TKM Insight – MSA karting decline

MSA karting is on the decline. TKM is bucking the trend thanks to careful control but it wants the MSA and others to think afresh for the future good of the sport.

You can make statistics do anything with manipulation and as a result they can be used to prove whatever you want. But sometimes you can’t ignore the truth. Everyone in karting should pay full attention to the way the numbers are going because if not the ‘sport’ as many see it could be in for a tricky time. MSA kart racing licences are dropping and have done so for quite a few years which some would say shows that karting in general is on the decline. Actually what it shows is that MSA controlled kart racing is losing numbers because drivers are going elsewhere. More and more circuits are moving away from MSA race meetings yet retaining healthy numbers of drivers for their own club events.

These are not necessarily attracting top stars of the future but they are retaining the strength of the sport for drivers who want to race once or twice a month. At Tal-Ko we see more and more business at non MSA circuits. Indeed the biggest race series in the country for us is not S1 but Club 100 which uses the TKM BT82 engine in non MSA arrive and drive karts. Their membership is massive. Their events are excellent. So why the move away from the MSA events? Well there are I suggest two key reasons. It reduces red tape and it lowers costs. I am not knocking the MSA, it does a good job in many respects. But – and a very big but – it costs each and every one of us a small fortune. Apart from licence fees, every entry gives money to the MSA. Every championship pays a small fortune to the MSA. More and more class technical stuff is being controlled by the MSA putting large costs onto manufacturers which of course ultimately costs the driver. But do we need it all?


F1 needs a wealth of expertise and equipment and knowledge which costs a fortune. Do we need this for local club karting? The answer is clearly ‘no’. The CIK created new classes which have been a catastrophic failure.The top UK MSA championship had to be canned because of so few entries. So we have unrealistic classes and more and more costs loaded on to those who are racing. It has got to stop. The vast majority of karters want good value racing at nearby clubs. They don’t have a fortune to spend but they do like their racing and they do value maximum racing for their money. That’s where Formula TKM came in 20 + years ago when karting was destroying itself with silly classes with unlimited tuning.

TKM and Cadets and Rotax have shown that restricted tuning is the way to go. While supposed top classes are dying it is good to see that on a wide basis TKM is back on a growth spurt. I have just come back from the first round of the Northern club champs for TKM at Hooton Park circuit where last year TKM was scarce. And from very little last year, we end up there with TKM Extreme making up the largest grid of the event and the start of an excellent championship for Juniors and Seniors. Now this is a localised series we have created to encourage the grass roots of karting at club level. But guess what we get a whopping bill from the MSA for doing so. And remember they get a cut for every driver who races at each event. Can someone tell me what good that is doing the sport and how it can be fair? We need solid grass roots racing, we need simplified club events without all the complication of appeals etc and we need to get the whole of karting on the same route. By all means have a flash race series like S1 for the national events. That is good. But we need to stop bleeding the heart of the sport and give support rather than raking off money.

What do you think?