August 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm #32840
I’ve traded cordial emails with the owner of GoPro Motorplex.
Currently, the rules require a plastic full-width bumper and the competition classes require a spec Hoosier tire branded (MMX) that’s a special formulation and must be purchased there.
The basis of my emails was that GoPro should consider allowing full-width steel bumpers and spec a minimum duro but allow open tire, with the theory that it will be easier for visitors to come race legally, and encourage savings for the racer.
The owner correctly interpreted my email, but was curious how many more racers such a rule change would bring in. So I’m putting it to you all — would you come race at GoPro if the rules were changed as mentioned above, or similarly, do the current rules prevent you from coming to race?
I should note that I was intentionally “suggestive” and not “critical” to the owner, and I would appreciate you not sending him flaming emails about this topic… My guess is that if I can go back to him with realistic, and respectable, numbers, they may consider a rule change.
So, what say you? Cheers, ~Ted
(I should note that I prepped my kart to be legal with the current rules, but noted to him that it would have been easier and cheaper with steel and duro specs allowed.)
August 29, 2014 at 2:43 pm #32841
Wrong part of the country for me, but your suggestion is sensible and well presented. Well done!
August 29, 2014 at 11:38 pm #32850
I have run a series or two and have experienced the type of email that you have presented. While I’m sure that your reasoning was well thought out and presented in the proper tone, I’m fairly certain that making the changes to appeal to a perceived wider audience would not result in any more entries.
In my experience, if people want to race, they will find a way to bring a legal package to the track per the stated rules package. If they don’t, they won’t. I have been through the “…if you just, …if the spec wasn’t…if the rules were relaxed… if only I could just….if I didn’t have to….”‘,, ” I would race….” Road many times, and in the end, it never results in any more entries when the rules are relaxed.
If a bumper that has been standard on chassis for 5 years, or a spec tire that is within 10% of the price of all other tires on the market is keeping someone from racing,if you remove those perceived barriers, something else will pop up to make it too difficult to race for those who use those reasons to not show up.
August 30, 2014 at 10:10 am #32859
Thanks for your input. I would tend to agree with you if we were talking about racers who had a kart just sitting idle that was out of spec and they didn’t want to be hassled to change it. However, if each local track (CMP, Barnesvile, etc.) specs a different tire and has different chassis rules, than that makes it impractical for someone to make the trek to do double duty or occasional vacation racing. I’m not going to invest in a set of tires for a one-off race…but if I know I can use them for practice and racing anywhere in my region I’m more likely to make the jump to purchase.
Personally, I see no benefit to the plastic rear bumper other than enriching the bodywork manufacturers….
And spec tire rules only save money if the track runs a parc ferme and does a group buy — otherwise they’re WORSE as you’re forced to buy fresher ones with less heat cycles to be more competitive.
In general, the easier you make it to race, and cheaper, the more people will do so. IMO. That was the basis of my email… I’m sure promoters are in a situation where they get complaints either way….that being so, pick the cheaper method. :)
Guess not a lot of GoPro drivers feel like answering… I’m legal either way, so no real skin off my nose. Cheers,
August 31, 2014 at 7:33 am #32901
August 31, 2014 at 10:32 am #32906
Gif — sounds like you stirred up a hornets nest at one point…hope you didn’t get stung too badly.
Maybe once the fad wears off for the rich playboys the hemorraging of $$ will promote more sensible club-oriented thinking…
September 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm #33019
I think you guys are leaving out the point that the reason for a spec tire is to try and give everyone a chance. If you open up the tire then the rich guys will buy the faster high grip tires and now the guys who can’t buy them are not racing they are just driving.
September 2, 2014 at 8:47 pm #33035
Not OPEN open, spec the duro, leave the brand open. Big difference.
And if you spec a tire that doesn’t grip virtually the same over its’ full lifetime then the person with less heat cycles has a better tire — same dilemma even with a spec tire — the rich will buy new ones every race, the budget racers will be stuck…
Whereas if you just spec the duro, I can check it myself and run whatever I want.
