Organized Kart Racing in Nova Scotia can be traced back to the late 1970's and into the 1980's in Hubbards. The Club was called 'Hubbards Amusements', eventually dissolving in 1985. However, that did not curb the appetite for Karting. During 1986, the remaining NS karters continued to race, going wherever they could in, what could be called, an informal 'pickup' series.
In January of 1987, a group of these karting enthusiasts, including Paul Hogue, Jerry Lawrence, Don & Linda Mahar, and Don & Norma Nickerson, got together in the effort to build a new club. Their goal was to create a club with 'established' Rules that could be used right across Canada. To do this, they joined the Ontario Kart Racing Association (OKRA). The OKRA Rules would have been considered 'leading edge', at a time before ASN.
Atlantic Motorsport Park (AMP)
The Group then worked out an agreement to race at Atlantic Motorsport Park (AMP) in Shubenacadie and Atlantic Motorsport Karters Association (AMKA) was born. The newly formed club ran it's first race in June '87 on a small, 'purpose built' karting track. Sadly, due to scheduling conflicts with the other, bigger, racing disciplines, AMKA's time at AMP only lasted 2 seasons before they were looking for a new Home.
It didn't take long to find that 'new' Home. It was much closer to Halifax, at Scotia Speedworld, a stock car oval adjacent to the Halifax International Airport. SSW was keen to see a 'grassroots' motorsport like karting come to their facility and built a section of track, extending into the infield of the existing oval. It was short (the lap times were in the 15 second range), but it was safe and fun! The club saw a surge in membership, as people found out about them. On many race days, Divisions had to split into 2 'groups' to accommodate all the karts on the track!
Things changed again in 1998, with the introduction of a wider 'pitlane' and new barriers for the stock car series. Sadly, this eliminated the infield kart track and forced AMKA to reconfigure their track using the apron area and parts of the oval. The track became less 'technical', but faster, creating a new challenge, and new thrill for Maritime Drivers.
Hall of Fame
In 2006, the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame officially opened. To the delight of kart racers all over the Maritimes, it moved quickly to recognize Karting as a true, and established, Motorsport. The Nickerson Family, which was so instrumental in developing AMKA and karting in Nova Scotia, was inducted as Builders and Competitors. They had been members of the Hubbard's Club, in the mid '80's, when their Son's Barry (16) and Glenn (14) first started to race.
Don and Norma played a huge part in creating, growing and maintaining AMKA over the years. Even in the leanest of years, they were always the ones to step up and keep the club alive. Their tireless dedication to the sport has kept karting on the map in Nova Scotia.
Norma is still involved, approaching potential Race Sponsors, ordering up awards and trophies for the club, selling 50/50 tickets at the track, and doing anything else that might help the club.
On the competition side, their Son's Barry and Glenn, now in their 40's, and after many Wins and Championships, are still found at the track every race weekend. Barry still races a limited, but highly competitive schedule. His focus, these days, is on helping his Son Cameron develop his race craft. The new generation of Nickerson kart drivers.
Glenn 'retired' in the late '90's from the kart cockpit, but has remained highly active in the club. Over the years, he has worked on the Executive, as Race Director, and as a flagger. His enthusiasm for the sport, like that of the rest of the Nickerson Family, never wanes; it's just in their blood.