Home Forums Road Racing Argue or Answer?

This topic contains 41 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  Jeff Vargen 9 months ago.

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  • #91727

    Robert Lawson
    Participant

    A buddy of mine way back in High School used to say…

    “You gonna Talk, or ya gonna Punch????”

    Although we don’t need to be throwing punches I did find a disturbing conversation on FB about the ever present subject of “How to fix” or “What is wrong” with Road Racing.

    I don’t “DO” social media, and I won’t bother telling Y’all why… BUT, I did hi jack the Wife’s account and go crusing and I found an interesting AND upsetting difference of oppinion between 2…… um, lets call them “Legends” of RR. 1 is retired from driving (at least RR) but still has interest, the other now in Vintage RR karts.

    Interesting because they still HAVE an oppinion, upsetting because not only did they oppose one another completely but 1 guy just doesn’t believe in change…. and its not the guy that has retired from the seat! Funny because doing the same damn thing is exactly why we are where we are….kinda.

    How did I get attracted to this conversation and why on GOD’s creation have I brought it here??? That is what I want to share….

    Legend #1 said “Their are too many classes, and not enough entries in some…. we should combine.” Legend #2 said “No, cutting classes will knock total numbers down and Clubs can’t pay bills”

    Here is the punchline: Do you want to argue, or do you have an answer????

    What do you mean Lawson??? Open discussion is good, its not arguing its “problem solving”!!!! Really? Can you count how many times THIS VERY SUBJECT has been… uh hum, “debated” here?????

    To GET an answer we must be prepared to CHANGE. The question is, Are We Ready????

    I agreed with Legend #1, RR karting should… at least at the local & regional level, combine ALL current classes, without removing a single description or formula from its program, thus STILL allowing anyone with a kart to find a class of like speed and have the chance of running wheel to wheel with another kart……. NO MATTER if they are current or vintage. And… without cutting a single class. Combining is not cutting, we do it all the time with Pizza toppings right??? :)

    Simply saying “NO” is saying I will never try anything outside the box. Lets face it…. RR like many other motorsport based hobbies is slowly fading. No 2 ways around that fact folks, the crowd at the drivers meetings are getting older each year….. we are the same group with no renewal. We can make excuses and observations, truths even, Karting is no longer on the top of the radar of activities for Families or motivated youth, or young adults to involve themselves in. With all the modern Tech that tickles their lazyness, and they are flippin lazy, we have to double down with what remains.

    Take a look at one another here….. we are it!

    So, I want you, and that Legend #2 guy, to close your eyes and imagine this…. for just a minute.

    Imagine you are 20 minutes in to a 45 minute race and have been passing the 3 guys in your pack at will on the straight…. but, 4 corners later they pull you off a tight corner and each just slip barely by. Another 4 corners of riding their rear you are calculating how you can beat them to the flag when your only better than them on the “big end”…. This goes on for the entire race, back and forth, you can almost hear them thinking…..

    Now…. I want you to imagine you were in a Vintage 135cc open, 1 other guy was in a PP with a slippy pipe, the other 2 were full body karts on old tired TT75’s and you all just raced for 4th place.

    Would it make the after – race BS session any less intense becuase you raced different karts at different weights with different fuel, exhaust, carb, and displacement rules????  What I asked you to imagine is EXACTLY why we do what we do. The majority of us anyway.

    A Kart shop isn’t gonna like this, no engine for them to push or chassis to favor. Guys, those days are gone. The X30 project alone is all the proof you need. Its a train wreck that has not come to a stop yet. What are those engines gonna be worth when, not if, WHEN, that class goes the way of all those before it…… and there have been PLENTY!

    Why oh why did you write this epic piece of garbage you ask?

    After reading through the convo at FB I looked at my old, old, old laptop. Its so old I can’t email the files to myself so I can copy & paste the info here! Its Windows 98 and it dosen’t “talk” to todays internet I’m told! So, get to the point right???? OK!

    In 2010 I tried to help the Owners of Grattan run their own karting weekends. All the boys, and EJ, surounded me and said… “help us help you guys, the lower paddock used to be filled, there are no kids, we think the Clubs are handling this wrong.” What do you want ME to do I asked?  “Bring some scales, we’ll get a scoring system and do all the rest” they said….. They had 1 demand… “just condense this rediculous class structure to something workable, and we will give the customer tons of track time and good races for a great price. Together we’ll fix this thing!”

    It sounded good! So I did what they asked.

    They picked 3 prime weekends with FRIDAYS! May, July & Sept 2010. $50 race entry & $80 for friday practice. They were willing to do a mini series if guys wanted it and offer a party and awards after that 3rd event. The trophies they build at Grattan for the MX track range from 1.5 ft to 5ft tall! They intended to change the bike on the top for a kart .

    Do you remember what you were paying in 2010 for practice & enrty fees?

    I condensed ALL of WKA’s classes at that time into 4 sprint & 4 enduro classes. 8 total races grouped together as best I could figure, giving favorable breaks to lower powered & older equipment in each class. Some with no limit to weight, mods, exhaust, etc. Running 4 per day it was going to save so much daylight that we would run practice sessions AM and PM, and still have time for a “Buddy Drive”. Plus be able to get home early Sunday.

    I can already hear the complaints…. “Now I can’t run 4 races because you combined my different pipes.” Its true, you wouldn’t get 4 races with 3-4, or, maybe 8 guys running mostly alone…. but what you would gets is at least 2 races with packed classes, tons of race day practice, and a full day of OPEN practice all at 1/2 of what you were paying.

    Money is the #1 complaint I hear about going RR.

    I’ll list the class structue from back then, but I’m not gonna go into full on detail about each. I can come back another time for that, I’ve already been here way too long!