Though I no longer have them, at the end of the STARS! WKA event at BeaveRun in 2001, I collected 92 tires from the trash bins, plus some bodywork. I matched the tires by brand, size, and condition, tested them with a durometer, and didn’t buy another tire again for the next 5 years. That’s budget racing.
September 3, 2014 at 9:48 am #33064
If you make a spec duro then people are just gonna buy every brand tire possible to test and find the tire with the best performance. That doesn’t seem very cost effective too me.
September 3, 2014 at 9:04 pm #33098
I have to agree with Andy on this one … people ask for things, but the actual turnout doesn’t change much. Ted, I see your point that racing at various tracks in your region becomes problematic due to the unique classes, rules, etc. that each have. I see that here in the northeast where the lines are drawn based on engine package. But, egos and opinions are hard to change.
I think the challenge we face is bringing new blood to the sport of karting, not necessarily finding a way to get those already in karting to attend a new track. We need to advertise what we do and be able to educate people to help them get into the sport. I’ve seen too many people get bitten by a bad used kart deal or buying an engine that can’t be used where they plan to run (bought it because someone convinced them it was a good choice, when in fact that someone just wanted to sell it).
If you’re not getting feedback from others in the same situation it is because they’d rather complain about the problem instead of help solve it – my $0.02.
Last thought from me – how do we find new people that are interested in karting but don’t know about it or how to get in? If we can solve that, I think we’ll grow the sport.
September 4, 2014 at 5:39 am #33103
Finch — yes, probably the rich ones will. There’s no way to stop that. But us cheapskates will buy older used tires and prep them back to competitive or buy take-offs from the big races, or plenty of other more affordable options. By having less rules, you create less hassle and more options. Especially for club racing where costs dictate turnout (The National level drivers already know and pay the costs…) That’s all IMO, of course.
As to various tracks with different rules, I don’t think there’s a good solutions short of a monopoly on tracks, or more forward-thinking promoters. If I was going to build / run a track, I’d actually try to copy my competition (if they were doing well,) so that our businesses would build each other. It’s like fast food and coffeeshops — they’re all in the same area because that’s where people go for that commodity — you can be different, at least for a while, but you’d better be prepared to expend more effort, and possibly fail.
September 4, 2014 at 11:49 am #33128
If we only had an organization that could govern a set of rules for all the tracks, some kind of world karting organization, we could use the same equipment everywhere.
September 5, 2014 at 5:06 am #33163
Walt Gifford wrote – If we only had an organization that could govern a set of rules for all the tracks, some kind of world karting organization, we could use the same equipment everywhere.
This would be a monumental change in our current karting structure and could only happen from someone / group with superb leadership capabilities. This would be refreshing to see a shift towards this in future karting scene.
September 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm #33133
Yeah! Something that didn’t make deals with vendors, have too many classes, and listened to its’ members? Something that viewed karting as an end AND a means…. And also offered International campatibility in classes in addition to local domestic options? Where would one find such a thing? ;) And how would such a thing enforce track compliance?
September 4, 2014 at 1:38 pm #33140
I’ve been reading the posts here and understand some of what is being said. I am new to karting, so my comments are going to be based on someone new to the sport of karting. With regards to the number of classes and being different at each track, I can understand why there is so many classes, there are just that many variations. However, what is more difficult to understand is the different rules for the same class depending on which associations rules you use. If you’re running a TaG class, and are legal, you should be legal in all associations without having to make changes to your kart. That to me is the hardest part of it.
As far as the original question of reducing the restrictiveness of the specs at a local track, the local track that I will be running at has what they call a bracket class. It is effectively a run what you brung type of class/catch all. The have an open tire rule and very little tech specs because of the class format. However, because it is a bracket class, after qualifying you are grouped together with other drivers that are turning similar lap times to what you are running. In the Heat races they do have a breakout time that if you go faster than, you are DQ’d, which is an effort to reduce sandbagging. The nice thing about this class as well, is as a beginner, you can run with people that turn similar laps times and hopefully improve in a crowd rather than get discouraged because the experienced good drivers and leaving you behind. If someone wants to spend big money to run fast, they can without the expense of hurting the “slower” budget racer.
