Why do you not follow/discuss top level karting?

Eurosport nailed it back in the day with low cameras and all that kinda stuff. The karts were more visually arresting back then. Modern stuff tends to be more ‘stream’ orientated than broadcast. by that I mean getting he least amount of cameras in high enough places to maximize coverage. All of this is fixable.

Case in point.

Turn 1 Lonato 1995 European Championship Formula A Turn 1

2020 World Champs

Hail Pantano and natural rubber tyres!

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First I just wanna say that I know sometimes we get threads like these and as community members we shrug them off as the quarterly karting “bull” session, but I love reading them. They motivate me and give me ideas. So thank you, everyone who’s contributed to this thread, and everyone who will add beneath me.

Kart Chaser is the first of a handful of project ideas I have in mind that I want to scale over the next 5-10 years in hopes of the eventual goal of putting on spectator-oriented kart races with 1-2 pro classes. It’s meant to introduce you to the personalities of the drivers, showcase what happens in the race in a “indycar race remix // nascar radioactive” format, and some cool artsy montages here and there. But I’m constantly scratching my head on how we can make the videos more entertaining to reach a wider / broader / more casual audience. Comments like the ones made in these threads help get the creative juices flowing.

I’ve been wanting to make a whole proper video on my thoughts on all this at the launch of Kart Chaser but lost track of time in the early months. I’m hoping I can put out a nice piece that tells my story / kart chaser’s story in the next month or so and kind of put my 0.02 on this thread.

One comment I will make about the supercross athletes is that they are just as much the reason that the peak of their sport is growing in exposure as the official media / sponsors, just like current NBA and NFL stars. All the way down to the 250 Pros who miss the main in the LCQ, the riders understand the need to brand themselves and do more. The non-factory riders make money setting up their own school programs and a ton more. I’m working with a lot of our top american guys to build themselves up too, but it all takes time.

In short, keep saying what’s on your mind and check back in with me in a few years to see what I’ve made of it all. Haha.

Also, shameless plug for those who haven’t seen the videos yet:

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Taking your role as Devils Advocate, why does it matter? Back in the 80s and even the 90s, it was still a very limited interest in top level karting. In the 90s it was only on Eurosport which wasn’t the most common channel. In the 80s it was only attended by competitors, families, and locals to the track.

The only difference now is organisations are trying to get us to watch it because they believe drivers won’t come unless its televised or just because they can. We’ve talked about investment but I’d argue we don’t want investment.

Words like investment, brand development, streaming just drive up costs and don’t make my hobby any more fun. Its sort of a self fulfilling prophecy, these things drive up the costs, then competitors have to do these things to raise funds to compete in the now more expensive hobby.

Is motocross actually watched by people who don’t do motocross? Or is it just (as raised before) that its a very accessible hobby, that a very small minority race. I personally don’t find it remotely interesting, whereas I’ll sit through a boring kart race lol.

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Supercross gets about a million viewers in the states on the TV plus fills out stadiums across the country. The outdoor events are well attended too. motocross of nations is a big event too as well as al World Motocross Champs.

Why does anything matter? :slight_smile:

This is a whole package deal by the way. With a proper sport that you can follow you get to enjoy the heritage stuff too and have a much stronger culture. I like that, it’s why I am into the historic stuff. For me that does matter. It’s all subjective at the end of the day. I’d love to fly to Vevey and talk about the world championship rounds they had in the market square. I’d love to talk about the old legends and drivers. All the cool stuff you get with every other sport.

Without all that we’re just filling spreadsheets each weekend.

To echo Nik, If my interest in karting is driving and racing a kart, how does the professionalization of the sport improve my experience?

Take the SX example. These events happen in a stadium the amateur will never be able to ride. Does SX make the sport better/worse/neutral for regular dirt bike owners?

I live in an area where sprint karts tracks are sparse. There are four (GoPro, AMP, CMP, VIR) ranging from 2-3.5 driving hours from me, three of those are built next to car tracks. They were built in 1999, 2000, 2012, and 2016, so the golden age of UK karting never crossed the pond for my area. I think GoPro is the only one that can/does host really big events. If professionalization of the sport will give me more tracks closer, then hell yeah!

