Home Forums General Karting Discussion Dropdown (Push-back) Bumpers – A Discussion

This topic contains 30 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  Dan Schlosser 1 year, 11 months ago.

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  • #75499

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    As our sport continues to battle with a disappointing decrease in racecraft, the community is calling out for organizations to take measures. I personally believe that safe and pure racing is in the hands of the racers and coaches, but that doesn’t seem to be a prevailing thought in the paddock, the grid or the grandstands. As such, the task is being put on the organizations and promoters, and we’re seeing and reading requests for video officiating and now, dropdown bumpers.

    I wanted to start a thread to discuss dropdown bumpers, because while I fully understand the concept, I see great peril in the formula. I’ve also not heard glowing support from my contacts in Europe.

    One of my key issues is this – if you automatically receive a 10-second penalty if your front bumper shows the sign of contact (meaning it no longer sits in its initial position based on the bumper system), how does this truly decrease contact if I can brake-check you at the start and damage your bumper? What if you drive over me and end up affecting my front bumper status? I’m not a huge fan of stop-gap technology, and this one seems fraught with issues that will penalize even the cleanest drivers.

    I know that the USPKS has adopted it for 2017 and that SKUSA is looking at it.

    What are your thoughts?

    Rob Howden - eKartingNews.com Publisher / Editor - @RobHowden

  • #75500

    vince mandarino
    Participant

    Rob. lets make sure people understand that is not sign of damage that will get a driver penalized but the front bumper needs to come off is fixed position you can bump someone and be lucky enough that the bumper stay fixed you will not receive a penalty a form of advantage in a way cause for a penalty to exist a driver front bumper needs to come off until then no one can be penalised despite contact. there are also talks out there that the huge Tony Kart front bumper might not be legal for competition in 2017 due testing CIK has conducted and deemed that with a good amount of force was not disengaging will wait and see what the final ruling will be.  many drivers in Europe have complained about the dropping front bumper but CIK has decided to stick with it my experience with it and what I have seen and heard is that driving is a lot cleaner distances are been respected and driver are more caution when making passes , so the big picture on that is good I think that north American Drivers like clean passes and clean driving euros normally are much more aggressive this has somewhat changed for them so I feel that the new front bumper will be a good idea. one other aspect of this is also getting our drivers here get accustom to it.

    Vince.

     

  • #75503

    Peter Zambos
    Participant

    I was skeptical at first, especially when it was first introduced. Its 2nd generation seems to work better. This has now lead us to the current situation in which one karter says “I’ve heard/seen good things,” when the next karter says the opposite. Frankly, the only way to put the matter to bed is to run it. Now that USPKS will do just that next year solves that issue. All we have to do is watch how it plays out. Everything else is, effectively, is conjecture.

  • #75505

    Greg Wright
    Participant

    Rob, I’ll have to be convinced that this is a good thing. I totally agree with your “Brake Check” scenario. In fact that’s the first thing I thought of when I heard about drop down bumpers.

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #75506

    Clark Hadden
    Participant

    This will improve the quality of racing we see in the USA.  After seeing what has become the norm in 2016 its unreal to see the amount of untalented drivers doing the punt to pass..

    I am supporting this 100%

  • #75512

    Howie Idelson
    Participant

    I love this. Something we’ve needed for a long time. When I started (long ago) We had a similar innovation it was called “no bodywork”. It was completely self policing and the consequences were road rash and broken bones. The racing was still just as competitive but the respect was massive.  I’m in 100%!

  • #75513

    Gary Osterholt
    Participant

    how does this truly decrease contact if I can brake-check you at the start and damage your bumper?

    Stop hurrying about what’s behind you Rob!!!

    I’ve never thought about brake checking someone.  For the fact that I’d probably end up on the side of the track.  And believe me, if someone brake checked me on purpose, i’d make sure they were on the side of the track.

    The risk versus reward of brake checking someone is not worth it.  Too many things can go wrong.  And if the person behind you has the same attitude, one or both would end up on the side of the track.  And 9 times out of 10 its the kart in front.

     

    Gary

    Gary Osterholt
    GO Designs, LLC
    http://www.godesigns.us

  • #75515

    Jordon Musser
    Participant

    not just brake checks, but in shifters people miss gears (whether it’s a miss or a really late shift) and you end up popping the guy.

     

     

  • #75516

    Gary Osterholt
    Participant

    I can kinda see the missing the shift thing, but what happens in a car, least say F2000 or Indycar.  You’re destroy the front wing and you have to come in and change it.  Losing a lot of time.

