With over 45 years of kart racing and industry experience, Van Gilder (left – shown with Dart Kart’s Gene Davis) joined forces with Bill McCutcheon and AKRA in 2015 to support and help grow our new pavement programs – the American Sprint Cup and Road Race Series – and serve as a key member of AKRA’s track / event insurance and road racing rules programs.
A native of Massachusetts, Van has resided in Georgia for almost two decades. He is the founder of Elite Karting, a 35-plus-year-old full-service kart shop that over the years has manufactured hundreds of (national championship-winning) kart chassis, built and rebuilt thousands of 2-cycle kart racing engines, and provided support for nearly every karting-related service imaginable, including engine tuning, chassis setup, clutch and carburetor setup and rebuilds, kart rebuilds, welding and fabrication, driver coaching, arrive-and-drive programs and a full-service kart shop.
In the past Van was instrumental in managing numerous World Karting Association programs. Most notably a road racer, Van helped manage, direct and sponsor WKA’s National Enduro and then Road Racing Series for multiple decades. He also owned and operated the NHKA regional road race series at New Hampshire International Speedway for over a decade before relocating to Georgia.
From approx. 2008 to 2015, Gilder set aside his Elite Karting business and shifted his focus to WKA as the organization’s Executive Director and later COO. Under Gilder’s leadership, the organization recovered from financial struggles to security, grew the Manufacturers Cup national sprint series to record entry counts in 2012 and 2013, and maintained a successful and competitive national Road Race and Gold Cup (4-cycle sprint) series.
Since departing WKA and joining AKRA, Gilder has split his time between our organization and Elite Karting. While not busy helping manage AKRA activities, over the last several years Gilder has rebuilt his Elite Karting business and now once again provides engine, chassis and kart shop services to numerous racers and teams around the United States. You can find him in the pits at AKRA National Road Race Series events!