When Rick Holmboe introduced Don to karting in the late 60s, he probably didn’t realize that he would be responsible for shaping the rest of his little brother’s life. Don caught the racing bug hard and quickly put the skills he learned playing with his dad’s lawnmower to use building his own engines. Despite his new love, Don tried to find his way through life in more standard ways: high school graduation (1964), US Air Force (1964-68), married his wife Jean in 1967 and attended Portland State University (1969-1973).
After an eight-year stint as an accountant at Tektronix, Don made the leap to self-employment in residential construction. This all, of course, was just precursor to his only real job, owning his own karting business. Competition Motors Company (CMC) has been a stalwart in the Pacific Northwest karting scene and the broad karting industry since opening 35 years ago.
On the racing side, Don’s driving career was mostly focused on road racing and as such all three of his national championship wins have come on the big courses. His first being at Sonoma Raceway in 1987 with the second coming at Buttonwillow Raceway in 1997. His third major triumph was in 2017 at The Ridge and all throughout the years, Don has competed against karting icons such as Lynn Haddock, Jim Russel, Kathy Hartman, Terry Ives and Terry Hegar, to name a few.
When his son took an interest in racing, Don and Scott competed locally with the Portland Karting Association and regionally in the NW Gold Cup sprint series. Scott raced Jr. II at the age of fourteen and Don ran the Masters class when he was forty-four. Once Scott moved up to senior level racing, Don took the place that most know him to this day, engine builder, mechanic, and coach. The Holmboes competed under the Competition Motors Company flag for more than twenty years and found success across the country from IKF sprint and road racing up and down the West Coast and World Karting Association (WKA) road racing in the East, while winning a championship at the prestigious Florida Winter Tour (FWT) in 2010 was a highlight for the father and son.
Fast forward to today and through the years Don has been able to help many more people than his son find success in karting. His mentoring style is intense and honest. He’s a fierce competitor. His belief and way of coaching is that you are there for one reason: whether you’re six-years-old driving a kid kart or 25 years of age and full of ambition. Check your ego; you’ll get nothing but straight talk from Don as there’s no time for “good job,” only “how can we get better.” Don’s style is not for everyone, but it has resulted in several dozen national wins for his customers over the last 35 years.
In the end, Don has been a driving force in the Northwest and throughout the country. He has helped countless drivers both adult and kids. He has been a staple in the Portland Karting Association board. He is a great supporter of the Northwest Karting scene. If you are at the track, he will be seen coaching up his drivers and they respect him and so does the racing community.
More announcements and USKGP profiles are coming soon!