Home Forums General Karting Discussion Bumpers or No Bumpers, That is the Question

This topic contains 61 replies, has 38 voices, and was last updated by  Ian Bushey 4 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    David Cole

    Today, the CIK-FIA announced a new plan to introduce a new front fairing combination that is designed to “fight against bad behaviour on the track”

    HERE is the article

    Personally, I like the full rear bumper as it helps to eliminate the up and over incidents with the front nose connecting with the rear tire. However, this idea seems to be a bit of an over-kill.

    Is this the time to remove the rear bumpers at the top level of the sport?



    Gregg Palmer

    I like the bumper setup as it is. I think the race directors need to enforce rough driving code more and in drivers meetings let everyone know that rough driving will not be allowed and you will be black flagged if caught. Let’s face it a little bumper use is not bad and it happens in tight racing but in no way do I think it’s the way to push people out of the way to make a pass.


    Greg Welch

    I vote no bumpers.  I think the amount of crashing people get away with has gone up exponentially since the rear bumper came around.   Sure it’s saved a radiator or two, but caused a significant amount more people not to finish races at all.


    Doug Harden

    So why have front bumpers then? Take them off, that’ll slow down the bumper kart drivers….


    But seriously, make all the bumpers like the OTK bumpers that are paper thin and collapse under wind resistance….or it sure seems like they do.


    This proposed change will lead to 100’s of protests due to people pushing you into the kart in front, especially on starts….or the lead kart brake checking you to cause this failure.


    Make the track police the bad driving….enough with causing the racers to spend money instead of the tracks…it’s getting harder to justify the costs of this hobby as it is.


    Walt Gifford

    I think it’s great someone is thinking of this stuff but that bumper system will evaporate faster than spit on a griddle when it hits the USA. What ever happened to the system where the front bumper pops off when you hit too hard? People started safety wiring the clamps and then business as usual.



    Tim Koyen

    My vote would be for the old steel rear bumpers.  Waaaaaay less wrecking.  I think the few radiators saved by the new plastic bumpers is far..far outweighed by the increased frequency of race-ending wrecks caused by unchecked aggression and a lack of real consequences.

    Simply policing the racing more is an impossible task at any event of size.  The new in vogue thing to do is just turn right into the guy next to you on the straightaways.  Maybe all the bodywork should be breakaway?

    Take the bumpers off the bumper cars, and they become just cars.  Cars that we can race.


    Doug Harden

    Another issue is, how will the fasteners be policed? Racers are by nature, cheaters…people will be finding ways to make sure these don’t act as designed. Is there going to be a certified “test” at the tech tent after a race? Are only the top 3 going to be tested? If it’s about safety, then all should be tested after each race…..see where I’m going here? It’ll be a major clusterf***.


    Doug Harden

    Before we know it, we’ll be forced to drive these goofy damned things like they do in Brazil…no thanks.



    Peter Zambos

    I agree that the full-width steel bumper is the way to go.  I will say that, when we have experienced corner staff in road racing, the policing of unnecessary contact is done rather well.  The problem is the having will to do something about it and making the effort and expenditure, so effective control really doesn’t happen too often.  But, if we could do it under those conditions in road racing, I don’t see why it can’t be done in a much smaller sprint setting.


    Doug Harden

    It’ll be this before long.. 


    Paul Hir

    After running several years without I ran a couple races last year with a metal full width bumper.   I didn’t see a advantage in fact I could have easily used it as side battering ram, not that I would be it could.


    Jim Maxson

    I hate all the body work period..  We raced a lot cleaner back in the day when getting over a wheel made you race with respect. Problem with all the bodywork is everyone has lost respect for the other driver.Sorry but rubbing and beating on a guy isn’t racing.


    Gary Smith

    I’d say do away with them, not for the safety factor, which is slim at best, but for the guys out there that put there karts on verticle stands, what a PITA to remove the bumper to stand the kart upright to transport, and then try to figure out what to do with the “blasted” bumper once you remove it.  Not only that, but you might have to reroute your exhaust to keep from melting the dang thing. What A Pain In The Arse.


    #55 Honda CR80 with melted rear bumper.


    james kent

    I think its a great idea. Anything to stop dirty driving is a great idea. More track owners need to be involved with sporting regs rather than just count heads each weekend. These plastic rear bumpers were such a horrible idea. ” hey look bumper cars “


    Walt Gifford

    Maybe we need a race where you don’t sign a release form.


    lynn haddock

    More overpriced non-sense from Europe. Racing was better and the drivers were better when we only used four number panels and small tubular bumpers + nerf bars. All this plastic crap that has been sold in the name of safety and making the karts look more like race cars is a huge load of  S —  Follow the money for the real truth.


