Some questions to Help us do better for the sport

ephenj93

Member
Totally agree with what everyone has stated and all good ideas. I think it comes down to a few elements getting the word out is the tough one. Then showing people how fun it is what get's them hooked. I think a huge one that would bring more into the sport would be open practice days dunno if that already exist. Back racing MX friends would usually go with me on practice day and race day but on practice day they would get a chance to try my bike for as long as they wanted. They then would usually go and get a bike lol. I got into karting just recently since a buddy built a dirt oval behind his house, got to ride multiple karts the first time and was hooked since, plus it's easier on the knees lol. Going to attempt one behind my place and his bro also has one. As long as you sign a waiver and give a thumb print and run slicks your welcome to come race. If you guys already a sort of hold a open practice/test and tune day then forget this idea lol. I just know a lot of people that ride dirt bikes but don't race MX or atleast didn't always just want to race they truly just wanted to ride, same goes for ripping one of these karts all you really want to do is drive. Being from the northeast there are very few dirt ovals so private ones I don't know if they help the sport but they definitely attract people to do it and support the aftermarket scene. I believe the only dirt oval open to membership is in Berlin CT the state I'm from wish I knew even more people with private ovals lol.
 
Totally agree with what everyone has stated and all good ideas. I think it comes down to a few elements getting the word out is the tough one. Then showing people how fun it is what get's them hooked. I think a huge one that would bring more into the sport would be open practice days dunno if that already exist. Back racing MX friends would usually go with me on practice day and race day but on practice day they would get a chance to try my bike for as long as they wanted. They then would usually go and get a bike lol. I got into karting just recently since a buddy built a dirt oval behind his house, got to ride multiple karts the first time and was hooked since, plus it's easier on the knees lol. Going to attempt one behind my place and his bro also has one. As long as you sign a waiver and give a thumb print and run slicks your welcome to come race. If you guys already a sort of hold a open practice/test and tune day then forget this idea lol. I just know a lot of people that ride dirt bikes but don't race MX or atleast didn't always just want to race they truly just wanted to ride, same goes for ripping one of these karts all you really want to do is drive. Being from the northeast there are very few dirt ovals so private ones I don't know if they help the sport but they definitely attract people to do it and support the aftermarket scene. I believe the only dirt oval open to membership is in Berlin CT the state I'm from wish I knew even more people with private ovals lol.
Not dirt, but if you are looking for a track in the northeast that offers open practice, come check out Pomfret Speedway in Pomfret, CT. Full day of open practice every Saturday before a Sunday race day.
 

mike97760

Site Supporter
Since the sport depends on new people getting involved, especially kids, tracks need to run the kids/plate classes early in the show. I have seen kids fall asleep on the grid at 10:30 p.m., waiting for their race. New kart moms and dads are overwhelmed by the length of the day they have put in and unless they win the experience isn't very pleasurable.
 
I'm not sure karting or racing can be saved. There are way to many means of entertainment today to get people interested in karting. I haven't watched a NASCAR race since Mark Martin rolled out in a Taurus. I would like to see an entry level kart not just an entry level engine.
 

ephenj93

Member
Not dirt, but if you are looking for a track in the northeast that offers open practice, come check out Pomfret Speedway in Pomfret, CT. Full day of open practice every Saturday before a Sunday race day.
That is awesome to know ironically the kart I have apparently won there back in the day according to the sticker on the fiberglass. Def can tell the way the guy had it set up for a bank. Is there a membership? Or practice day is sign a waiver pay let it rip? I'm Used to how dirtbike practice tracks operate lol.
 
That is awesome to know ironically the kart I have apparently won there back in the day according to the sticker on the fiberglass. Def can tell the way the guy had it set up for a bank. Is there a membership? Or practice day is sign a waiver pay let it rip? I'm Used to how dirtbike practice tracks operate lol.
The track offers a membership but it's not a necessity to practice. $20 pit pass (good for Saturday and Sunday) and a $10 practice fee and you are good to go.
 

jhucks03

Member
Less classes #1. Alternate weekends with some classes if you’d like - to keep from leaving racers out.

Local kart shops have died out in droves with all the internet orders.