    Junior (2 & 4 cycle, Sprint & Enduro: Y-can, Vintage Am reed, all 4’s) 12-15
    Sprint Sportsman (2 & 4 cycle: Y-can/Vintage Am reed/all 4’s) 16 +
    Sprint Ltd. (TAG/80cc shifter/all 100cc/open Vintage 135max) 16+
    Sprint Shifter (Sprint CIK/Sprint E: 125cc Stk & Mod MX, ICC/FC/ Vintage Sprint 150 & Twins) 18+

    Enduro Sportsman (all PP, SBX/SSX/Vintage Am reed/all 4’s) 16+
    Enduro Stock (Cont/Cont Ltd/Cont Spec/PP pipe/Vintage open) 16+
    Enduro Ltd. (F100/F125/125-150 open/250 4’s open/Big Bore Vintage) 18+

    Unlimited (all 250’s, 2 & 4’s/ 450 4’s/open Twins/B stk/125-150 open/any 125 shifter/ Big Bore Vintage Twins) 18+

    Obviouly there is some disparity. Some packages are offered no limitations, especially to the vintage group. Anything to get them out, including full bodywork modern chassis, tires, brakes, clutch, pipe…. just Vintage engine.

    I’d probably stalk a guy with a modern kart and a 91b or a 101!!!!

    So, what happened in 2010 you ask??? We showed up in May after doing as much as we could to advertise. It was pretty embarrasing, there may have been a dozen trailers show up. They let us turn laps ’till lunch time for free because they felt bad for us…. then sent us home and cancelled all the plans for the year. This resulted in no more Track sponsored Fridays before race events. It also inspired me to do the April and Oct test days that much more, try to offer guys a place to get their feet wet and try RR.

    Anyway….. lets talk, AND agree, that doing the same damn thing is NOT an Answer!

    Godspeed Y’all

    Robert

  • #91772

    Kelly Read
    Participant

    Robert,

    Pretty good post you have here!!!!

    I haven’t gotten on FB to see what your talking about but I can picture it clearly.

    I will say that from myself who has been HEAVILY involved with road racing not only in my local area but across the nation, I have been involved with many conversations just like you have posted. There are pros & cons depending on who is talking. Someone who doesn’t promote doesn’t understand the whole story. As just a racer who shows up to race, it’s not that big of a deal as long as we get our track time.

    I’m currently working with Robby on classes for our KART/WKA combined event August 10-12 at HPT in Topeka Ks. KART has a total of 26 classes (12-sat, 14-sun) and no local option classes where WKA has a total of 58 classes (31-sat, 27-sun) and this includes 11 total local option classes. KART has 5 races per day (3-30, 2-45) with 2 hrs of practice each day. With the schedule I have for the combined event, we have 8 on sat & 7 on sun. Sat has 5-30, 2-45 and Sun has 5-30 & 2-45 races. This could change after this weekends WKA race at Savanna when Robby does some talking to the racers. I have combined as many classes I can and tried to limit the amount of races but it is tuff with the amount of classes!!!

    Those of us who promote understand entries brings dollars and at times, additional pit pass sales which is our sole income to pay all the bills to put an event on. There is a huge difference today then years past as remember the day an event had only 700 entries which was a bad turn out and 1500+ was an excellent turn out?? Look at the numbers today!!

    I could make your post look small (LOL) but I’m stopping here.

    Here is my same statement I have said many times: Racers need to show and support no matter what the BS is or we will someday not have a place to race!!

  • #91780

    Daniel Agee
    Participant

    Robert,

    I have never tried road racing, though I have wanted to, so my response is that of somebody who’s considered it, but never bitten the bullet.

    My first complaint is the money, yes. My local road racing series is NCK in Northern California. Looking at the entry fees for the race at the end of the month at it is $200 for 1 class, 1 day, so $400 if I wanted to race both days. Those prices are for non-member. Annual membership is $130, or $20 for a one event membership. At my local sprint track, I pay $300 for an annual membership, can practice whenever I want, and pay barely $300 in registration for the course of the whole season! So, even if I just wanted to give road racing a try, I’d nearly double my entry budget for one weekend!

    Second, at this kind of ties into money, I have a KT100 and 206 is very popular in my area. To me, and maybe the fact I’ve never tried it would prove this very wrong, but to me, I would not expect these types of classes would to be that much fun because my perception is you would be full throttle for almost the whole lap. Yes, taking corners at high speeds could be more challenging than a sprint track, but at the same time, one of my least favorite sprint tracks in my area is mostly flat out and it gets pretty monotonous. So, to make road racing more challenging and fun, I’d think you’d need at least a 125 shifter, but those are much more expensive.

    Which takes me finally to new people. New people shouldn’t be hopping in a 125 shifter on a road course, but that’s where the entries are. For my Yamaha, I’d only have one other person to race. That’s not very attractive.

  • #91791

    Donald Dump
    Participant

    I have been away from road racing for 10 years. I recently returned and yes it is true. The numbers are so low and yes after 10 years it was the same faces at the drivers meetings not very many new people. At Daytona we had one junior. Yes participation is down in all forms of motor sports because of rising costs. All you have do is look at NASCAR. They cut the starting field from 43 to 40 and at Daytona all they had were 40 entry’s and  they haven’t filled the grid at the next two races. All you have to do is look at this web site to see the level of interest in Road Racing. We used to see daily activity. Now we can go a week or more without a new entry. Obviously we need to get some exposure to attract new blood and no I don’t have an answer. At Daytona I noticed that we had a racer who raced out of the Gas Monkey garage. Think of the interest if Gas Monkey filmed a segment where they showed this.  If people knew that for a relatively small investment (by racing standards) they could race at Daytona I think a lot of people would give it a try and I think they would get hooked and stay around. This is the things that dreams are made of. As for now a bunch of classes with one or two entry’s don’t make a lot of sense. Yes I know that we have to keep the people we already have but combine as best you can. As I said I just came back and raced at Atlanta prior to going to Daytona. Atlanta was the last race of the year and I ran one race and finished 10th in points. I plan to run the whole schedule this year but it is not much fun racing against yourself.

