How Can We Make Karting Easier For the Individual?

So, I’ve been thinking, for quite some time, about what my biggest complaints were with karting when I joined. I know everybody talks about it, and there’s always discussions going on with how it’s broken and what we should do, but nothing ever gets done.

Starting with the problem here, one of, if not the biggest issue, is the fragmentation of everything. Within the 3 clubs closest to my house, none of them share the same format.

In the Yamaha Senior class:

Road America runs the SR-Y pipe, 360 lb, and Bridgestone YLC tires.
Badger Kart Club runs a can, 355 lb, and YLC’s.
Concept Haulers runs a can, 360lb, and MG Yellow tires.

This issue is not exclusive to clubs, and we all know that. Every series, club, regional, or “national” runs their own stuff, costing more for the people who “Just want to race, dammit!” as quoted from my dad when talking about this very topic.

I figure, the best way to sort these problems out is to start at the club level and work our way up, not change the national stuff and trickle down as many people think. A standardization of the classes and pricing would be ideal. Same weight, tires, class so that anybody can go to any club and not need to worry about unexpected details. Personally, I would align anything Yamaha or TaG with the USPKS/Route 66 setup, and 4 stroke stuff with either 206 Cup or Gold Cup as those are the dominating forces in my area. If we wanted to extend TaG to Rotax, Vortex or whatever just follow their rules too but keep everything the same.

To me, ideally we start in Wisconsin/Illinois as that’s where I’m from, and work with other clubs as expansion happens. It’d take time, but I want to try proposing it to people and work from there.

I want to know what your problems were here. What would work or wouldn’t work with what I decided and how would you change or modify it?

Also, I haven’t touched regional stuff since I have no experience here/no complaints with what I’ve done, if anybody wants to touch on how that should change I’ll appreciate it immensely.

That happens with all club racing series. Club racing is driver oriented and doesn’t have a single national level series which provides the rules and regulations to look up to.

It would also happen a lot more in car racing if racing cars was more affordable. What happens with cars is that there are many (less so then karting by an order of magnitude) club racing entities and only one really large group which calls the shots, the SCCA. So the trickle down is more efficient. If you want your club race series to provide a ladder to a national level series, you run SCCA rules. Works that way from autocrossing to endurance racing.

Karting doesn’t have that advantage. We have hundreds of clubs looking up to national level rules from different organizations. You end up with a mish-mash of rules that doesn’t provide an easy, clear path upwards. For Lo206 some run 206 cup rules, others WKA rules, others a mix of both.

You gotta think about personal motivations from track management too. Some karting clubs are privately owned an that is 50% of the problem.

Some may insist on running a tire brand over the other because they have a bulk deal with tire brand #1, and even though they run tire brand#2 on USPKS running tire brand#1 gives you the chance of offering a set of tires for a prize deal, or offering tire installation on the track shop.

And POLITICS! Don’t forget the politics!

That’s where I’m trying to come up with a solution. Create some organization, managed by the clubs within it, that standardizes rules and provides communication between clubs so everybody knows what is going on.

Half the issue with using a “national series” to follow is that the US is too big to have a national series. At best, we would have a US East and a US West. That used to be the WKA and IKF but after those fell apart everything went downhill. Now, I see them as SKUSA and USPKS. Set the rules to follow a path to them, both even organize regional events as well, and some of the confusion may be cleared up.

Tires alone are easy enough to fix, but a big reason Road America doesn’t get many Yamaha competitiors is that the pipe + extras costs over $200, restricting the drivers who want to come. I’m not saying this would be easy, but I’m trying to come up with something that may be able to be proposed to the clubs and they could get onboard with

First we have to understand what makes it “hard” and what does that mean? Figuring out classes and tires are a pain in the ass to figure out. Getting the clubs in line is a huge task, arguably insurmountable. What we CAN do however, is build an effective tool to help people navigate those differences and send them in the right direction.

Tires are hard to change and get uniformity in because they are incentivized with each deal.

The idea of having an organizational group of some sort is sound, but again the question of how can you incentivize that and make it valuable to each club is the question. Basically, what’s in it for them?

Whether it’s non profit, or privately run, to me makes no difference. It’s all down to the motivations and goals of the individuals involved. There’s rent-seeking and altruism on both sides.

I’m in MN BTW and I’m down for getting something rolling in these parts. Right now however I’m working on the redesign of the main site and some other things. But we could plant seeds over the summer and double down over winter.

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What I think you might be missing is that some, if not most, of the clubs want their rules as they are. Maybe RA drivers want the pipe, and see no need to change, even with the potential increase in entrees. Maybe another club has a crop of drivers on the heavier side, so they want a higher min. weight. Even the tracks that are privately run need to listen to their customers and try give them what they want, as unhappy customers aren’t typically repeat customers. Yes, the tire issue is a big hurdle, but you’ll find that even outside of that, finding common ground will still be hard. That’s why, if you want to race other tracks, a regional series is the way to go.

It’s true, however, that back when I was a club guy at Utica (Bennett Raceway), I would have loved to get up to SRR or Badger, and the tires were an obstacle. However, if we were really serious about it we could have just ponied up, and acquired a set of their tires, because if we went there once, we’d be likely to go there again. Or, we could have run a regional series, and run club days between those dates. What was more important to us than the travel were the people in our club. We loved hanging out with the Ancels, Coyles, Blahas, etc. So, back to point, I’m sure that everybody you ask would love uniform rules, but, when pressed, probably isn’t their high priority.

Whenever I’m talking to someone who says he/she got out the sport because of this or that, the real reason is usually they were given a false bill of sale. Some other karter, or even another shop, inflated their expectations, and thought they would be winning races in no time at all and with very little time and money spent.

