Is Kart Racing At Risk In Florida?

(Video deleted by OGP Facebook page)
However there is a transcript below where they talk about regulation that is being enforced resulting in tracks having to choose between offering concession/rental karts and competition kart events

~James / @KartingIsLife

Incidents leading up to this…

Could someone in the know explain to me what’s going on?

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I had a topic staged on this. Waiting on permission to repurpose their video. This could go beyond Florida. It’s pretty concerning from that standpoint…

Here’s (an abridged/paraphrased) transcript of what Jorge at OGP says in his video. There’s a link to the statute at hand below it.

As you all know, we had a tragedy, a very bad accident at the palm beach international raceway. Consequences of that, are sending a shockwave through all of the local Florida tracks that facilitate racing and they have what they call recreational club, or concession kart.
I have a hand delivered letter from the state of Florida. I’m going to read it to you because we’re finding out as fast as you guys are, and I’m trying to eliminate rumors while making sense of what this is.

“the Florida Department of Agriculture and consumer services, regulates amusement rides including in such a go kart tracks. Pursuant to section 616.242, florida state, gokart facilities holding non competitive Events that are allowing participation by the general public are subject to regulation and must be permitted by the department. Please be aware that renting go karts for public use without proper permitting is a violation of Florida law. The department is authorized to impose administrative fines up to $2,500 per violation for each day the violation exists”

This was hand-delivered two weeks ago.

What does that mean? I have no idea. I am right now looking at the laws, regulations, what the compliance regulations are. We will. I will do what I have to do.

What it looks like. What the state of Florida is going to do is they’re going to force me to make a decision on whether I am a full fledged race track or full fledge entertainment concession kart for rental public use. Those are two different directions. Can’t be both

Regulatory regulationd mandates a barrier, from the right side to the left side. There must be a non movable barrier, for racing.

So that means I have to choose which is it. Give up my concession kart rentals, or do I give up racing.

We have gotten a phone call the underwriter that represents Lloyd’s of London and they are already telling us, warning that they are looking at not renewing policies here in Florida for all go kart racing.
They’re now talking about getting out of Florida because of the accident that happened at Palm Beach International raceway. I’m going to Tallahassee to get a print out regulations that I need to comply with.

I don’t know if you heard about it but Orlando Karting Center was shut down by the state of Florida. Something like 75 people there for concession karting, some there with their own karts. The stage tagged the concession karts put them away. He had to refund everybody’s money and they locked up his place. I got the phone call from Andre while he was boring the plane to see his Son.

The state of Florida is coming down hard. That’s All I can tell you, I don’t have the resources, I don’t have the funding to go fight city hall.
What I’ve gathered in the background of the tragedy, the father who lives in Pennsylvania happens to have a lot of influence with lobbyists in Washington.

I don’t know how far they’re going to take it, but for me to receive a hand delivered letter from the state of Florida……
Homestead is already compliant because they have a separate track for concession karts.

They are already compliant. It’s an indoor track. Didn’t allow gasoline engines racing stuck in electric carts.
You’re all here. We’re going to put on a race today until somebody comes into my office and locks me up!

Here’s the florida statute 616.242 in question. It seems that kart tracks in florida might have flown under the RADAR until now… Which makes me wonder how many states have similar statutes:

as I understand it, there was an accident at PBIR and it was fatal. The State of FL regulatory agency (the one Jorge names in the video) has begun to take a scrutinious (sp?) look at all of these types of facilities that fall under it’s regulation. Based on what Jorge says here, according to what the State of FL has laid out, he (or any other of the facilities in question) cannot operate at both rental/concession facility as well as a racing facility, one is non-compliant with the other in their eyes. So either be a rental kart track or be a racing facility, but one track cant serve 2 purposes is how I understand it.

The choices are – have one track and choose which to operate , or have 2 tracks at one facility, each dedicated for each purpose.

The REALLY scary part of what he said is that Lloyds is looking at pulling out of FL all together. That could be a death blow to karting in FL. And, if this all comes to pass, the precedent will be set for similar actions across the country.

stay tuned …

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Is it safe to assume that a facility cannot survive without concession karts? Jim Hall in CA went to a private club model, which appears to be working for them, but I think he also runs rentals on the same track for an hour or two a day.

It depends on how many customers would pay for increased membership fees, if they needed to be race only.

The thing I dont understand is why a track needs to choose one vs the other. You’d assume that a track should just need general safety standards for overall operations for everyone’s safety.

I don’t really get why they need to choose between them.

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I don’t either. Though I think maybe it might have something to do with the guardrails that line a “fun” kart track. No run off areas. Etc.

