After 50 Years, Michgan Kart Club Is To be Liquidated


(James McMahon) #1

Sad news today. Michigan kart Club has succumbed to economics. The club behind road race events at Michigan International Speedway, Waterford Hills and much more is to be disbanded and liquidated after fifty years.

Press Release

Careful review of current 2019 Road Race Schedules and MIS track rental date offerings show us there
are no opportunities for a race that doesn’t conflict with a holiday weekend or another 2019 Road Race date.
Other Michigan Road Race opportunities have been explored and are not possible.
Due to decreasing attendance and rising costs, there will be no Road Race Karting events
hosted by the Michigan Kart Club at Michigan International Speedway in 2019.

As a result, after over 50 years of hosting Road Race Karting Events in Michigan,
we at MKC have decided to disband the club, and liquidate its assets.

For those of you who have raced with us at MIS for the past 7 seasons, we thank you for your participation.

Good luck with your future endeavors.

Bill Anderson
Michigan Kart Club

History of MKC

The Michigan Kart Club, originally formed in 1969, as a Road Race Karting group, has successfully supported Great Lakes area Kart racers by hosting kart race events at Michigan tracks like MIS, Grattan Raceway, Gingerman Raceway, and Waterford Hills. Road Racers, also referred to in the karting community as “Enduro” Kart racers, represent about 5% of the total Karting population. The appeal of road racing is the ability to race on the large tracks that Indy Cars, SCCA, NASCAR, and others use for their events, and to experience the aerodynamic attributes of racing. Drafting, sling shot passes, “freight training”, and other aspects of high speed competition provide a tremendous appreciation for what is seen on TV and an adrenaline rush that is unparalleled. There is nothing like racing down the straightaway at Mid Ohio, Daytona, or Michigan International Speedway at 115 mph in an 8 kart nose-to-tail freight train where everyone is drafting, bumper to bumper, with his foot to the floor.

In recent years, MKC has hosted races at a temporary road course at the Grosse Ile, Michigan Airport.
We were challenged to provide a temporary road course layout using runway and taxiway surfaces, and, by our third year getting quite adept at it. Using a combination of pylons and 1500 to 3000 car tires, we created a race course quite a bit shorter ( 1/2 to 5/8 mile ) than our traditional track length ( 1.5 to 2 miles ).

Beginning in 2010, MKC suspended race activities at Grosse Ile and returned to racing at the 1.5 mile Waterford Hills Raceway in 2012. This track has the advantage of great logistics, good spectator viewing, and a cozy family atmosphere.

We held events there from 2012 through 2015. In 2012, MKC returned to Michigan International Speedway and held an event there labeled the MIS Fall Classic. Now, having now hosted 6 successful Fall Classics events at MIS, we enter our 8 year at MIS, hosting both a Spring and a Fall Classic Road Races event. We team up with the newly formed AKRA Road Race Series as part of a 5 race series in 2018.

(Charles Skowron) #2

That’s terrible news. Road Race karting has had a rough few months lately.

What’s really depressing about this is, in a time when most karting organizations seem to be focused on that small subset of big $$$, national-level racing series, Road Racing karting still remains very grassroots, old-school, and full of independent racers off all ages; instead of mostly kids with professional racing aspirations, pitting under big tents of big teams, with even bigger tractor trailers. Seeing Road Racing staggering like this is indicative of base levels of karting not completely healthy as some may think.

For the people who would gush about karting growing and flourishing right now, I’d like to point to the current state of Road Racing and ask “What the h**l are you saying?” .

(Charles Skowron) #3

To expand on how Road Race karting has had a rough few months. The Woodbridge Kart Club, another club that has been around for decades, recently announced that they lost their long time event at Virginia International Raceway, a race they’ve had since VIR reopened years ago. This was right after they lost their August race on the Summit Point Main circuit.

The WKA is still negotiating with race tracks for their 2019 Road Racing schedule. They recently posted landing races at Heartland Park, Gateway, and Roebling Road. But the race that I would like to see return is the Atlanta Motorsport Park event on the full-sized road course, as that track seems like such a neat venue. The way things have been going, I’m pessimistic, but I hope I’m proven wrong on this.

Another long-time WKA event is also at Summit Point which, by the way, ownership of that track has recently changed hands. No info about that yet. I also see that CES is not racing their August race at Blackhawk in 2019.

One bright spot among this has been Dart Kart Club making the announcement they’ll be returning to Pittsburgh International Race Complex in late September next year. Everyone’s opinion, that I’ve seen, has been very positive about the track, and I am going to make every effort to attend that race next year if I can.

They’re also going back to Mid-Ohio in June. I’m amazed and impressed, with all of the kart clubs losing dates at other road courses, they managed to land a prime date at such a historic facility. Then again, there used to be two races at Mid-Ohio.

(Bryan Hall) #4

Yes, that’s sad to see as I’m switching after my first year in karting from sprint to full-time road for next year. Overall I don’t see the sport as very healthy, although our local kart club had better participation this year than 2017, which I think was the lowest in some time. Hopefully the sport has hit bottom and will start to climb back up. I do think encouraging people to do videos of great races does help quite a bit with interest.

Personally I see the LO206 as really helping the sprint tracks as it is reasonably quick on a tight course and cheap to run. But I don’t see that engine translate to road, as it is so painfully slow on long straights. Possibly a larger under-stressed multi-cylinder 4-stoke could help there as well, from B&S or possibly a production road bike engine (with ample used parts). But first getting enough people (hard part) to go for it so that organizations will add a class (easy part) is a bit of a hurdle.

(James McMahon) #5

Class participation is very series or area specific.

For example…206 sees good participation in the KART series with 20+ karts.
CES usually has good animal grids between 25-30

In the midwest, something had to give. There’s just too many events stacked on top if each other, split among too few drivers. IMO we haven’t has an ecosystem that stood much of a chance of surviving.

For 2019, overall things look better with WKA\DART, KART and AKRA working with CES to build combined races.

Between the cost to rent tracks, and the handful of drivers interested in road racing right now… my opinion is that (for now) the less events we have, the better. Resources can be more focused on making them special, must-attend events that entice racers.

Rather than a bunch of so/so races and handful of big ones.

(James McMahon) #6

Stumbled upon this video about the beginnings of MKC today: