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Go-kart track set to open in Hatfield

  • Ryan Bouvier, owner of Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting (PVIK) races around the indoor circuit at the soon-to-be-open business in Hatfield Wednesday.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Ryan Bouvier, owner of Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting (PVIK) races around the indoor circuit at the soon-to-be-open business in Hatfield Wednesday.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ryan Bouvier, owner of Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting in Hatfield, races around the indoor circuit. The business, set to open in the next few weeks, will feature 24 top-of-the-line go-karts, Bouvier said. <br/>JOSH KUCKENS

    Ryan Bouvier, owner of Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting in Hatfield, races around the indoor circuit. The business, set to open in the next few weeks, will feature 24 top-of-the-line go-karts, Bouvier said.
    JOSH KUCKENS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ryan Bouvier, owner of Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting (PVIK) races around the indoor circuit at the soon-to-be-open business in Hatfield Wednesday.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS
  • Ryan Bouvier, owner of Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting in Hatfield, races around the indoor circuit. The business, set to open in the next few weeks, will feature 24 top-of-the-line go-karts, Bouvier said. <br/>JOSH KUCKENS

Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting is set to open in Hatfield in the next several weeks. The business is owned by Ryan Bouvier of Chesterfield.

Housed in the former Danco furniture warehouse building on West Street, PVIK will offer a fleet of 24 go-karts. The 27,000-square-foot building is being renovated to accommodate 1,500 feet of track, plus conference and meeting space for groups of up to 150.

The sport of karting is huge in Europe, said Bouvier. He hopes to bring that same enthusiasm to the Valley, he said.

“I’ve always been intrigued by karting, by things with motors, and making people happy,” he said.

“These aren’t kiddie-karts,” Bouvier said of the French-manufactured vehicles. “These are the top-of-the-line rental karts in the world.” The karts, which are powered by 6 horsepower Honda engines, cost more than $10,000 each, Bouvier said.

Bouvier, 28, said he discovered indoor karting about 10 years ago, during a business trip to Detroit. He wound up spending all of his free time during that trip at a go-kart track and came away determined to someday own a similar business. Over the next decade he researched the go-kart industry and visited tracks around the country.

Bouvier, originally from the Fitchburg area, worked in personal and business banking after high school, experience that he said helped him come up with a business plan that enabled him to secure financing for the endeavor.

Karts for all ages

Sixteen of the go-karts are designed for people 16 and older, and have a top speed of 40 mph.

The remaining eight are for drivers between 7 and 15 who are at least 48 inches tall, Bouvier said. Those karts top out at 25 mph, he said.

The go-karts are equipped with neck braces and seat belts, Bouvier said. Drivers will be outfitted with “racing socks” to cover their heads and helmets, then go through a brief instruction period before getting behind the wheel. Bouvier described the go-karts as being simple to operate.

The concrete race track is edged with a safety barrier made from recycled NASCAR tires, Bouvier said. Some of the tires still have the race-car numbers written in chalk on their sidewalls.

Large venting fans will direct engine fumes out of the enclosed space.

Each race, or heat, lasts eight minutes. Drivers will get printouts of race results, including their lap times.

A single race will cost $20. PVIK is offering various packages and “licenses” that entitle drivers to discounts. Additional discounts are available via the track’s website until opening day.

Bouvier signed the lease for the space in February and has been working on getting it up and running since then, with assistance from manager Thyago Franceschi, mechanic Richard Fennessey, pit crew chief Ryan Kokoski and Web manager Wilder Gulmi-Landy. Bouvier said he’s also gotten help from friends and family.

Further down the road, Bouvier said, he wants to introduce tournament go-kart racing to the area.

For more information, visit www.pioneervalleykarting.com.

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