Tag Archives: Independent Kart Racing

Colin Wright – Back to the future?

Back to the Future? This week when hunting through a drawer I came across a 2004 Karting Magazine whereby Steve Chapman, the previous Chairman of the ABkC, proposed a vote of no confidence in the MSA!

There was not a majority appetite there for change and this set me thinking as to what has changed in those ten years, have we as a sport kept up with the demands of the modern world and what our customers need and want, I’ll leave you to decide?So have we as a sport progressed since 2004, have we kept up with external pressures and taken advantage of change or resisted it? A previous boss of mine, CEO of a global software company once drilled into me “the only constant is change and if we cannot accept that change we cease to be relevant and wither”, Is that mantra any different to what we need to embrace and accept?

Let’s look at 2004 what did we have.A mobile phone was a phone, it had basic text based internet access, this year our phone is our centre of communications, we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.Our access to information is instant and insatiable, we enter a race online, we look at online timing instantly, and we are dismissive of circuits whereby results are not online as soon as we get home Sunday night! We have come to expect more, the clubs have by and large done well to keep up with this but have all our other processes, judicial systems and the way we treat you as customers? Arguably no?2004 we saw very little IKR racing, the majority of karting came within the MSA regulated umbrella, step forward 10 years what do we have? A growing IKR community, MSA registered tracks running IKR events, increasing historics interest, 100cc resurgence, single one off day events, and our world has changed forever and we have increasingly become impatient with lack of change and instant responses?

Clubs are taking a decision to augment or at times replace MSA racing within their circuits, maybe giving them the flexibility of being able to respond to a customer’s needs and demands on a local level, it seems to be working for a number of clubs who are seeing their IKR grids now in excess of their MSA grids and financially present a better return, anything that brings people into karting has to be applauded and not ignored.With the changes to our lives over the past decade and ever increasing pulls and constraints onto our time we are invariably being pulled to do more with less, trackdays are increasing significantly, with the ability to book in, turn up, thrash around, have fun and leave, to our discipline that’s a threat but a threat of our own making. Where these other activities are beating us is their lack of unnecessary regulation, the ease of access, the lack of entry barriers, the customer centric approach…..

If we are to reverse the decline in numbers within regulated karting we need to look outside of our little karting world, look to adopt a more business centric approach, look to adopt technology more, accept and welcome criticism, be present when our customers are and give the very best experience and value for money, our time is becoming more and more precious and we need to look at every part of what we deliver else risk losing out to other sports, trackdays and activities. Most importantly we need to accept that we HAVE to change and use that change to create a positive drive forward.The purity of a kart has not changed much since 2004, looking at 2004 results online there has been a stability generally in those class structures but too many “peripheral” structures have stayed the same when in reality they NEEDED to change most, let’s look at change as being positive for our whole wider discipline, give customers what they need now and not in three/four/five years’ time and maybe just maybe watch the numbers start to increase. If we stay as we are we may not have another 10 years!As always feel free to contact me at chairman@abkc.org or +44 (0) 7841 034192

 

Colin Wright: MSA vs. IKR

The MSA versus IKR debate continues. You’re a valuable part of karting, so what do you suggest we do right now to improve karting for everyone?

Following on from last month’s piece about alignment between Non MSA (IKR) and MSA I was lucky enough to get an hour at Buckmore on track for a company briefing. Great track, well prepared “corporate” karts, first place, rain came after 30 minutes, could it have got any better?

Well yes, facilities such as Buckmore are a great feeder for MSA racing and the “alignment” between the NKA and MSA racing cannot come quick enough to see numbers grow. Besides being a little older than “race prime” the sheer thrill and adrenalin of racing was/ is still there and this started me thinking as to why we keep this sport a secret! After an hour, 21 people were physically drained, excited and the conversations in the bar afterwards centred around “how good it was”, “can we do more”, “are there faster karts”, “how is Colin so quick”! OK maybe not the last one! But for every one of us that gets in a kart for fun to race MSA or non MSA why can we not tell five separate people about the sport, bring them along, let them see that it’s not quite Paultons Park?

