The Kumson family’s commitment to ATV racing is astounding. Not only is Kumsons Electric Race Team the first ever electric race team in the world, the trio of racers regularly stand tall on the podium at the competition’s conclusion, despite their small statures.
Kumsons Electric Race Team has managed to carve out their own success through innovation, grit and competitive spirit. It’s even more impressive when you consider that all of the team’s racers are still children.
Kumsons Electric Race Team is Savannah (age 12), Isaac (age 10), and Theo (age 8) Kumson. Their parents make up the rest of the squad: Kolbey (Mom) is the director of operations and Sam (Dad) is the master of builds and head coach.
“My dad built cool machines and I like to jump them!” — Theo Kumson (age 8) — Photo courtesy Kumsons Electric Race Team
In the midst of their third racing season, the Kumsons have made quite an impact in a short time.
“We never set out to become the world’s first and only electric ATV racing team, it’s just how it panned out,” Kolbey said. “Our kids rode on quads before they could walk. We would always go bush riding with them. They started riding their own at very young ages. They also have a nice riding area behind our house they use daily. Isaac’s desire to go racing made him the first electric ATV racer in the world.”
Sam and Kolbey Kumson are proud parents and the leaders of Kumson Electric Racing Team. — Photo courtesy Kumsons Electric Race Team
In order to become a pioneer electric ATV racer, Isaac needed an electric ATV, which didn’t exist, so his dad built one for him at the Kumson’s residence in Ryley, Alberta.
“Sam built a few electric quads for the kids to play around in the back as he had a hatred for the 90cc engines,” said Kolbey. “Isaac found a passion for riding quads. He rode hard, did jumps and was very good at it. He asked if he could race, so we found the ATV Triple Crown Racing Association and they let him race with his electric quad. We built him a race machine for that season in 2021.”
“I get to fly off the jumps and go fast. I like to compete and hopefully win!” — Isaac Kumson (age 10) — Photo courtesy Kumsons Electric Race Team
To convert a gas-powered ATV into an electric one, Sam starts with a rolling chassis or complete machine, removes the motor and replaces it with an electric motor, controller and batteries.
“We try to reproduce the same weight ratio all around so it doesn’t change the feel from a gas machine,” Kolbey said. “We usually end up lighter or within the same weight of original units. The main thing is zero maintenance on the motors. We’ve raced two seasons now with chain lube and a grease gun. And there’s no noise. All you hear is the whizz of the chain and tires on the terrain.
“Sam pushes himself to build quality machines that the kids can compete on the track with. He is always testing new components and improving the designs. He tries to push the kids with a bit of extra tuning every time they progress to keep them on the top end of their game.”
All that tinkering and tuning these custom machines has paid off in podium placements.
“We do very well,” said Kolbey. “Isaac likes to perform. He is often first or second on the podium and both boys have at least one championship win in Mini MX. Isaac also has a flat tracking championship win.”
“We do very well. Isaac likes to perform. He is often first or second on the podium and both boys have at least one championship win in Mini MX.” — Kolbey Kumson — Photo courtesy Kumsons Electric Race Team
As you can imagine, showing up at race tracks as the only electric ATV race team tends to turn heads and draw attention to the Kumsons. But the Kumsons don’t mind. They relish the chance to show what they can do on the track, and that often wins over any skeptics in attendance.
“We get various reactions from spectators from, ‘Wow, that’s amazing,’ to ‘Ha ha,’ and ‘Yeah right, you think that’s going to make it around the track?’ ” Kolbey said. “Those ‘Ha ha’s’ and ‘Yeah rights’ always come back to take a second look once they see the machine flying out on the track. We even got a few apologies. But other than spectators, everyone in the ATV Triple Crown Race Association and Alberta Flat Track Association has been great and has welcomed our electric machines with open arms. They are now our race family.”
“I want to show that girls have a place on the podium too.” — Savannah Kumson (age 12) — Photo courtesy Kumsons Electric Race Team
Now in their third season, Kolbey and Sam’s main goals are to let the kids continue to have fun and love the sport, keep building competitive electric machines for them as they progress, build the team’s exposure, and get to as many events as possible. By all accounts, Kumsons Electric Race Team is on track for extraordinary success.
“We as parents are here to support the kids,” Kolbey said. “They love it and took to it, so we are here to give it all. Sam loves to build the machine and spends a lot of time making sure everything is perfect for them to have the best experience possible.”