    Bob Vehring

    Exactly what Lynn said, sorry to be so blunt, but all I see is another attempt to sell you more stuff, because the last stuff they made you buy isn’t doing what it was suppose to


    Gary Lawson

    I’m probably being really mean but I’d love to see 75% of the tag drivers on their head. Dont want amyone hurt but wouldn’t mind if they got s little banged up and ruined the expensive paint job that daddy bought them as their consequence! Lol

    The lack of respect for each other at many events is a great contributor for why their is a perceived lack of prestige at many events. Many drivers just think all the other drivers “suck”. I hear it from drivers all the time.


    Brian Mead


    patrick j slattery

    Silly and costly.  The best way is to have the race officials stop tolerating rough drivers.


    What happens when the front karts start brake checking the competition to knock off the bumpers of the kart behind them



    tony zambos

    If you can get away with brake checking the kart behind, what’s to stop the lead kart on the first lap brake checking the entire field. Sounds like a great way to win a race. Please!, no new bumper.


    Evan Fraser

    tl;dr version: Shoving is a problem, this solution isn’t ideal but at least something is being done.

    Personally I have noticed a tendency for the higher level drivers to be far more aggressive with bumping and shoving in corners.  I also have a fair bit of experience in turn marshalling for sports cars and know how hard it can be to determine who hit who and how best to penalise them.  Down here at the club level in BC we’re lucky just to get enough people to wave flags, forget about rule enforcement.

    While I like the fact that the pushing and shoving issues have been noticed and the CIK-FIA is making a move to limit it, I too think the new front fairing system is open to exploitation.  Having said that I think after a few pileups forcing half the field to come in for a reset the drivers will learn to be a little more careful in the first couple corners, and repeated complaints of brake-checking would lead to the offender being watched more closely.  Unless of course the driver being “brake-checked” is actually ramming the driver in front.

    The ideal solution is better enforcement.  However, brake-checking with the new system should be pretty obvious to an observer who knows the track and the offender can be penalised accordingly.  Incidental contact is something the drivers will have to sort out between themselves, or perhaps learn more to keep their head up to predict whether the driver in front is going to need to slow down for some reason.

    Edit: I suppose I should address David’s original question.  Should the rear bumper be removed?  It would have to be removed from every level of the sport, otherwise drivers moving up to the top level would have no idea how to race without it.  I would say no, keep it.  Majour collisions and up-and-overs may be rare but they have the potential to be very damaging to driver and kart.


    John Lafakis

    Design a replaceable sticker that is applied before every race.  The sticker is textured such that it will leave a residue on the offending driver’s bumper when hit hard enough.  After the race you can view the front or rear of the bumpers to see who has been rubbing and penalize accordingly.  This way we can keep the bumpers and the safety they “may” provide, while also being able to officially call out repeat offenders.

    What this doesn’t fix is people brake-checking or using other nefarious maneuvers, however it can show who is constantly causing trouble and allow officials to more closely monitor them (you can be called out more easily if you constantly have someone else’s sticker on your bumper).  The material can also be trademarked and coded so that nobody can alter or replicate the material easily.  If you never get hit or never hit anyone else, you will never have to replace your material unless you win and are checked for legality.

    As a side note, I must be the only one that likes the current plastic bodywork.  It gives the kart a level of safety (even if that safety may be exploited from time-to-time), while also keeping the karts from looking like something out of Mad Max.  As long as the plastics don’t get overly obnoxious I think they give a certain level of style to the karts, while also giving us enough space for unique graphic patterns.




    Evan Fraser

    Interesting idea John.  Personally I like the bodywork too, both look and function.  I’ve had plenty of small side-to-side impacts that would’ve been worse without the pods, and enjoy how close it lets you get to the other karts without fear of tires connecting.  Having said that I’ve never been side-swiped out of a corner.  I’ll come back and rant when that happens.


    Bob Vehring

    This isn’t a new problem, It was here at Badger 10-15 years ago, WKA for a while banned  full bumpers because of the pushing in corners.

    The reality is pretty simple to understand. If the kart in ft of you has open tires showing, chances are, if you hit them, its you thats going up and out. Just as clear, if the kart in ft of you has a full bumper, it doesn’t take much of a hit as he enters a corner to move him out of your way. If a driver doesn’t understand that, maybe he shouldn’t be out there

    The answer appears to be fairly simple, do you want to race open wheeled karts, or bumper cars?


    For those calling for better enforcement, here’s a story I have had to give at Badger many times.

    When a parent, crew member, family or friend has something happen to their driver they come running to the Flagman or RD saying “didn’t you see that?

    The sad truth is, when you have 10-25 karts on the track, are looking from one stationary point and have the entire track and field to look over, probably not.

    When you watching, your looking at your driver full time, the officials, or CW’s have everyone to look at. Their view is  often obstructed by other karts, their angle to the situation, distance, etc. They can not stare directly at each kart, most likely they don’t notice something until it has started to happen. Sad but true.


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