September 4, 2014 at 6:56 pm #33156
I can’t say whether opening the tire rules will add entries, but I can point to examples where tightening the tire rules directly resulted in lost entries, going back 10 years and as recently as a week ago.
There are people who will race because they can run what they have, knowing full well it’s not the optimum package. And if I was told I could run any tire I wanted tomorrow, there’s one compound I’d order and go on my way to any track confidently. Ordering every tire under the sun is a ridiculous alternative to a little research and friendly discussion.
Spec tires help the organizers, not the competitors.
September 5, 2014 at 10:41 am #33184
Uh, we do have that.
Its called the CIK. www.cikfia.com
Its the karting arm of the FIA. Worldwide. Exactly what you asked for.
Unfortunately, Americans have the attitude that we don’t want Europeans dictating our rules to us. Odd, since in sprint karting, over 90% of the equipment we use comes from Europe.
How about this one? www.rotax-kart.com
Another worldwide rules set, down the to the tires and motor specs.
Oh wait, you don’t like that one either.
Two examples of exactly what you state you want, but really don’t want.
What you really are asking for is “…If we only had an organization that could govern a set of rules for all the tracks, some kind of world karting organization, we could use the same equipment everywhere….” “as long its exactly what I have sitting in my garage.”
September 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm #33192
Now, you know that information, since you are a 4 cycle engine builder, right?
I know it was not your goal, but in some ways, your question (and the answer to it which you know, they don’t use 4 stroke engines on racing karts for the most part, only concession karts) helps to prove my point. Obviously Swiss Auto, Vampire, Biland, etc all have high horsepower 4 cycle engines, but they are not used an any real quantities.
The CIK has supported 2 cycle karting for its entire existence, so there aren’t any 4 cycle engine tech specs on their site. But, some years ago, someone decided to go their own way and go away from the worldwide 2 cycle rules set and put a 4 cycle engine on a kart. (good thing, since building those motors is your business). So, even though there was a Worldwide body, with a Worldwide set of rules, someone decided to go their own way.
Wait? Isn’t that Worldwide set of rules what was wanted?
Oddly enough, 10? 15? years ago the CIK put out a tender for a 4 cycle “World Formula” engine. They thought that future was going to 4 cycles, so they thought that they would be ahead of the curve to actually create a Worldwide spec. Remember that? How many companies produced one per that spec? One. Briggs and Stratton, right here in the US. When that happened, all the US sanctioning bodies kicked the CIK to the curb and created their own rules packages. Here we go again…..
You might think that I am against this individualism and only want CIK rules followed. If you do, you are mistaken. I was simply pointing out that people ask for what already exists. They just don’t like it when they don’t own something that falls within the guidelines. If they really wanted a Worldwide spec set of rules, simply follow the existing programs. We don’t need to add any more. If you want to run tube bumpers, 4 cycle engines, open tires, so be it. Go to your local track and go drive and enjoy yourself. Just don’t blame the track a few hours away from being elitist or discriminatory when they actually follow a set of rules that exist beyond their own property.
Its what you just asked for……
September 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm #33213
So what’s the answer we should all run Rotax? I was thinking more about the WKA. At one point you could go to a WKA track and know what classes and rules were there. Now you’ve got so many places doing their own thing it’s hard to feel a central pulse. When you see a newb post on here the advise is always go see what they run at your track. There really is no solution at this point just find your nitch and enjoy it. One word though, LO206.
September 6, 2014 at 3:08 pm #33218
LO206 is a good option at GoPro Motorplex. They’ve just started a Wednesday night series around the rental karts that features an LO206 racing karts class. Spec Hoosier EL26 hard compound tires and a simple walk-up $40 registration fee. Its about as inexpensive as kart racing can be.
