Behind the Laptop: Separating Pro from Semi-Pro

For each OutLap podcast on the EKN Radio Network, we have a ‘By the Numbers’ segment to discuss the entry total for the event, breaking the total down per category. In the recent show previewing the Superkarts! USA Pro Tour SpringNationals, we were talking about the numbers for X30 Junior and KA100 Junior. The latter was up seven from the WinterNationals, improving from 34 to 41 drivers while the X30 division dropped from 20 to 11. They ended up with 13 in Utah for the SpringNats, but still, that’s a big decline from where it was just two years ago with an average of 26 per event. And it’s not just at SKUSA where the Junior 125cc category has dropped in numbers, with USPKS, Challenge of the Americas, and other programs offering up a class.

What has brought on this falloff?

With 50 drivers at the SpringNationals, there should be at least 20 in X30 Junior with the rest competing in KA100 Junior (Photo: On Track Promotions –

Several factors need to be considered. It wasn’t until a few years ago that the KA100 Junior class even existed. As a result, drivers from the Cadet categories moved up right into the X30 class. Now, we are seeing those jump to KA before making the advancement over to X30. The progression of drivers moving to car racing is another. Many of those you see in Skip Barber Formula Series or the USF Pro Championships would be racing in the Junior 125cc ranks.

I had a thought as we recorded the OutLap podcast: why not bring back the Pro and Semi-Pro designation for Junior and Senior racing?

When looking at the numbers from Utah, there were 47 Junior drivers in total with over half in X30 competing in KA as well. For easy math numbers, we can just round that up to 50. Similar to my thought of the ‘F1 Style Pro Shifter’ format, we should have at least 20 drivers in the ‘headline’ Junior division, making them the ‘best of the best’ in terms of young drivers on the rise in the sport.

My thought is to designate selected drivers with a new ‘B-Pro’ license through SKUSA, given to those Junior drivers who can compete in the X30 Junior category. However, if a driver holds a ‘B-Pro’ license, they are not allowed to compete in KA100 Junior class. And reverse, those Junior drivers who currently hold the B license with SKUSA are only allowed to compete in KA100 class. This sets up our Pro and Semi-Pro system within the Junior ranks. At the end of each year, a driver with a B license can earn a ‘B-Pro’ license for the following year based on their results from the season.

In turn, this is something we can copy over into the Senior level of racing on the single speed side. Give those in the X30 division the ‘A-Pro’ license and those in KA the A license. The number of drivers racing both at the Senior level across the country has dwindled from when KA first started in 2017.

Long term, this would provide us with a solid structure and an internal ladder system to follow for drivers, all the way up from Cadet to Masters.

The world of motorsports continues to change year-by-year, which puts the focus on a younger age group with each passing season. There was a time when Europe was not promoting Cadet racing at the international level. The United States had a stranglehold on that age group with the introduction of Mini and then Micro categories across the board. Now, that age group has become a major focus for the promoters, including a ‘Mini’ only event with drivers in the Mini and Mini U10 (Micro) classes at La Conca with the WSK Super Cup by MINI event. The weekend featured 80 drivers between the two categories in a three-day race format.

The ‘disorganization’ of a ladder system does not make the progression into the Junior ranks of karting a glamorous or dignified next step if we do not have a separation of those who are ‘the best of the best’ and those still finding their way up the ranks.

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