And has been mentioned, younger crowd is extremely detached from mechanical DIY things.
 

ephenj93

Member
The track offers a membership but it's not a necessity to practice. $20 pit pass (good for Saturday and Sunday) and a $10 practice fee and you are good to go.
Dude that's awesome not to bad of a drive for me either. I'm in Colchester now, grew up in Coventry used to work for a construction Company based in Chaplin did some work up in Pomfret really nice place. Hopefully I will be building a dirt oval in the spring gotta rip it up with a ATV first get the banking right, and saw some tree's to open it up more. There used to be a drag strip right near me too that now is a car and driver review center. Was going to go down there and beg and plead with them see if I could organize something since I mean it used to be a dragway like how can't they allow some go karting lol such a shame. On practice days are there goons like me that are trying it out for the first time. Obviously all guards required to run fiberglass body too? What Gearing would you suggest to run?
 

Bradley71

Member
Tire rules have kept me from visiting different tracks. I went to an indoor coke syrup race and did very well on Firestones. The next year it was Hoosier A-40's only. I had to buy 2 sets of Hoosiers for 1 weekend of racing. The next year it was Burris 33's only. I sold the Hoosiers and won't consider racing that event again. The only tire rule i would support is no Maxxis allowe
Dude that's awesome not to bad of a drive for me either. I'm in Colchester now, grew up in Coventry used to work for a construction Company based in Chaplin did some work up in Pomfret really nice place. Hopefully I will be building a dirt oval in the spring gotta rip it up with a ATV first get the banking right, and saw some tree's to open it up more. There used to be a drag strip right near me too that now is a car and driver review center. Was going to go down there and beg and plead with them see if I could organize something since I mean it used to be a dragway like how can't they allow some go karting lol such a shame. On practice days are there goons like me that are trying it out for the first time. Obviously all guards required to run fiberglass body too? What Gearing would you suggest to
Tire rules how about having some ethics,bc most tracks cant stand a new comer coming and beating their beer drinking buddy at their track.lets not even get involved in that talk.lol and thats not figuring in the 1,2,3 they draw every weekend.heck nobody has that kind of luck
 
Dude that's awesome not to bad of a drive for me either. I'm in Colchester now, grew up in Coventry used to work for a construction Company based in Chaplin did some work up in Pomfret really nice place. Hopefully I will be building a dirt oval in the spring gotta rip it up with a ATV first get the banking right, and saw some tree's to open it up more. There used to be a drag strip right near me too that now is a car and driver review center. Was going to go down there and beg and plead with them see if I could organize something since I mean it used to be a dragway like how can't they allow some go karting lol such a shame. On practice days are there goons like me that are trying it out for the first time. Obviously all guards required to run fiberglass body too? What Gearing would you suggest to run?
There are usually people of all skill levels at open practices. Your kart would need to pass a pre-tech safety inspection and all proper safety equipment is needed. Gearing would be dependent on which engine you run.
 

racing promotor

Moderator
I think it needs to start at the local tracks we need to know from them how much support they need to put different things in place.
 
I'm one of those guys...bought my grandaughter's a yard kart for Christmas a couple of years ago. One of them really took to it, and I quickly realized I needed to find something where she could expand on this skill. I didn't have any idea where to look...googled kart racing and every combination of kart racing wordage I could think of. Only things that came up were K1 type racing facilities which she was too young and small for. Just by chance one of my grown daughters remembered hearing about a local guy who's kid raced. So I called him and learned about a track 45 minutes from me where kids raced karts. Rode over there one Sunday afternoon with my grand daughter, knowing NOTHING about it, and walked around asking questions. Everyone was friendly but to be honest it was extremely intimidating. Luckily, someone pointed me towards a kart team who took me under their wing, and fairly shortly my grand daughter had a borrowed suit, gloves, helmet and kart to try. I was amazed she had the nerve to try it. The rest is history and we're in deep. But my point is, the tracks don't promote well and if it weren't for the kindness of a couple of individuals that we luckily bumped into, we wouldn't have been able to break in very easily and may have given up.
I don't know the numbers behind running a track, I bet its very expensive, but it seems like better promotion is a good place to start. We pay $25 per person to get into the pits at our local track, 4yrs old and up, which gets super costly when we bring the kids, parents and grands to every race...it's usually $150 just to get in. Practices mid week, the same thing. This year there seems to be a guy/company that is doing a fairly good job of promoting a rental program for the cub division, (and others) which wasn't there, or I wasn't aware of when we were first looking, but this is certainly a key piece of promoting the sport to new families. Once you get them there, they need to be able to try it...but this isn't something someone can just walk into, they need to be contracted for the season. I think better promotion to the general public, not just to the racing community, availability of karts and maybe a beginners session at the start of the season. It all costs money though and without any transparency with the numbers, I have no idea of the feasibility. Sorry for the long windedness.
 
