Home Forums Road Racing Can RRing survive without the clubs?

This topic contains 107 replies, has 37 voices, and was last updated by  Larry Dobbs 3 years, 10 months ago.

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    Mike Arnold

    If WKA would make dual brake systems a requirement for 2015 Man Cup TAG classes (give everyone 1 season to adjust) then 2016 you will slowly see the TAG entries grow in RR and probably will not lose any entries in Man Cup due the big money involved.  Short term complaints in Man Cup with long term growth RR + justified via added safety for higher speed carts.  Anyway you see it WKA wins this race!

    Next, need to look at a ladder kart system with top rail not being a move to cars.  I think after Sprint racers reach 20 + and approaching the 30yr age that road racing becomes the progression vs. staying in sprint and racing against a mainly teenager based series.  I don’t mean this in a negative way but a big part of WKA Man Cup is 8-15yrs old.   Then there is some serious racing in TAG classes for 15 to 22 yrs old too but it would be nice if this competition moved to the road racing with the alure of the venues of the bigger tracks like the potential race at COTA or the race we had MIS or other any of the other nice tracks, Mid Ohio, VIR and Daytona just to name a few.  Right now there is just not the competition in road racing to attract these racers.   And the richer ones often move to cars.



    David Cole

    Mike, IMO, there is no reason for Man. Cup to require dual brake system. 1) Karts don’t come that way, thus it’s an added expense. 2) There is no need for dual brake systems at sprint tracks.

    David Cole - EKN Managing Editor


    Larry Dobbs

    First to quote Roger Penske about the new Grand Prix of Indianapolis:

    “Thinking about history, we’ve gone from 30 days to 10 [with the 500]; we’ve got the Brickyard,” he said. “History, to me, is behind us, and in today’s world you’ve got to take big, bold steps. I think that’s the Speedway has done and the Hulman family has done, and it’s going to make our series a much better series.”

    “Big Bold Steps”

    National race is a once in a life time “bucket list” event for most of us due to finances.  Let’s agree as a nation of kart racers to attend one big race per year and call it the Kart Grand Prix of America.  It can be moved each year from region to region.  For example, if going to COTA is a bucket list item for you, then you sign up and go, otherwise you wait for the next time the race goes to Austin or another track on your list.  Local kart clubs tend to your members locally, but when it is your turn to host the big race, everyone that can afford to will attend your version of the KGPA.  etc.

    Anybody care to add to this big idea with positive input?  This is forum brainstorming!



    Mike Arnold


    Generally speaking Sprint TAG’s may not need front brakes but without front brakes they can’t cross over to RR.  If the karts are legal for both series then we can get the same kart legal for both series like the shifter karts are.  I don’t think we want to allow single brake system karts for RR.  As I said before there will be complaints about cost in the beginning but if this takes effect 5 yrs from now nobody will remember and it will be a normal part of the karting.  I don’t like the sound of this after re-reading it but I believe it would be best for karting in the long run.  It won’t be popular for sure.  But if you are a racer and you have the opportunity now to try RR then with this rule it would not be a negative as is now TAG racers are not going to spend the $ just so they enter 1 race per year so they never try it to see if they like it.  If we can find another way to allow TAG’s kart to try RR without going in this direction without worries about safety then we should go that route instead.

    Consider Shifter karts –  Should they have to have Front brakes for sprint tracks?  Because they do have them now you can use this kart in any series.  This makes it easy for these racers to race anywhere they like without many changes to their karts.  I am sure when the front brakes came out from them there were similiar cost concerns and complaints and fast forward to now it is not an issue and is a nice piece of mind to have this safety feature.


    PS:  I love being at the track with your Dad….he’s a hoot!




    George Sunderland

    Answer to question:  No.


    Larry, I like your idea.  Also, $30 pit passes are killing any chance of getting the curious coming out to check us out which = no new blood.  I can go to the Crofton dragstrip here for $7 and roam the pits all day and night. If a guy wants to bring his son just to see what road race karting is all about, its $60.  Just to check it out.   Also, we used to have a junior enduro class.  Much of the downturn started about the same time that class died.  Some fans become participants.  But forget about fans unless its REAL cheap,  Look at NASCAR .  They can’t buy enough banners to cover the empty seats.  I’m convinced the key is to combine road races with other group’s events.   Reach out to boy scouts and other groups to  host regional pinewood derby championships at our races, etc.  Invite local car clubs.  Etc.  Since many guys take Thursday and Friday off anyways, what about races on Monday and Tuesday with Sunday as drive down day?  At some venues, rent is a LOT cheaper………


    Kelly Read

    Let me clarify something as I am taking that people feel I don’t believe that we need clubs. That is not what I meant. I was talking of “CLUBS” that have members who come out and help. Some clubs have that, MKA doesn’t.  I do have people who come and work for me but are not a member of MKA. Rather it be a club or an individual like myself, you have to have funds to promote a event with or without members.



    bo rougeou

    I’m sorry I didn’t answer the question.  No.

    But the clubs need to be more of a benevolent oligarchy than a democracy.  Find someone who wants and will do the work and let them do it.

