January 6, 2015 at 4:58 am #39937
January 6, 2015 at 5:23 am #39939
Two Big races about the same time in Vegas which one will everyone want to go to?? one on the strip and one off, one you can walk to hotel and all the excitement and one you can’t and one a lot less money to go to. This will be something to think about
Good job Maxspeed
January 6, 2015 at 7:16 am #39953
Seriously! Lets just copy the other series using Rotax. Lets even add stock moto with the same type of classes. Lets have the same amount of rounds and end in Vegas before the SKUSA Vegas. Its so Blatant is comical.
January 6, 2015 at 8:28 am #39959
I can almost see Vortex or even Briggs partnering up in this but i don’t really get another Stock Honda program. At least with Vortex you’d pull in the interest of the Mini-Rok families that had their rug pulled out from under them. Maybe.
January 6, 2015 at 10:03 am #39966
Kind of reminds me of the now defunct CKI doing something similar ending inVegas. History repeating itself?
January 6, 2015 at 10:23 am #39967
How can these guys in any way say that they are doing this in the interest of the sport!
Business competition is fine but to put this back to back with the SKUSA SuperNats is declaring a blatant war on SKUSA using the customers as the weapon! To attend both events will require drivers to spend 1-1/2 weeks in Vegas, a cost and time away from work or school few of us can afford.
Half of Rotax and half of SKUSA tag run both classes, this basically forces the customers to make a choice between the two series. The result will be a split and diminished numbers no matter what happens!
It’s going to be an interesting year.
January 6, 2015 at 10:54 am #39970
Max Speed is using SKUSA’s stock moto rule book also. Or better yet. Take away the 01 cylinder and make all go back to the 99 and do up a special pipe with the stamp “Max Speed” on it. Also they can make there own tire brand to. Lets do this right huh!!!
All the major teams will be in Vegas for a week and half. Just think of the cost!
Dave! I’ve never thought of that. What if Rotax did do a true 6speed KZ style shifter engine. I wonder what,, if any the impact would be. It would for sure look like a turd but who knows.
January 6, 2015 at 11:44 am #39977
Reading the list of people/companies involved in the planning process (all have supported SKUSA), one could conclude they were looking to do something different (not happy with the Pro Tour) or add races to what they are already supporting. It does not appear to be “one guy” that put this together.
If you want to bang gears at a national level in the US, Stock Honda is where the numbers are. Attempting to start a new series that includes shifter karts and using a different motor (KZ, ROK, X30) would not get you the numbers you need to be successful. It is all about kart count and when you have 1000 guys with stock moto engines that are paid for, only a fool and his money would start a series using something else. Having the same basic class structure is logical and SKUSA does not have exclusive rights to the use of the motor. TAG USA even has/had their own stock moto rules in their rule book (or they did the last time I saw it). If the new series plagiarizes the SKUSA rule book that will be a problem.
I can’t imagine the chaos that will ensue when everyone pulls an all nighter packing up from the new race and attempts to get spotted at the Super Nationals. Grabbing the popcorn for that one.
Personally I would rather see a KZ program take root in North America using CIK / international rules. I believe the argument of it being too expensive is lame when you compare what it costs to run stock moto and be competitive at a national level.
It would be great to hear from some of the people who were part of putting this together.
January 6, 2015 at 12:07 pm #39979
Watch out Chris, if you mention KZ might not be more expensive then Stock Moto in its current state you might get a lot of hate mail. Lets not cause any trouble:)
I agree if its try the large teams that are behind Max Speed this could get interesting quick. Most likely you get two deluted series.
January 6, 2015 at 1:11 pm #39986
I have historical/factual documentation to prove my point on the cost of KZ.
As far as the teams who appear to be supporting this new series-
The press release shows several teams who are the larger ones that show up at Pro Tour and this did not just happen overnight. When things don’t make sense- follow the money.
January 6, 2015 at 2:28 pm #39988
Devil’s advocate, ok: By running SKUSA class and rules, they’ve just doubled the number of national-level shifter events in the US. Plus they’ve made use of what is already the biggest kart race in the US to expand and give karters more bang for the buck in Vegas. I’m sure most national teams appreciate being able to pack-up and go to Vegas and now have two world-class events plus an expo in one trip.