The SX model seems like you might end up with a bunch of mini-Monacos, though, temporary tracks built for a weekend and then gone.

Why is “just filling a spreadsheet” a bad thing if I get home with a big fucking grin plastered on my face?

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Well, like I said at the very beginning karting is very insular.

But alas, I venture forward with this query because I get as much out of standing watching a grid of 100cc karts go hooning into a corner at the start of a race as I do being one of those idiots hoping I don’t cold seize. My own personal exploits I don’t take a huge amount of joy from, I take as much joy discussing about old engines, old championships, old races as I do competing. This is our collective culture yet in our contemporary scene I find it somewhat sorrowful that we have a sport where the world champion could walk into a club meeting and not even get a second glance. I can’t think of any sport where this could happen?

And what about those who could enjoy watching karting, yet don’t get the opportunity to do so because we have collectively deprived them. We make no effort, we offer no imagination, no voice.

Sure, I covered Rage Against The Machine in bands, but nothing quite beat getting crushed by 100,000 people in Finsbury Park when they waltzed on stage and started playing Testify. There are layers to participation, to culture.

Karting is unique in that you can take it pretty much anywhere from the streets of a Greek town to SIlverstone International Circuit to a car park in Las Vegas.

Yep, but dirtbikes sell between 500k and 1M per year in the US. So that could very easily be mostly people who own a dirtbike. Karting doesn’t have that as you’ve explained in other posts.

Because we’re not, we’re racing karts! We do have all the things you talk about that make it a sport, we have plenty of heritage and I’d argue the interest in it is growing (within the sport), but we don’t need to go crazy pushing the sport. People will find it if they want it.

I agree with this, but I think we could also maybe do a better job of at least presenting the sport to others

In the Norberg thread you were giving a negative opinion of rentals and even LO206 which feels like an increase in insularity.

Most any 5k; once you get lower than the top 5-10% of finishers you won’t be seeing people who know who the half-marathon or 5k world champion is. Same for triathlon. Same for a whole lot of cyclists who don’t race. Same for most people who go to the gym, they don’t care who wins Worlds Strongest Man, Powerlifting Worlds, or CrossFit whatever. This is going to be pretty common in a lot of sports where participation is equally or more important than spectating. On the flip side, I bet most karters know who Lewis Hamilton is.

Be the change you want to see in the world?

Maybe we could do a quick survey of how people found karting. My feeling is, very few will say from watching it on a screen.

  • From seeing karting on tv/youtube/streaming/some kind of screen or print
  • From a friend telling me about it
  • From my parents getting me into it
  • From randomly finding a track/shop
  • From knowing F1 drivers started in karting so i thought i could do it
  • From rental karting
  • I was born in it, you merely adopted it

0 voters

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That’s actually kind of the way I was introduced to it :joy:

But that’s my experience, so my view on how to promote karting may be based on my experience instead of the experience of others. I just feel like the internet is one of the most accessible ways to reach others, so that helps

I always knew racing karts were a thing as a kid and asked my Dad about it once. But it was never going to be realistic for us for money and time reasons. As an adult my first exposure was rentals.

Yeah I used to think karts were a toy until I saw videos of it and I was like dang thats awesome! Did some rental too

I am not sure that’s accurate. The data I have is around 100,000 and how many of those breakdown
into ‘dirtbikes’ I am not sure • U.S. motorcycle sales by type 2019 | Statista

It should be noted that there has been discussion about this in the SX/MX circles - "Supercross doesn't have casual fans" - Why Gypsy Tales makes this kind of content & our 2nd channel - YouTube

This discussion shouldn’t be about promoting the sport to newcomers as such. It’s about something more than that. If I wanted to promote the sport I’d do a budget kart challenge and spend all the money I had left just before a bloody pandemic started!!! A OTK/Rotax… of all the karts to be lumped with

No, I was explaining why it’s perfectly acceptable for someone to do a video about starting ‘professional karts’ and excluding rentals, and then maybe L206s.

