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She's still on the fast track

Kelsey Hann in the garage at her Mount William home.
Kelsey Hann in the garage at her Mount William home. - Kevin Adshade

Pictou County teenager a kart-racing force, documentary on Hann to be screened Jan. 9 at deCoste Performing Arts Centre

MOUNT WILLIAM, N.S. – 
Once in a while, Kelsey Hann will pull the helmet off her head after a go-kart race and her fellow competitors – most of them men – will be surprised that the person they’d been chasing around a kart racing track is a teenage girl. 
It might have been difficult at first to gain acceptance among her peers, but winning cures all. 
“Over the years, I think I’ve gained respect with a lot of the guys, but initially, people have their doubts,” says the 17-year-old resident of Mount William. “Just because you’re not one of the guys, you know?”
A Grade 12 student at Northumberland Regional High School, Hann has been racing competitively since she was nine years old. She started in the Novice Division (now called Cadet) and now competes against drivers ages 16 through 35. 
Hann ran 22 races in 2019, winning a championship at her home track in Moncton and taking first overall at the 2019 Coupe de Montreal championship (a six-round event held at various tracks in Quebec). She also finished second at Canadian nationals and made a trip to Indiana for the Grand Nationals, where she placed ninth out of 72 go-karts against drivers from across North America.
She believes that being a female can actually give her an edge over some of the male drivers. 
“I stay a lot calmer and just leave things out on the track, but some of the guys get a little antsy, a little excited,” she says with a smile. “If one thing goes bad, it leads to another thing, and sometimes they can’t stop the bleeding.”
Her 340-pound kart – driver included – will go in excess of 70 miles an hour, and even thought she sits just inches from the pavement and with controlled (for the most part) chaos all around her on the track, Hann drives with no fear. 
“You can’t be scared out there, there’s no time to be scared,” she says. “You’re just going on instinct.”
Hann will study engineering at Dalhousie University starting next fall, but has no intentions of giving up the track, at least not at this point.
“We’re gonna keep going – that’s our plan – and right now we’re just taking it one day at a time.”

ON THE SILVER SCREEN 
In August of 2019, a group of sports media students at Ryerson University in Toronto approached Kelsey Hann about doing a documentary on her racing life. 
“Winning is a Close Second”, a 17-minute documentary, will be screened Jan. 9 at deCoste Performing Arts Centre in Pictou (free admission, 7 p.m. start time).

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