November 8, 2016 at 7:59 am #73948
With the election today comes change. From top to bottom, new persons will be elected into office at the local level, all the way up to the President of the United States. Some election results will make very little change to our day-to-day lives, while others could make a difference for the future.
Looking at our sport, we are about to head into the ‘off-season’ with very little karting done during the month of December. With that in mind, EKN would like to hear from the racers – three things you would change with the sport today.
David Cole - EKN Managing Editor
November 8, 2016 at 8:12 am #73949
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November 8, 2016 at 9:28 am #73956
What do I want to see change in karting? That is both a big question and a simple question. The sport needs to create balance and a healthy relationship between the club, regional and national level. National level should be smaller than the club level. We need consolidation of national series and reduction of national dates. You need to qualify at local levels to be able to move up to regional, and again for national. There are so many travel race series that people have no budget to run club level races. New racers are sold on the big show far too early. Sadly this is even starting with 206. I like the west coast KPX series. It has grown quickly but even that series is taking numbers out of the clubs in NorCal. The KPX series will have 20 206 cadets and the club race two weeks prior will have 4. We have too many racers moving to regional and national level races before they even achieve success in the club level. So in summary consolidation and reduction in national races, licensing, and local racing requirements to move up.
November 8, 2016 at 10:00 am #73957
Mark made a good point there.
When it all comes down to money, there might be a few people up above in the national level, promoters, sponsors, organizers, CEO’s Tires that delaminate and come apart, etc. That may not like the change, especially when this could be a pay cut in their checkbooks, or this may dig inside their pockets.
But overall I think Mark is right. There should be a structural latter to be climbed, and another important point, There should only be one big yearly event or 2 at the most. Every sport has a very important event.
You only have one Indy 500, one Daytona 500, one 24 hrs of LeMans, one 24 Hrs of Daytona, one World wide Olympics. Having said this It would give teams and drivers a whole year to prepare for the ultimate yearly big event.
Another thing that would be very good for the sport is TV, just like Moto cross, Moto GP, Auto racing, sports fishing, speed boating, etc. I’m not talking about some stream drama TV stuff, I’m talking about the people above in the sport could gather together with engine manufacturers, tires, Lubricants and oils, radiator companies, chassis companies, etc could all get involved to take their products to the next level and invest more, rather than only relying solely on the driver’s money. Now that would be a good start, and get all these CEO’s to actually shake some trees for the good of the sport, and get some TV time, financially invest for the future, not just make a good living out of the sport.
November 8, 2016 at 11:57 am #73970
My intention is not to target any one particular series as a problem. there are just too many competing agendas, and frankly karting has always been that way. 2017 will have over 30 national level races scheduled. it is not one promoter or one manufacturer.
November 8, 2016 at 12:46 pm #73972
I have to agree with Mark. That actually makes more sense than anything I’ve heard to date. His ideas would bring the racers back to the club level or they can’t advance. This is fair for everyone and it would ensure that only the best are racing the nationals. The Nationals would really mean something again.
November 8, 2016 at 1:31 pm #73976
I’d like to see longer wheel base and track width allowed.
FAA certified jet engine and aircraft technician,
Nicholson Speedway class champion 2001,
Yamaha KT100 Service Center,
41 years karting experience
November 8, 2016 at 4:17 pm #73989
What did Jim Janowski say he wanted to make shifter kart racing? “A sport unto itself” I think, Karting does not need to be a stepping stone or gateway to bigger and better racing. Fact is a teeny fraction of us have the talent, work ethic, business sense and financial ability to move anywhere beyond karting. Karting can be celebrated as the awesome sport it is without the ladder and professional racing aspect at all. I will be happy to see my son be a lifetime kart racer.
November 9, 2016 at 5:56 am #74014
One National Series. One National Champion for each class. Major reduction in the number of classes.
November 9, 2016 at 9:23 am #74033
Personally, I’d like some more affordable regional races. I ran one(!) Route 66 SS weekend in Dousman and the total came in at almost $1000. Granted, first time there is a bit more expensive with needing a new axle and an extra set of tires but there was still quite a bit of expense involved. Mid-American Sprint Series was nice and affordable but nobody runs it. Any opinions on why would be welcome since I really enjoy it
November 9, 2016 at 8:37 pm #74048
Are you sure about this Dave? I mean really, really, really sure you want to do this? LOL
Speaking strictly east of the Mississippi and primarily midwest/great lakes/northeast regions here:
1) Less “national” races. Period. The schedule is ludicrous right now and is killing budgets, kart counts and club racing simultaneously. In a nutshell the powers that be at WKA and USPKS need to check their egos at the door and bring the best interests of karting back to the table. Neither is winning the battle and neither will put the other out of business so instead we as racers and team owners are forced to choose, or do both half-assed. All the while listening to one bitch about the other behind closed doors which only furthers the divide.
