Engine Tech Enforcement in Kart Racing

I didn’t attend the last round of CKNA South down in Bushnell, FL but the 206 FB groups are ablaze with people crying foul on the fuel line issue, some going as far as to call for the Tech folks to be removed from further races.

I’m new to the sport, but I was curious is this is an atypical situation for those of you who have been around for a while, where somebody circumvents the rulebook or exploits a grey area the rulebook doesn’t quite touch upon?

My understanding is the racer (although DQ’ed) is not the subject of the rants but more so the engine builder who had more than one person in that race series with that modification.

I would say the drama this situation is creating is slightly unique, but not uncommon from what I hear from other CKNA regulars. I’ve attended some events and wasn’t overall very impressed with the quality of the program, but people seem to enjoy it for the most part. I can’t speak to their prowess in tech or the prevalence of blatant cheating in the series. But if you have to issue a press release and there is social media uproar, that usually indicates some sort of unusual circumstance.

I would say at bigger events there are always people pushing the boundaries of the rules, and there are almost always a tech DQ or two at each event, but usually it doesn’t cause a big to-do. Generally it’s something that just fell slightly out of spec or a grey area that was exploited, not a blatant attempt at cheating. And even if a builder is pushing the limits, they are generally aware of what they are doing and don’t get too upset when they get caught for it, other than the disappointment they share with their customer.

Cheating used to be a lot more commonplace, but I would say in the last 10-15 years, tech has gotten far more strict, and cut down on a ton of things that would’ve flown under the radar previously.

But yeah this CKNA situation is not a good look for anyone involved.

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It’s pretty cyclical to be honest. Roughly once a year someone thinks they know better than the rules, play in a gray area, insist it’s not gray and get upset when they are bounced. Applies to engines and clutches. Generally they are fairly nuanced things, but it goes against the spirit and intent of the program.

In general the 206 program has a history of punishing those that like to play in the grey areas. It never works out well… yet once in a while someone puts their hand out to be slapped.

In this case it’s an engine builder that’s new to karting (from what I understand) so they may not be aware of how playing in the grey areas of the 206 rulebook is received by tech. The engine builder in question went on a diatribe in social media to justify it, making accusations of organizer bias and conspiracy because of “conflict of interest”.

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does anyone know if briggs themselves has said anything about this, and was the part accused to be illegal tested to see if it really made a performance advantage

Nothing from Briggs that I’ve seen yet. Since it’s not impacting the program as such (other than social media drama) we may not see anything from them.

The builder stated that the 0.031” restriction “fixed a flaw in Briggs fuel setup” but didn’t specify what exactly that flaw is, that’s their prerogative though. Lots of theories of course.

Problem is that perception is as powerful as reality, permitting line restrictions opens up a can of worms without adding any value to the program for racers…. In my opinion at least.

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This is very atypical.

Problem is that this kind of posting blows up and spreads and the 1000 other positive posts of the week get ignore in favor of the drama and trolling. Perks of social media.

CKNA tech is pretty good. At the Whiteland CKNA race, tech was decently thorough and fair.

When we got approximately 9HP (depends on the dyno) and the worst and best engines are separated by a few tenths or so HP, some guys are gonna do everything they can to get that extra and play in that “gray area” until a tech guy catches it and says no more.

I will say, however, that all of this gray area play will get beat by tuning and driving everytime, so it’s not something to worry about.

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Briggs doesn’t really need to weigh in, because “if it doesn’t say you can, you cannot”.

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You’ll usually hear something with a major cheating scandal once a year, 206 or elsewhere. 2017 was a big engine builder issue with the Swift engines that got dinged in Vegas, 2018 was a clutch thing with the 206’s that came about. I can’t remember if anything happened in 2019 or 2020 but I’m sure something came about somewhere.

This isn’t a great look for CKNA but it sounds like they handled it well and the engine builder got very abrasive about getting caught.

Did it “fix a flaw” or did it circumvent a restriction that was specifically there for Briggs to keep the 206 consistent and equal?

Why do you say that?

Because the builders post got out first, and didn’t paint them in a particularly good light. It doesn’t matter if they did handle things properly, some people are going to come in with the assumption that the engine builder is right and CKNA is covering up.

I remember other issues that came up in the past, but this isn’t the place to mention those right now. Like TJ, I also have never been super impressed by the CKNA program, their biggest draw is that they get entries since they were the first to do a regional 206 series. Now, they pull numbers but the events they put on still don’t come off to me as very well run, especially compared to Stars or Route which have better organization, but lower entry numbers.

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Playing Devil’s advocate here, but doesn’t that go hand in hand? Bigger numbers = harder to run event to make everyone happy? Smaller numbers = easier to run event?