  • #91799

    Jeremy Baldi
    Participant

    This debate about how many classes there should be has been going on for long time and I’m sure will always go on.  And the real reason it goes on is because there are two different types of karters.  Those that want to win and those that want to have fun.  And I think there is probably about equal amounts of both.

    The reason there are so many classes is because the karters that want to win, want to have a far chance so ever engine or pipe combination needs it’s own class so it is theoretically a fair race.  While these racers would love a big class they also don’t mind small class because a win is a win even if they only raced 2 other people.  But if you combined all the classes together you might very well lose many of these racers because they wouldn’t feel it was fair to their package and they would stop coming and that is lost entry fees.

    The second group of karters just wanting to have fun don’t care about winning but would rather just have someone to race, even if it is for 12th place.  These karters don’t like all the classes but still come because there is still track time and maybe a battle on track to be had.  The problem is that if there are too many classes than there is less chance of an on track battle to be had so in that case they might stop coming to the events.  Again lost entries.

    But if you look at the two options above I believe the possibility of lost entries fees is much larger if you went to fewer classes.  I think there is greater chance of losing more racers if you went to fewer classes.  So it seems like the more classes the better in this case.  However that doesn’t seem to be working as numbers keep going down.  That might be because of the times both for money reasons but also because of the culture that wants to win more and more and doesn’t know how to lose.  So even if you have 48 classes there will still be a lot of people not winning.  I don’t know why for sure.

    So if this system isn’t working than maybe it needs to switch and get a larger percentage of karters that just want to have fun.

    Roberts idea of classes is a nice possibility.  My dad and I have also talked about more of a bracket racing method.  You break karts into 6-8 classes.  Sprint A,B,C and maybe  D and Enduro A,B,C and maybe D.  Any engines and body.  With the great timing systems we now have you set times in practice and than are assigned into a speed based group.  If during your race you have 3 laps faster than a certain percentage than your practice times than you move up to the next speed group the next race.  This would prevent sand bagging.  You might have a shifter racing a yamaha can but if their lap times are the same than I beat they could have a great battle.  Organizers often break the karts into many groups because they are afraid of the speed differences.  But In unlimited the lap times from fastest to slowest is often 30sec a lap.  So why not have a slower superkart race a yahama laydown.

    Than you race each group twice a day.  Everyone could do 4 races in one kart during a weekend.  There will not be many winners but if you are just looking for fun on track I’m sure you’ll find some racing to be had.  And you won’t be annoyed by the guy not in your class getting in your way because everyone would be in your class on track.  Going to a format like this would not be good for all the championships points races.  It would only be for people to have fun and get track time.

    So what we need to figure out is what is more important to more people.  Doing well in your race or just having fun?   Almost everyone will say having fun but if you post on FB about your trophy when there was only 3 karts in your class than you have to really think about whether the getting a good result is more important to you.  There is no right or wrong answer.  Everyone will think their idea is more important and the correct approach.  But we need to find out which method will allow us to keep renting the tracks.

    The money or new blood problems are a whole other issue to deal with.  This post really only was thinking about the people who currently or whom have road raced in the past.

    Jeremy Baldi

  • #91800

    Jim White
    Participant

    Hi Daniel, please do not compare NCK’s Laguna fees to our general entry fees. Laguna is different. It cost over $50k just to hold the event. On top of that we are saddled with a limit to how many karts we can put on track at once. Add it all up and that’s why it costs what it does.

    We do offer a first time racer fee this year of $150 at our Thunderhill races. That will include your membership for the year and allow you to race 2 or 3 times over the course of the day. We also have over 90 minutes of morning practice you can participate in.

    While our Yamaha group is unfortunately small I can tell you I ran sit up Yamahas for 20 years. It is way more challenging than you would think. It is not flat out at all times if you are fast and have a good setup. Both of which take time and effort to work up to.  While there are few Yamhas, you are on track with various other classes at once. There may very well be a kart you are able to run with and experience the draft. Something you won’t get sprint racing.

    When you are ready to come give it a try get ahold of me jim@nckroadracing.com

    I’ll help you out in any way needed to get you out there. You won’t regret it.

  • #91801

    Debbie Kuntze
    Participant

    One little item that gets overlooked in these discussions about those that want to win and those that want to have fun-is road racing is basically an endurance race. Endurance for the driver and especially for the equipment (tires, motor, chassis). Down here in So Cal we used to race with the Historic cars at Big Willow-we all-no matter skill, motor or chassis practiced and raced at one time. We would have newbies as well as seasoned and 250’s with sit up cans. some of us were there to race and some to have fun and some to try it for first time. I usually ran my lay-down sportsman during this time and I went to do my best and to win. Never did win (John usually beat me in his reed and he was definitely there to win) but I did beat some pretty fast karts because I endured.

    Many worry about the safety factor of having different types of karts on track at same time, but we never had any instances. we staggered the types of karts for the starts (all were rolling) and through enduring we sorted out. Good corner workers and starter helped as well.

    Way back in the late 90’s while on the RR committee I with the help of some very seasoned road racers came up with a plan to knock down from 22 national classes to 10! Working with weights and set ups. We compromised at 15. It is doable to have all out there so that you can get the numbers of bodies/karts to afford an event and for all to be competitive.

     

     

  • #91809

    Robert Lawson
    Participant

    Wow, no lynchings yet! Nice.

    All made good points, a couple were on the same page but approach from different angles…. Kelly from a Promotional view and Jeremy from a Participant view.

    Kelly from a KART perspective first, and how it differs from a WKA perspective. Interesting.

    Jeremy from the Reward vs Return angle of wins & trophies vs fun & fulfillment. MORE interesting…. and, where the meat & taters are!

    As I mentioned above, a mass combining should be done (IMHO) at the local & regional level to be tuned and tweeked to best relieve the disparity between packages. Leave the “national” stuff to the Reward group and make local road racing more for the enthusiasts, and, attractive to new growth.

    Now, I know what some are thinking, “You just split up karting”… BUT, wouldn’t the National events eventually be able to weed out the low interest classes this way AND become more efficient? Maybe, just maybe you would then have TRUE National Champions instead of participant champions.

    Daniel’s reasoning, ($$$) is not all wrong, even based on a speciality event like Laguna. Not knocking NKC or SKC or IKF for that matter, racing out West IS more expensive that back here in the East. I said cost was a factor to potential new participants that consider RR. Its absolutely true.

    Motivations are also different now. Not everything is as it seems on the Organizational surface. I’ll say this though, when road race karting does become very difficult to participate in it won’t be because the bank of customers is dry. It will be considered to be not worth someones trouble to do it anymore ($$$)…. regardless of their “Love of the Sport”.

    RPM

  • #91810

    Daniel Agee
    Participant

    Jim, thank you for your reply and info. Perception does not always equal reality, but I wanted to add my non-rr experienced perspective for the purposes of this topic. Like I said, I’ve been interested in trying road racing at some point, but those are some of the things that have held me back.

    Understandable about Laguna Seca being more expensive than Thunderhill. I’ve experienced that when I’ve done track days with my dad in his car. Great to know, too, that there’s a first-timer introductory price. Thank you for telling me that. Is that anywhere on the NCK website? If it is, I cannot easily find it, which would pose a problem for prospective new road racers. I was only able to find out the Laguna Seca pricing based on going through the initial steps of the registration process.

  • #91828

    Clark Gaynor Sr.
    Participant

    At the Woodbridge Kart Club we attempt to direct folks to our most popular classes.  Currently that’s IAME Sprint, Stock Honda, Yamaha Sportsman, and Animal Sprint.  If a class doesn’t meet a certain number of entries, it gets no awards.  We still track points, but you get nothing for it.  No one seems to mind that at all, even those who show up at every event knowing they will get nothing for it…other the fun.  That also applies to year end awards.

    Eliminating classes is a tough one!  If you cut someones class, that may prove to be the last straw and they simply quit.  As all of you promoters know, tracks aren’t getting any less expensive!  I’m sure Laguna is pricey, as is VIR.  A club puts up $30, 40 or 50K before they even give you the keys to the front gate!  Then you cross your fingers and hope for the best!  So turning ANY folks away is risky.  I’ve always said, if three guys show up with lawn mowers, we’ll make a class for them.  3 entries at $100 ea, two days=$600!!  Plus pit passes.  No club can afford to turn that down!  Of course they won’t get trophies and they’ll be stuck in the back of a slower race group..only kidding of course, but you get the idea.

    Two many classes is a problem…kind of.  I’m not sure what the current WKA class count is (too lazy to check right now), but it’s not as bad as it seems.  Keep in mind IAME Sprint, Stock Honda, Unlimited, Animal Sprint, etc, etc all have a final #1 an #2.  Each has a race both Saturday and Sunday..#1 and #2.  They are not separate classes, just a race each days for each class.  So it’s not really 48 classes, it’s more like 24…still too many though.  The WKA NRRC has attempted to cut ALL classes down to one weight per class.  The only exception is Yamaha Sports Medium and Heavy.  All the rest have been combined into a single weight per class.

    Road racing is expensive compared to “club” level sprint racing.  As we all know, tracks are expensive, the logistics for a club holding an event is MUCH higher, all events tend to be two or three days, and there aren’t many locals who live 10 miles from the track.  So you add in motel, food, travel, fuel, dog in the kennel, etc, etc, costs and it sure adds up.

    This is a very good discussion, and maybe if we all put our heads together we can keep road racing alive.  Have a good one folks,

    Clark Gaynor Sr.

  • #91867

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    Robert, Robert, Robert, I’m not about to argue and I wish I had the answer but I don’t.

    The only point I have made is the one that really counts. If combining or merging classes cause the promoting club to lose overall entries it will be a poorly thought out decision. Even in your own example there would have been the loss of two entries overall from just one racer (running two classes instead of four). Now spread that out a bit and first thing you know there will be (guessing here) 20+ or more less entries overall.

    The only way to make up the revenue needed to rent these facilities would be to substantially raise entry fees. The current system is flawed no doubt but it can be too easy for the surgery to be successful but the patient died.

    You’ll not find a more stalwart proponent of RR than me, it’s dear to my heart and I’ve devoted many years to it.

    As for the other gentleman that you mentioned, he and I have a long history going back over 40 years. That we would disagree on something isn’t exactly a surprise.

     

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #91880

    Robert Lawson
    Participant

    OK, Ladies & Gentelmen, welcome Legend #2!

    Greg,

    Your prime discriptive word here is IF.

    Again, I’m speaking about local RR not big Org stuff. Losing 2 “stick & can” entries is a risk, but we haven’t done anything different historicaly in RR and its still fading. I think your estimate of 20 +/- is inflated, if there were that many in those classes they would have more participation (localy) than they do.

    You were peeking when I asked everyone to “Imagine” weren’t you!!! :)

    My belief is a bigger class of combined karts with rules that promote parity would be embraced by the folks participating now, and be attractive to the on looker or new RR enthusiast. I believe the experience of “racing” is what they are after not winning, by whatever means that may be…. there are many.

    I could be wrong, I’ll agree with that. But we have done NOTHING different to try to gain back some of what our Hobby has lost. And that is a damn shame.

    Just promoting Karting events is a risk, trust me, I know. But we can’t be unwilling to apply change because IF may happen. No risk, no reward.

    If we do not face the chance of failure boldly, we have already failed.

