The beginnings of the modern-day Galletta’s Go-Kart track – The mid-1990s.

1990s Videos on YouTube

We do have some of our 1990s videos on VHS. However, the process of digitally transferring them to DVD or YouTube is time consuming and somewhat risky due to the fragility of old tapes and working VHS players. Also, the footage isn’t that great–fairly grainy, little to no narration, sometimes had serious flutter and wowza timing issues and quality fluctuations… and it showed things got testy! With only three competitors in every single race (founding brothers Matt, Chris and their dad Wes Stevens), and karts that broke very easily (they last far better nowadays with stronger grade chain and drive-wheel systems and such), some rather foul language erupted on fairly regular fashion!

1996 galletta classic

The 1st Annual Galletta’s Greenhouse Karting Klassic: 1996!

Nowadays, with our club being a speedy class of hybrid karts (part racing kart, part yard kart), it’s almost humorous to look back at our humble beginnings racing what was the basically yard karts with box stock Briggs & Stratton 5hp flat-head motors. Matt got his original #3 Go-Kart in 1990. It was a used neon-green Manco yard kart. Oddly, one of Chris’ lifelong friends, David Scruton originally owned the kart and sold it to a small engine shop, which took a good motor off of it, put a crappy motor on it, and sold it for a profit. Had Dave and Matt knew, they could have made each other a better deal. The old kart used to be driven around the Galletta’s Greenhouse property in a grand prix type track (often with his always tall-tale-telling friend John Gibson in the passenger side seat), which also could be shortened at will to an oval around the old “Crusher Coliseum” football field.

A year or two later, Chris getting a tank of a Thunder Island Kart, which was named “Black Bart” #1, painted to resemble Chris’ childhood favorite driver Doug Heveron’s early 1980s Supermodified. Matt, Chris, and friends (including Jesse Vivlemore and cousin Brian Galletta) used to race by taking turns and having elimination events. However, the original #1 was too heavy to compete with the smaller #3, so they stripped it and used the parts to build the first homemade “Ogre Chassis”, the Galletta’s #2. Chris and Matt further honed their racing prowess in their furious battles with karts of equalized weight. The track was formed around the old “Chrusher Coliseum Football Field” and the Fort Crusher treehouse, (which later became the race camera/scoring tower in 2005). The track was later slightly shortened to stop in front of the tower house, and slowly, but surely, a track was born through hundreds of races and years of Matt’s hard work. Matt’s neon green kart was re-painted to resemble Skip Matczak red #3 Supermodified after his favorite driver Doug Didero. Then, after just a  few years of Matt and Chris battling 1-on-1 (occasionally with Jesse Vivlemore driving one) we got a third kart, the #4 – a brand new Manco out of the box – and dragged Ogre into our early conflicts, schooling him in the ways of the racing arts as well. Ogre would have wanted his kart to resemble his high school buddy Eddie Bellinger Jr.’s #02 Supermodified, but it looked better in the factory stock red and black — maybe a future kart will get that deco (keep building them, Wes!). No other local karter has raced more karting events than Chris and Matt Stevens, apparently much to the chagrin of some local karting dads, who seemingly don’t like anybody stepping on their shoes, proven by their childish attacks around a dozen years later.

Getting this third kart enabled the trio to officially begin a points standings and hold races, and although the races, points, wins for these three early years are in a box somewhere waiting to be digitally filed on this website, we did remember who won each year’s point standings and “Klassic” championship races (modeled after Oswego Speedway’s track point titles and Classic championship races).

1996 & 1997 Seasons and the 1st & 2nd Annual Galletta’s Go-Kart Klassics:

Chris (#23; now #4), Matt (#3), and Wes (#1) get ready to run one of our earliest Klassics!

Here are some grainy photos from our 1st ever Galletta’s Kart Klassic, the first with the Galletta’s #4 (back then #23) driven by Chris, and Ogre inherited Chris’s #1 (before it was scrapped for being too heavy; its parts salvaged to create a new, lighter kart, the Galletta’s #2, its frame sitting idle at Galletta’s, awaiting resurrection). Matt won this inaugural points standings and Klassic Championship race with Chris scoring a 2nd in each and Ogre a 3rd as well. He backed up the performance again in 1997.

