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What is happening to Karting Racing Participation?

We have just recently returned from a 4 year absence from karting and it doesnt look great.

Our first 2 meetings we have been presented with 2 very low entries at Oakleigh. A club that once boasted huge number. Yes I know there are now 2 clubs in Melbourne but the numbers are low, too low to not be concerned about. 

4 years ago it was dropping but not to this level.

What is happening?

Is it money, the cost?

Too many classes, spreading races too thin? 

Are people time poor? 

Where are all the karters. 50 or so entries at Oakleigh class titles following a 60 or so Kingstone Cup meeting the week before are worrying signs.

Is there a problem in the first place? Or is it part of the process. To what I dont know but if this were a business and customers were not showing up to, you would want to know why.

Me thinks there are too many classes and too many choices. Back in my day big fields and a special P platers race was needed because people were beating at the door to race.

Racing is expensive it can be managed even though the the cost of starting can be tough, Still though there are many with the gear but have walked and or choosing not to race, why?

Was it Oakleigh itself?

Did they do enough to promote?

Is this happening at other clubs to?

197 Entries in Swan Hill for the Vic Titles is that a good number or should it be more? 

I just think its a shame to rock up to a meeting and see so much empty space around you and have 3 and 4 race size fields. 

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So what is the Organisation that administers & controls Karting in this country? It can't be anyone or thing else because they make all the Rules. Attendances are down, and falling, due to ridiculous decisions, without any consultation with industry leaders, & trying to discipline people who tend to disagree with these decisions or, heaven forbid, make their feelings known.

This is NOT the way to run a business. "Customers" have left in droves over the last few years & the brains trust do not even care. The State bodies continue to follow the leader & have no guts to stand up for the karters they supposedly represent (the 19 entries at Emerald recently!!). My son & I have taken the $20,000 pa we used to spend on this sport out of the game & wonder how many of the kart shops even survive. How many others have done so?

its easy to lose 20 customers just piss them off but to win one customer it takes a bit of brain and comunication

Joe I think there are too many classes to. I don't see the need for a restricted class of any kind really. I see kids racing in Europe and US with X30 though im not sure if they are restricted.

Yeh i left at the end of 2016, the classes were just too fragmented causing you to race against 3 or 4 people and what frustrated me the most was that there were numbers here in WA, but everyone was spread out over different classes that offered virtually the same thing, same tyre, same performance, similar lap time (KA100 Senior heavy and 125 Restricted heavy) but people were already committed to either their 125 or KA100, and the KA100 cost pretty much the same as a 125...

Then they had to combine the classes on track because of poor numbers which results in you getting caught up with someone that isnt in your race potentially wrecking it and people on the sidelines dont know whats going on either... 

They are some of the reasons i left.

I really do love the sport and have the luxury of watching my son race is just one of those things in life that I can say I am lucky to have.

So how does the decline stop?

Because it seems to have been happening for some time now.

It doesnt look like anyone is listening and while my budget is not as great as Richard is (was 4 years ago) but this time its going to be a little less with club day racing and a open here and there only.

But my money I am sure is still valued by the club and the sport. 

So what next keep doing what we always do and just let it happen is there there a solution. t

Basic rules to finding a solution in CEO world and that is to write down 7 solutions regardless how insane they may seem and prioritise in most effective way to achieving a result.

Lets see I will start

1. Start a rebel body

2. Reduce classes immediately to at least half (remove 1 of the weights in like light medium heavy maybe only have 2)

    (restricted there could be a need as if the classes were to be reduced then there would be enough P Platers to fill 1 class on its own) 

5 more solotions would be good, any ideas

Bet you didn't offer to buy a new engine to join another class...........and neither did anyone else......there are not to many classes..........just not enough people in each class.     And no need for restricted????? Have a look at restricted numbers. It's the biggest class at most clubs. There has to be a reason for that.



Brendan said:

Yeh i left at the end of 2016, the classes were just too fragmented causing you to race against 3 or 4 people and what frustrated me the most was that there were numbers here in WA, but everyone was spread out over different classes that offered virtually the same thing, same tyre, same performance, similar lap time (KA100 Senior heavy and 125 Restricted heavy) but people were already committed to either their 125 or KA100, and the KA100 cost pretty much the same as a 125...

Then they had to combine the classes on track because of poor numbers which results in you getting caught up with someone that isnt in your race potentially wrecking it and people on the sidelines dont know whats going on either... 

They are some of the reasons i left.

I still dont get why people want to run a 125 at a 100cc performance when the benefits are marginal for doing so.  When i was in 125s and went to the KA i found little difference from the KA100 just a bit less acceleration at the end of the straight.

Im just saying some days you get great turn outs 10+ and then other times you get 4, and that's for both 125 and KA classes, if they were combined in some way then it would result in great size fields more numbers consistency, less time waiting for your race and more people to race on the day.



Steve Southwell said:

Bet you didn't offer to buy a new engine to join another class...........and neither did anyone else......there are not to many classes..........just not enough people in each class.     And no need for restricted????? Have a look at restricted numbers. It's the biggest class at most clubs. There has to be a reason for that.



Brendan said:

Yeh i left at the end of 2016, the classes were just too fragmented causing you to race against 3 or 4 people and what frustrated me the most was that there were numbers here in WA, but everyone was spread out over different classes that offered virtually the same thing, same tyre, same performance, similar lap time (KA100 Senior heavy and 125 Restricted heavy) but people were already committed to either their 125 or KA100, and the KA100 cost pretty much the same as a 125...

