Akra official announcement

billmcfast

Site Supporter
AMERICAN KART RACING ASSOCIATION

7229 Landsford Road
Monroe, North Carolina 28112
Phone(704)764-8138
1-3-2015​



From The Desk of Bill McCutcheon President and CEO of AKRA, Inc.

I would like to take this opportunity to reintroduce and reacquaint myself with the Road Racing, Sprint(2&4 cycle) Programs. I am truly excited about AKRA becoming part of these great programs in 2015 and for many years to follow. We will be announcing in the coming days our New Comprehensive Insurance Programs along with many exciting programs to help the Local, Regional, and National Programs prosper in all of these Divisions.

We are proud to announce that Van Gilder is our newly appointed VP in charge of all Pavement Programs moving forward. I will be working directly with Van as we work to make each of these Divisions prosperous and exciting Programs. As many of you are aware I worked directly for years with the Carolina Cup Program at Rockingham, NC on both the Road Race and 4 Cycle Sprint Programs. I was also instrumental in rebuilding the Gold Cup Program back in the late 90’s to a level of prominence. I was an avid Road Racer and 4 Cycle Sprint Racer for many years, so I’m very familiar with each of these Programs from a personal level. Obviously Van Gilder’s record speaks for itself as to his knowledge and expertise on all of the pavement programs as to promotions and rules making. Together we are excited to bring new and innovative changes to each of these great Divisions of Karting. AKRA’s motto has always been “For The Karter by Karter’s”, we stand by that statement now more than ever. With the help and support of you the Karter and many more new team members to be announced in the coming days, we are optimistic and excited about the Future and Direction of all levels of Karting.

For additional information please contact Van Gilder at (229)848-0483 email vanelite@live.com or Bill McCutcheon at (704)764-8138 email billmcfast@aol.com.

Enjoy Karting,

Bill McCutcheon
President/CEO, AKRA, Inc
 

billmcfast

Site Supporter
CaptJack, If you have any questions please feel free to give Me or Van a call, we look forward to being of service as we move forward.

Thank You,

Bill Mccutcheon
AKRA, Inc
 

MikeBoone

Member
AKRA Branching out....Interesting

This news is surprising and not surprising all at the same time. Both Bill and Van have YEARS of experience in this end of the kart racing spectrum.

But, I have questions:

1. What will AKRA bring to the table for the racers who have raced with WKA for so many years?
2. Road Racers (both Sprint and Enduro) are a very small group, how can AKRA put out a product; ie. races out there this late in the game that will draw attendees when the schedule is already pretty much set for 2015?
3. Is this a Regional thing or is it a National Level endeavor? As Bill had previously stated, but where are they starting first? What tracks? What Series? How will this get started? How will AKRA compete for the same racers that are entrenched with WKA?
4. Road racing, especially Enduro Road Racing has seen attendance drop steadily over the course of 10 years or so. COST is a huge factor. What is AKRA going to do that will make this type of racing more appealing to the racers that we have lost as well as racers that currently race?
5. What are the advantages of regional racing series changing from WKA to AKRA sanctioning? Better insurance rates? Better coverage? More tracks? Better track rental rates? What do the Racers get out of this? More track time for the money spent? Better rule structure? Better Tech, Common sense rules?
6. Who makes the money from the supply of the awards to the series?

I have been vocal about this before. The karting business model is one that does not have a growth component that will allow long term sustainability.

You have a VERY LIMITED customer base. That is the racer and their family. Both the promoters and the sanctioning body are extracting their capital and profits from the racers and their families. So, from this group, you have to secure funding for track rental, insurance and provide for a profit component while providing what the racer sees as value. If the racer does not see any value or a sufficient return for their dollars spent; they will leave. As shown by what we have seen in the past.

What is AKRA going to do that is so different?
 

Bob Vehring

New member
Interesting indeed.
Given whats happen in the last month or so, I think everyone has questions. I think Bill has already addresses one of the things I always thought was missing from WKA in the past. A public voice on the open forum where questions can be asked directly, and answers given.

Mike has asked some very important questions, now home from Daytona, I saw it as clear that most people really don't know where this is headed and who is driving the bus. As those get answered, hopefully together all of us can get this moving forward again
 

RPM1

Member
Hey Guys.

For those of us living under a rock can you explain what this is all about?