    It might not be prefect, but it’s better than what’s going on currently.

    Gary Osterholt
    GO Designs, LLC
    http://www.godesigns.us

  • #75517

    Rob Howden
    Keymaster

    I can kinda see the missing the shift thing, but what happens in a car, least say F2000 or Indycar. You’re destroy the front wing and you have to come in and change it. Losing a lot of time.

    It might not be prefect, but it’s better than what’s going on currently.

    I think we’ve all tried to back up the guys behind us during a rolling start, and contact results every so often. I’m just thinking of opportunities for drivers to get 10-second penalties for nothing. I agree that the rules for this would need to be tweaked as such, but then here comes the grey area again.

    Rob Howden - eKartingNews.com Publisher / Editor - @RobHowden

  • #75518

    Doug Harden
    Participant

    Couple of comments….

    Back to Vince’s comment about the OTK bumpers. I know the M4’s were so thin, you’d almost totally collapse it with minor bumping on the straights….so if the brackets are in place but the bumper is collapsed, what’s the penalty?

    Also, I wonder of a good kick or two from the driver could reseat the brackets on the cool down lap? (Just a thought)

  • #75529

    Jim Scatena
    Participant

    I don’t think you can leave any room for grey area in the rules. If your bumper is dislodged – a penalty must be enforced. I understand there will be circumstances where the drop down bumper gets it wrong, but I would rather deal with that than some of the dangerous driving.

    Also, in the case of brake checking – that would be something the officials can watch for and enforce a time penalty for that.

  • #75538

    Patrick Roth
    Participant

    If brake checking (or purposeful maneuver to dislodge the bumper) is a legitimate and respected method of racing than this sport is not for me.  If bad luck from incidental contact is worth elevated blood pressure and fighting than might I suggest this sport is not for you.

    I get it, we are all competitive but a lot of this debate seems ridiculous and frankly it’s sounds like poor sportsmanship.  If you can’t accept that someone made a mistake and you got caught up in it than you are not the type of racer I want to be around.  Would I be happy about getting a penalty for someone else’s mistake?  Of course not, but I understand that things happen that are out of my control.  Gary’s reference to higher level open wheel racing makes a point that I am adamant about in that we shouldn’t expect to race without consequences whether it be intentional or not.  When Mercedes calls me to fill Rosberg’s open seat, I am not going to go in there thinking that I should be able continue a race like nothing happened after my front wing received damage from another racer coming over on me during the start.

    While most people that know me see my temperament as calm, patient, and a very clean racer, I’m with Gary in that if someone purposefully brake checked me than you better plan on being pushed straight off the track.  I’d do the same for blocking…

    If I miss a gear and feel a bump from behind than the first thing I do after the race is to try and locate the person and apologize for my mistake.  Or if the person comes to me pissed off than I’m also going to apologize for my mistake.  If you can’t appreciate/accept an apology from someone who made a mistake than good luck with that in life.  I actually saw an instance where a younger driver made a mistake and hit a seasoned veteran.  The younger driver found the seasoned driver after the race to apologize and the veteran went off.  Maybe I’m in the minority but the younger driver was the bigger “man” in the situation…

  • #75540

    Tim Landon
    Participant

    Young drivers today see bogus, unsafe “moves” by so called professional race car drivers on TV every weekend.  Blatant blocking, stupid banzai moves at a corner, totally intentional bumping and spinning someone in the corner.  Their mentality is, if I can’t pass you cleanly, I’ll move or crash you out of the way.  One reason I have no respect for most European and South American drivers and a lot of American Nascrap drivers is because that’s the way they race.  That’s not how I learned to race long ago.  Every race needs a tough Race Director to immediately penalize drivers who insist on dangerous rough driving.  Someone needs to tell little silver spoon Johnny that shit don’t fly at this track.

  • #75542

    David Cole
    Keymaster

    We were able to locate the CIK bulletin on the front fairing rules for 2016

    HERE

    David Cole - EKN Managing Editor

  • #75543

    Mike Coe
    Participant

    Gentlemen I think you all are missing the easiest answer to curb the rough driving dilemma we are all now in. Simply throw away the rear bumpers covering the tires and go back to the old ones that were only as wide as the chassis. I correctly predicted racing would become like bumper cars when the full length bumpers became mandated…

    Here’s something else to think about on this topic:

     

     

    http://www.kartcom.com/en/news/2015/3/3/the-new-spoiler-fixing-safety-and-fairness

     

     

  • #75544

    Mark Traylor
    Participant

    Mike,
    the issues with the bumpers going under the kart was fixed for the new gen 2016 versions. As far as getting rid of the rear bumpers it wont happen, the CIK instituted them for safety reasons and even if they have made racing less safe due to the bumper car mentality they still wont back track.

