Like I said in my column, we are at another turning point in the sport. We saw this just in 2009-2010 when Stars of Karting went away, CKI came in and faded out, and SKUSA took over as a national series.
At the national level, SKUSA has a solid program moving forward. Is it something everyone agrees with? No. Some prefer the Rotax model over the IAME. Some feel KZ should take over instead of Stock Moto. We are always going to have differences. The best quote ever to explain the sport “You can make a kart out of pure gold, and someone will bitch about the color.” SKUSA had its best numbers in its five years of the Pro Tour, which means either people have no where else to race, or they are doing something right.
Rotax has been a stable platform for 15 years now. More and more racers are looking to become a national champion, or earn a ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals – a true world championship.
The great thing is, for the past 5 years, both have been able to exist and grow. Now add in the Rok Cup portion, there is room for it to grow as well. The problem however becomes, if either program does not focus on the club, regional level, it will be a fight for the same % of drivers that race at the national level.
One of our focuses at EKN the last few years, is to help the Grassroots level grow. The LO206 and Yamaha categories are exactly that. A great way to bring in new people to the sport, without scaring them with a price tag or speed on the track. Minimal maintenance, and overall a great time on-track.
Once you get them hooked, then promote them up the ranks to the TaG and Shifterkart categories. We need to see less and less those racers who come in, buy everything and anything, then sell it all 6 months later because they couldn’t ‘hack it’.
Growing the sport at the base/club level – that is the real dilemma the sport is facing.
David Cole - EKN Managing Editor