This region currently has 5 WKA Races, 2 Winter Cup Races and 4 USPKS races. (not to mention 2 SKUSA, 4 Rok Cup MW, 6 F-Series, 1 US Open, 6 FWT, 6 Rok Cup Florida, 5 Route 66, 5 NJSS and soon a Southeast Regional Series).
At the very least WKA/USPKS should be reduced to 7-8 races starting with Daytona and then monthly from March or April through September with no track duplication. That leaves time for families and teams to get back to regional and/or club racing.
Sure would be great to see big fields again at Nationals and in turn bring legitimacy back to Regional racing. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have Midwest (Route 66), Great Lakes (rebirth of GLSS??), North Atlantic (NJSS) and Southeast Regionals (3 races each) with all on the same rulebook, tires, engines and class structure?
This is not only feasible, it is so simple that it should be a work in progress right now. The WKA US Pro Kart Series under the WKA umbrella, Mark Coats (the undisputed master of regional racing in the area) in charge of Route 66 & GLSS, Ferris family in charge of NJSS and Eric Jones the Southeast. Between the WKA & USPKS/66 staff you could assemble 2 great crews to rotate through the events.
2) If the KA100 is going to be brought in lets please not pretend it is an additional or new class designed to fill a void and just get to the point. It is the IAME direct replacement for the Yamaha KT100 at the Junior and Senior level so lets please just treat it that way and come up with a plan that sets a timeline for replacement at the national & regional level, comes with a very user friendly purchase and/or trade in plan on par with what was offered with the Swift and lastly provide the clubs with weight based equivalency numbers that show how you can run the KA and KT together successfully.
3) Come up with a program akin to the SCCA Track Night in America designed to encourage growth at the club/local level in karting. This program would come with universal nationwide branding and universal entry level or introductory programs. Funding initially would be underwritten by the National sanctioning bodies, manufacturers, suppliers and retailers utilizing a percentage of sponsorship money to fund the inception and initial launch. Essentially seeing the biggest players invest in the future of the sport. Also, a nationally branded, universal program such as this would be the type of program that would finally allow the karting industry to sell/secure sponsorship outside the sport.
I would even go so far as to include the indoor tracks in this program – helping their efforts only boosts our potential growth as well.
Thanks for holding us to 3 topics Dave!!! Could have been a long night….
November 10, 2016 at 6:07 pm #74097
1. Consolidate WKA and USPKS. Total of 5 National weekends starting with Daytona.
2. Consolidate Regional Series. In my area there is F-Series, NJSS (KROC), LIKA(New Jersey State Championship). Total 3 race weekends. These races can be run on scheduled club weekends. Points will count as club and regional series.
3. 1 Challenge Race Weekend similar to the super regional. East Team vs West Team competition. Total points for all classes. This race will also count toward each racers consolidated regional championship. Alternate race sites east and west every year.
My son and I haven’t been involved long so I don’t know about the politics of all the series. Just seems there are not enough racers for all the series.
November 11, 2016 at 5:54 am #74117
I can see how consolidating NJSS, LIKA, and F-Series makes sense if you’re located around NYC or in NJ. This year with the F-Series the schedule got a little funny when the St Lawrence round had to be moved to NJMP and half the series wound up being run in New Jersey. For me, coming from Buffalo and competing in the F-Series, I’m not going to make that 8 hour haul and pay for hotels to just race E-Town and NJMP over and over.
Travel is expensive, so for me I wish there were more facilities at the level of GoPro and Pitt that could handle series the size of the nationals distributed around the country. Then the regionals would stay regional and you might have a shot at a national series/national champion scheme. The country is too big and transportation costs get too high for most anyone to compete.
I only ran the F-Series this year. I didn’t do a single club race. Yeah I can run old tires and whatnot, but running old tires means I have junk to practice on or have to buy an extra set of tires, plus time on the engines leading to more rebuilds. The cost just adds up too quickly.
November 12, 2016 at 7:36 am #74155
Just three things!!! Well I’ll try.
Eliminate manufacturer control of rules, series and classes.
Eliminate the crazy number of so called “National” series. (Remember all the heartburn when it was just WKA and IKF?)
