How to race in the Galletta’s Karting Club & Backyard Speedway!

What is Galletta’s Greenhouse Backyard Karting Speedway & Go-Kart Club?

Galletta’s Speedway is a private dirt go-kart track located behind Galletta’s Greenhouses in the Town of Oswego, NY that operates under New York State Recreational Use Law and operates on nominal donations with zero paid employees. It was founded in the early 1990s by a teenaged Matt Stevens and his older brother Chris soon joined him. Their maternal grandfather – Galletta’s Greenhouse founder John Galletta – had always wanted to create a go-kart track dating back to the 1970s, but until Matt came along with a little two-seater Manco yard kart, none really ever surfaced for more than just a day or two. As the years went by, Matt, Chris, and their father Wes bought or built a kart or two a year, and the occasional cousin, friend, or friend of friend would venture up to Galletta’s to try at one of their weekend races fashioned after the Oswego Speedway (by running weekly heats, features, an annual point standings, point handicapped starts, and an annual “Classic” endurance race to finish off the season). By the early 2000’s there was well over a dozen karts on track and word of mouth spread the weekly races behind Galletta’s Greenhouse. 12-16 kart races going around 45 laps were commonplace. The “Classic” started as an 80 lapper, but eventually grew into a 200 lapper by the mid-2000s.

Want to join us?

If you are a professional, semi-pro, hobbyist, amateur or beginner driver, YOU ARE WANTED IN OUR CLUB. We race weekly from June through October if we have enough drivers and the weather permits it. And we ALWAYS, I repeat, ALWAYS HAVE MORE KARTS THAN DRIVERS. Help us put butts in karts seats and have more fun than any pay track or amusement park track can offer. Interested?

Where do we race?

What do I need to race?

  • Full-face helmet (some on-site to borrow for the race if you don’t have one).
  • Full body coverage clothing — long sleeve shirt, full pants, and gloves.
    (PLUS: neck brace, dirt bike armor and/or racing clothes if you have it).

When do we race?

Every weekend June through September, occasionally into October.

  • Summer Sundays at 6:30 pm.
    (Mid-June through mid-August)
  • Fall Saturdays at 4:30 pm.
    (Late-August through mid-October)

Unless one of the following forces a postponement or cancellation:
– Weather (Too much rain for example).
– Track condition (Too wet, or too dry!)
– A lack of active drivers are available (Minimum of 6 is required; 3 are available almost every weekend, so usually only need 3+; Maximum of 20 on track).

How much does it cost?

All drivers and spectators must understand that these karts do travel at fast speeds and one can get hurt or even killed driving them. All drivers MUST sign a liability waiver. And, all drivers MUST wear protective gear (be fully clothed and wear full-face helmets, shields, neck braces, elbow/knee pads and/or back/rib armor – the more the better) and respect their fellow drivers, the track and the karts, and drive safely and honorably and not destroy karts and track, or else be asked to leave the premises without a refund of rental donations. We will not tolerate behavior from a driver or spectator that may get someone hurt, period. All drivers must understand that the track is NOT a pay facility, runs completely on time, money and donations of the founders, property owners and drivers, does not have refreshments and bathrooms, and times MAY vary and/or be postponed or even cancelled based on amount of drivers at the track and/or weather. Entrance fees are as follows:

  • To watch a race: 100% free. You may donate if you wish, and it is very much appreciated, but there is no charge. Just stay at least 10 feet from the racing surface when the race is going on.
  • To rent an “Arrive-and-drive” Galletta’s Kart for a standard 45-60 lap night, it is listed below. This nominally covers gas, part wear, electricity, and water. The rental fee goes up with longer race nites (but is a tremendous deal compare to all other kart tracks, recreational or professional. Period. Find us one in the country and you’ll race for free.)
  • To enter your own kart into a Galletta’s race, it is listed below. This nominally covers prep time, electricity, water, and vehicle operation to prep the track . If you bring renters and our kart total surpasses 10, discounts are available.
How To: Regular Race (25-60 Laps):  Klassic (200-Laps):
Watch a race $0 $0
Enter Your Own Kart $5 $10
Rent a Team Galletta’s Kart $25 $50

These are NOMINAL donations to cover basic costs. NO profit is made, as these donations simply do not cover the weekly expenses of operating a track. There are NO refunds. If you do not complete enough laps before your kart breaks, you will either be given the opportunity to race a backup or be allowed to get more track time after the race or the following week. You will either be disqualified, not counted for points, and/or noted on the website that you free-loaded if you either fail to cover expenses or demand your money back. Don’t like it, cover your share. Galletta’s Greenhouse – our host and primary (well, ok, ONLY) sponsor, usually covers the rest, and there IS sponsorship available if you are interested in your business name on the website, on a kart or on a week’s race. Your name will be permanently on the website, so inquire. Prices cover:

