Colin Wright: First-corner kartnage

Standing starts in S1 are a bold move says ABkC Chairman, Colin Wright but although this may help reduce first-corner carnage, is it enough?

So most clubs have started their 2014 season now and early indications seem to be positive in terms of numbers? On the face of it that looks great but we really need to analyse figures and data more succinctly to garner a better overall picture, for instance are the same drivers doing more than one track, are drivers sticking to one, are license numbers up….?

The hot topic already in 2014 seems to be driving standards, the same perennial problem that has plagued us for years at club and national level. What’s to be done, the sustained damaged can only drive more people from the sport, the MSA introduced the mandated penalties to standardise across clubs but when 20 plus karts head into the first corner it is nigh on impossible to identify who is the instigator? Load or be loaded seems to be the common theme?

Super One, following on from multiple damage at the O Plate the week before at Rowrah, together with the club took one of the boldest steps in many a year and introduced standing stands for Rotax and Hondas. The purists were sceptical, dismissive and vocal as to how this was the wrong choice, now stepping back we need to consider trying a different approach as following the same format as we currently tread is failing.

What was learned from Super One? Could it be implemented at club level? We saw very few first corner incidents, less damage and unlike previous meetings where 20, maybe 30% grid were unable to navigate Turn One, it could be that the full grid is free to race for the whole of the race?

One event should not instantly dictate that every club should change to a standing start, however we need to take on board lessons learnt and empower clubs to make the right choice to keep members and drivers returning, first corner damage is one of the most common reasons we all hear for disillusionment of our discipline.

Rowrah and S1 took a bold step to introduce a strategy that was pilloried by most, the results seem to be welcomed by most, so perhaps what we have learnt is to try and welcome new ideas, not to dismiss them out of hand without at least trying?

Over the past 6 weeks through the “day job” I have spent most of my time outside of the UK and caught up with karting enthusiasts in Germany, Sweden, Norway, Italy and Germany. There is much we can learn from these countries but also there is much they can learn from the UK, if we were to gather everyone into one room at one time we could really come out with a great solution.

Time is not on our side, “one swallow does not a summer make” but if we can really address driving standards and remove first corner incidents then we are surely closer to fixing our discipline.

We have a fantastic sport, yes there are things that need addressing and fixing to bring and keep people into the discipline but if we can keep progressing, if we can listen to our customers to make the changes required in a timely manner we have to look on the positives and see our sport grow.

Non-MSA/IKR racing seems to be growing, is that a bad thing? No, it can’t be, anything that gets bums in seats and into a kart needs to be welcomed, drivers are customers, they will ultimately choose how and where they wish to spend their hard earned money. Our shop window needs to be better, brighter and shout about the positive aspects of screaming along with our backsides 10mm off the ground. We need to support our clubs, we need to continue to feedback ideas, we need to communicate good and bad points, learn from what does not work and put action plans in place to ensure the sport grows!

Any feedback, comments, or calls please contact me on chairman@abkc.org or 07841 034192