The part about being a volunteer got me thinking. At the club track we usually are short of them to work as corner workers, etc. It would make good sense to me to waive the guest pass fee and give workers a free pass (insurance paid by the club). Not only would that help get us more workers, it would also be a great place for those who have experience in other forms of racing to get an up-front view of the various kart types.
The product… I’ll take that on from the adult who never karted as a kid perspective on sprint karting.
First you have to have someone introduce it to get you interested. That would be one of my sons. He wanted to go watch some kart races. Sure, why not - it doesn’t cost much I thought… Of course then what I saw impressed me to go further.
And that’s where it does get very confusing from an outsider view. Just the “simple” question about cost - initial, maintenance, consumables - is not well defined ANYWHERE. Yes you can search and find that X is generally cheaper then Y to run, but there is no simple ballpark figure chart of cart/engine combinations to see what might fit your budget. The driver is left to try and figure all that out for themselves, and hope that they are looking at the rules right so whatever they buy is OK to run. Not good. What REALLY would have helped at that point (besides a handy reference chart) is to have a meeting to just talk to other racers in a non-stress environment (away from the track racing). What do they like, what do they recommend, and would avoid, etc. You can’t get that during an event, and do you really trust a vendor to be straight up with you or push you towards what they want to sell at the moment (had that happen and it turned me off).
In addition I think a good way to run some adults off (and I was told this by many) is to just say - you need to run a LO206 for your first year. While granted that is a solid choice and probably the least expensive way to get into karting - at least for new equipment, it’s really a hard sell to someone who is used to more speed and doesn’t want to run a used $2K “lawnmower engine” kart. And honestly, that is exactly what I thought from watching them on track. So then what to run? Of course the jump up from there is a really hard choice with no guidance. I’d recommend a single gear engine, and TAG would be my suggestion to myself if I could do that. Neither cheap or crazy expensive, but very fast on a sprint circuit, and with a starter for ALL those times you over do it while learning where and how to brake and spin backwards.
Then after a year or two when you want to try road racing - great, you should now be ready for more speed (and with it more cost). Thankfully, you’ll have a lot of equipment already from sprint racing so then the only choice is if you want to start there on the same equipment - probably not a bad idea - or go up a class. This is where I’m at currently. I will probably keep the same equipment I have, and just budget for travel / motel and higher consumable and rebuild costs.