The global managing partner of Harvey Law Group doesn’t look like a speed freak or a mechanic but appearances can, as they say, be deceiving. Jean-François Harvey shares his love of kart racing with Patricia Jover.
Ahead of the third Harvey Law Group (HLG) Kart Race on November 6, founder Jean-François Harvey has 14 karts in his DB North Plaza office. He’s made them all himself with a little help from the event’s main sponsor, Milwaukee Power Tool’s engineering team.
“I like to build things,” says Jean- François – Harvey as he is known locally. “Come race day I’m the pit stop. I’m the mechanic. That’s what I do all day long. I sit there with my tools. I put on my hat and hide under the trees… with cuts all over my hands.”
The HLG Kart Race sees a 6-foothigh ramp, almost 16-feet long and 8-feet wide, set up along the Seabird Lane cycle lane. While the logistics are fairly simple, participant safety is paramount and Harvey is quick to acknowledge the support of willing volunteers, and of Hong Kong Resort and City Management. Since this is first and foremost a community-driven event, Around DB is the media sponsor, while funds raised will go to local charities.
So how did the first race in October 2015 come about and what makes the event so popular? “We really didn’t expect so much business when we opened our DB office four years ago and we were looking for a
way to give back to the community at large,” Harvey explains. “I finally hit upon the idea of a kart race because there is something about kart racing that’s so familiar, so simple. So many of us have good memories of it. Also it’s not typical, so people are interested.”
There’s no doubt that Montrealborn Harvey’s passion has struck a chord in DB, and after a strong start in October 2015, interest called for two events this year. In April, 360 heats were held over the course of the day and Harvey expects an even bigger turnout next month.
He is delighted that an improved brake-system, devised by Milwaukee Power Tool, has allowed him to lower the participant age to seven years old from last edition’s eight.
For Harvey, himself a dad, kids’ enjoyment and participation is the driving factor. “I wanted to find something where every single child would have the same chance of winning,” he says. “In this event, kids are equal whether they are athletic or not. It’s open to everyone but it’s still a real competition.
“The most satisfying part is to hear from parents after the event,” Harvey adds. “We had a parent write to us about how his daughter’s friends came over for two or three days to see her trophy. When you hear things like that, you know you did something right.”
November’s race also sees expanded opportunities for adults, who can race in the open category in their own kit-made karts. “Some will go for style, some for speed, so there are performance and design prizes,” Harvey says. “If you’re building your own kart there are just two rules – it should measure at least 36 inches from the front to the rear axle and it must have… a brake system.”
Harvey Law Group, www.harveylawcorporation.com