I understand the immediate concern. MAXSpeed is Rotax in the US and this is the first time they’ve expanded beyond Rotax Max classes at an event. But If I were running the SKUSA Pro Tour, I’d be pretty excited by this news for expanding my season and investment while at the same time still supporting SKUSA and their full season.
Also, it does seem funny that we have one thread complaining about manufacturers and promoters doing their own thing when it comes to rules packages (State of Karting in USA), followed by foul calls in this thread when someone adopts the same rules towards two separate organisations. I hope that irony isn’t lost on others. ;-)
Lastly, (and this is kinda completely off-topic), I’ve never understood why any organisation hasn’t carved up the US into regions and divisions. Then allow things to take root locally – regionally – and finally holding division championships funneling up into a single National championship race. Seems MAXSpeed has the ability to do this. But instead has what is essentially four or five random and disconnected racing series running over the course of a season. Note I’m not criticizing the current MAXSpeed commitment, just recognizing that no one has managed to bring the county together under one banner/championship in a most efficient way.
January 6, 2015 at 3:02 pm #39990
This is not a big deal. The market will work out very quickly whether or not this makes sense. A little competition for karting series is always good. It makes the programs better and keeps them listening to the racers.
January 13, 2015 at 4:07 pm #40403
Jason r ewersParticipant
Eric, Skusa in its haydays had an amazing grassroots program. Great regional programs to where the national level drivers had to run atleast 3 regional events a year to be able to run the supernats. This gave the local racer a chance to see how they did against the top level drivers. I never understood why this type of program died.
January 6, 2015 at 4:07 pm #39992
This reminds me of CART and IRL, now known as Izod Indy Car Series
That conflict went on for about 10 to 12 painful days, and it didn’t do the sport any good, by putting both series on a bind, allowing other forms of motorsports to get stronger while the battle went on.
Now Indy car is doing ok, but those cars and their power plants suck! And They’re long and ugly.
I know this is off topic, as I express my thoughts, but it totally reminds me of that era.
I hope one or the other will be successful, keeping the consumer and racers in mind, and as the back bone foundation of karting. And PLEASE KEEP THE COST DOWN!!!!!!!!!
January 7, 2015 at 8:37 am #40028
Honestly! This would have been a 15-20 page thread by now a few years ago. Where are people going now to share their opinions on what has been a lot of big news in the industry over the last month.
January 7, 2015 at 10:16 am #40034
You could say a lot of it it happening (fragmented as it may be) on facebook, even at that I dont think it lends itself to much deep discussion.
The other factor I think is that people are desensitized to these changes with so many happening.
Probably not a bad thing, we need to build our local tracks up.
Nice pics on the blog BTW :)
January 7, 2015 at 7:02 pm #40071
looking at the big team names supporting this new series, I would say it was them who pushed it, not the promoter initially. big teams WANT more races. more races that drivers CANNOT miss because they are ‘national’ racers. lets be honest, most drivers(or their parents) that attend the full protour/cota/rotax nationals/etc HAVE the money to do it and the TEAMS know it. I said most, not all.
I don’t think is bad for karting, it is COMICAL, but not necessarily bad lol. also it will be good that SKUSA will have to step up their game, serious competition now.
a true national championship would be amazing. imagine that only the first 3 to 5 drivers from each club/region could attend the national series? that would make regional/club karting pretty strong! but that seems impossible nowdays in karting.
January 7, 2015 at 9:43 pm #40075
I do not think that Eric’s last point was really off topic. For those of us in the middle of the country (we are based in Oklahoma), there are not a lot of nationally recognized race options in which we can participate. Given that two of the three events are under a day’s drive away, this effectively produces a regional series with national exposure for us. Given that they are using SKUSA rules for stock moto, and our goal is to ultimately participate in pro tour events, it allows us a more accessible opportunity to practice our racecraft under the same set of regulations. Seems like a better way to gain experience than driving a thousand miles. Will we participate in the Vegas event? Probably not. Time and money won’t allow both that and Supernats, but it doesn’t mean we won’t support the other two. I am enthusiastic about another series. In response to the concern about the dilution of events, that may happen in Vegas, but with the inclusion of Rotax in the US Open,its more likely that it will simply service a different set of participants. As for the Dallas and Grand Junction events,my bet is that there will be an entire set of participants that no one knew existed but who have been waiting for a taste of higher profile racing closer to home. More accessibility means more participation, and I think that is what we all hope for our sport.