Thanks!!!
 

rkcarguy

New member
So AKRA is looking to expand it's horizons as a sanction and insurer, easy enough. I can't see there being that many new sprint and road race tracks opening up, so obviously they are looking to compete for business, fair enough.
There is IKF as well as WKA.
The biggest hurdle, is what do you offer that is going to be attractive enough to make tracks want to switch? Switching sanctions may mean changing rules, which could cost a track racers. IKF also has rules for many many engine packages, not just 4-cycle clones.
 

Bob Vehring

New member
I think tracks will rent to anyone that walks up with a check. Deep down we all know the real question, whos being forced out.
Here in the upper midwest, MWSS a decades old sprint series, dies out due to pressure from Rt 66, the new guys. Not placing blame here just pointing out its gone. That group then moved on and made a very major dent in M Cup entries.. Now we have new kids come to the playground.
I understand survival of the fittest, We have 4 different traveling sprint series in our area, if this new one came here it would make 5. I remember the year when you simply couldn't fit every one into 103 st, now 300 is considered a really big race.

Lets look at Road Racing. On this side of the River WKA is and has been the big dog, but there are many pups surrounding it. Last week I saw friends from SKC, Woodbridge, Dart, CES and Kart/Marrs. Some of those groups depend on WKA to keep themselves going. So now were going to split that up?
I guess my question is, how many ways can you split a pie before the pie ceases to exist? I guess we'll find out.
 

billmcfast

Site Supporter
AKRA Official Announcement

Mike and Bob,

I have always had the utmost respect for your thoughts and perspective on issues of concern for the karting community. Like each of you I am a Racer 1st, Kart shop owner 2nd, manufacturer of racing products 3rd, and a Sanctioning/Rules making body last. It is our goal and mission to take care of the racer first, if we can accomplish that the rest will take care of its self.
Mike, as always you have presented some key questions, I will attempt to answer as many as I can at this time for this will obviously be a work in progress.

1. We will be establishing Steering committees to help make recommendations that are in the best interest of all racers, once given those recommendations we will make decisions with-in hours, not weeks, days, or months.
2. Correct, schedules are already set, we will not push the series to change dates just offer them some fair and reasonable options to switch to.
3. We are looking to start at the local and regional levels, we are already talking with many of those groups now. We must help these groups grow. Once that is on solid ground we will work toward a National level.
4. Correct again, cost plays a significant role in the growth or the lack thereof of any racing program. We are not looking to totally rewrite the rules, however there are some rules that add unnecessary cost to these programs. One example of these cost issues is the mandated dual braking systems on the lower powered classes, proper single systems are well suited for many of these applications at a reduced cost, this is just one example.
5. Some of this ties into #4 above. In addition we will be offering a comprehensive insurance program that not only save the tracks and series money, but affords them better coverage. We will look toward simplifying these rules package from a common sense approach, what is in the best interest of the racer, not the manufacturer, we understand who the customer really is.
6. The racer should receive 100% of the awards(money or merchandise) supplied by sponsors and applicable proceeds from entry fees with only a minute portion if any used for administration and distribution.

The karting industry is indeed a most unique business model. It has and will most likely always be supported by the Racers and their Families. It is AKRA's opinion that the entry fees are the racers money and should be returned to the racers in the form of cost effective events and awards programs that properly recognize the racers for their efforts.

I hope I have addressed some of your concerns. Should your have any others I will do my best to address the as they come in. Also please feel free to call me at any time should you wish to discuss any issues.

Enjoy Karting,

Bill McCutcheon
AKRA, Inc
 

staats27

Member
Nothing against akra but this IMO it is not a smart move to try for road racing events. Being the small community rr is, giving the racers another 4-5 races to attend is only going to pull from the ces and wka and have a negative effect on the road racers.
 

billmcfast

Site Supporter
Mitchell,

We have no intentions of starting additional races at this time as I stated above. We are talking with existing groups who are looking for options that better serve their racers and enhance their current programs.

Thanks,

Bill McCutcheon
AKRA,Inc
 

Mike Stroik

New member
Hey Bill,
Just as my opinion I think if rule changes need to be made I don't think taking away some safety is the right direction. Even in an animal where you can touch 100 I believe the dual braking system may not be "needed" but im glad its in place. For the little extra in the big scheme of things I feel much better having it in place. I may and hopefully will never need to rely on 1 system is the other fails but its there if need be. Just my .02

Mike Stroik
 

MikeBoone

Member
Bill,

I have had and continue to have an immense amount of respect for you and Van as well. I don't know Van that well. I do remember you from the days at Rockingham, both on the Sprint Track and The Road Course. I, like meany remember the days of 20 plus kart fields for most of the 4 cycle road race classes, some of the fondest memories I have are the Super Stock Elite classes we ran.