Convince the sanctioning bodies that there is more than one form of kart racing and that National racing doesn’t define kart racing.
That’s only a scratch on the surface.
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Vintage B-Stock Pilot
"When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."
November 13, 2016 at 12:57 pm #74188
like greg said, choosing only 3 is impossible, but ill try…
1. I’d like to see more of a ladder present through out karting, and not a karts to cars ladder. More of a system to go from club to national, as well a ladder from simple classes like briggs all the way to KZ. I’ve always thought a licensing system would work that kept track what you race and how well you did. The better you did in regionals, the higher you can race up the ladder.
2. less nationals, and more club/state level events. let clubs be the base, followed by a club ran state race. Then regionals, which should be just one series of 3-5 races per region. Make it so there is actually a goal to move up, but you have to get there on talent, not money. finally, a national level with only 4 rounds, kinda like skusa ProTour, one round per season.
3. No more importers/distributers running things!!! keep all the classes the same across the country, use the same rules and make it so you can race coast to coast with out a single change in whats needed. With no distributers running things, we can get rid or these spec classes and move more to a CIK style rule book. Imagine 5-10 engine manufacturers that all make an engine that is within a tenth of each other. competition wouldn’t only be good on track, but the engines and parts would have to be priced competitively to keep sales up. only tires would be spec, but on a 4 year tender and on a class by class basis.
I half jokingly wrote a fictional rule book a year ago with what i think would be ideal, and as the year went on, it has started to look better and better. if only the sport can come together as a whole and look at the big picture, instead of looking at what will happen in a few months. Karting should be a sport unto itself and not a stepping stone. Clubs should have 200+ drivers and nationals only the best 60 or so from each class total, not the other way around.
Gear up F-series racer
November 13, 2016 at 6:12 pm #74192
1) More rookies! Kevin Haun has concentrated on developing new drivers and getting his racers to drag old karts out to East Lansing Kart Track for them. If they keep the 35% growth rate year-on-year up for a couple more years you’ll have to call the place karttrack.com instead.
The old parts gathering dust in the back of kart shops and garages need to be the weekend-saving parts in rookies’ spare part boxes, so make the sale now even if it takes a discount. If a new driver can avoid some frustration early on, he or she can be a more reliable customer in the future and even buy parts to test and tune rather than just the bare minimum needed to replace broken ones!
Other things that help are higher entry fees with lower pit pass costs. If the entry fee is $60 and the pit passes are $25, you’ll get a mixture of parent/child teams, solo drivers, and a few driver/mechanic teams – so not much help is available when things go wrong and not many new drivers are recruited. If the entry fee is $80 and the pit passes are $5 (still above break-even) you’ll still average about $100 per team but you’ll have twice as many people in the pits.
2) Fewer races with blind-eye race direction. Total one kart because you got punted 3/4 of the way down a braking zone by someone who hadn’t applied the brakes, that’s racin’. Total two that way and you’re probably re-evaluating your commitment to this sport. If we have fewer series then a season-long ban in one series will actually do something.
If it can’t be fixed that way, then put delicate fiberglass-and-foam wings on the karts and use harder tires. I demonstrated that wings do work on sprint karts last fall. With the endplates and a 10 degree angle of attack it was 2 seconds/lap faster than without. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q6oL3JA0uA. Break your wing and be slow!
3) Fewer, better engines. Does your engine fit this description? “The peak engine speed is high enough to force internal component life down below one season. The clutch is too delicate for me to risk putting a raw rookie or even an experienced autocrosser behind the wheel. The force, speed, and small-sprocket size can’t be found on the application chart for the chain – not even past the end of the not-recommended-ever range. There is an electric starter, whose electrics were designed by a mechanical engineer if we’re lucky*, and the ignition system doesn’t reflect anything we’ve learned from smog controls. New parts and new engines cost enough that they’re designed for complete disassembly to replace each little wear item rather than throwing out a mass-produced subassembly.”
The two best engines we have in American karting were both designed for another application and adapted for karting later. The Briggs 206 (LO206 until the first rebuild, Animal afterwards) and the Stock Moto Honda are both reliable and show good engineering of the overall design. If the volume in American karting doubled in the next five years, would it be enough to justify a third good engine to fit between them?
*PRD Fireball starter circuit: The battery is located at the back of the kart. A 10-gauge wire runs up the side of the engine, up to the steering wheel, to a 15A-rated switch, then down back to the starter. A second 10-gauge wire then runs from the engine back to the battery. Out of the 16V my LiPo battery provided, 12V was measured across the starter and the other 4V were just plain lost in the wiring and circuitry!
