This feels like a lateral move, mostly. It at least maintains the IKF’s existence, but I’m not sure that anything he’s outlined will have a concrete benefit. The benefit of IKF’s broader rulebook was it could cater to any clubs classes, and had at least a workable weight limit to try to balance it all out. I’m not sure any of these change, though, other than they still exist.
From an insurance standpoint, it sounds like that’s still the same? No real change other than they’re waiving fees for 2018, which is certainly something.
I guess I’m not clear on what they will offer beyond the rulebook for a struggling club. Do they have a timing/scoring package? Race-day format? Marketing package?
I guess the vagueness surrounding how support is distributed leaves a lot to be desired. The way he’s phrasing it, there will be incentives to run Tom’s products (Evinco, IAME), but if clubs abstain from offering those because the region doesn’t have the class, will they still benefit at all? Evinco seems to be a potential club kick-back based on usage, so that’s fairly straightforward. Is there something beyond all of that, though? Year end awards (Parts, Tires, Engines, etc.)?
I view the transaction on SKUSA’s side as maybe 15% sentimental, 85% strategic. I’m sure Tom wanted to keep history alive, but it was easier to swoop in and absorb an entire distribution network for rules that stretches across the country than start his own up. He now has a platform to market his engine and tires from club to regional, and ultimately feed himself more drivers. Makes sense.
Where I struggle is that the X30 package is still a bad club engine. It costs a good amount to keep running for a long season with roughly 3-4x the rebuild frequency of a Rotax, even with similar power and new engine costs. I don’t think SKUSA will ban them or anything, but I do think their intention is to withhold full funding/benefits if clubs and series don’t run his classes. This is where I’m not sure I like it. For some clubs it will be great. For others, if people just don’t want to run IAME it will be exactly what IKF is now. If clubs go forward with it anyway, it could be a net loss for all parties.
It is what it is, and only time will tell. As far as I can tell, there’s no information as to what specifics will apply come 2019 that the IKF isn’t doing now.