Tag Archives: Vivek Kanthan

Roundup: COVID Testing, VOTE!, Dentists, Kart Racing, More

As the number of COVID cases rises in Connecticut, so does testing demand.

This was the scene today before 7 a.m., at the St. Vincent’s Health Center site. The line of cars stretched far down Long Lots Road.

(Photo/Adam Stolpen)

Remember that “VOTE” sculpture that went up right before Election Day on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge?

It was created by Westporter Mark Yurkiw.

On Tuesday morning — as voters headed to the polls — this was all that remained:

Mark collected the pieces. He realized the damage did not come from the wind. If that was the culprit, they’d be scattered on the river. Instead, Mark says, all the letters were there on the ground.

He collected them, brought them home, and took this photo:

(Photos/Mark Yurkiw)

He calls this tryptic “Battered Not Broken.”

“Rock Paper Scissors” — the sculpture, not the game — was officially dedicated yesterday on Jesup Green. now that the official ribbon cutting has taken place.

Ann Sheffer — who with her husband Bill Scheffler dedicated the work — eloquently described how the influence of her Westport family encouraged her longtime support of the Westport Library, and how her desire to keep the arts thriving in Westport led to the establishment of the Arts Advisory Committee and the position of town curator (now filled by Kathie Motes Bennewitz.)

Dedicating “Rock Paper Scissors” yesterday (from left): Westport Library director Bill Harmer, town arts curator Kathie Motes Bennewitz, Westport Arts Advisory committee co-chair Nancy Diamond, donors Bill Scheffler and Ann Sheffer, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe. (Photo/Randa Trivisonno)

And one more election-related photo…

Anne Lowrie sent this along. The flag is in her back yard. It struck her as “appropriate for the current times: beat up but still flying.”

(Photo/Anne Lowrie)

The other day my dentist emailed me, requesting confirmation of an upcoming appointment. It prominently noted I’d be charged $50 if I canceled less than 24 hours in advance.

Then — less than 24 hours before my appointment — he emailed again. He had to cancel; his hygienist would not be in the next day.

I assume I’ll get $50 off my next visit. Right?

In early March, “06880” profiled Vivek Kanthan. The 10-year-old Westporter had just launched his (very successful) kart racing career.

A few days later, COVID-19 struck. Suddenly, his spring and summer plans were on hold.

When competition resumed, Vivek was ready. All told this year he competed in 16 races, and reached the podium 12 times.

Next year the young racer moves up a class, and faces even fiercer competition. it begins with 2 national events in Miami. Good luck, Vivek!

Vivek Kanthan, and his trophies.

Sharing a post-Halloween meal on Manitou Road:

(Photo/Francoise Jaffe)

And finally … speaking of dentists:

Vivek Kanthan Races To The Top

Anoop and Lee-Ann Kanthan know a lot about the world.

He grew up in Australia; she’s from South Africa, but her family moved Down Under in the 1980s. Anoop travels frequently for business.

Now Lee-Ann and her son Vivek are on the road often too. And the family is learning a lot about one particular kind of world: karting.

Vivek is a New York State champion. Now he’s competing at the national level. Not bad for someone who took up the sport just a couple of years ago.

Oh, yeah: Vivek is just 10 years old.

Vivek Kanthan, with some of his trophies.

The family — including his 14-year-old brother Nikhil and 13-year-old sister Shivali — moved to Westport from Manhattan 5 years ago.

His parents were huge Formula 1 racing fans. Anoop has gone to the track in Melbourne; this summer, they head to the Grand Prix.

Two and a half years ago, Anoop took Vivek to an indoor go kart track in Bedford, New York. The youngster liked the speed, the challenge of getting the right “lines” on the track, and the competition. “I like winning,” he says simply.

He joined a junior league, and competed there every weekend. Outdoors, he raced at Oakland Valley Race Park in Cuddebackville, New York, a 3/4-mile professional track. One lap takes about 40 seconds.

Quickly, he moved from 2.5 horsepower karts to 9. His machines are now 10 to 12 HP. They reach speeds of 60 miles and hour.

Vivek Kanthan, in his kart …

Vivek’s karts are the real deal. A mechanic works on his kart alone. On the road, he’s joined by a team manager and coach.

There’s a lot to deal with: tire pressure, engine temperature, steering and throttle inputs, even the track temperature and precipitation. Vivek’s team analyzes all the data, and tells him the best “racing line” (route) to take on that course, that day.

Then it’s up to the 10-year-old to execute.

“You need self-esteem. You have to push to the limit, and not be afraid,” Vivek explains.

On a new track, “you have to learn the fastest ways to get to the corner, and when to accelerate.” He seldom uses his brake.

“And you need patience, and the will to win,” his mother adds.

Vivek prepares for a race by watching GoPro videos of himself. He pictures in his mind what the track looks like; how to roar into and out of corners, and when to throttle up and down.

The goal is to come as close to the curb as possible — within millimeters — without hitting it, and spinning out.

Vivek says he does not get scared. “I do!” his mother says.

… and in the lead.

A typical race in Vivek’s 8-11 age group is 15 to 20 laps, against 20 or so competitors. Last year — his first as a competitor — Vivek won his very first race, in the pouring rain.

He reached the podium 12 more times, including 6 on the top step. The only 2 times he did not was when his kart failed. The season culminated in his state championship.

His most recent race was in Ocala, Florida — his second visit to the state in a month. Just 3 days after seeing the course for the first time, he finished in a time one-tenth of a second slower than the record for his age group.

He returns to Ocala this month, for a Gran Prix competition.

Go karting is a big deal. Races are streamed online, with commentary. Vivek’s relatives in Australia watch avidly.

His goal is to be a Formula 1 racer. But the funnel to get there is narrow, his mother notes.

That’s okay. Vivek — who because of his rigorous travel schedule is being schooled online this year, after attending Saugatuck Elementary School from kindergarten on — has many other interests and options.

He plays string bass in the Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestra (they performed at the Klein Auditorium the other day). He studies classical piano at Suzuki.

And he’s a junior black belt at Kempo Karate.

Vivek Kanthan is clearly on track for big things.