January 8, 2015 at 6:40 am #40085
Josh I hope you are right, but my fear is that both series are really pulling from the same pool, which will make it very hard for both series to prosper, its more likely that one will struggle / fold. For example, we will be running the SKUSA spring NATS and it is totally impractical to take time off from work / school 2 weeks later to attend another race. I believe a lot of people will be forced to make this same decision for one series or the other, that will effect the revenue for both series.
Your statement that it effectively produces a regional series with national exposure actually just about sums up most of our National series. Perhaps they should be called RegionNats! The only series that this year is coming close to having a true NATIONAL program is SKUSA with three races across the country. That is what a NATIONAL series is! The TPKS series is what you are describing.
I don’t see this series as a Stock Moto series with the inclusion of Rotax as you have said but indeed exactly the opposite, a ROTAX Series that has included Stock Moto to try and drive it’s popularity / profits!
January 8, 2015 at 9:07 am #40087
This/ it will dilute the kart count for the Pro Tour. Kind of sad really but the whole thing should not be a surprise. The Pro Tour has been very successful and we have supported it from its (most recent) inception. It has been a hell of a ride for us but I don’t have a dog in this hunt now as we have no plans to run stock Honda this year. We will support the Super Nationals in KZ.
The elephant in the room –
A promoter / series owner (who makes a living doing so) has to operate as a dictator, pure and simple. He cannot make everyone happy. It is not a club or a non-profit organization. It is a business and making a fair profit is the priority. The definition of fair is different depending on who you ask- the racers, teams or the series owner.
After a few years, “customers” start to think they are getting charged too much to race, paying too much for tires, getting raped on pit space fees, the list goes on and on and on. It turns into “the promoter is greedy and does not give a damn about us”. I have heard this crap at the races for the past 2 years, it was amplified this year and got really intense after Modesto.
This is a quasi revolt pure and simple.
I wrote in an earlier post that when things don’t make sense- follow the money. My hunch is that the new series is sharing the wealth in some form. Combine that with the fact that the MG importer is on board and now getting a piece of the pie instead of being “gone around”.
No, it is not a coincidence it has the same structure as the Pro Tour. It is a in your face, here it comes-what you going to do about it kind of play. This is history repeating itself. Give it a few years and it will happen again.
Flame suit on
January 8, 2015 at 12:35 pm #40099
Have they posted any kind of schedule for the events? I can’t seem to see one anywhere that I have looked. It seems pretty ambitious to run 12 run groups to me. Not quite sure how they are going to break up the events? Is it going to be 2 days for each event to be the total of the 4 days that the events are? If someone knows where a schedule is, it would be good to post it for us to see and not speculate.
I have not been part of any of their other series and have no idea how they run their program which is why I am curious. I have run SKUSA and their timeliness (Except Modesto) has always been pretty good. I know how it is in business, if someone sees you doing well, they come in and try to do what you do to make their own business. I only hope that this doesn’t end diluting the fields with guys that will only run series “X” and not run series “Y” and vice-versa.
The other thing that has my interest is I have seen it posted multiple times above that the US Open series is running the SKUSA Rule Book for the Stock Moto. I don’t think that is possible unless they are being sanctioned by SKUSA?? As far as I know, you can’t just use a set of rules unless you are associated with that sanctioning body. It would be nice to get some clarification on that as well if anyone has some other information that can help. If it is seen as a “rival” situation, then I wouldn’t think that SKUSA would let them use their rules?? So now what?? Another set of Stock Moto rules to adapt??
Hopefully some more clarification will be coming and not just an announcement of dates and places. Give us some true information to start making informed decisions and opinions and not just guessing at how this is going to play out.
My 2.5 cents
January 8, 2015 at 2:31 pm #40104
Some people might be shocked to learn that a lot of people weren’t happy with the “status quo” series, yet still complied because it was the only show in town. The type of chatter has gone on between the shops for awhile now, as they watched their portion of the revenue dwindle. A new series had a ready-made group of followers just waiting for it to happen. To me, the most surprising part is that it isn’t Rok Cup based. I really thought it would be, given the desire by Vortex to be a player again.