Eddie Hall is well known and respected in the UK, has a lot of fans. Bloody good swimmer too. He lifted 500kg which I still can’t comprehend. In addition Mo Farah (5k-10k Olympic champion) is more than well known here as are the Brownlee brothers for their triathlon exploits. So I am not sure what you’re saying is wholly accurate with regards to known characters etc…

The top manufacturers race in the FIA World Championship events, and off the back of that sell into the market (with varying degrees of success). You literally have hundreds, maybe thousands of karters wearing TonyKart jackets and racing at clubbies who, and I am extremely comfortable with saying this, wouldn’t have a clue that Bradshaw was the world champ if he rocked up. That to me is kinda bizarre.

The inference I am picking up on is that karting should be viewed like ‘going for a run’ compared to the Olympics 5k, but to me this a false equivalence and doesn’t hold water. Going karting isn’t easy, it requires financial and time investment. You’re racing pretty much the ‘same’ vehicle as the elite guys in very similar competitive environments. But we have the huge disconnect, hyper insularity.

Wrong person to say that to :wink:

I picked two because I went to an IMSA race and asked the pro drivers how they got to be a racecar driver, they said start in karting and so my parents found a shop conveniently 5 minutes from our house. There wasn’t really an answer that fit my scenario.

Regarding the rest of this topic, I started following top level karting after a couple years in racing because that’s where I wanted (and still hope to) end up competing at. I will say, it’s very difficult to really be able to follow a lot of the races and stuff because there are no livestreams or broadcasts except for the Supernationals in the US. The barrier for most people outside of karting to watching it is that it’s so difficult to know about and find where to watch these events. Usually it just ends up being me following the live timing on one of the like 5 apps various series use, and listening to a race broadcast if there are any available.

I personally believe that if the level of promotion that was put into Supercross was put into karting, there could be a decent following behind it. You’d have to market it from two angles; the best kart racers in the country/world competing at their discipline, just like rally or stock cars or anything else, and the up and coming drivers hoping to make a name for themselves in higher level racing.

From what I understand, one of the biggest barriers for putting karting in front of the general public is the cost of putting it on a broadcast. Pair that with the lack of, as Alan says, a storytelling or any real atmosphere, and you won’t get a lot of viewers. If we, as in karting as a whole, want to put karting out there, there should be more narrative behind it, not the raw racing with some commentating over it.

At the risk of saying this could become that reality TV show from 2014/15/whenever it was, we should be exploring the rivalries between drivers and stories behind others. Norberg vs. Jarsocrack in SKUSA and USPKS, championship battles coming down to the final laps of an event. Let’s get interviews in the pits and after the races between the top 5 drivers. It generally feels like there’s no emotion when I’m watching a race other than from the announcer, but that’s not going to create a connection for the audience unless they already know who is going out.

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Very very good point, at least live streams should be made more available

I’m imagining SKUSA taking a page from WWE & having character-drivers pulling shenanigans in the pits like sabotaging setups, lining seats with superglue, or…or…rage chucking…things…at on-track drivers from the sidelines… I can see that attracting attention. Not sure it would benefit the racing, but it would benefit TV ratings. Might even get coverage from CNN.:open_mouth:

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Rental Karts Rule! Not surprised, actually. That’s sorta the problem. But it doesn’t have to be… Look at SWS, look at programs like OKC’s.

Show people real competition in a fun and approachable way. The crashers will come and go. Change the perception by changing the way rental karting is offered.

Most places run it like an amusement park ride. That’s why people don’t watch karting. They think its dumb kid stuff. Big people looking silly in little vehicles. They have no idea. Make it real, with points and a series you can qualify to participate in. But, make it fun and friendly, kinda like our gang at NJMP. Build a community around local karting. Bring people in. It grows from there if people are interested.

Charles and Max were trading blows in Karting, you couldn’t say who was better to be fair. So I don’t think Max would be first, at least not 100% sure.

Max has been stellar in 2019 and 2020 but we must not forget he has been in F1 since 2015 (Compared to 2018 for Charles, 2019 for Lando and Georges). I don’t think Max outclasses Charles, Lando or Georges.

Back to the subject, I think the sport needs something like “Drive to survive” or something like a reality show. Following a few angry teens fighting the weekends for a place in a Junior Team, with their parents putting a lot of pressure, it might be entertaining.

I am usually watching the CIK-FIA races on youtube, but every drivers seems to be generic, we can’t relate to anyone of them.

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