Funks Masters of the Karts
There is an old Hindu proverb, “Help your brother’s boat across, and your own will reach the shore.”
For brothers Nick and Ryan Funk of Wysox, the goal isn’t a distant shore, it is the checkered flag at the end of a kart race at Wyalusing Valley Motorsports Park (WVMP).
The siblings have seen that flag many times this season at the Homets Ferry track.
Through the July 30 race date, Nick, 16, led the Sportsmen kart division, holding a solid 56-point lead over runner-up Logan Terry, the Clone division leader.
Ryan, 12, was locked in a tighter battle in the Sportskids division, leading Collin Hadlock, who races out of the Funk trailer, by just 31 points through July 30.
Between the two brothers, they had collected 11 feature victories this season, with Ryan holding a 6-5 edge.
Their success is very much a team effort as they do almost all the work on the machines.
Big brother, Nick, does most of the mechanical work on the karts.
“I work on them 12-to-15 hours a week,” Nick said. “As soon as I get out of work, I go home and work on them.”
He checks the mechanical components, including checking on the all-important tires and bearings.
“I make sure they are in good shape,” he said.
Ryan chips in, cleaning the chassis and other tasks, putting in around two hours a week.
Racing a pair of karts, as inexpensive as they are to other forms of motorsports, can be pricey.
Nick estimates that it takes $500 to run a kart per season. Double that if you tear up the body in incidents.
Fortunately, both karts have run with the original bodywork for the past couple of years.
Sponsorship is important and both karts are well stickered with supporters’ logos, including Lamphere Trucking, which is a major sponsor.
The boys have been racing for less than four years thanks to a conversation their father, Rob, had with WVMP track promoter Billy Maynard.
“Billy Maynard had karts for sale,” Nick explained. “He told my dad about them. We went and looked and liked it.
“We started racing.”
Nick hit the track first, being a 3.5-year veteran at WVMP. He won the Junior Gold championship in 2010.
Moving up to the very competitive Sportsmen division, Nick hasn’t missed a beat.
Week after week, the Sportsmen field is the largest of the kart divisions at the track, including some very accomplished drivers.
The Sportskids division in which Ryan competes may not be as deep in talent, but it is a very good stepping stone between the Youth karts and the much faster Adult divisions.
Both boys follow the theory that patience is a virtue on the track.
“I try to stay calm,” Nick said. “If someone gets by you, you try to wait until they make a mistake.”
Ryan also runs his own race.
“I don’t let people get in my mind,” he said.
When asked if they were hoping to move up from the karts, Nick explained there is a Slingshot in the garage waiting to be raced.
“We’ve got a bigger car we’d like to get down here, but we’re not having much luck with it,” he said.
For now, they are content to race the karts.
“It’s fun racing with all my friends every weekend,” Ryan said, summing up both boys’ attitude.