In the East, WKA’s Man Cup series was very sick a couple years ago. Many shops and racers felt they were being ignored by the organization. USPKS was born out of that. USPKS has flourished in its first few years, but WKA hasn’t given up yet. In fact, they seem to be making an effort to right the ship. Only time will tell if both series can survive. Things aren’t quite that bad in the West. The current market leader is still healthy and doing well, yet there is an underlying tone of unhappiness among some of the customers. Will this new competition be able to jump right in and be successful because of this? Again, time will tell. If not, it is still a wake up call to everyone that no one can be complacent…karting business, otherwise.
January 8, 2015 at 4:00 pm #40111
I would love to see a real kart engine (ROK or even a KZ) be the motor of choice for a new national series.
Those “ready-made followers” that you speak of on the shifter kart side all OWN stock motos.
It all makes sense when you see the names associated with helping put this together. Stock Honda is a big part of their programs.
January 8, 2015 at 7:10 pm #40118
It’s only a matter of time before we need to use KZ engines for a shifter again, how long are Honda going to support CR 125 3 – 5 years so someone is going to have start KZ shifter class to keep a national shifter class.
So why do they not start a KZ class and see where it goes also allow people have time to make the shift from stock Honda to KZ we have done them both and costs are very close in running these engines it costs more for travel, entries and tires than the engine maintainence at national level.
January 12, 2015 at 6:33 pm #40357
Tim is correct this was not a promoter jumping at an opportunity to copy or steal the business model of someone else.
There were several Teams that have not been happy with the current situation for quite some time now and were so frustrated that they considered starting their own series. However the logical choice was to find someone already in the business who had the ability and infrastructure to promote a first class series, that is when Maxspeed was approached.
They were asked about including Stock Moto in their program and promote a True National series. They are promoting this new series out of encouragement and support from many Teams, shops and drivers in the industry. SKUSA has done a terrific job in years past but many felt they have lost sight of who their customers are and feel they have taken away every revenue stream possible from dealers and importers.
January 13, 2015 at 7:21 am #40375
Was hoping to hear from one of the teams involved. Thanks for chiming in Stacey.
Good Luck to All.
January 13, 2015 at 9:06 am #40386
Yes, its nice to get an honest comment about this for sure.
But really now we don’t have a true national series, your going to get two half a$$ed series to run. Karting always starts to eat itself when one series is having success. I can see SKUSA getting a bit two greedy with how the money flows. Both SKUSA and Max Speed are both spec racing series which both highly control the engine situations. SKUSA has taken all the risk on how to put this together and now we have the same thing just with Rotax. I guess for the first two races in each series its no big deal but I hope the Supernationals doesn’t get ruined as this is the one true great race.
January 13, 2015 at 9:07 am #40387
Can’t help but notice that there is a Rotax versus IAME undercurrent here. This appears to be Rotax’s salvo back at IAME’s taking over of the Supernat, and provides an additional incentive for current Rotax drivers to stay with the program and not switch to an X-30.
“feel they have taken away every revenue stream possible from dealers and importers”
Interesting but economically irrelevant. The money ultimately comes from the final product purchaser, the karter. The karter does not care how the $200 for the tires he just purchased is divided up behind the scenes. Starting a new series as a means to protect profit margins for middlemen only leads to market dilution, as the series’ rational is based on an economically irrelevant fact. The real question is whether the series will increase participation enough to justify its existence, i.e., does it serve the end-user better than the existing service provider?
January 13, 2015 at 2:25 pm #40395
Jim – Is it really Rotax vs. IAME, or is it the shops vs. SKUSA, where Rotax benefits from having an existing program?
My guess is that on the TAG side, many of the shops who pushed for this feel they can make more money, and are thus happier, with the Rotax and Mojo deal than with the new SKUSA/IAME/MG deal. On the Stock Honda side of things, this also benefits the shops with “Shop MG” tires vs. SKUSA MG tires.
SKUSA has always done a great job running events. But they’ve now taken a lot of potential profit in the form of tires and engines from their biggest customers – the shops (remember there are very few privateers running out of their own trailer at the SKUSA events). The question that will eventually be answered is whether SKUSA has gone too far?
January 13, 2015 at 2:31 pm #40396
Jim – I’d also disagree with you about this being economically irrelevant.