    Patrick,
    I coach my son to accept that people make mistakes and sometimes in racing you take it on the chin if it is your fault or not. You dont have to be happy about it but you do have to accept it. the frustrating part is when the other person takes no responsibility for their actions.

  • #75545

    Billy Cleavelin
    Participant

    The subject of drop down noses is great. Imagine showing up to a event where the are mounted on your kart and there is no debate. That is exactly what every driver faced at the 2016 Rotax World Finals.  I was there this year and had first hand experience with it. I found that no one was getting punted from behind, in fact for the most part you didn’t see any of that except for the occasional Opps! In all of the races I participated during the event, even in the rain, it just didn’t happen. Yes I was a victim of one incident in a heat race, in the rain, where a driver slowed down and I didn’t get stopped in time thus pushing the nose in, but it happened. Afterwards in the scale line a Rotax official walk down the line and inspected each kart, the ones with the violation where photographed with a Ipad, and seconds later another official came with the penalty slip, you signed it, done.  I know this would be a huge step forward in reducing the carnage that seems to be increasing in today’s events. Its easy to say that the ones who argue against it are the problem drivers.

     

  • #75548

    Patrick Roth
    Participant

    Mike,

    The purpose of the bodywork is to make it safer and I would have a hard time believing that it did otherwise.  You’re spot on with it going to the other extreme but accidents/mistakes happen and the last thing I want is to ride up on someones wheel because of my own error.

    Mark,

    +1 in the good parenting department…  There are a lot of good parents with great kids in the sport!  I think the larger issue lies with the older racers (older meaning typically >18 years of age) and the various supporting “adults” (parents themselves, tuners, driving coaches, mechanics, etc).  Rather than accept whatever happened (or at least approach a disagreement with the possibility that they are wrong or an actual mistake might have been made), they fly off the handle and start yelling and screaming at race directors, tech inspectors, series organizers and workers, volunteers, etc.  The “I’m going to take my toys and go home” crap really needs to stop…

    Sorry for getting on my soap box on this one but the sport loses it’s luster when you see so much of this.  I feel bad for those people that put their heart and soul into trying to make this sport better only to have it spit on by some of its own constituents.

  • #75551

    Mark Traylor
    Participant

    Patrick,
    I think we are all on our soap boxes a little. I would really like to see everyones attitude toward rough driving and racecraft change overnoght but it only takes a couple guys to spoil the whole batch of drivers. I have been around karting since 1994, and racing my entire life. my son has been karting now 3 years. We are moving to regional racing just now. In the lower age classes I can say that kids move up way too soon. They may be really fast but the racecraft, maturity and skills to be fast while being safe and in control are not there yet. That doesn’t stop parents, coaches, tuners etc from saying hey Joey is quick lets do PKC or Pro Tour or USPKS. Then that adds the pressure to the kid and the coaching to be tough and stand up for yourself, pass or be passed. All of that feeds into the poor racecraft. WE NEED TO KEEP DRIVERS AT LEVELS OF PROGRESSION LONGER. All us old guys say well it wasn’t that way when i was a kid or starting out but there wasn’t the choice of all the big show races either. people stayed at club and regional IKF (which was a group of a few clubs working together) longer. Everything is so results oriented now that is drives coaches and tuners to demand more so they don’t lose their clients.

    So do we demand a restructuring? or do we use video and push back bumpers etc?

    If I never hear the “rubbing is racing” line at the kart track again it will be too soon.