    Lets keep talking folks, maybe something will click……

    RPM

  • #91884

    Daniel Agee
    Participant

    It would be interesting to hear from you guys that are in other parts of the country, but where I live in Northern California, I have 5 sprint tracks within an hour of where I live that all race at least 5 or 6 times a year. That’s 30+ races to choose from in any given year. Within 2.5 hours from where I live, there are 4 other sprint tracks. I have a lot of options for sprint racing! Whereas with the road racing, NCK (and please know I am not bashing NCK. I have never run with them and road racing seems like a lot of fun. I’m just giving my sprint perspective of why there may not be a lot of crossover) has a 5 race schedule. 4 of the 5 races are at the 2 road courses that are an hour from where I live with the 5th race being 2.5 hours away, and 2 of those races are on Mondays (to reduce track rental costs I’d imagine) and 1 is the weekend after Thanksgiving. Though I really want to give road racing a try at some point in my career, that schedule, along with the cost associated, isn’t very enticing when I can drive 15 minutes to my local track, practice for free any time I want, and race 6 times a year just at my local track for less money than road racing.

    Also, one problem I think karting has in general in regards to decreasing numbers is that an ever-increasing proportion of karters see it as a stepping stone to car racing rather than karting for the fun of karting. So, for the parents that pay lots of money for their kids to race competitively, they are going to race as much as possible with the best competition possible. Not sure how road racing could tap into that, as road racing is primarily set up for Senior classes with just a few Jr. 2 classes.

  • #91886

    Robert Lawson
    Participant

    Daniel,

    For all the reasons you just mentioned, I believe Sprint Racing IS a stepping stone to Cars IF that is what guys intend to use it for. RR, not so much.

    RR involves much more time, effort, and $$$ in all aspects than Sprint Racing. The model is suited for turn over. It used to feed RR too.

    Good points Bro.

    RPM

  • #91913

    Jim White
    Participant

    Out west one of the last the things the IKF roadrace committee did was to consolidate some of the lightly participated classes. Even so there are still too many in my opinion.

    Our biggest class is the IKF “stock moto” It allows Honda with 99 cyls only and Hegar fairings are allowed. We then have the SKUSA engine stock moto class which allows the 01 cyls but is CIK fairing only. The SKUSA runs at 385 and the 99 cyl class at 400. The SKUSA class is almost always faster than the 99 class. Lowering the weight of the bigger 99 class to 385 won’t help because most couldn’t get there! We have been told (by more than one knowledgeable person) that adding weight to the SKUSA engine class just makes them slow, hard on parts and tuning. I find that hard to believe but I would not know and will defer to the experts. Throw in the ICC engines somewhere and it gets even harder.

    If we were able to find parity amongst these 2 classes it would create 1 very large class for all to race in.

  • #91914

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    Robert,
    I’m a little confused by this paragraph, maybe I’m having a senior moment.

    You wrote; <strong style=”border: 0px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #444444; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 21px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;”>Again<span style=”color: #444444; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 21px;”>, I’m speaking about</span><strong style=”border: 0px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #444444; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 21px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;”> local<span style=”color: #444444; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 21px;”> RR not big Org stuff. Losing 2 “stick & can” entries is a risk, but we haven’t done anything different historicaly in RR and its still fading. I think your estimate of 20 +/- is inflated, if there were that many in those classes they would have more participation (</span><strong style=”border: 0px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #444444; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 21px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;”>localy<span style=”color: #444444; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 21px;”>) than they do.</span>

    What are you trying to say there? I’m really not sure but surely you’re not somehow expecting local participation to fill out the fields. Maybe that’s not what you’re saying at least I hope so. I’m basing that on my experience with the now defunct Indy Kart Club where I was on the board for a few years. After I left the board IKC had a race scheduled at Putnam Park and for a number of reasons it ended up with no sanction and wasn’t part of any series. Even though I was no longer on the board I advised them to not take the financial risk of having a failed event. I was told that they expected local participation to take up the slack. It didn’t and the club went bust.

    Of course if that’s not what you’re saying then pay no attention to my last paragraph.

    I’m not at all adverse to change but having experienced the challenges of promoting road races makes me want to move very carefully. I agree that bigger, more competitive classes should be more alluring to an outsider but there’s at least an even chance that it won’t and the promoting club gets left with the bill.

    This conversation deserves to continue with hopefully more input from other racers, promoters and club officials.

     

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #91915

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    Well the copy and paste turned that into gibberish more so than it actually was. WTF? I’m trying!!

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #91927

    Robert Lawson
    Participant

    I think I can work that out….

    “What are you trying to say there? I’m really not sure but surely you’re not somehow expecting local participation to fill out the fields.”

    I would expect NEW local interest to ADD to the larger combined fields because its more attractive than what is offered now. That IS the philosophy behind the idea altogether. I think that was what Jerry was getting at too….

    In my 4o years RR karts and a lifetime of being around it I have yet to see new karters join the sport/hobby jumping right in to the National level events. They start local, its where they go to check it out, ask questions, get ideas of cost and a feel for what they could potentially be getting into.

    Lets face it, the format is confusing for new folks too.

    Grattan allows folks off the street to enter the grounds and view the track out at the entrance. Its tradition for us to stop at the exit and watch the start and a few laps of the next race before heading out. Many times there are folks that were passing by that pulled in and are checking it out. They ask questions, how fast… engine size….lap time…. HOW MUCH $ !!!!! Almost always with a confused look on their face they watch for 5 minutes then leave.

    I’m suggesting something, anything, to get Dad & the Boy, Families, young Adults, ex Bike or Car racers, etc. to look at an inviting, easy to enter Hobby that offers a competitive atmosphere….. and ANY kart package could have potential. I think that just defined local racing….. don’t you????

    PS: Putnam has always been a tough draw. Darn shame they refuse to let you stay there.

  • #91941

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    Robert, we can agree or disagree, either way it’s all good. However if we want to grow RR  I’m of the same opinion as a poster on Facebook by James McMahan that in order for RR to grow it needs more EXPOSURE.

    The national orgs aren’t doing it, IKF seems almost anti RR, WKA sort of treats it as an afterthought, AKRA is doing a good job of picking up the pieces but little else, CES is doing all it can within it’s means.