I trust your judgement, I know that you have long held beliefs that are close to mine and that you have an eye for the betterment of the sport. I don't doubt that you will decide issues on what is both good for the racers and the series. That is one key thing that had been missing.

Common sense, seems to be not so common.

I look forward to seeing how this develops.
 

billmcfast

Site Supporter
Mike,

I totally agree with you on safety. There are certain safe guards that would need to be put in place if we allow the single system in certain classes. I do know that the current mandate has had a negative effect on several Groups and Series. It's just one area that needs to be revisited and if proper safe gaurds are in place it can be helpful for these groups as well as safe for the competitors. Thank you for your comments.

Bill Mccutcheon
AKRA, Inc
 

CaptJack

Member
Bill,

I don't believe we have met and I only know Van from his work on Road Racing. Here are a couple of my thoughts just on the Road Racing side. There are two things that I have seen negatively affect our series: decisions pushed through by trustees and decisions pushed through by Executives, both without input from the racers group. Any member organization starts its decline when the management believes it knows whats best for the membership without asking them. While a board is necessary for any Corporation, it should focus on strategic business decisions and not tactical decision making. The Road Race community has 4 distinct groups in my eyes: 4 Cycle Sprint Enduro, 2 Cycle Sprint Enduro, CIK Sprint Enduro and Laydowns. In order to adjust the "rules" and get input/buy-in from these groups, they each should have an advisory group of 2-3 people to funnel suggestions up the organization and deal with issues that come down from the organization. This is the one of the only ways to keep transparency and input to a maximum, which translates to success. Just my $.02.

Thanks
Jack Reall
4 Cycle Road Racer
 

rainman

Site Supporter
IMO and with all respect not requiring a dual brake system is not a good move for road racing. At Daytona I was helping a new driver in one of the lowest powerred classes with a Yamaha/can, we had issues with one of the brake systems, and considering he was new added to the speeds of this track we never stopped till we could fix the brakes properly. In fact I think requiring this dual systems even for 4 cycles is one of those WKA moves I would never discuss. Safety has no price to me, and I am saying this from the point of view of someone who has finished many races on dirt and asphalt without any brakes at the end of the race, but road racing is a different story. I also consider dividing Road Racing even further is not a good idea and won´t help. It is necessary indeed to make those in charge of any sactioning body listen to their members.
 

billmcfast

Site Supporter
Jack,

I agree, that is the very position I took in my earlier post #9, item #1. We formed a steering/advisory committee 3 years ago to assist the 4 cycle programs on rules and items of interest and it has served us well.

Rainman, I concur with your feelings on safety, however there are certain clubs and groups who would like to have options available to them that would better serve their programs. All tracks are different and require different levels of safety measures. We are not looking to divide Road Racing at all, we are simply going to offer existing groups workable options that help grow their programs. We will always listen to the racers/members, after all they are the customer!
Thanks for the thoughts, comments, and perspectives.

Bill McCutcheon
AKRA, Inc
 

rainman

Site Supporter
Just think about how cheap a complete set of brakes from, for example MCP, is, and what it can do in case something fails at 80, 90, 100 mph. You don´t even need to have front brakes, just an extra system. I think it is well worth it. The best way to attract drivers or promote racing is listening to them. Ask what they want.
 

B-man

Member
Cost of second brake system in used excellent condition $10.71
[$75.00 prorated over past seven years]

Benefit of increased brake capacity without wheel lock with
pads being adjusted to equal contact -0.962 seconds per lap

Margin of increased control and redundant safety Priceless
 

MikeBoone

Member
I think we are losing sight of the forest for the trees in regards to a singular issue. The debate isn't whether or not dual brakes are a good idea, or whether they have helped individuals. The point is that along with other mandates that were forced down the organization from the board without regard of the rank and file members.

The other point is, Bill is not saying he advocates making them illegal, he is saying that he is giving the choice back to the racer (per se). The point is, that is some classes it just did not make sense.

Was it the only thing that drove racers from the road race series? No, it wasn't. But, in combination with $4.00 per gallon gas, $100.00 plus entry fees, $25.00 to $35.00 per head pit passes whether you are a participant or not, the infamous "temporary membership (aka independence tax)", transponder rental, motel bills, meals etc...etc the seemingly small cost of dual brakes, driving suit, class specific rule changes in regards to seat in TaG, engine rule changes for engine crossover from other divisions, racers had decided that enough was enough and no longer saw the value in spending their hard earned money on karting.
 
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