    Pat, There is my soapbox moment

  • #75586

    Jim Maier
    Participant

    Patrick, I think we are all on our soap boxes a little. I would really like to see everyones attitude toward rough driving and racecraft change overnoght but it only takes a couple guys to spoil the whole batch of drivers. I have been around karting since 1994, and racing my entire life. my son has been karting now 3 years. We are moving to regional racing just now. In the lower age classes I can say that kids move up way too soon. They may be really fast but the racecraft, maturity and skills to be fast while being safe and in control are not there yet. That doesn’t stop parents, coaches, tuners etc from saying hey Joey is quick lets do PKC or Pro Tour or USPKS. Then that adds the pressure to the kid and the coaching to be tough and stand up for yourself, pass or be passed. All of that feeds into the poor racecraft. WE NEED TO KEEP DRIVERS AT LEVELS OF PROGRESSION LONGER. All us old guys say well it wasn’t that way when i was a kid or starting out but there wasn’t the choice of all the big show races either. people stayed at club and regional IKF (which was a group of a few clubs working together) longer. Everything is so results oriented now that is drives coaches and tuners to demand more so they don’t lose their clients. So do we demand a restructuring? or do we use video and push back bumpers etc? If I never hear the “rubbing is racing” line at the kart track again it will be too soon. Pat, There is my soapbox moment

    I agree that people need to be ready before tackling national events. If you are not capable of a top ten then you should probably practice some more.  But regarding your comment that younger kids move up way too fast, I don’t see any way around that. I will use my kid as an example. He raced kid karts. Man Cup had Nat’l kid kart racing from 2013 to 2016 for 5 to 8 yr olds.  How can a kid train for 3 years before entering this?  I think a parent just has to decide if they are ready or not. Now he has moved up to Micro. He’ll only get 2 seasons in micro before moving up to Mini where he’ll get another 2 seasons before moving up to Jr where he’ll get about 2 seasons.  So there never is time to train for 3 years before entering into a nat’l series.  You just need to get on the roller coaster and keep pushing.   Right?   The class structure does not allow for it.

    Regarding the bumpers.  I am looking forward to seeing how it works out. Replacing front bumpers has never been part of our maintenance between races so I am not worried about my kid beating on rear bumpers.  I am typically calm around the track, I just am not sure how I’d handle losing an event because his bumper got popped in from some other kind of contact, like getting stuffed from behind at the start.  I still prefer actual officiating to determine what was or wasn’t intentional contact, or at least use video review to overrule incidental contact.

  • #75588

    Mark Traylor
    Participant

    Jim,
    yes, I agree on the class structure and I am not talking about 3 years in a single class before moving to big races, but more along the lines of a brand new racer being pulled into nationals with only a few local level races done. All kids develop at different paces. Mine was a longer road but I am grateful that he has had the time to learn to drive well and not just out of fearlessness and aggression. As far as kid kart nationals go don’t get me started on that train. as far as seasons go, we ran only half a dozen races in mini in 2016, the rest were run in our club’s more competitive 206 cadet program (20 races a year). 2017 will be our only full season in mini swift. I know a lot of people wont agree with me and that is the way it is. Think of this, why do people want to go to regional and national races? Typically the answer is the large competitive field. What if you had that large field every week at your club? It can happen and it used to be that way. When there wasn’t 30+ dates a year for national races you just raced at home and tracks nearby with a couple big nationals a year.

  • #75592

    Jim Maier
    Participant

    What if you had that large field every week at your club? It can happen and it used to be that way. When there wasn’t 30+ dates a year for national races you just raced at home and tracks nearby with a couple big nationals a year.

    I know they have this at a few distant tracks we go to.  It will be great if anything within 2 hrs of us returns to this, it would be much better than traveling like have to do now.

  • #75603

    Tim Koyen
    Participant

    The push back nosecone will be a good thing for top level karting in the US.  The driving standards are driving far more people away from those events, than the potential for a misplaced penalty ever will.

    Btw..if someone brakes checks you and knocks your bumper loose, then you have no reason not to pay them back in the next corner.  They know that, and you know that, so that should solve that dilemma.

    Based on the feedback from people who have actually used this system in top level racing, it forces the drivers to give each other a lot more respect, and that is something that is sorely lacking today.

    If you race USPKS, you will like this change, and you’ll be asking SKUSA, WKA, Rotax, Rok Cup, Winter Tour, Fall Tour, Summer Tour, Senior Tour, NASCAR, NHRA, Route 66 (they’re already going to do it), the PGA, NFL, TeaCup, and whatever other series suits your fancy, to implement it as well.

    KartLift Kart Stands
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    Don't bother PMing me, it doesn't work. Email is best: tim@kartlift.com.

  • #75611

    Alan Michel
    Participant

    Hoping SKUSA also implements it.

     

     

     

  • #75650

    Jim Howe
    Participant

    I totally agree about the need to discipline “rough” drivers but wander where are the race officials in all this. If someone is driving rough, park them!