    I have serious doubts about any large amount of success (not zero but) by trying to recruit dedicated sprint racers. As i have said before most generally the response is one of three, either “It’s too dangerous” or “Damn that must be boring as hell.” or “What? Never heard of it.”

    There is a fairly large group of sprint racers in my area. To nobody’s surprise you will see a laydown enduro or two on display at my shop. 8 out of 10 times the reaction will be “What the hell is that?” often coming from a sprint racer that has been in kart racing for 15-20 years!!

    There was a time when RR was considered one of the pinnacles of kart racing and maybe with more exposure we can gain some of that back. It sure can’t hurt.

    Often I think that we are preaching to the choir and maybe some effort needs to be put into trying to reach the SCCA, Auto-cross, NASA, track day people. We do give a driver a lot of bang for the buck.

     

    We all need to work together.

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #91961

    Brian Wilhelm
    Participant

    We need to look at what is making drivers not want to race. One reason is silly, emotion-based rules. Spec fuel and no “helmet mounted” cameras come immediately to mind. To date, no one has ever shown me any data that drove the decision to ban cameras mounted to helmets, and I have asked. The answer has been “it’s the insurance” (but no reason WHY), or the worse answer I got was ” it’s just a decision we made”. Huh??

    Spec fuel is even worse. It has not changed the finishing order one bit. Oh, except for all the drivers it ran off. Nice move, really looking ahead here. The selected fuel supplier pays the org to provide fuel? Ok, but they don’t even offer a suitable fuel for a two-stroke, according to their OWN engineer.

    Another one that keeps drivers home is rough tracks. Ok, ok, yes, I know those tracks are cheap. Carefully note that unless there is special incentive, turnout is smallest at those tracks. I won’t support any race at a rough track, period.

    The past three seasons I’ve ran, I’ve been encouraged. Decent turnouts, some new faces, and folks seem happier. Some of the unhappiest folks seem the ones that are spending all their time ranting on the internet about how road racing is in trouble, instead of actually going racing. I had one wag tell me he was getting out of a certain class because it was dying. I told him that at the races I had been to, the class he was getting out of was one of the biggest. I asked him where he heard this. He told me that (name withheld) said that on the internet. Funny thing was, neither of those two clowns had been to a race in 3-4 years.

    Get off your freaking computer and go race! The problem is US, ALL DRIVERS. We just aren’t showing up.

    • #91991

      Debbie Kuntze
      Participant

      Brian-last I knew about the cameras is from Snell-if not factory mounted at time of rating-it voids the Snell rating-so would not be insurable.

       

  • #92016

    Taylor Everhart
    Participant

    I’m with Wilhelm on this one. If everyone who chimed in online would show up and race we’d have a record turnout for road racing. I guess it’s easier to complain for whatever reason and stare at your equipment as it gathers dust in the garage. Do I have solutions to the issues we face when the entries are dwindling? Yeah, just one. Get off your ass and get to the track. Look past the politics. Run whatever class you can, might not necessarily be what you want but it beats not racing. I for one will be bending the gas pedal off at least 3 karts this year in at least 3 different classes. I have an arrive and drive LO206 that I will bring to all KART MARRS events. I carry parts to sell or lend to fellow racers. I am doing everything in my power to get more people to the track. I suggest everyone here do the same. Get out and RACE!

  • #92019

    Brian Wilhelm
    Participant

    Debbie, Snell also says that any helmet that is re-painted loses it’s Snell certification. Looks like we’ll be teching helmet paint jobs soon.

    Motorcycle orgs allow helmet mounted cameras as long as they are mounted with double-sided foam tape.

  • #92028

    Robert Lawson
    Participant

    Snell also says that any helmet that is re-painted loses it’s Snell certification

    So THATS why all SCCA guys wear a dull, boring,  plain white wrapper??? :)

    PS: No one was complaining, we were agreeing to disagree! :)
    Daniel is a sprint guy, not sure if Deb & Fam are still racing or not, but the rest of us posting here are racing our karts. EKN does not have the following it once did either, unfortunately.

  • #92032

    Bob Kurkowski
    Participant

    I’m sure entry fees have a lot to do with someone coming from the sprint or the mud ranks over to roadracing. Funny thing is that people are willing to pay good money to watch a auto race on a premier road circuit yet they cringe at spending a bit more to get a chance to actually drive on that same premier road circuit. Go figure.

    From a photographers perspective, you’ll  never see a good photo of a racer with a camera attached to his head. From a drivers perspective, I’m not willing to take a camera in the throat at 90 mph because you want film of yourself. Keep the Velcro on your shoes, please.

    Bob K.

  • #92059

    Robert Lawson
    Participant

    Bobby,

    The only cameras I have ever been whitness to coming dislodged….have come off KARTS…. Not helmets!!!! Something to do with that Bobblehead/Vibration eliminator action compared to the massvie vibration of the kart itself.

    Twice I put a gopro on my sidepanel and twice the camera was shook to death. Never had one come off my head AAAAAAND the film is Spectacular!!!!!! :)

    I like this “agree to disagree” thingy!!!!

    PS: GoPro is a multi M$$$ Co. If they designed a “helmet mount” you can bet it was done to be used ON a helmet!

    • #92119

      Kelly Read
      Participant

      ANSWER!!!LOL

      This has to be one of the best forums I have been involved with in sometime!! GREAT comments by all and everyone is keeping calm which shows a CHANGE!!

      Both Brian & Taylor hit it on the head by telling US RACERS who want to ROAD RACE to get to the ROAD RACE track!! I have posted the same thing many times on various forums.

      Unfortunately several racers across the country aren’t as lucky as my family is as out of the 7 races we have under KART for 2018, 6 are within 2 1/2 hours from my house, THAT’s HEAVEN!!! I will say (AGAIN) SUPPORT WHAT YOU CAN!!! If I have said it once, I have said it hundreds of times, SCREW who the name is at the top of the entry form as far as the sanctioning body that you might not like, go support the CLUB who is putting a lot on the line for you to race. If WE don’t, some day we will all have wall mounts!!! 2017 was not our best year to support with 2 kids getting married along with personal things happening in our lives but we supported all but 2 events at least for one day. Before then and upcoming years, LOOK OUT!!!