We are complacent, we take our sport for granted, if we want more people then we ALL need to tell more, the Governing bodies and Associations can only do so much but if we have 4000 license holders get 20000 along to watch, how many race at IKR, same thing lets tell 5 friends and get them along, then they can decide whether to go MSA or IKR, the pool grows bigger, everyone benefits?

Next year, with Nigel Edwards great efforts within the MSA we could possibly see the barriers to entry dropped massively, align this to more interested parties and we should be able to halt/ stabilise license number decline and then work to increase those license holders over the coming years. Let’s dispel a little of the apathy and get people along, stop the web forum “my class is better than yours” debates. Decide at your local track what you want to do, two choices, regulated MSA or less regulated IKR, that should not be too tough should it?

Driving standards. I have watched with interest into what we can do to enhance better driving standards, remove “loading” or more rightly termed shoving, pushing, cheating? “It’s the officials fault, they do not punish the guilty” I hear that often. Well having been an observer and a Clerk it’s a damn hard job trying to identify exactly who is pushing in a grid full of adrenalin, I’d love to see EVERY driver and PG holder have to stand with a marshal on post and try to identify the culprit, it’s much harder just watching your own driver.

Are standing starts the answer? Possibly, but the side effects such as clutch failure and second corner incidents perhaps suggest otherwise?

CIK droppable nosecones, perhaps? This one has split the opinion 50/50, but we as a sport are sometimes way too pessimistic, “that will never work, its rubbish” How about we change tact, let’s welcome new ideas, let’s look at trials and see the results instead of knee jerk uninformed reactions, I for one welcome anything that is self-policing, one that perhaps allows Officials to deal with key issues instead of a queue of loading incidents making their way to the office.

Clubs struggle to get officials and I’m not seeing many new Clerks coming through. If we had a self-policing solution allowing Clerks and Observers to focus elsewhere we may have a solution? I’m prepared to see it in action before I condemn it out of hand. Just imagine that it works, that it changes driving mentality, that overtakes are clean and without contact, that nosecones last a year. Now is that not something we should at least consider rather than dismiss it out of hand? Work with us, suggest ideas, contact us, give ideas a chance…

Independent Kart Racing – Round 1

Round 1: Clay Pigeon, 19th July 2014

The weather forecast was not good and yet almost every competitor made it for the inaugural Clay Pigeon IKR meeting

The shop did good business on wet suits and it was one of those days where half the battle was deciding which tyres to use. Periods of heavy rain coupled with high temperatures meant the track was soaking wet one minute and bone dry the next. In fact one of the TKM races saw the majority of the grid on wet tyres for what turned out to be a completely dry race.

Cadet

One of the few that didn’t make it was unfortunately a Cadet, though this was due to a van break down rather than being scared off by the weather. This meant the grid was down to just three drivers, though their close performance meant they treated us to some of the best racing of the day. No doubt Luke Adams was having words with Dad after a final during which a rear wheel decided it didn’t wish to take any further part in the race. This left his brother Jake to fight out the remainder of the final with Bradley Stephens. The pair traded positions a few times in the second half of the race, finishing less than 2 tenths of a second apart, Bradley coming out on top on this occasion.

Prokart

With an average age that must be somewhere north of pensionable, the prokart guys certainly haven’t forgotten how to put on a show. Not troubled by having to worry about wet tyres, they were certainly the most relaxed group, able to sit around reminiscing on how that thunderstorm in ’72 was far worse than this one. Jeff Johnson has clearly driven through many a storm and showed himself to be the Rainmeister of the class. Once the track dried up though, the raw pace of Joe Higgins shone along with the baking afternoon sunshine and he was able to take both the Pre-Final and Final by comfortable margins.

TKM

Qualifying on slicks in the wet and racing on wets in the dry, either the TKM racers were getting rotten luck or they’re just poor at tyre selection. A few made the right call in the Pre-Final and it paid dividends for Nick Cridge who took the honours. Pre-meeting favourite Oli Nitch-Smith got all precious about ruining his new wet tyres and came in halfway through the race. Robert Cox was very pleased with himself after finishing the race in 2nd place but was later seen crying into his Slim Fast shake after being excluded for being 200 grams underweight.

