-karts go so fast.

"My parents said that it was going to be a little event for downtown, and we decided to come." he said. "I'm just excited to be here."

More than 123 drivers took to the Riverwalk to race, but these aren't your typical go-karts.

"You get goosebumps or chills watching these cars, the little go-karts, going over 100 miles per hour," said Tommy Hutkins, an Elkhart resident.

For Neese, this event is about more than just speed and competition.

"It's about people participating, spectators. It's about a blue ribbon committee that planned this thing. It's also about economic development. I suspect we will see restaurants do three or four times their normal business," said Neese.

People old enough to remember the glory days of this event, seem happy to have i right back where it belongs, in their hometown.

"This is going to be a great thing for Elkhart. I'm hoping it all goes well and that we get it back year after year after year," said Hutkins.

On top of trained drivers, there was a friendly race between some local mayors. Five area mayors took their turn on the track. In the end, Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese took the win, with Goshen's Mayor Jeremy Stutsman coming in a close second.

Mayor Neese says within a couple of years this could be the largest go kart race in the country.

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