      As for expenses, I AGREE that for me and others to attend road races vs sprint races especially those who have sprint tracks locally, road racing is more expensive BUT, you take the amount of track time you get on a road race track to a sprint track, tires and other misc items, is it really that more expensive?? In the day, we went sprint racing like we do for road racing. Would leave on Friday night, Saturday was a practice day & Sunday was a race day with little practice in the morning. With this said, I still had the same expenses with 2 nights motel, etc. as I do in road racing. Probably one of the biggest difference is the entry fees. Must keep in mind that ROAD RACE tracks are VERY expensive to rent and that usually doesn’t include workers, EMT, etc. and dates are not always the best to choose from.

      In my mind, one of the biggest things I enjoy in road racing is the NO RUSH!! It’s more laid back then sprint racing (this comes from current racers to date even). How sweet it is to have time to just VISIT with friends you hardly see!!!

       

       

       

  • #92084

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    I’ll add this to this line of thought. When the “No helmet mounted cameras” rules started taking affect much of the reasoning was based on the serious injuries that Michael Schumacher received in his skiing accident. There were some reports that indicated that the helmet mounted camera caused damage to the helmet by concentrating the force in a small area.

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #92086

    Jeremy Baldi
    Participant

    Greg is completely correct in that the Schumacher accident was the beginning in the helmet camera bans in both karting and other sports.  However after more testing and further investigation I believe it was determined that Michael hit his helmet on two different rocks in the exact same spot on the helmet causing the helmet to fail.  Much like a bullet proof vest helmets are designed to take one hard hit.  A second hit especially one in the same point on the protective gear is very dangerous.  That is why after a helmet has been in a crash it needs to be replaced.

    They have done more studies on helmet cams and found them much safer than they had thought.  Helmets are tested by dropping large sharp objects on them and they must pass.  So a plastic camera and mount will most likely not do any damage to the very strong shell.  They did find that while a camera will most likely not damage the shell it could cause the helmet to not glance of an object that it might have without a camera mounted.  Many people think concussions are caused by the brain bouncing of the skull.  They have more recently found that concussions are actually caused from the brain rotating in the skull from a sudden stop in movement.  So helmets that are perfectly round can sometimes allow the head to glance along walls or the ground without a sudden stop.  A helmet camera could get in the way of that but that is a case by case thing.  Because they also found in certain crashes a camera could actually act to further decelerate an impact.

    Professional athletes still wear helmet cams all the time.  They are used in videos and television all over they world. Heck Graham Rahal wears one during indy car events with live tv footage. This is another case of a rule that may have had a good intent to keep people safe but once something is a rule it is almost impossible to get it removed.  Even if data could prove the rule is not needed.

    An another note the first time discounted entry fee is an awesome idea.  I haven’t seen that before but that is great way to let anyone with a kart that’s safe try road racing.  That should be the header of every club/organization’s web page.  This is really a great idea and I hope it catches on.

    Jeremy Baldi

  • #92121

    Todd Stoffer
    Participant

    In my 4o years RR karts and a lifetime of being around it I have yet to see new karters join the sport/hobby jumping right in to the National level events.

    Um… yes you have. Me!

    In 2001 with no previous karting experience at all I bought a 125 shifter and showed up at the WKA Mid-Ohio nationals. It took almost five more years to get my first podium finish at that level.

  • #92125

    Robert Lawson
    Participant

    Todd,

    You are an anomaly!

    If you dont mind sharing with us…. how many other National Events per season did you run back then beside the one close to home?

    2001 is well after the MSSS ended (Regional Series), Dart may still have run 2 races each year at that time with one each being Regional/Club & National.

    I guess in an area with no Club level RR it is possible, but that was not the norm in 20th Century!!!! :)

  • #92126

    Lee Curtis
    Participant

    In my 4o years RR karts and a lifetime of being around it I have yet to see new karters join the sport/hobby jumping right in to the National level events.

    Personally, I went from local dirt racing to Daytona 2015 as my first road race, in a yamaha sportsman sprint kart. By the end of 2016, I sold all of my dirt stuff, pieced a tag together, and have loved every second of it!!! The atmosphere in the pits, you feel like family!!! I am so thankful to Quincy Smith for giving me the opportunity to run that yamaha a couple of years ago and seeing what road racing was about!!!! I love road racing, couldn’t imagine life without it!!!!!!!

  • #92127

    Bob Kurkowski
    Participant

    It is good to hear stories like Todd and Lee’s but they are to far and few.

    I run one of the most popular engines in karting, the LO 206 and I have made race announcements on national and local web sites and have drawn zero interest from any current or future racers. For the most part my hope was to speak out to a audience that is less then a hour and half from two of the nicest tracks in the country yet there were no takers, not even someone showing up just for a look around or to ask questions.  I have explained how simple the crossover to roadracing is especially with the 206 and I have offered to be of any assistance before and during a event yet still no takers.

    Perhaps my message is not getting heard but in reality it shouldn’t be my message it should be the karting industry and the sanctioning bodies message, that’s what all of those memberships and licensing fees we pay go towards right  ?

    Is roadracing so far in the back of the closet that no one even knows it exists ?  I guess we can say “roadracing is the best kept secret out there”.

    See you at the track….Bob K.

     

     

     

  • #92143

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    Bob K.,  Your statement of “Is roadracing so far in the back of the closet that no one even knows it exists?” is unfortunately right on the money. As I had said earlier in this thread WKA for the most part treats it as an afterthought, IKF has been known to take an “anti-roadracing” stance, AKRA is doing a nice job of picking up the pieces but little else, both CES and KART are doing what they can with the resources that they have available.