Then they had to combine the classes on track because of poor numbers which results in you getting caught up with someone that isnt in your race potentially wrecking it and people on the sidelines dont know whats going on either... 

They are some of the reasons i left.

Brendan,

It's about numbers and tyres.  No one races 125's at club level and the tyres are throw aways and hard on the body.  Tyres are my biggest cost in karting.

Buy a KA100 (and I have owned 2) and you get to race in tiny fields if any at all.  Take out the restrictor and you have the same issue.  

I've said it heaps of times.  Peg the restricted karts to the KA100 level and you can kill off a class or consolidate two classes.  It's not that hard.

Be careful asking questions like this, You will likely be banned by KA when they read your post.

Like many others who have asked similar things have received a notice in the mail with a judge jury and executioner at one time, the "WE DON'T WANT PEOPLE LIKE YOU HERE" attitude from KA.

For me, cost , un-nessasary changes and not catering to my needs, are the minor factors, but for me the corruption and looking after mates and themselves at the expense of every other Karter. They have propped up their "Professional" events for their own interests and made every every other participant pay for it while attacking anyone who would question their methods or direction.

For this I could no longer support with my cash, so I have taken my cash and my volunteer time elsewhere, as long with my 3 kids that would have all been into karting in the next couple of years.

Sad as i like the racing, but the politics and BS just made it not worth it any longer.

Now I do much more fun things as a family, much much cheaper.

I ran restricted because at the beginning I could run that class locally which was easy on tyres, driveline and brakes and could combine everyone into 2 weight classes, then when i went away I ran in the open class. then they changed the licence grade rules so I just stayed in restricted.

30+ hours on an engine with out being touched also has a bit to do with it.

At the end of the day, restricted saved many clubs from extinction when it was introduced and has been the BEST budget class, even better than the old victor class. Its not the fastest but the fastest class is not the most fun, its having people to race with that have good parity with you.



Brendan said:

I still dont get why people want to run a 125 at a 100cc performance when the benefits are marginal for doing so.  When i was in 125s and went to the KA i found little difference from the KA100 just a bit less acceleration at the end of the straight.

Im just saying some days you get great turn outs 10+ and then other times you get 4, and that's for both 125 and KA classes, if they were combined in some way then it would result in great size fields more numbers consistency, less time waiting for your race and more people to race on the day.



Steve Southwell said:

Bet you didn't offer to buy a new engine to join another class...........and neither did anyone else......there are not to many classes..........just not enough people in each class.     And no need for restricted????? Have a look at restricted numbers. It's the biggest class at most clubs. There has to be a reason for that.



Brendan said:

Yeh i left at the end of 2016, the classes were just too fragmented causing you to race against 3 or 4 people and what frustrated me the most was that there were numbers here in WA, but everyone was spread out over different classes that offered virtually the same thing, same tyre, same performance, similar lap time (KA100 Senior heavy and 125 Restricted heavy) but people were already committed to either their 125 or KA100, and the KA100 cost pretty much the same as a 125...

Then they had to combine the classes on track because of poor numbers which results in you getting caught up with someone that isnt in your race potentially wrecking it and people on the sidelines dont know whats going on either... 

They are some of the reasons i left.

My thoughts are too many classes spreading the declining remaining racers too thin.

4 Years ago I thought there too many classes as I patiently waited for the 13 or so classes go through their paces. Some with only 3 or 4 karts in them. Really do we need to be subjected to this, its boring to watch let alone race in them and now its taking its toll. People are leaving!

Classes that ran in Golden Power Round 6

Cadet 9 (8 Entries)

Cadet12 (21)

KA3 Junior (10)

KA3 Senior Light (16)

KA3 Senior Medium (5)

TAG 125 Res Light (19)

TAG  125 Res Med (17)

TAG 125 Res Heavy (9)

TAG 125 Res Masters (5)

TAG 125 Light (14)

TAG 125 Heavy (8)

TAG 125 Masters (9)

KA4 Junior Light (20)

KA4 Junior Heavy (18)

Other Classes that exist

Open Performance 

KA3 Senior Heavy

TAG 125 Masters Light 

Tag 125 Masters Heavy 

Golden Power is a popular series in Victoria with 14 classes on the day of Round 6. Too many classes where it is quite easily visible that at least 2 classes should not have run. 

Victorian Championship series another popular series in round 1 at Todd Road had 10 classes with good fields in all races.

Its obvious there are too many weight divisions too many classes. This is killing the atmosphere, the motivation and the stability of the sport. I think money is the secondary reason but too many classes which drawn out long days watching 3 kart fields needs to be addressed. 

In total I counted 18 possible classes that can be entered into, we dont need that many choices. 

Here goes!

Some of my suggestions for what they are worth,

1) Restrict Cadets both 9 and maybe the 12's (Particularly the 9's) to club level racing only. 

We had the most Cadets 9's when they were not allowed in anything above Club Level Racing.

2) Investigate "INLET RESTRICTORS" for club racing instead of "WEIGHT" Divisions.

This is working in some other countries and would cut the number of classes, while building bigger individual class numbers and would be easy to introduce.

3) Get back to club "Social" type events being allowed at club level as the numbers on the day would allow.

e.g. The old "Butchers Picnic"  "Canteen Cup"  "Mugs Plate" etc. ?

4) Gotta have a serious look at the "requirements" at club level racing, I feel they need serious "De-Tuning?" e.g. Allow some latitude on the Karts such as the rear bars, other motors, Tires, "PARTICULARLY TIRES?" etc.

Worth a thought?

Max.

Max.

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