– Kart Parts Wear, Tear & Repair for All On-Site Galletta’s Karts
– Weekly Track Maintenance by Matt Stevens
– Weekly Track Watering by Wes and Matt Stevens
– Weekly Gas for Rental Karts and maintenance  vehicles
– Weekly Electricity for lights

If a visiting driver brings several renters (5+), your kart entrance fee will be either reduced or waived. Negotiate with Matt, he can be flexible. Rookie/newbies are under a loose 3-cautions-and-you’re-out rule. SO newbies… keep your karts and lines straight and moving, and there shouldn’t be an issue with spinning, breaking down or wrecking. Keep at it. You are in a fast kart, just learn from the vets and in a few weeks or months you’ll be right with them.

– This fee DOES NOT COVER VISITING DRIVER’S GAS! IF YOU NEED GAS, WE USE 93 GRADE PUMP GASOLINE: $1 for a half tank fill, $2 A FILL-UP FOR YOUR KART! Keep in mind, we can go 200 laps on one tank, so this is pretty good gas mileage.

When your kart needs repairs:
Matt Stevens will fix, repair, maintain your kart for bare-bones, base minimum cost. He does this because he wants people to race with in our club. People who have had their karts worked on by Matt will tell you that when he sets your kart up, you are as fast if not faster than anybody else on the track. Every single winner at the track has won when Matt hooks their kart up to Galletta’s-style rules. This being said, Matt HAS been taken advantage of many times with people either unde-paying or not paying for parts, gas, and time. Matt is an extremely easy-to-get-along-ith guy. He wants to keep all his drivers happy and works on anybody’s kart that needs help. Usually, he’ll help the guy in last place the most and get them up to par, whomever that is. He eventually gets to everybody’s karts and they rock when he does. So do NOT take advantage of his hospitality and kindness. He’s too nice to tell anybody off or hold their fixed kart as ransom, so please… pay him what his effort deserves.

All donations and fees are negotiable, but don’t take advantage of our hospitality:
One can donate gas or parts. One can donate lights, light bulbs or wheels. Metal, frames, plastic for side panels, helmets, armor, jackets, neck braces, seats, vinyl for seats… whatever. ALl would reduce your rental and entrance fees. But please do not take advantage of our hospitality. Matt, Chris, Wes, Melissa and Rungnapha Stevens all donate unpaid time, energy, and/or money into the club. Please do your part, and DO NOT get angry if we have a change of plans and cannot race due to a lack of volunteers or drivers. The track ONLY can run on these bare bones volunteerism, donations, and time, and it is not worth it for only 1-3 people. Bring enough people, and we can race.

Sponsorship Available!

Sponsor a Race
(Have yourself listed on race web page)
Provide a service or product and/or
Partially or full cover Visiting Driver Kart entrance donations and/or Rental Kart Fees.
Ad on the Website for 1 year
(Full season & Offseason to the date)
Text Only Ad:
$10 a year
Picture Ad:
$50 per year

More basic info:

What karts / motors / classes do you race at Galletta’s?

Chassis: They are known essentially as “Galletta-type” karts. They are not yard karts. Nor are they expensive 2-wheel drive prefabricated kart racing chassis like what run on most pay karting tracks. What they are is a bit of a hybrid between the two, and most are either homemade or rebuilt from either a yard kart or a racing kart to work in our races. They are 1-wheel drive, and instead of counter-clockwise (turn left), we race clockwise (turn right) due to the fact that the 1-whee-drive simply corners better that way, not to mention that the Galletta’s track has a slight incline which hurts heavier drivers/karts when running the usual counter-clockwise. (We know this disturbs the common race fan who believes in only left-turn circle racing, but expand your horizons beyond your drunken NASCAR or short track observations and know that racing doesn’t just “turn left”, there are also drag strip races (no turns) and Grand-Prix or road course races (where you, *gasp* turn both ways!). We know we lose many would-be club drivers because we, as they say it, “Go the wrong way!”, but in reality, those who can *only* turn left aren’t really good enough drivers for us to race against anyway.)

