Alan always does a good article.
But I do think the issue of Cumbria kart club cancelling a club race is a bit of a non-issue. They’ve always had problems attracting entries, at least since I raced there for the first time in '98. Its a track in the middle of no where (by the UK’s standards) with no large population centers within a couple of hours drive. Probably a catchment of 750,000 or something. Whereas the track i grew up at has a catchment of 9.5million. For level of karting we do (and this is based on old license numbers in the UK) I would suggest you’ve got a chance of attracting 0.01% of the population. By that the USA should have about 30,000 people doing owner driver karting at least once a year. The Seattle area might have 380. Of them only 25% probably race regularly.
What I’m getting at is you’ve got to set an expectation. If this was a franchise model, you wouldn’t open kart tracks everywhere, you’d open them proportional to the population and their known interests. Some like Los Angeles can support multiple kart tracks, somewhere like Boise, Idaho should expect less entries and struggle to support one.
But I think you’ve got to expect a track to diversify its business model. A track like Pats Acres (south of Portland, Oregon), no way they could survive on club racing. So they diversify and do other events, drift, motorcross, cyclocross (i’d never heard of that one before), a rental kart series and an owner driver kart series as well as corporate events. The track I grew up on had corporate karts, motorcross, mini moto, motorcycles, track day experiences, a flying cycle and rally cross and the club there could barely afford the track rental with 300+ entries.
So i haven’t seen any changes per se, but I think tracks or clubs that own tracks need to think about diversifying. If you have an expensive asset (like a track) you need to maximizing its value by using it as much as possible.