Out of curiosity (I have absolutely no affiliation with CKNA and have only run 1 of their events over the last 5 years), what were you (and @tjkoyen) not impressed with about CKNA? Professionalism? Structure? On Track events?

I ask because I see CKNA Grands as THE 4 cycle racing event. Anything that makes it better makes it good for 206 and good for the rest of us club racers.

I don’t want to veer this thread off-track too much, but my basic gripes with the events I’ve been to are:

  • Lack of officiating. I don’t know if I saw any penalties for driving at the one event, and I watched multiple drivers bash their way past people in front of the grid with the race director standing right there. And every year I hear from my 2-stroke friends who run the Grands that it’s just a wreck fest. Other series have similar issues but the push-back bumper has cleaned up a lot of that.
  • Inability to stay on schedule. We were off-schedule quite a bit at the events I was at which made it hard to know when we were going on-track.
  • General disorganization. It felt like a big club event to me.

I’m sure some of this is down to teething problems as you draw more entries and different skill levels of drivers, but “big event” does not equal “hard to run”. SKUSA and USPKS manage to provide a fair, transparent, and very professional event.

I do appreciate the down-home feel of the events and how it’s a little more laid back, but personally at an event that big I expect it to be a little more on the professional end of the spectrum. That style of event is fun for a small, less serious club race. I think a lot of CKNA’s entries come from smaller, less polished clubs, and a lot of their participants are just happy to have any form of organization at the race. They are just starting to dip their toe into traveling series, and haven’t been exposed to other series where things might run a little more smoothly. That probably goes back to them not quite adapting to the growth they’ve seen over recent years.

And this is just my opinion, maybe I’m looking for different things in a race series than other people. Clearly there are some who enjoy the events just fine.

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The spring nationals in March at Charlotte were run on time to the second, as was the cup Karts South race at Monticello. The last race at Bushnell was only off schedule because of a couple red flags.

Tech is run by Steve, an owner of ckna. The engine builder was caught doing something he did not realize was wrong then got butt hurt when nobody agreed with his side. He’s having a hard time understanding the "spirit and intent"of 206 racing

I personally think the 206 rulebook needs revised on many fronts. I should be able to put together an engine without knowing anything about karting and have a black and white understanding of all rules. There is way to much grey area or area when I show up actually following the rulebook they are going to absolutely flip out over.

Yes and no. Yes, it is harder to officiate bigger fields, but having run 60 kart fields at USPKS all year and comparing that to the Grands, there is a lack of officiating at the CKNA events. It’s almost a free-for-all on track and the go-to way of moving up in positions is just bullying your way around. Like TJ said, and I’ve held this position for a couple years now, CKNA should be utilizing the push-back system. They’ve had CIK specific classes since at least 2019, the Grands is exclusively CIK bodywork now, and there are plenty of people who can attest that push-backs, while not perfect, would do a heap of help for the race quality. Comparing that to USPKS, I’ve received penalties back in 35th position for avoidable contact, I don’t think I saw CKNA hand out an on track penalty outside the top 10 at their events.

It doesn’t help that at Whiteland they specifically said “if a driver holds the outside on you while you’re making a pass, you have to leave room for them or you’ll receive a penalty” which made it so practically the only way to make a pass was to use your front bumper.

What they do works for their regular season, more or less at least, but when they try to put on what they call “the biggest event in US karting,” one would go into there with the expectation that it will be run at the same level as SKUSA or USPKS.

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Also with how many riles there are its bound to happen that someone will do something that is deemed illegal, and to a point thats just racing, and like many other people have said the is too much grey area in the rules

@tjkoyen and @Aaron_Hachmeister_13 ,

Thanks guys. I could definitely see those arguments. Back to the cheating and scandals conversation… :slight_smile:

The way I look at it is… The intent of 206 is to be an overtly non-builder reliant engine package.
So it’s expected that trickery would be met with severe prejudice. David Klaus spoke numerous times about “pixie dust” being sold by some engine builders, especially in clones. The 206 was intended to reduce how prevalent that was in karting.

Don’t put your hand in the alligators mouth so to speak.

That said, this approach to racing\engines doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s fair. The conflict happens when a handful of people try to contort things and make it something that it’s not meant to be, to benefit themselves on an individual level.

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Interesting notions on the CKNA lack of officiating. Hit home for me because in Jacksonville I got taken out by a dive bomber and not a single flag was thrown. However, in my experience, CKNA runs the clock very well. Race starts at 3:03, pull up at 3:04 and you missed it. Again, that was just something I liked (or disliked) depending on if I had to wrench between races or not.

Steve owns CKNA? Same Steve V. that does the tech? (Steve V. is a super nice guy BTW)

Yes, CKNA is owned by Steve Vermeer and Greg Jasperson

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