    Partnerships with another race is a great idea, done at Barber with moderate success but messed up by rainy weather on the scheduled weekend.

    We should race at the new Indy race on the weekend that the new roadrace runs.



    Colm O’Higgins

    Bo, I like your idea of partnering with Indycar.  If they want us.

    Sanctioning bodies (yeah, BODIES)…are you listening?

     And George. well said on the Junior Classes.

    My father said that the best form of government was “a benevolent dictatorship”. 

    But which weekend?  

    Have you read A.J. Foyt’s comments on May yet?

    Indianapolis is a sure bet to increase our numbers.



    Colm O’Higgins

    Seems we have a plethora of reasons why RR is not currently booming.  We have several good suggestions to remedy this reality.  To-day’s youth has many activities to choose from, that’s new to those of us from past years.  


    MUST HAPPEN SOON or race dates will be far less evident and farther away than at present.  

    That’s okay if the numbers support the costs.  IF.

    First, the sanctioning bodies need to work together.  KART and WKA and IKF.  Wow, seems improbable.

    Second, Gene may be correct, but a hydrid system of National classes and Local Option classes should work.  Far fewer in number, please.   And must include a Junior class.

    Third, karting needs a National sponsor…Mazda is the only one so far.  What do they see?  Mazda’s input, if they are reading this Forum…

    Fourth, a travel “tow-money” fund should be explored as a doable concept.

    Fifth, partnering with ‘higher’  forms of motorsport will be a road to increase karting’s RR numbers by drawing from racers with more disposable income.



    Colm O’Higgins

    To answer the posed question:  

    Clubs first, then Sanctioning entities.


    George Sunderland

    Doesn’t hurt to try I guess but running as an opener for a mainstream series is not likely.  Years ago, Jacumin ran us before the Busch races at Rockingham and Ron Skeen was very successful organizing the B-stocks at a number of CART races.  I loved those events.  It was so cool running in front of packed grandstands at the Rock.  But this is a different day.  Now each of those series have their own struggling step ladder series.  Indy Lights, NASCAR Trucks, ARCA, ASA, etc.  All would take precedent over us.  A better bet I think is to join with other grassroots orgs like the lawnmower guys or barstool racers or drifters .


    Morgan Schuler

    This year I went road racing for the first time, with CES. Had a blast, I’m the guy you’re all looking for. BUT…They don’t require front brakes for TAGs. I’m not giving up sprint racing and I’m not putting front brakes on my TAG kart. Change that rule and I’d go road racing more. Pretty simple. Until then I’ll get my road racing fix with CES.


    Chris Hegar

    Front brakes in tag are not required in IKF rr but they are recommended. I’m going by memory but I think that’s correct. We run karts with and without together without problems. I prefer with but that’s me.


    Peter Zambos

    Morgan, I’m glad you had a blast, and I hope that we see you in the next season.

    I interpreted the original question as meaning support from the sprint clubs that exist in the same region as the corresponding road racing series. Back when I was a lot yonger, not only did my own sprint club recommend that we check out RR, but even shut down for that weekend to make the decision that much easier. All this for an event that was being put on by another club. Of course, this was back when all you had to do to a sprint kart for road racing was to change the gearing.

    Out of curiosity, how what is the level of support, coordination and cooperation between sprinters and road racers in other regions outside of the Midwest?


    Gene Davis

    Morgan- You don’t need front wheel brakes on your TaG to run WKA road race events.



    Colm O’Higgins

    Everyone, Gene is correct.

    WKA does NOT require front brakes on TAG chassis.

    But a “dual braking system” IS required.

    Rules 362.9 & 362.10 on Page 72 of the 2013 WKA Technical Manual.

    Now would it not be EASIER if there was jute ONE Technical Manual for the entire continent….cheaper too.  Definitely better for the competitors…oh them.  

    All the Sanctioning entities WKA, IKF, KART & CES should get together for the 2014 / 2015 issue, with each displaying their Logo on the Cover.  

    Why?  Because we do not have the dollars to spend on several manuals.


    Peter Zambos

    The manual for CES/TAG is free, Colm.

    For the record, CES doesn’t require front brakes OR a dual system, but I think we’re getting off topic here.


    Colm O’Higgins

    Re: CES / TAG Technical Manual

    Yeah, Peter, I read it online!  Saves print costs enormously.  

    Are the other SB’s still in the mode of old technology, print wise?

    As for a “dual braking system”  for TAG class racekarts I wonder what that would entail?

    Also, reading the Penske article in Autosport on running at Inianapolis, that magazine has NO mention of karts.

    Halls of Fame for elevated racecar drivers do not include karting either.  That needs to be fixed.  

    Earlier this year I was lucky to meet Ron Fellows in Brampton after he had been inducted into this city’s Sports Hall of Fame.   Ron has done much here for kart racing.

    Possibly a racer such as Scott Pruett could help us make the needed connections.