Seems to me though, if that is the case, to limit concession rentals at “race facilities” to those 18 and older would easily fix the problem.

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nothing is easy or makes sense when it comes to government regulations


Very true!


In a rational country, an “I understand the risks” waiver would be enough not to have to carry liability insurance, for a track or club. But in the lawyer states or America, those mean almost nothing in practice.

Plain and simple, Florida’s laws need to be revised to allow the business to do what is profitable without the state dictating terms. Motorsports are dangerous, and you accept that and participate, or don’t and do something else.

we’re all watching with a mindful and anxious eye down here in FL… I’m in Jacksonville, home to the 103rd St Karting Complex. The track is city owned, and leased by the NFKC (North Florida Kart Club). This place was built by the City in the 60’s and hasnt changed much since then. They’ve never run concession karts there, only sanctioned races and the rest of the time open to the public. So Im interested to see how this all shakes out for them @ 103rd.

How will this affect the races Endurance Karting run at 103rd?

No one knows much about how this will affect anything, at the moment. It’s still early days.

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What most people in karting fail to realize is that a large part of the revenue at private tracks comes from the concession karts. Without them, its almost impossible to have a profitable business model. Homestead has a race track AND purpose built concession track, with full barriers, which is why it is compliant with the existing Florida law. The only change right now, is that the state of FL is now enforcing the classification of rental karts as an amusement park activity, which is subject to the barrier rules, apparently. Tracks like OKC, OGP, etc, could do the same thing, but there may be other barriers such as cost, zoning, etc, that prevent the construction of another compliant track. I don’t think this is a case of laws being made to prohibit something, but the interpretation and enforcement of existing law. Worst case scenario is that some tracks have to make a choice between racing and concessions, which would suck, because we would probably lose some tracks.

The part of the video that concerns me the most, is the reference to Lloyd’s of London and they indication that they may not be willing to insure go kart facilities in the future. I have no idea how many tracks are ultimately underwritten by them, but when a big insurer like that makes comments, it can send chills up the spine of other insurers in the same sport. Let’s just hope this all blows over.


you got it, they stir the drink… insurance companies, that is

This story just breaks my heart for this young girl, her family and her friends. The sport will survive, or it won’t, without much of a blip in the grand scheme of things. But those folks will never get to see their kid again. That would be a real shame to see our sport defined by such an unfortunate, and nearly unprecedented situation.

The question was asked, can a facility survive on racing only above. The answer, in the current industry climate, is a resounding no. And if you are anything short of a 12 month facility, the difficulty is exponentially harder. The few exceptions are the community owned facilities such as Badger, Phoenix or Jacksonville where no one has to meet mortgage obligations.

There are some other scenarios that can work as well such as the Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati which is a private club and I believe only has rentals open to members. They do however pull an awful lot of income from corporate events and parties that would probably go away if there is national fallout from the rumored Lloyd’s pullout.

Having operated a successful facility for several years, but only on a 7-8 month calendar, I can say firsthand that it takes a combination of six factors to barely survive (outside of either major motorsports markets (Charlotte, Indy) or major destination markets (Orlando) - Corporate/Party Events, Rentals, ProShop Sales, Service, Instruction and Racing. In that order. If you take away the first two categories, you just can’t make it on the remaining four. At least not as a for profit facility with amenities. Clubs may be able to survive in the presence of a benevolent land/facility owner.

Hang on tight - this has the potential to make the “big threats to the sport” such as engine wars, drop down bumpers and engine cheating seem pretty irrelevant… :wink:

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The state and the family are not looking at the whole picture here. I have been running at Ocala for years. The owner and staff always have everyones safety in mind every time that green flag drops. Not say that Bushnell and Orlando don’t do the same.
I’ve been reading posts and state regulations for two days. Sounds like the state officials have not thought this through. Putting walls up for the rental karts to crash into…come on, think about what you are saying. We as racers know that the soft walls we hit at Ocala, Orlando and other professionally managed tracks are the best we can expect and do the lest amount of damage to us and our karts.
To parents of this young lady I know how you feel, I lost my son to a preventable accident and know all we want is for someone to pay. I agree these rental karts need to be safer but the state needs to rethink the regulations. I think what I’m trying to say is don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Enforcing the current regulations will cause track owners to close and crush the dreams of thousands of young drivers whose parents can’t afford to drive hundreds of miles to a dedicated race track.


Any updates? 20chars

I’ve been looking all over the net and haven’t found anyone who is talking about it.

I messaged OGP yesterday and they said “no news yet”

Once OGP took the video down from their Facebook page things quietened down a bit on the public side. The transcript above gives a rough outline of what started things off.

it’s kinda like the rules of fight club…