As far as promoting, it used to be you could find up to date info on tracks, races, etc., right here on Bob’s and/or a website. Now everyone does everything on Facebook, so the audience is limited to those on Facebook. Yeah, most youngsters are on Facebook, but they’re the ones glued to video games. If you want to reach the older folks, the ones footing the bills to race, need to put the effort into websites again, or use this forum you all are on right now
 
some things to do a better job at to get more new people involved:
  1. Most kids my son goes to school with don't even know our local track exists. One of my ideas is the racing community should get into local events with our karts to promote it (e.g., parades, festivals, etc.). Getting more kids interested is the start, then it's mom and dad.
  2. What is mom and dads big holdback when they get asked by their kid if they can race? For us it was how do we get involved. Someone was kind enough to let us test drive a kart when we visited our local track. Someone above mentioned rental rides. This is a good idea so the kid can figure out how much they really like it before mom and dad drop thousands of dollars.

once we get them started what do we need to do better to Keep them:
  1. Mechanical/technical help: I may be the exception but I was not a wrench turner and didn't even own a socket set or wrenches. For me it was a little bit intimidating going to the track when we first started. I did not know who I could ask questions too, most people were busy or seemed unfriendly (even if they were friendly).
  2. some kind of financing or long term rental: nothing in racing is cheap.
  3. Access to information: Bob's is great, but there is a lack of online content for racing, especially oval racing.
  4. Improved speaker/sound systems: the first few months I cannot count how many times we missed the grid due to poor sound systems and the rush to get the karts lined up.
If my son wasn't so set on being a race car driver I think I would have walked from discouragement just from the things listed above.

Also a big disappointment was we watched some of the tracks we were at make a bad call and then change it and then change it again. When there is a call to be made and it keeps changing the crowd can start to get a little out of hand. My point being most tracks need to make a decision and stick with it for the sake everyone. And yes we suffered a bad call or two against us but we understand the track teams do the best they can.

All this said, if asked today would we do it again I we would tell you hell yea. So I think it really is mostly an entry problem into this sport.
That is absolutely spot-on! Almost everyone we have met on this year-long journey for my son has been so helpful, but this is unlike every single kids sport out there. I spent way too much time not even knowing what I didn't know, so I could being to ask the correct questions to find a starting point.

I have been trying to think of ways to let my kid even be a conduit of information so some of his freinds might want to get involved. There is just a dirth of information out there. It needs to change.
 
From my experience, after three decades of helping people get started in karting:

To get new people:
Advertising. Traditional sources, plus displays where people congregate (like shopping malls). Demonstrations at schools (our community college cooperated). Hand out free general admission passes to kids at school (stipulating that they must come with a parent if they aren’t 18).
Opportunities to try it out. Set aside a few days or nights where you have a few hobby class karts and safety gear available for people to try out. Have a few experienced racers there to give tips and answer questions. Let newbies run on the track by themselves or in very small strung-out groups so they aren’t stressed by more competition than they can handle. Practice days for non-racers who already have karts to try some laps (again in a low-stress situation), and have experienced racers who can give tips and help them sort out some problems.
Reward racers for bringing others. Give the racers a discount on their admission fee, and their non-racing friends get free admission. Don’t have to do this every race night, and you will probably more than make up the admission money if your snack / souvenir stand is any good, let alone if any of these people become racers.

To keep new people: (to me, “new people” are racers who have to learn to be competitive from scratch – not people who have experienced racing friends or relatives who give them a competitive advantage). They have to have fun, they have to feel like they have a fair chance, and they have to be able to afford to come back.

In my experience, people quit because:

Too expensive (entry fees and cost of equipment). Especially in kids' classes. You need to have AND ENFORCE rules designed to keep costs down. We did it by giving advantages to older (obsolete) chassis, dry shoe clutches, box stock motors, and narrow tires with no prep. Yeah, hard to police (especially motors and tire prep) – you need to get those racers to police themselves. KEEP PAYOUTS LOW so you can charge lower entry fees, and the high rollers tend to stay out because they can’t make a profit. Emphasis is the hobby class is for hobbyists and rookies.
Program too long. People get bored waiting hours and then getting fifteen minutes of track time, and their non-racing friends get even more bored. If you cannot limit your number of classes to get everybody satisfied with track time and also get done before bedtime then you either need to re-think your class structure or how you operate, or you need to break racing up into multiple days.
Rough driving / fights. Put a stop to it, even if you have to ban teams that bring a lot of people. They drive away more customers than they ever bring.
Tech enforcement problems / arguments. Need clearly stated policies and rules for every class, be able and willing to follow them no matter what, and show no favoritism.


