There are a lot of points being made. Here is what I’ve seen here in the midwest:
The majority of this thread has had an emphasis on the top level of the pyramid, which I think is slightly misguided. The answer for “the state of karting” should be a reflection on the base of the pyramid, not the top. After all, it’s the base level that feeds into the top level. Karting at the moment isn’t replenishing at the base level, which will eventually kill the sport at the top level. I’ll agree that the top level is pretty fragmented at the moment. Instead of posting a 12 page essay on the obvious problems at the top, it might do us some good to look at AMA. I can race a dirt bike anywhere in this country, have a consistent set of rules and a wonderfully designed ladder system. As for WKA, USPKS, SKUSA, etc…. who cares? All major series are pulling from the same pool of national level drivers, fighting for their attention and entry. How does that increase the numbers at your local club?
So the real question should be, how do you bring people into the sport and get them involved at their local track? No new karter cares, or even knows, about the national level. They just want to go out and have fun with their kid/wife/buddies.
I’m sure there are many answers. The solution we use is the LO206. When someone with no experience comes in and wants to go racing – they get an LO206. We don’t bombard them with: 2-cycle or 4-cycle? Yamaha, TaG or Shifter? Do you want to race nationally? Give them an easy, fun, affordable package that they can grow with. After all, isn’t that what club level racing should be? That formula has brought 30 new people into the sport at just our local track over the winter. If every track implemented a similar philosophy, you’d start to see growth in the sport at the base, then the middle and eventually the top. It is much easier to market a completely new LO206 kart for $3,995 than the $9,500 TaG counterpart.