Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Drivers Take on Spina Bifida; about 80 Go-Cart Racers Hit the Track to Raise Funds

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Drivers Take on Spina Bifida; about 80 Go-Cart Racers Hit the Track to Raise Funds

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Times-Union staff writer

Twenty-five go-carts and about 80 drivers spent a sunny Saturday racing each other and the clock, raising close to $12,000 for the Spina Bifida Association of Jacksonville, with more donations yet to be counted.

The second Jacksonville Grand Prix to Benefit Spina Bifida pitted racers in 10-hp, 50-mph go-carts in a six-hour endurance race at the Jacksonville Karting Complex at 10244 103rd St., with 15 mandatory pit stops to change drivers or add fuel.

Teams of three to six drivers each, from as far away as Sweden, paid $1,800 each to compete in the race. That's up from last year and made for great fund-raising and racing, said association spokeswoman Jackie Lightsey.

"We doubled as far as carts from last year, with 11 last year and 25 this time. We also did a lot better in donations this year," she said. "I didn't realize how different it would be, how serious people would take this, and how much fun."

Spina Bifida is a congenital condition that causes the spine to close improperly during early pregnancy, allowing it to protrude through the spinal cord. Children with the condition can suffer weakness and paralysis of the legs and other problems. Race chairman Rick Mansfield said he came up with the race first as a way to have fun. When Southside friend Bill Warner's granddaughter Lindsey was born with spina bifida, they decided to race and raise funds.

"We were almost sold out this year," said Mansfield, who competed both years.

"It went great. Everyone had a great time and we raised a lot of money. It looks like half the cars are already spoken for next year," said the Ponte Vedra resident. "It turned out to be an opportunity for people to be racers and raise money for a lifetime affliction that not many people know about."

Funds raised in the annual race will help reimburse families of spina bifida patients for medical services and the association's summer camp and field trips. …

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