    Randy Pierson

    The “dual braking system” rule is by far the dumbest thing I have ever seen. Almost kept us from ever running a road race for the first time back in ’05. So you have dual calipers and master cylinder…you still have one rotor and one keyway connecting that rotor to the axle. Dumb. Turn the wheel and spin the kart if you have issues. Or better yet…pull off in the grass! A TaG isn’t “that” fast that it needs some glorified brakes system. But it is a huge deterent to getting cross over entries. Another reason our team doesn’t run WKA events…dumb.


    Mike Arnold

    The issue that Randy described is what needs to be addressed concerning TAG karts.  I thought it was required to have front brakes but Gene corrected me in that dual systems are required and not brakes themselves.

    How can we compromise and have a TAG karts with approved systems for all series?  Either not required and allow into RR or require for Man Cup?   If this can be addressed RR will grow!!  For Morgan and Randy it was a hindrance that almost stopped them from RR and I guess it does stop most people.  We must address this ASAP.

    Gene, can the WKA RR committee add this as an agenda item and work with Man Cup people for a solution?  I guess we should not limit this just to WKA though, does anyone else have any ideas?




    Peter Zambos

    The brake redundancy may make the class less of a risk to the underwriter of their insurance, thus keeping down cost to the org as well as their risk. If this is the case, it would be better if they talked directly with other orgs to find out how they approach the issue.


    Jeff Salak

    You will never get Road racing to grow if you keep Leopard only. Its helped kill Tag class in WKA and those who follow this rule.

    Run all Tag engines together. Have a Tag Sr and Tag Masters class run in same race with a 15 sec gap at start. Then have a Tag heavy race later in day at Masters weight. Can run twice a day everyone with no issues of this engine or that engine. Leave it to the sprint series to wine about the engine that best for this track ect. I just want to race with large fields!

    Duel brake is what its worth, I run front brakes as I buy a shifter chassis to run Tag.


    Allan Dawson

    I raced at the Roebling Road event last weekend in Savannah.   During the  Southern Kart Club dinner Saturday night, the dire state of club finances was discussed.   A number of possible solutions were discussed to help turn things around, which included the following……

    –  increasing Club membership yearly dues from $35 to $100

    –  actively solicit Sponsors

    –  reduce cost on trophy/plaque expense

    A club member called on a Doctor who works Trauma at NASCAR events and has raced at Roebling Road with Southern Kart Club. The call was well received  and the Doctor agreed to a $ contribution.

    A collection was taken up among club members and Racers after Sundays mornings Driver Meeting.  Well over $1000 was taken in.  I know this is not enough to  put the Club on firm financial ground, but it’s a start.

    Allan Dawson

    Southern Kart Club Member


    Colm O’Higgins

    Jeff Mott started this thread:

    ” Can RR survive without the Clubs?”

    The USPKS has entry Fees of $300 and up!  They are beholding to NO Sanctioning body.

    Their engine spec rules are fairly open with just a specific ‘blowdown’ rule and specified parts such as headers and carbs.  They are run by Promotors who know where the break even point is, and keep their heads above water.

    Yes, they are different.  They are far from KART.  They are high end racing that attracts attention.   Professionals.  Clubs tend to have those who are willing to work and then sort out their abilities.  Cart before the horse?

    Maybe Clubs do not need to go to those extremes but they have to watch the ‘bottom line’ and charge accordingly.  Kart racers are by design thrifty, kinda.  They have to be!

    But it takes a lot of money to rent these big tracks, no spectators and no major sponsorship.  Without those latter two items the karter must pay the freight.

    If roadracing is to survive, let alone thrive, across the nation (and the West Coast is pretty much gone already)  then the Clubs and their Members need a course in financial reality.  

    Whatever it costs we must pay.


    George Sunderland

    I don’t sell meters, valves, or anything else but I have had PHD level econ and finance…….

    If you want to permanently kill a declining market, the surest way to do it is to increase the barriers to entry. Road racing is currently a declining market.   Increasing fees may generate a temporary cash influx but it will guarantee a speedy and permanent shutdown.  Just look at how well jacking entry fees has worked for IKF.    Its a horrible idea and as I stated earlier, greedy pit pass costs have already turned away countless potential newbies.  The key is to get new blood and keep the folks you already do have.  One  killer we can do little about is travel costs which are especially high for road racing.  I’ve suggested before that clubs investigate nearby kart storage to reduce travel costs.  Also, orgs such as WKA should facilitate commuter info boards to facilitate truck pooling.  Even send e-mails giving all members contact info for all fellow karters within a 100 mile radius.  Should also explore reaching out to folks who have been missing for two years or more and ask what would it take to bring them back. Another angle that may help is sliding scale entry fees meaning if we have a certain number of entries, fee is X. If we get more than X entries, folks will be given a refund based on final total.  This creates an incentive for everyone to participate in proactive marketing since the more folks they can talk into coming, the lower their fees will be.  It also greatly reduces potential mistrust from folks wondering if somebody made too much money off them.  Afterall, WKA  and some clubs are nonprofit aren’t they?  Racing in the rain would also help take away an excuse for people who have to travel far.  The secret we’re all searching for it how do you take away as many excuses as possible for not coming out?

    I don’t have the sure fire fix but I know jacking fees is the sure fire killer……..

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