Engines: Galletta’s has commonly been a 5 horsepower Briggs and Stratton “flathead” track since its conception in the early 1990s. From the beginning to 2004, they were all 100% stock motors with “Fun Power” new-type carburetors that run on pump gas with no additives. However, in the mid-2000’s, we experimented with allowing heavier driver/kart combos to use OHV 5.5hp and 6.5hp motors, which proved too powerful to race fairly against. Then, to compete against them, we allowed for shaved heads on the flatheads. We stopped the mixed-motor races in 2008 when tempers flared over “you’re too light” vs. “you have too much horsepower” argument could never be settled. In mid-2008, we adopted racing cams into our rules, and by 2009, adopted a weight-to-power ratio which has fielded more winners than ever before, and a system we are quite proud of. The primary cam used is the Dyno 94-SS “Hot Stocker” cam, which is illegal to WKA standards, and completely legal in ours. We allow heavier drivers (well over 200 lbs.) to use higher-rated cams and different gear ratios, but the 94-SS is the standard cam for all drivers hovering around 200 lbs. and less. If you have a kart with anything other than a gas flathead, you MAY run with us but you will be scored seperatly in your own class.To be scored with us, you must have a motor like ours, and since it is a common motor and Matt Stevens can get it up to spec for you for a *very* small fee, that shouldnt be an issue.

Weight / Age classes: None. Or should I say, one. We race adults only (or at least driver’s license with a parent/guardian), and everyone is in one class. These karts are not kiddie kartway karts on a small, specially prepared track. These are adult karts on a large, fast track. Bigger drivers get lighter karts with more horsepower (via gearing ratios). Lighter drivers get weights and have less horsepower (via gearing ratios). In the end, one may balk at such a thing, but our one class has more competitors and FAR mrore different winning drivers than any other local karting track. Period. You show us your stats, and we’ll show you ours. It is empirical. Our racing is VERy competitive, and VERY close. Once you drive these enough (some people pick it up after a couple of races, some take a year or two), then you WILL be competing for wins EVERY week. And EVERYBODY who has stuck at it for more than a year or two has won feature events. (Well, there was ONE guy who never won despite racing every week for 2-3 years, but, well, he just sucked, nevermind him, 99% of drivers who stuck at it for more than a year or so have won features let’s say).

Rules and Flags: Basic racing rules for flags apply. See the rules page for more elaborate explanations.

Why race a Galletta kart? Why don’t I just get a race chassis and race on the local pay track?

We founded our club and track was BEFORE the local pay tracks existed. At the time, we knew of none of them until after ours was established, and then we noted them start to pop up (a few popped up AFTER the operators raced on our track, including the most successful pay karting track in the area). Since then, a few have popped up here and there (one of which we raced at for three years – and dominated, by the way). So, why? Well, if you have a lot of money to spend and you want to attempt to spend a LOT of money on a go-kart (like, THOUSANDS of dollars) in order for you and/or your kid to get established in local racing tracks in search of a race career (moving up to actual, full-sized race cars), then go ahead and buy a kart and join the pay tracks. However, we believe in racing for bottom dollar, yet we still have races with equal-to-more experience and fun than any pay track. Don’t believe us, come on up and try it for a few weeks. For one, a kart that competes at a local pay track will cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars (used, also-ran, last place kart), to several thousand dollars (for a new, up-to-date, competitive kart. Track fees, insurance, and fuel will add to your weekly expenses considerably as well, setting you back a few hundred to maybe even a thousand a year more. We laugh at that and can’t believe anybody would do it. We raced at pay tracks for 3 years and found them overpriced for such little track time, and found that some track operators or fellow racers can be dishonest, cheats and sometimes even cutthroat dirty drivers. We despise dishonesty, cheating, and dirty driving. We race affordably (our karts cost $150 used competitive kart to a few hundred for a brand-new one), we race equally (our head mechanic sets you up with the same exact setup he uses on his feature-winning karts, and driver experience will weigh far more than money spend on your kart), and cheats are booted (we hate booting anyone, but if you’re caught cheating, you won’t be back. In 20 years of racing, we’ve only known of less than a handful of cheats, and they stopped racing with us years ago). And we guarantee you one thing: The most experienced racers at Galletta’s have equal (at worst) and FAR MORE (at best) experience than any karter on any local karting track. So if you want to race with experienced vets, have fun, and do so while saving a great deal of money, we are the place to race with.

Where to buy a kart?

Usually, every year we have driver turnover, and drivers will buy and sell karts amongst other club drivers. Most used Galletta’s Karts sell between $100 to $300. Prices can usually be negotiable, as they are private deals amongst drivers. You can usually have a new kart built for you for $350-500, less if you have a chassis that we can rebuild and a fresh (not overused) Briggs 5hp Flathead motor. Inquire for more info. No Galletta’s Greenhouse House karts are available for sale. Why? Because we want them ON TRACK at ALL TIMES for new drivers to try, or ourselves to drive any week. They are all maintained by club founder Matt Stevens, and all are capable of winning any given feature event on any given week with a good, experienced driver behind the wheel. Don’t believe it? Check our archives. Every kart has won, and either Matt, Chris, and/or a visitor has won races in ALL of them.

Hope to see you at Galletta’s!