September 6, 2014 at 5:19 pm #33224
I presume that WKA could choose the CIK/FIA spec and make it mandatory, as WKA is the ACCUS rep for CIK/FIA in the US for karting… But……the KF package wasn’t received well, even by the Euro’s, and particularly not here except for the FWT participation.
I have learned from running several orgs that whenever ANY change is made, people will complain and some will walk. Doesn’t matter what the change is. So, that being the case, it’s wise to make decisions that benefit the org, explain the road map so those with no axe to grind can follow along, and simply ignore the axe grinders (or if they get too bad, file for slander or issue a cease and desist order.)
I’m no so sure that the powers-that-be are making decisions for the good of karting so much as for the good of their pocketbook. Some may mean well but be too insulated from kartings’ history or national conditions to make a well-informed decision. Or perhaps they have a different goal in mind than maximum participation…
Anyhow, this thread has evolved into more than a discussion about GoPro, so perhaps it’s better to start a new thread about what the populace want from karting orgs…
Good luck with your racing, whatever type and organization it may be… ~Ted
September 8, 2014 at 5:32 am #33294
This conversation is screaming for a little Mike Burris input!
September 15, 2014 at 11:36 am #33765
As I read this, I have to ask Ted, is your goal to get new people racing or grow what you already have?
Its easy to line up 50 tires in your shop and duro them, its a bit different out at the track. Temp is a factor, as is chemicals weather its the guy who wd’s his pipe to much, the guy that has a exhaust that dumps on the rear tire, or the guy that likes to play with all the various preps available. Not insurmountable problems, but possible headaches, especially for the guy teching.
Badger for most of its history had all classes accept Shifter and TaG on hard tires. In our case Bridgestone YDS but Mike or just about anyone has a line of them. About 4 years ago the 2 cy side of our club voted to go to Stickier tires, YHC’s here. That is a big factor in having the 4 cy side grow here. One set of tires will give you 2 seasons of use. Most do lightly prep here, but not on Sun (raceday) and tires are painted in first practice session.
I do all the shows for Badger, and we do alot, for a new guy, or most of them, cost is everything. I have nothing against the Euro style of karting, Badger has very strong 2 cy classes, but its easy 2x or 3x the cost of 4 stroke racing. Lo 206, Animal, cloan all will go a couple years with out a rebuild given good oil, a brand new Coyote chassis is $2495 and the tires last forever. Because we have always had good Animal classes, theres no shortage of used stuff around here. Right now complete Animal packages, $1195 on Badgers Classifieds.
I always get asked how Badger keeps its numbers up while other tracks around here struggle, give them a cheap place to get started. If they want to end up in TaG, they will, but most will not start there.
September 16, 2014 at 6:14 pm #33917
IMO, the formula for growing karting is easy to state:
— Make it as few rules as possible (to allow the easiest chassis prep and wide variety) and
— Make it as cheap as possible while maintaining safe karts and stringent on-track behavior.
Accomplishing that may be harder…
Hard tires are a mixed bag in my book….if you can find a compound that wears slowly but also is fairly resilient to heat-cycling, then you have a winner… But if it doesn’t heat cycle well, then hard tires are actually worse as you have to buy a new set every raceday to be the fastest…
One thing that would be interesting is to revert back to VERY hard and NARROW tires… why not run LO206, Animals, etc. on 4.5″ tires up front and 5″ tires in the rear? Let people slide around a little and learn to drive with both feet and the wheel…
For safety, mandate nerfs and a full-width rear bumper, and the usual safety wiring, but other than that, why any other rules? The VKA guys have proven that modern day tuned C-Opens on vintage chassis don’t have fatigue issues, etc., so I’d think any modern (late 80’s – current) chassis should be just fine. Do a brake test, and let people have at it…
Oh well, I should just let this thread die since it’s now well outside the original question… Thanks all,
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