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The way I’ve been thinking about it, as a whole, if the classes are transferable then clubs will recieve drivers other clubs when they can’t race or any situation like that. I’ve figured tires really aren’t the biggest thing in the world to change, so leaving tires up to the club may be the option there is, especially if there’s some system to get used tires out cheaply.

@Peter_Zambos that’s a very valid point, but that’s where the idea of the clubs working with each other comes into play. I can’t think of more than 2 people who would be really against switching, but they would if they had to. It’s a very complex issue, which is why I brought it here to work it out, but I know I wanted to run other tracks before I started regional stuff but the amount of changes from track to track was a little overwhelming.

That makes sense to me. But convincing the clubs that have the challenge of keeping their mainstay of racers happy is of that is a tough one.

Yeah, it’s a lot of planning and may take a good while, but some of the question is also “How many people would leave just because we changed ______?” If it’s a change that people will be unhappy with for a couple weeks but can live with and makes the club more attractive to outsiders, maybe it’s worth changing.

Again, I only just came up with this, so any other ideas are more than welcome.

Hi guys, what you are describing is how karting in Australia works. We have a national body that controls karting from the elite level down to the club level.
The club levels have 4 basic Classes divided up like this.
Cadets up to 13yrs
Tag 125
It is not perfect, but it is possible to start karting at 6 in cadets, use the same engine until 13, graduate to juniors and use the same engine (KA100) right through into seniors and beyond.
Once in seniors you can decide to move into the 125 performance classes X30, Rotax, KZ2
I could race on the West coast one weekend and the east the following with out having to change anything.
My state runs a zone competitions, followed by a open state title, plus a few stand alone events. Any of which I can race in with out changing anything.
The system works.
There is, what I would deam normal bitching about who is importing what, and who is doing back room deals with who, to make money.
Wheather or not not that is happening I can’t say with any certainty, but I shudder every time people here say they want out of Karting Australia. I can’t think of a worse way of administering a sport than the way it is done in the US.
We have issues to be fair, but I am hopeful that they can be sorted out before I’m dead.


Welcome @Jacedownsouth.

So are there non-KA sanctioned races? One thing that I always liked about KA is that they at least made a valiant effort to do some real research into how we can improve karting and grow it. One may agree, or disagree with the conclusions in it, but they did they work that other’s haven’t.

For anyone that doesn’t know what I’m talking about:

Hm, interesting. Is the general consensus that the system works well? Or is there an even split between who likes it and who wants it out?

Here in the USA the entity which is supposed to occupy that leadership slot is (arguably) the WKA.

You have local tracks or clubs which do not adopt the WKA rulebook and either apply their own rulebook of pick rules from a racing series which is popular with them.

I know of a privately owned track which adopts WKA rules officially, yet racers are pushing and pressuring for the adoption of the Lo206 Cup rulebook (even though they are both very similar.) The unbending adoption of WKA rules is a neverending source of conflict between racers and track tech.

Thus the segregation is often self-inflicted, Aaron. To paraphrase what Peter said a few posts ago, the racers want the rules to be this or that, especially when tracks are club owned and not private.

There are a few other body’s, but none the size of KA. Dirt karters, 4 stroke, superkarts do their own thing. There is at least 1 splinter group for sprint karts.
Because most clubs have there insurance tied up with KA there really isn’t much insentive to hold a non sanctioned event that has different rules. There is scope to run different tyres to what KA have designated, within the rules anyway, so that is not much of an issue (in my opinion).
Also as most of the country is running the same engines, and with the class structure, running a stand alone event with different requirements doesn’t make sense as there would be few entries. That being said Rotax does have a series, but most of the engines are within KA regs anyway.
The WOSR as it is called here, is quite a document. Some of the conclusions have been disputed by a sector of participants but as a whole it does have merit, again IMO.

I am not sure of the numbers for and against. I would like to say it is a small minority that are not happy.
I think that the system here works ok. It could be better, but the benefits of a single structure rather than a whole group of different rule books outweigh the negatives.

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Here in the US we have about 4 entities that can take that position, SKUSA, WKA, IKF, or USPKS. The clubs select the rules based on what’s popular in the area because of this split. If we can even make the clubs similar and close enough that the only changes would be tires and weights to move into any regional series, that would be a step up from where things are right now.

I looked at WKA versus 206 Cup, and the solution to that looks to be just open up the chassis type to anything and tires to either the YLC or Vega Blue. Not a dramatic change if they really wanted it to happen.

If you don’t like the idea, put something else on the table to work with, but I’m really not appreciating the whole “No it isn’t going to work because it’s going to be hard” attitude.

@Jacedownsouth were you around before KA was created? If you were, how did they change to one ruleset and implement it?

I’m not saying it’s not going to work! I’m in a certain position at a certain track where I have exposure every weekend to the challenges you will have 10 fold in order to bring people together. Just thought it could be helpful to understand what you’re in for.

I’m all for it, man. Didn’t mean to sound like I didn’t support your idea.

Sorry, that was the way I was interpreting how you responded to the post.

I have actually been running into just the opposite problems at my track. Right now everyone is very happy with the rules but nobody can run anywhere else because to run another track you’d have to spend at least $200.

It’s a good development tool to run multiple tracks, but the touring series are too expensive or time consuming for some people to run. That’s why I’d like to get a uniform ruleset. I’m not saying implement one single sanctioning body’s ruleset, but to make one that fits most people’s needs. You can’t please everybody, naturally, but allowing anybody to run anything they want with as little changes as possible is the objective with this.

I figured the first groups would be RA, CHMS, and BKC. See how it goes with them and expand from there.