November 21, 2016 at 10:35 am #74580
I haven’t go three things, but three words “drop down bumpers”.
How North America is happy to see their kids pushed off the track at the first corner when Europe got rid of it overnight 2 years ago is beyond me.
My understanding is Maxspeed are implementing it next year but really it needs SKUSA to jump on it. The pushing at the first three corners of the Supernats was terrible. As the States doesn’t have an overall rule making body it would have to be taken on series by series but it would be nice if all the series could agree to do it as one.
And I’m not getting at the officials, they have an impossible job when the pushing comes from 7 or 8 rows back from the incident.
November 21, 2016 at 1:16 pm #74588
1) Drop down bumpers – It won’t be easy and it’s not fool proof but I’m pretty sure the status quo isn’t working very well. Many aggressive moves are made because there are no repercussions… well, give us repercussions. I despise rolling starts because of the bumping and the carnage that typically happens. I can only assume that a drop down bumper is going to force us to give each other space which, maybe I’m wrong, sounds like a good thing…
2) Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate – There are too many organizations, engine options, and classes. The sport just isn’t big enough and it continues to cannibalize itself with every new flavor of the month that is added. Personally, I think the best thing that could happen is for the larger organizations to sit down and really hash out a good long term strategy for the sport at both a local and national level. If something doesn’t change it will continue to cycle as it always has with the winners, losers, comers, and goers…
3) Respect – Much like our most recent presidential election, I see way too many racers/teams disrespecting each other, the officials, and the event organizers. This “I’m going to take my toys and go home” attitude is sickening when someone doesn’t agree with a rule, an official’s decision, the way an event is run, etc. Not sure how you change this but maybe someone will read this and the next time something doesn’t go their way they will remind themselves that this is karting and its supposed to be fun.
November 21, 2016 at 2:57 pm #74596
If we had #3 would we need #1?
November 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm #74599
Totally agree, but I’m not sure we should blame karting for societies problems ;)
November 22, 2016 at 5:15 am #74602
While I see your point, I think it’s a bit idealistic. A drop down bumper will change the way we race without muddying the waters with whether or not respect is present or not. It will force us to develop different skills (ex: increased level of anticipation of what other drivers may do) and is independent of the “human” element.
November 22, 2016 at 7:38 am #74609
Patrick and Nick,
yes i agree you are right. I wasn’t speaking of respect in general in society, just respect for others on the track. Mistakes and the sudden loss of talent moments will always happen but there is a shift to aggression over skill. We shouldn’t need the drop down bumpers or the electronic hit detection system that is also being developed (i assume because the drop downs don’t really tell the whole story) but I guess we do anyway. I am just wondering what the unexpected consequence will be of adding yet another layer or bandaid to cure the symptom rather than the cause which is lack of developing proper race craft. A lot of it stems to jumping into the national scene far to early with a lot of pressure to perform.
There are no easy answers
November 22, 2016 at 8:15 am #74611
For starters, I must say I appreciate the respectful and thoughtful debate rather than jumping down each other’s throats (maybe there is hope?). ;)
I think you hit the nail on the head in that mistakes and loss of talent moments will always happen. I think the disconnect is karters believe we should be able to continue racing after contact without consequence, especially if it wasn’t our fault (how many racers actually admit that they made a mistake or could’ve taken a different approach?). Formula 1, Indycar, and other open wheel racing have consequences because even a small amount of contact will tear up a front wing, puncture a tire, break suspension, etc, which virtually ends their race. I think karting needs this type of consequence and a drop down bumper does it without requiring actual damage (the revised one that doesn’t flop underneath the kart).
It is my perception that bodywork was added to increase the safety of our sport as the consequences of contact were too severe; however, we now seem to be closer to concession karts where quite a bit of contact can be made without issue. Many of the write ups for big races include big pile ups, red flags, injuries, aggressive driving penalties, etc. I don’t see this changing until another major change is implemented that makes us adjust how we race to decrease contact. The national level gets most of the attention because of the publicity but plenty of contact exists at the club levels too.
December 5, 2016 at 10:20 pm #75147
Drop down front bumper and rules that enforce it.
December 6, 2016 at 3:13 pm #75177
Drop Down Bumpers. Better officials that enforce the driving.
When you have the front row not make it through turn one at a race the officiating has to be addressed.
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