Keegan Bounds and his father, Josh Bounds, next to Keegan’s four championship awards in box stock kart racing. Aliya Hall/The Creswell Chronicle
When Keegan Bounds first started box stock kart racing at five years old, he was the slowest car on the track. It wasn’t until his fifth race, when he hit the wall and flipped his kart, that he was able to push through his nerves.
Josh Bounds, Keegan’s dad, said when the crash happened he thought, ”We’ll see what kind of kid we have.”
The next morning, Keegan won his first race.
Now seven years old, Keegan has won 26 races and four championships in California and Oregon. The most notable win was the West Coast National; he is only the second racer in Oregon to win this award.
”The most important for me is watching him,” Josh said. ”It’s an individual sport. At the end of the day it’s his willingness and drive to want to do better. He has a lot of passion for it. When he won (the West Coast National) he said he was crying in his car he was so happy.”
Racing has a legacy in Keegan’s family, with his uncle, sister and aunt all taking part in the sport. Although Keegan didn’t grow up with it, when he and his dad went to the Cottage Grove track to watch a race, Keegan said he wanted to get involved.
”I said, ‘I wish I could do this,’” he said. ”A month later, dad surprised me with a go-kart.”
Josh said he didn’t know that Keegan would take to it as well as he did, and now they go wherever there’s a race. There are nine karting tracks in Oregon and California, and while Keegan’s goal is to get one win at each track, his two favorites are the Cottage Grove and Roseburg tracks.
”No matter what, we hit the local tracks,” Josh said. ”Supporting local tracks is huge; we don’t have the big car counts like California does.”
One of the reasons for that is the barrier to entry. Josh said karting is an expensive sport, with the average kart costing thousands of dollars, as well as needing routine maintenance. Sponsorships are one way to keep costs down, and Keegan has five different sponsors, from Rocket Designs to Seneca Sawmill.
Already the karting community is tight and supportive. Josh said that if a crash happens on the track, there’s always a handful of parents ready to help get the kids back out there. Josh said it’s a sport that ”you can’t do on your own.”
Keegan’s favorite part of the sport are the friends he made. Josh said that Keegan has a different set of friends at each track, and they play together before the race starts and after it ends.
”I made so many friends after winning one race,” Keegan added.
One of his friends in particular will always push Keegan, and he said they have a friendly competition. Josh said that even though the friend wins 75 percent of the time, they always compare notes on the karts, and will even travel together for big races.
Along with his friends, Keegan is inspired by both his uncle, Roger Crockett, his sister, Keona Bounds, and Tanner Holmes.
At 15 years old, Holmes has a national following for his sprint racing, and Keegan enjoys watching his Youtube channel. He’s from Jackson, Ore., and Keegan said that he likes that Holmes is a ”clean racer.”
Going forward, Keegan wants to continue with the sport so he can become a sprint racer – following in his idols’ footsteps, and Josh said he will support Keegan every step of the way.
”It’s a lot of fun, and it is a family sport,” Josh said. ”I’m hoping it grows in Oregon more.”