At the grassroots level, I’d agree nobody would care much who’s making the money.
But at the top levels, it’s surprising how many drivers are loyal to (and dependent on) the shops. If the shop says we’re not going here and we’re going there instead, their customers often follow suit.
January 13, 2015 at 3:10 pm #40401
Rob’s comments about the shops’ function at that level is spot on. Every successful regional or national series out there knows that good shop support is fundamental to having a successful series. A large part of the racers at that level are not DIY’ers. They want and need the shops to be there, and the shops need them. The series need them both, and they know it. Most people don’t see it, but there is a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes handwringing about who is going to schedule first and the informal pecking order. Larger, more successful series get to schedule first, then it moves down the line. This isn’t because they all share the same 150 racers, its because the same shops/teams service them all. All promoters know the important role that the teams play in bringing entries to these events and making the teams choose one event over another is very risky. Sometimes its necessary, but still risky.
This is also an obvious strategy to defend the Rotax brand in a market this feeling a strong IAME push. Like we always say, its not personal, its just business. I hope they are both successful and the overall market grows.
January 13, 2015 at 3:23 pm #40402
Business is business. The big teams and shops need more revenue opportunities to survive so I completely understand this whole thing. Some of these guys have several hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in trailers and inventory. If the ROI is not there or you are losing money-you need to fix it or close the shop down. This is their fix.
It is all economically relevant.
January 13, 2015 at 4:23 pm #40405
But at the top levels, it’s surprising how many drivers are loyal to (and dependent on) the shops. If the shop says we’re not going here and we’re going there instead, their customers often follow suit
I don’t think we’re getting the point. My point is that a series started for the purpose of preserving profit margins is being started for a purpose that ultimately does not factor into the decisions of the customer.
I’m loyal to Italian Motors. I have no idea what their profit margin is or where they make it or even if they make it. I’m loyal because of the customer service, products, etc.
If my loyalty translates into marketing power, so be it (I think the replies above have confused market power with the point I’m making) But if shops start a new series purely to preserve profit margins, rather than to provide a better product to the karter (who ultimately is the one with the money), that is not a good recipe for long-term success, as that objective does not form a basis for the karter’s decisions.
Hate to trudge out this over-used analogy, but CART was started for the teams not the fans and look how that turned out. The objective was all wrong The teams had loyal fans and corresponding market power and that worked for a while, but ultimately the fans went away.
If the new series provides a better product to the customer, it will thrive. But I’m leery of any product in any industry that is introduced not because it is a better product for the ultimate purchaser, but because it is a better product for the product vendor.
P.S. Sorry to get my panties in a bunch over this, but my degree is in economics so I tend to get passionate when my beloved theories/perspectives are implicated. Peace.
January 13, 2015 at 4:47 pm #40406
This is not about creating more events so the teams/vendors can make more money in fact it is just the opposite. Costs have gone thru the roof and the only thing the teams can do is pass that on to the end user which of course is the customer. The new series is offering travel incentives to the teams that bring the drivers which we can then pass that savings onto the customers. Currently the prices continue to rise and revenue streams keep disappearing. Tires can now be bought directly from any MG dealer ($25 cheaper) for the Shifter crowd and the Rotax crowd can continue to get tires from their regular supplier. This is a win win for everyone, if we continue down the path we are traveling no one including the teams/shops etc are going to be able to afford to race.
January 14, 2015 at 12:16 pm #40453
The new series is offering travel incentives to the teams that bring the drivers which we can then pass that savings onto the customers???
So the series will pay the team an incentive to bring drivers. The drivers will pay their entry fees, which is the primary revenue source for the series. The teams will then cut some slack to the drivers……?? Have we got that right?
A three race national series SWAG budget say $ 20K+, BUT we get to save $25 / set on say 12 sets of tires, so we saved $ 300. I am glad some hard facts & numbers are starting to emerge that show us this is a good thing.
It was pointed out that not everyone was happy. I hear there are a lot of people not happy with ROTAX too. Are we certain this is not a move from the frying pan to the fire!
