The British Kart Industry Association held its Annual General Meeting at Motor Sports House on the 26th January with sixteen members attending. Chairman Alan Turney reported that although there had been no significant changes during the last year it was important that the association reflected strength through a united voice. There had been a low level of formal committee meetings and he noted that safety and insurance were matters of continuing concern. He added that customer confidence in dealing with member companies was essential and that the buying public should be made aware of these benefits. Alan reported that 2005 had been particularly difficult for most trade members due to lower entries at club meetings. Paul Gladstone the BKIA Administrator, reported that 2005 finished with 63 member organisations compared with 51 for the previous year, a number that continues to build each successive year. To date twenty applications for 2006 have been received including four new members. The BKIA continues to attract enquiries via the website from overseas regarding equipment supply or for advice and from organisations looking at coming into karting.
The BKIA has strengthened links with other motorsport organisations such as the National Karting Association and the Motorsport Industry Association and as a result was included in the invitation to display at the PRI show in Orlando at the end of last year with an offer of UK Trade & Industry subsidised travel. The steady increase in membership means there are funds to support more advertising and this year the BKIA will invest in promotion together with a new brochure. There have also been discussions with a number of companies of possible insurance schemes to include indemnity cover and also competitor life/injury plus equipment cover for counter sale The BKIA committee had met in October to discuss key issues affecting karting with the main concern remaining the noticeable downturn in club event entries that is also affecting other motorsport disciplines. A forum is being held in the USA to discuss similar concerns. Ever increasing costs are often cited as the main culprit but this is not the only factor to be addressed. The industry is under pressure to cap and even lower prices but the sport also needs to look at its customer needs. Is it too narrow in its appeal? Is the sport that difficult to get into? Are circuits and facilities attractive? Are there too many championships? Do they represent the best shop window for products? What can we all do to promote our sport? Happily 2005 saw a couple of initiatives namely the new ABkC Starting in Karting DVD produced with financial support from the BKIA and the return of the MSA endurance licence to enable an easier entry point.
There is comfort in having a strong CIK championship presence again. Congratulations went not only to the drivers but also to the teams and manufacturers. Paul reminded the meeting of the 50 years celebration in 2006. He also reminded members to include the BKIA logo in all their adverts. It was noted that new homologation activity will start during the year for Cadet and TKM chassis for the 2007 season plus new CIK engine homologations for 125cc Formula A/ICA power units. The 2006 BKIA committee will be Russell Anderson, Nick Barrow, Martin Collard, Clive Freke, Richard Jest, Steve McMahon, Grant Munro, George Robinson, Ron Shone, Steve Tillett and Alan Turney. It was agreed to continue to co-opt as required. Alan Turney was re-elected as Chairman. The subject of Formula TKM chassis homologation was addressed. Ideas for rejuvenating the class had been circulated for feedback and further meetings will take place with interested groups. In support of the proposals it was noted that there had originally been 24 or 25 chassis homologated but this now stood at 12 and with only 4 to 5 manufacturers actively supporting the class. In light of the weakening situation it was now necessary to revisit the class requirements and seek fresh ideas.
The kart shows were discussed and some thought that there was only room for one good show and that this could perhaps alternate between north and south each year. One suggestion was for a BKIA trade display weekend that met with some enthusiasm. There was support for a proposal that a BKIA pavilion at shows might work for some members. Alan Turney reported that he had attended a meeting with the MSA to look at future strategies for karting and that this had included championships. He asked the meeting for ideas for the next few year’s series. The introduction of the new CIK 125cc classes was discussed. There were mixed views as to the 2007 introduction and the majority view seemed to indicate a preference for 2008. Paul Gladstone was asked to include a request to members to indicate their 2007 preference for 100cc or 125cc Formula A in the next BKIA newsletter.