Home Forums General Karting Discussion EKN Trackside: 2014 SKUSA SummerNationals – Modesto Grand Prix Reply To: EKN Trackside: 2014 SKUSA SummerNationals – Modesto Grand Prix

Troy Berry

I am going to throw in a few observations. We came from Reno on Sunday afternoon to watch the finals and support our local drivers from the Northern Nevada Kart Club who were racing. I am the track announcer at our local club. I grew up racing Macs on Bugs, a few years ago I raced Tag Masters  at our club, and now my 11 year old races a Cadet Clone in our local  club.  I went to the Supernat’s last year for the 1st time to watch and we had a Skusa race in Reno a few years ago as part of the NorCal series.  These are the only Skusa races I have attended, so I really don’t  have much experience or background with this series. These are just my thoughts from a semi informed spectators perspective.

I made a point of watching and talking to the locals to gauge their reaction to the whole thing.  The whole event had a cool vibe to it for sure. The drivers were screaming down the city streets  and it was loud, fast and exciting.  It was obviously a “pro” level race for Karting. Which for the casual observer or even an interested kid and parent was also the 1st problem. If you are trying to bring karting to the masses, then this was a hard sell way to do it. Sure it brought out more spectators, but how many of them would think they could jump in and do it at this level.  If you had never seen karting before , this race might really intimidate a family from wanting to join in. Didn’t they at least have some concession karts in Lancaster for local dignitaries to play on. How would an average family feel that they could get into this sport based upon this experience?

Which brings me to my second point. What was up with charging so much extra  for a pit pass and having the pits and grid so far removed from  public view.  This did not give the average person a chance to talk to teams or even see what goes on behind the scenes. Maybe a national event is not the place for this, but they make it easier at the Supernats.

As far as the racing, it looked (and proved to be)very dangerous to me as an experienced racer, let alone to the casual observer. Not really  the image or condition for the masses to think, “hey, I want to race or get my kid involved.  Other motor sports enthusiast  for sure, but a newbie family would be very intimidated if they didn’t know how we race and work with the kids out at the clubs.  The track was exciting but it looked way too narrow to me, with the barriers right up against each other and the curbs on most corner exits. No room for any give, no margin for error.  If you overcooked it, you were done.  Also, the orange water barriers that were used had a bad profile for the size of kart tires. It was clear  karts were climbing up on them if they made any contact at speeds. Just really unfortunate geometry there.  Didn’t see any hay bales except behind barriers, up against poles.  I see a lot of  bales at RIGP.  The other thing I noticed, I’m guessing due to some of the fairly narrow streets, was the problem of crowning. As the karts were transitioning across the obvious crowning as they changed direction in the corners, it would upset the karts.. Although the surface was pretty smooth, this would un weight a lot of karts as they went through the corners. You could really see the heads bobbing around a lot. It was clear on corner exit that many lost their grip and bounced into the barriers.

I really hope this kind of event can continue to happen on the West coast, but with a few tweeks for sure. Better bleachers and viewing areas,  lower  and more crossover bridges would help from a spectators perspective.


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