    Too many officials are too nice and don’t want to anger their friends. This is especially true at the club level. Yet, even at the national level, you have officials that won’t make the damn call.

    Couple that with parents and other team people that tell their kids to do whatever it takes to get up front and you have no race craft.

    I hope the bumpers work. Anything that keeps drivers from running over other drivers — whether intentional, stupidity, or just a lack of racecraft — will help eliminate rough driving.

  • #75674

    TJ Koyen
    Moderator

    Every time the topic comes up, everyone always says “just penalize the drivers”. Which I totally agree with, however try keeping an eye on 40+ drivers at a big event, watching them in every corner, and then making split second decisions based on that. I think it’s simply impossible to watch EVERY driver.

    The bumpers are a good idea. I hope they work as well as they have in Europe. It’s a good band-aid to fix the issues we have with racecraft.

    Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
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  • #75716

    Daryle Redlin
    Participant

    I agree with you TJ but you don’t have to watch all 40 drivers, all the time. From my experience, watching and racing, over the years is that its usually the same group that causes the problems. Once you start cracking down other drivers will realize that you cant drive like an animal anymore and the racing will get better. As the racing cleans up the rough drivers will stand out and they can be dealt with. Currently its a complete ” free for all”. Watch some of the Supernats videos, some of the passes were very risky, way to risky. Just because you got away with it doesn’t mean it was fair racing. If the current generation of kart racers think that they can drive like that when they move up into real race cars they are sadly mistaken. Even if you have a huge wallet teams don’t want to be constantly repairing race cars. They want to finish races and to do that you need to learn when and how to pass correctly. I’m sure the drop down bumpers will really piss off the drivers that like to use their competitors as brakes. Should be a very interesting year, of course we wouldn’t need any of this if the series that run the races actually made it a priority to enforce clean driving.

  • #75740

    Tim Landon
    Participant

    Right on Daryle !

  • #75756

    Patrick Roth
    Participant

    Penalizing the drivers is nothing but a broken record.  This argument has been around for a long time and it obviously hasn’t worked.  If you think that you can just convince race officials to crack down on people and it will fix it than don’t hold your breath.  I’m not saying that strict race officiating can’t work and become a deterrent but the human side of it is hard to deal with.  For example, if I wanted to work as a race official (corner worker, director, tech inspector, etc) to earn a few extra bucks, all it would take is one pissed off racer or parent in my face arguing about my call to say screw this, it ain’t worth it.  You know what kills a race day for me?  Watching some jerk yell, kick, and scream at someone who is trying to uphold the integrity of our sport.

    When I was young I was big into baseball and was fortunate to be skilled enough to be recruited to play on some highly competitive summer teams.  My father was very proud of me as he loved watching me play and beam when other parents said I made a good play or commented on how skilled I was.  Of all the good or game winning plays that I made, I will never forget the one game where we were in a tournament and our team was on the verge of elimination despite being touted as the favorite to dominate and win it all.  A play happened and in the process I clearly threw out a runner going to third base.  The umpire called the runner safe and I proceeded to be a jerk and yell at the umpire and even threw my helmet (I was a catcher) on the ground.  I expected my father to agree with me that the umpire made a bad call and my actions were justified…  I had never seen my father more disappointed in me…  I didn’t get a scolding, rather I got a reminder to respect the game and its faults.  The point of this is that I did this as a kid and my father corrected me but in karting today, I see too many “adults” acting in this manner.

    The drop down bumper gets rid of a large part of the officiating element and puts the responsibility on us racers.

     

  • #75774

    Dan Schlosser
    Participant

    Tim absolutely nails the concern of people brake checking you to knock your nose in. Retaliation is only a corner away and the result will be much greater than the 10 second penalty.

    Totally agree that the number of people that will be happy with the on track product will far outweigh the number of people that will stay away because they may get a bum call as well.

    The officials do have the option of reviewing a nose call if they see the incident and potentially fault the driver in front. You will still get the penalty in line but you’ll know you have the ability to appeal at that time.

    We heard nothing but horror stories of how rough the Rotax World Finals was going to be. It couldn’t have been further from the truth and the difference from one year to the next was the addition of the drop down nose. The racing was phenomenally clean as Billy said – I was totally impressed.

    If I never hear “just take the bumpers off” again it will be too soon. Just deal with the reality of the sport in this decade – safety issues will never revert because they would force tracks, organizers and officials to face massive liability exposure. Right, wrong or indifferent that is the reality of the situation.

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