There was no doubt about tyres for the final and Oli Nitch-Smith didn’t waste any time re-asserting his dominance as he swiftly moved to the front of the pack, where he stayed until the end. Nick Cridge and Robert Cox settled into their 2nd and 3rd positions respectively, but the remaining positions were traded regularly throughout.

Rotax

Surely the best was saved until last, with a large Rotax grid demonstrating high quality racing throughout the day. Jaques Jensen was looking dominant as he took wins in both the Heat and Pre-Final. However, the Final didn’t go his way, with Jensen coming off worse whilst attempting to pass Peter Jeanes for first place. With Jensen out of the race and Jeanes dropping back to 7th, Alex Cobb took the lead and was left to battle it out with twin brother Sam, Luke Chard-Maple and Stuart Prebble. After a hard fight they finished in that order, Alex crossing the line ahead of Sam by slightly less time than he did the day they were born.

Moving forwards

Thankfully the Sun came out for the finals but it was great to see smiles on faces universally throughout the day, even when the rain was hammering down. We were confident that the atmosphere would be relaxed and friendly and we certainly weren’t disappointed on that count. The driving standards were excellent too, with very few incidents and certainly nothing that would ever be deemed deliberate. Head Official, Jamie Macklin commented that he was able to enjoy spectating rather than dealing with incidents.

The full results can be found at: http://results.alphatiming.co.uk/ clay/2014/ikrr1

Round 2 takes place on August 23rd. For details on how to enter please see www.claypigeonikr.co.uk.

Indikart Report 2014

IndiKart Series Round 3, Hooton Park, 9th March 2014

Far better conditions than the previous month, finally: dry conditions!

Class D, Bambino’s, was the first final on track and Paris Laithwaite won the Bluebird race from Aidan Gridndley after Grindley had set the fastest lap of the race. In the Comer class Ted Bradbury led from the front to take the win with Luca Giovanni close behind in 2nd and Sandro Ballesteros finishing in the final podium position in 3rd. Some fantastic racing from the youngest competitors of the day. Next on track was a fine grid of 18 Cadets in Class C. Liam Frendt came through from 3rd on the grid to take a hard fought win finishing only 0.08 secs ahead of Iago Scott in 2nd. Jack Robinson was next to finish in 3rd with Cameron Hallows some way back in 4th. Fastest lap went to Iago Scott with 43.43 secs. Class A1 which is for Junior classes was next on track and Jade Goodwin took a very impressive lights to flag victory to put her level on points at the top of the championship. Max Barnbrook worked his way through the grid after starting on P7 to take 2nd place at the chequered flag with Tim Edwards and Kurt Roberts completing the top 4. Another fine grid of 18 drivers taking to the track for the Junior final.

Next up was Class B which is for all 4 strokes including 390’s, GX200’s and GX160’s competing in separate championship classes. Mike Kenworthy won the Thunderkart class race. In the GX200 modified class Colin Jones took the win . In the 200 box class Bradley Butcher took a well deserved victory from Andy Downey in 2nd and Henry Brough in 3rd with the standard 200’s producing some of the closest and best racing of the day. Darryl Warren won the box 160 class from Matthew Higgins in 2nd.Class A2 Senior Rotax was dominated by Emma Jones cementeing her championship-leading place, taking the win from Tony Davies in 2nd. Andy Weaver and Lewis Baldock had a close battle all race but eventually Weaver took 3rd with Baldock having to settle for 4th. In Class F which is for front wheel brake outfits Matthew Minett took the win from Matt Browning in 2nd. The last final of the day was for Class E which is for all 100CC TKM’s and Formula Blues with Rick Schofield coming through from 4th on the grid to take the win only 1 tenth ahead of Weyne Burgis in 2nd. Lawrence Allmark was a little further back in 3rd. And that concluded another competitive days racing in the Non licence holder IndiKart Championship at Hooton Park.