1998 Season & 3rd Annual Galletta’s Karting Klassic:

Left: Chris “Crusher” Stevens (#2), Matt (#3) and Wes (#4) prepare the karts for the 1998 80-lap Klassic. Back when we only had 3 karts! Right: Before the race, Chrusher, in the Deuce, lets everyone know that he is #1 (though he placed 2nd). Chris got his nickname in middle and high school, as he wrote and illustrated a comic book and comic strip “crushing” classmates, teachers, family, friends, foes… and pretty much everyone he knew. In the future, some local racers may test his patience and suffer the wrath of his pen!

Wesley Ogre Stevens gets a beat down from RaYzor!

Ogre, in the #4, smiled for the camera before RaYzor Castaldo delivers a brutal WWF/WWE-style kick to the back of the skull! This pic was even talked about on Ray’s obnoxious and intentionally abrasive internet radio talk show, HateTheRadio. And wow… that web address brings back memories! The Galletta’s Karting website was once hosted by GeoCities… long defunct, now. Good times!

Look at Matt’s lead over Chris and Ogre! Chris is dejected after a grueling 80 laps, after another futile attempt to defeat his little brother Matt for the 3rd straight Klassic and Points Championships in a row. Matt is getting revenge for all of those childhood beatings that Chris delivered upon him!

Matt wins! (What else is new… other than his long hair! Haha!) Also, RaYzor looks on in his Re & Stimpy shirt, looking rather womanly.


1999 Season & the 4th Annual Galletta’s Kart Klassic:

Back when we only had 4 karts! Chris finally beat Matt’s streak and won the Klassic and Points Titles this year, in the #2.

Matt Stevens posing with the Galletta's #3 at 1999 Klassic!

According to some, here are “The Galletta’s Boys!” Matt & Chris. (Even though that’s only our mother’s maiden name, which Chris also doubles as his pen name.)

Chris Chrusher posing with the Galletta's #2 before winning the 1999 Klassic!

Chris posing with the Galletta’s #2 before piloting it to his first Galletta’s Greenhouse Karting Klassic Championship! Some karters may look back at this and laugh at how we’re racing yard karts… but few to none of the now abundant local karting tracks existed back then, and we did our own thing. And even now, while all these semi-professional karting classes and tracks are located all over Central NY, and they are quite proud of their fancy karting machines (and rightly so–they are pretty sweet, if not needlessly expensive) we still have more sophisticated scoring system, race videos, website and longer history than ANY of them!

Wesley Ogre Stevens posing next to the Galletta's #4 in the 1999 Klassic!

Wesley James “TrOgre” Stevens… looking as mean as ever! Well, at least his kart was clean back then!

One of Chris’ best buddies, a hair-bag named RaYzor (Last name hidden per request, but rhymes with Cadildo), poses next to the then-brand-new #1. (Poor Ray… not even my friends are safe from the wrath of my humor, much less our go-kart buddies.) Despite wearing a Stone Cold Steve Austin 3:16 shirt, Ray did no ass-whooping that day. Austin would stun him for embarrassing his shirt. Then again, he’d probably stun all of us.

The #1 kart when it was first built and with a fresh paint job… Before several rental drivers wrecked the thing into hell! This was the 2nd
Ogre Chassis in our fine collection. Early on, just a few friends and relatives joined us, but with each new kart came more and more guest drivers to fill them! Early on, Dan Boyce, Ray Castaldo, and a few cousins drove it in a handful of races.

We are searching for our points standing records to our 1996-1999 seasons, as they exist, but are currently lost in storage somewhere. When we find them, we’ll process them digitally and put them up on the website. However, starting with the 2000 season, we now have a complete record of every points race held at John J. Galletta Memorial Racing Yard Kart Speedway, and have them up on the web. And you’ll be amazed at how far they’ve come in just ten to twelve years! Observe them by navigating our website!