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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!