Hobby classes need to be cheap starter classes. If racers get too good for this class, or if they want to buy fancier equipment, encourage them to move up to your other “regular” classes. NO money races in hobby classes. We used to have a small payout: winner got his entry fee back, second got half of what the winner got, and third got half of what second got. That was it. Collected more entry money than that? Apply it to making the track better, or buy stuff for bonus giveaways (for anybody), or lower entry fees. Don’t let racers talk you into allowing higher priced equipment in a hobby class – it gets out of hand very quickly.
 
Less classes #1. Alternate weekends with some classes if you’d like - to keep from leaving racers out.

Local kart shops have died out in droves with all the internet orders.

And has been mentioned, younger crowd is extremely detached from mechanical DIY things.
I don't know if the younger crowd is detached. I think its a lack of knowledge or the easy access for how to get begin. My son was all about it, and it still took us almost a year to get everything together to the point we could get started.

Once we got to the track, we instantly found a family who was so willing to help, but its daunting if you are approaching it from nothing as a parent. This isn't soccer where you show up to a field with a $10 ball from Walmart and leave them with a coach for an hour.

But once we were out there, my 8yr. old son and his friends are all about learning how to help and how things work. Maybe the problem is not the kids lack of interest, but in the parent's not having the resources to help them get started.
 
I'm one of those guys...bought my grandaughter's a yard kart for Christmas a couple of years ago. One of them really took to it, and I quickly realized I needed to find something where she could expand on this skill. I didn't have any idea where to look...googled kart racing and every combination of kart racing wordage I could think of. Only things that came up were K1 type racing facilities which she was too young and small for. Just by chance one of my grown daughters remembered hearing about a local guy who's kid raced. So I called him and learned about a track 45 minutes from me where kids raced karts. Rode over there one Sunday afternoon with my grand daughter, knowing NOTHING about it, and walked around asking questions. Everyone was friendly but to be honest it was extremely intimidating. Luckily, someone pointed me towards a kart team who took me under their wing, and fairly shortly my grand daughter had a borrowed suit, gloves, helmet and kart to try. I was amazed she had the nerve to try it. The rest is history and we're in deep. But my point is, the tracks don't promote well and if it weren't for the kindness of a couple of individuals that we luckily bumped into, we wouldn't have been able to break in very easily and may have given up.
I don't know the numbers behind running a track, I bet its very expensive, but it seems like better promotion is a good place to start. We pay $25 per person to get into the pits at our local track, 4yrs old and up, which gets super costly when we bring the kids, parents and grands to every race...it's usually $150 just to get in. Practices mid week, the same thing. This year there seems to be a guy/company that is doing a fairly good job of promoting a rental program for the cub division, (and others) which wasn't there, or I wasn't aware of when we were first looking, but this is certainly a key piece of promoting the sport to new families. Once you get them there, they need to be able to try it...but this isn't something someone can just walk into, they need to be contracted for the season. I think better promotion to the general public, not just to the racing community, availability of karts and maybe a beginners session at the start of the season. It all costs money though and without any transparency with the numbers, I have no idea of the feasibility. Sorry for the long windedness.
Yes to all of that!!! Its almost as if there is a secret society where if you ever get in the first level, you are welcomed with open arms. But just finding where to go is next to impossible. We all need to do a better job inviting new folks in.
 

"J'-remy

Member
people are more willing to help people that aren't their competition. People quit because this sport is can be frustrating and everybody wants to win at least once. tracks need to bring back the amateur class. older karts, OTB motor, shoe clutch 375lbs. maybe fixed gear so no tach, trophy only or winner gets the next weekend free, local tire guy not allowed. I remember back in the day a corner worker at Dumplin Valley started racing in amateur. this class was 15 to 20 drivers every Saturday . for three years he dominated that class and was typically a straight away ahead or lapping the last kart. that dude dove so many people away because the track owner would't tell him to move up. I remember when the numbers started dropping to 4 to 6 racers I told Delmer "one of those others would like to win too. if they never win they'll quit coming here" I also think keeping everyone in one class that can't line up, understand cautions, constantly spins out, with endless restarts instead of spreading them out to 3 predator classes. :ROFLMAO: maybe we could all get home a little earlier.
 

ephenj93

Member
There are usually people of all skill levels at open practices. Your kart would need to pass a pre-tech safety inspection and all proper safety equipment is needed. Gearing would be dependent on which engine you run.
I actually sent them a message on FB and they are going to get back to me about how and if you can just run sat practice to be able to drive the practice only. How tight is tech inspection just making sure everything is pinned or tied off with wire and everything works 100% dunno if anything is at 100% all the time lol?
 
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