HILLSBOROUGH, NJ  - With the initials “KC” taped to the back of his helmet, 18-year-old Jared Burchette won the Formula 125 Kart race at Englishtown Raceway in Old Bridge earlier this month, honoring his friend and classmate, Kevin Cole, who lost a long battle with leukemia shortly before the race weekend began.

Burchette was behind the wheel of #2, one of 30 karts in the race at the track where the Formula 125 race series originated. Burchette, who would graduate from Hillsborough High School just a few weeks after the race, had qualified 4th, but soon made his way to the front of the pack on the first lap, staying out in front of the field for the entire race.

Burchette was pressed the entire race by John Bonnano and Brendan Burcroff, a recent winner at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.

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Burchette’s  win extends his advantage in the championship standings to 69 points over Burcroff.

The Formula 125 amateur circuit takes racers throughout the country, stopping at tracks in Millville in southern New Jersey; S.C., Daytona, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Boston and other locations. The Formula 125 series attracts international race teams.

The tracks feature multiple turns, with half-mile laps at shorter tracks, ranging upwards of one mile; the Englishtown course features a series of 12 left- and right-hand turns..

The karts, which cost $25,000 on average, hit speeds of 125 miles-per-hour, with drivers sitting ¾-inch off the road surface. Typically, karts will go through three sets of tires during the course of a race.

“It’s the real deal,” said Burchette’s father, Greg, a Hillsborough Township committeeman and president of the Hillsborough Rotary.

The younger Burchette has been racing for at least 10 years, following his father’s example. The elder Burchette races Corvettes in competition sponsored by the International Motorsport Association, but has been limited in recent years because he hits the road with his son on weekends traveling out-of-state to compete on the Formula 125 circuit.