    I’m thinking that much of this is our own fault in that we as a community aren’t doing doing our cause any good by remaining silent. There are a lot of us although as Brian said they need to get their butts to the track.  Just looking at this forum the roadracing section has more action than any other category other than “General Discussion” and by a wide margin. Shifters, TAGs etc. don’t come close.

    Another example would be on Facebook where roadracer John Crider established a page called “Enduro Go Kart Racing” and in a short period of time it had over 2000 members.

    From the 60s until well into the 90s many felt that roadracing was one of the “elite” divisions of kart racing and was often viewed as a destination. Nobody is blowing our horn for us, we need to put our heads together and take care of it ourselves.

    I’m also flummoxed by this very website giving minimal coverage to roadracing (example Daytona). Rob has done a fair amount of roadracing and David’s family are all hardcore roadracers. I talked to David in Daytona but there’s not been a word on this site other than this forum section.

    ROADRACERS OF THE WORLD!! UNITE!!

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #92219

    Ian Krueger
    Participant

    Yeah I feel like people love making excuses it’s kinda sad honestly, almost everyone I’m surrounded with is pretty much like that (not racers but people in general) and yeah the people who want to race will show up and support whatever sanctioning body.

    I’m a 22 year old one man crew and drove 1400 miles each way from new Hampshire to race Daytona because it’s FUN. Despite peoples gossip about WKA I didn’t care. I went there to race not worry about political crap. The WKA staff was so great and friendly.

    And I ended up running a 2:31 in my Sprint Enduro which was pretty fast and on the pace, I was actually up to third at one point on the first couple laps, ended up finishing 10 seconds behind roughly from the leader but let me tell you that was 100% worth it.

    I pay rent, student loans, all that crap. But I saved up for a year and went down in my Astro van and 6×12 trailer on a shoe string.

    My point being while some people might be deterred from road racing or karting in general cuz they see all these fancy motor homes, the gotta realise a lot of us just have regular set ups and not zillions of dollars.

    I don’t even understand how Daytona was that cheap honestly the fact that the track with all those employees and everything and it was still like $150 a day, that’s unbeatable.

    Yeah it’s a hard sport to get into, I mean my dad and uncle were SCCA road racers so I was kinda destined to do it but I mean you just gotta get off your Duff , build a kart and have fun it’s not that hard

    WKA sprint

  • #92231

    David Cole
    Keymaster

    Exactly Ian. $150 a day to race at one of the world’s most iconic circuits. Even if it’s just to say you’ve done it, that’s super cheap!

    David Cole - EKN Managing Editor

  • #92250

    Ian Krueger
    Participant

    Yeah;

    That wasn’t to sound condescending but there is a lot of work involved! Worth it though! :)

    WKA sprint

  • #92251

    Bob Kurkowski
    Participant

    Ian,

    What do all of your buddies think about karting ? Cool, stupid, waste of money ?

    Bob K.

  • #92254

    Jeremy Baldi
    Participant

    Agreed.  Karters always complain about entry fees.  Yeah it would be great if they were cheaper.  And yeah a club sprint race might only cost $35.  But you are getting to race on some of the best tracks in the country.  We used to race on every major road racing circuit until people stopped coming.

    If I want to to go to the Indycar race at Mid Ohio for all 3 days it will cost $65 for general admission and if I want to go in pit and paddock it’s another $85.  That’s $150 to go watch a race and walk around the pits.  If you pre-enter it’s usually like $90 for practice and $110 for each race.  So for just a little over double the price you could get all day practice and race twice on a world famous track.  That seems like a crazy good deal.  Sure you have to have your own kart and stuff and the travel but no other group is letting you get on a professional circuit for those costs.  Talking to a Porsche cup guy once their entry was over a grand for a weekend at Mid Ohio.  Not sure if ever race group is that much but road race karting really doesn’t seem that expensive when you consider what track you are on.

    Jeremy Baldi

  • #92268

    Jeff Vargen
    Participant

    I started Kart racing last year at age 56 after a lifetime of Yosemite climbing started to become more difficult physically.    I live in Nor Cal and belong to a Sprint Track and race at several of the club races.

    I have always wanted to RR and happened upon it when last Fall when I was able to run Sonoma, though I had some mechanical problems and was only able to run 1 of my 3 scheduled races, it was the BEST day of my short karting life. I was not there to win, and there was plenty of fun.

    I talk up RR  at my sprint track and as has been stated it seems to be a mystery.

    I wonder why RR groups are not setting up tents on club race days and promoting and demystifying this opportunity. Most sprinters don’t know what it takes to make their kart RR ready. NCK in Nor Cal was GREAT at hooking me up with an experienced guy that helped me get my kart ready.  The people on race day and leading up were the most welcoming I have expereinced in any sport.  Some of the issue in my opinion is mystery and marketing.  We know that few sprinters will even read this forum.

  • #92277

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    I hate it when folks try to compare the costs to go road racing to racing at their local sprint track. When you compare the costs to a traveling sprint racer (WKA, USPKS, Route 66, SKUSA etc.) the cost comparison changes big time and considering the fact that there’s much less damage occuring during a road race weekend there’s a good argument that overall road racing is less expensive.

    OK, while we’re making comparisons let take a quick look at what it costs to run at your local sprint track. Entry fees range from $35-$45 to as much as $60-$80. Add in two pit passes for the driver and a helper at $10-$15 each. Often you are required to run fuel supplied by the track at $10+ a gallon. Very quickly it gets to over $100. Let’s not forget that on your race day at your local sprint track you will do good to get more than 30-40 minutes of track time. On a road race weekend you get hours of track time available each day. I often see 3-4 hours of time on the track in a typical road race weekend and as a rule I typically skip a few practice session.

    When it comes to track time road racing has no equal.

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #92293

    Jeff Vargen
    Participant

    <When it comes to track time road racing has no equal.>

    This should be the slogan, nothing is more true

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