Hopefully there will be some real numbers put out soon regarding entry fees, paddock space costs, prize funds, not to mention track schedules etc ( 13 classes / day may be a bit tough to get good track time in. )
January 13, 2015 at 10:03 pm #40415
I heard that a few of the shops mentioned in the press release were upset that their names were used in the press release to back the series without their permission and the mischaracterization of their level of support for the new series. Things like this can usually be fixed with conversations and voicing your concerns. Maybe this was done… I dont know.
The glaring weakness in this new series is that the Tag classes revolve around the Rotax engine. With such huge manufacturing variances in the component and parts tolerances and the ridiculous performance differences from engine to engine (specifically in Micro and Mini) I think that this program (in the warmer months of the year when Canadians will not NEED a place to race) is destined to fail. A ROK-based series would at least have a fighting chance because of the pressure that OTK could put on their dealers…… And somebody clearly has some cash that they dont mind burning to fund this battle.
But, I think that it was a nice shot over the bow of SKUSA. Presumably, those shops that are essentially declaring war on SKUSA will no longer be supporting SKUSA races or they will be prepared with their hiking boots for the long walks to the grid.
January 13, 2015 at 11:35 pm #40417
If you’re serious about containing costs, form a gentleman’s agreement to limit yourself in certain areas and take it to the rules committee to be codified. National level karting is cool, and I sometimes envy those who do it, but I have no sympathy for the costs involved — they are all self-imposed.
I probably shouldn’t even chime in here, but hey, it’s a free country…. :) If I ever make it to the National level, look for the SUV with the flatbed trailer. :)
January 14, 2015 at 12:11 pm #40452
Got a good laugh out of Ted’s comment “take it to the rules committee”.
Can you tell me where I can find one of those?
January 14, 2015 at 1:28 pm #40459
History Lesson for all:
Constructors Cup, Cart Stars of Karting, Stars of Karting & CKI all formed to take on SKUSA. What is still here now? There is your history lesson!
January 14, 2015 at 3:19 pm #40466
At least Constructors Cup and Stars of Karting offered something different, direct drive/ICA european style event.
If there is another National Series it should be focused around KZ or something more along the lines of WSK/CIK events/classes.
January 14, 2015 at 3:21 pm #40467
You left out one important piece of information, Mike.
You were involved with all of those defunct series as a partner in one way or another.
You aren’t involved in the US Open in any way.
Look forward, not backward.
January 15, 2015 at 7:27 am #40494
Andy I wasn’t around for 2 of those series before my time. Yes the other 2 may of had the take on SKUSA Philosphy. All I was doing was stating history. I hope the sport survives! I agree Look forward, not backward. Time will tell.
One Note back in 2005ish when Bridgestone was the tire in SKUSA with Joe the tire part of the entry was $424.00 with Tax. Today the MG white price with tax is $444.00. 9 years later thats less than a 5% increase not bad on SKUSA’s part keeping the cost resonable. Should the world hate Bill Gates because he makes money off what he sells? Just beacuse you buy a computer with Windows should you be invited to Bill’s house or should he come over and thank you personally? You buy a computer with Window’s operating system becasue it is the best. People race the Super Nationals because it is the best! Should we dislike Bill for trying to make a living? I guess if microsoft was karting I guess everyone would have the Mac operating system then. But they dont!
January 19, 2015 at 8:29 pm #40708
Holy crap I feel like I am in a time warp! The next piece of news will be that the real power behind this is Bryan Herta, Bobby Rahal and Paul Zalud all coming back to “fix” karting.
For everyone who wonders why karting isn’t “big-Time” look no further than crap like this.
January 20, 2015 at 8:54 am #40739
Wonder how many drivers are in the cross fire that are on teams pushing the switch to Max Speed and now have to make a choice between the two?
My prediction is, both series will be hurt by participation this year. Max Speed will be out of business in two years.
Regardless of what you think about SKUSA the bigger teams were making a good amount of money off their races. Max Speed might be less $ to run but if you have less drivers showing up these teams profits are going to go way down.
It is a joke really.
March 20, 2015 at 12:25 pm #44504
Racing in Vegas this year keeps getting more interesting.
Probably old news to most of you-
I just read the new series (US Open) is changing the date of the Vegas race due to scheduling conflicts with the Rotax race in Portugal. No reschedule date has been announced yet.
Making a change like that can’t be too easy for a promoter, especially in Vegas. I can’t believe they did not recognize this as a potential conflict early in the planning stages.
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