Posted: Jul 20, 2015
Behind the Wheel with Geon McKenzie Powered by OPTIMA Batteries
by Brandi Phillips, as seen on Pro-Touring.com
What happens when you have a child who craves the need for adrenaline at a young age? According to Karl McKenzie, you find them an outlet. That’s just what he did for his son, Geon McKenzie.
Geon’s passion for extreme sports started at a very early age. His father got him into go-karting when he was just five-years-old. Karl used what he had available to build Geon a chassis from scratch. “I used some old parts from a buddies kart and bought a spec motor for the five-year-old to eight-year-old class. We got to the first race only to find out his kart didn’t weigh enough with him in it to make the class. We borrowed weights and filled his pockets with rocks and sand and made weight.” (Karl McKenzie)
Geon took a break from racing go-karts after two years, but returned again in 2013 racing dirt karts. For those who know Geon, then you know he is a very talented driver. Some of Geon’s skill could be accredited to racing at an early age, but Geon was a natural. Racing in an open class, Geon and his KT100 dominated the pack. Eventually a weight requirement was added to the open class forcing Geon to add weight to both his kart and his pockets once again. Karl commented: “it was funny watching him get in the kart to race, but that didn’t slow him down either.”
Geon didn’t stop at go-karts. His need for adrenaline continued into other extreme sports such as BMX, motocross and skateboarding, to name a few.
At the age of fifteen (and a half) Geon became the proud owner of a 1973 Chevy Camaro. It was a runner, but definitely needed some work. Geon and his dad put a lot of time into the car; Geon learning quite a bit about his car before even getting his license.
From the original car to it’s current state, it is obvious the amount of work that has gone into Geon’s Camaro. The car can now be recognized for it’s primer color, cowl hood and HATED sticker across the window. So what is HATED and why is it on Geon’s car?
We went straight to the source, Keaten Schuster, to help explain HATED, Geon’s association with the name and how it all started.
HATED is a group started by three guys, Keaten Schuster, Christopher Lima, and Shawn Thompson who were all second generation hot rodders. Though their vehicles may not look appealing, they focus on performance and improving their skills as racers. They take pride in doing all the work on their cars themselves while staying within their limited budgets.
They are also known for doing exceptionally well at autocross events; typically placing within the top ten of their class if not taking the win. They are not HATED because they are mean or rude, they are HATED because everyone wonders how they get their cars to do what they do.
How did Geon join these three founders to represent not only a group, but also an image?
When Geon was in need of a new exhaust, he crossed paths with Keaten Schuster at the Sunnyoaks Muffler/ Comerson’s Toy Shop. After taking a look at Geon’s car, Keaten knew it was a perfect fit for their group. Keaten recalls, “fitting the glove perfectly that day, I asked Geon if he would like to join our group.” Since then, HATED has become more like family, cruising together, racing together and hanging out during their spare time. Though Geon will be leaving in the fall, HATED will always be part of his family, supporting Geon as he paves his future.
We asked Geon why he stuck with the Pro-Touring community after engaging in so many different sports. He commented that it’s “not only the presence at multiple events, but the involvement and support in the racing community as a whole” that keeps him coming back. Karl added that Geon’s first event would have been his first and last if it wasn’t for the company of Suzy Bauter, Rodney Prouty and Keith Smith who were parked next to Geon in the autocross pits.
Geon has participated in several events over the past couple years including a handful of Goodguys Pleasanton and Del Mar events, SCCA, American Autocross, OPTIMA’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car Fontana in 2014, and OPTIMA’s Search for the Ultimate Street Car Thunderhill 2015.
Since Geon has participated in OUSCS, we wanted to know his take on the series and why he continues to participate at OPTIMA events. “The amount of track time to be had at these events in unbeatable, not to mention the variety of competition. There’s also the Design and Engineering to reward the build itself, as well as seat time on some of America’s most famous tracks and well crafted autocross courses to test drivers. Everyone is so welcoming here; quick to make you feel a part of their family. There’s a very friendly bond of racers at these events. Everyone is willing to lend a helping hand and valuable advice to anyone participating.” (Geon McKenzie)
Geon’s goal is to compete in at least one OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car event a year with the hope of working his way to become a better driver, earn more points and become more competitive.
In honor of those that Geon would like to thank who have helped him in this sport, first and foremost is Geon’s father. The bond between this father and son is extremely close. Not only do we want to compliment Geon for his dedication and participation to the pro-touring community, but we want to acknowledge Karl for doing an amazing job raising such an awesome kid.
Geon also wanted to thank HATED. For those that have never heard of this group, they are an amazing group of young adults. I have been fortunate enough to meet many of them and see their dedication to our sport while also reminding others what pro-touring is all about; having fun and making new friends.
As for Geon’s future, he will be shipping out to join the Air Force September 29th, 2015. After passing his Pass Test, of which only eight of twenty-five applicants passed, he was also “coined,” finishing in the top two. Geon has signed a four-year contract with the Air Force with a job offer to be a Combat Control Team after placing top two on his test. Recently quitting his job, Geon hopes to make a career out of the Air Force and is now dedicating all of his time to training before leaving in September.