You're the new technical would you manage the clone class?

Joe Janowski

New member
I'm just curious how many of you would answer the following question;

You've just been hired as a technical director of a sanctioning body. Many of the tracks that use your rules use the clone engine. What would you do to stabilize the clone class so that it can grow for the next 5 to 10 years?

There isn't a right or wrong answer here. I'm sure that a lot of you have excellent ideas, and we'd love to hear them.

Joe Janowski
NKA, Inc.
This year's changes look good to me.
I think allowing an aftermarket rod is a good idea. Even tho' we didn't have any problems with the stock rod, I am now more confident about reliability.
Stainless steel valves didn't seem like a needed thing but they're here so that's that.
The aluminum flywheel of 2013 made sense from a safety standpoint.
Everybody now knows what to do/not do about valve springs, so 10.8lbs should be the rule.

Bottom line, I think we are at a good point now and I would like to see clones (we are Green/Purple plate) raced with these rules for a couple of years.
Rules are rules and as long as everybody runs the same stuff and isn't always trying to push the envelope for more mods, it's good for the sport.
Joe, as much as I hate claim rules, you've got to at least consider that. Because of the variances in imports, versions, revisions, colors, manufacturers, (dare I say Honda); if you want to eliminate all the high dollar engines, put a ridiculously low $200 claim on it. Bam, you just drove every engine builder out of blueprinting these engines.

Now, is that your objective, or is parts uniformity the objective? If it's just uniformity in the tech barn, then what difference does all of the above have to do with the price of rice in China? A part measure within spec or not. It's right or it's wrong. Put a 3 year moratorium on rules and don't budge. The importers and manufacturers need to comply or they get bounced in the tech barn.

Ok, you asked...If it were up to me, I'd open up anything and everything under 200cc as stock appearing. Bring what brand you've got and hope it's enough. You've instantly eliminated a lot of the politics that are hurting our sport. I really think this is why the UAS (open outlaw stuff) is gaining leaps and bounds in popularity. So much easier to tech as well! For the guys that don't want to spend that much money or go that fast, I'd steer them to a sealed engine like the Briggs LO206. If the clone is to survive, I think it's going to have to adopt a sealed engine program as well. Right now the clone is nothing more than another blueprint class. At some tracks, it's already being replaced by the Predator engines. What's next? The Terrible engines? We already have too many classes at the local level.

You are right. There are no right or wrong answers -- but certainly a lot that should be considered as our sport moves forward. The "best" answer is the one that puts more butts in the seats! We all can agree on that.

Thanks and God bless,
Brian Carlson
Carlson Racing Engines
Vector Cuts
Bumpy...I'm in agreement that for the most part we're in a good spot. As good as this type of class can be given the obstacles that exist. Overall good thoughts.

Brian...also good thoughts. Claiming is a Pandora's Box that I'm not sure I want to open. I think it works on a very local level, but when you try to scale it it has a tougher time. And...I truly believe we need good engine builders in our sport. We absolutely need a strong support system in place for those folks that choose to race karts. Engine builders are a huge part of that support system as are shops, distributors, etc.

For us, parts uniformity was the primary goal, and our final rules (posted today) makes that goal more of a reality. I don't think they're perfect yet, and we'll need to go through the 2014 season and review (we review tech issues every Monday following events that weekend). I think that it's interesting that both of you brought up freezing rules for some set amount of time. I think that is a great goal, and will work if enough of the support infrastructure get on board. Are more of you out there in agreement?

And finally, we're all about butts in seats. That's why everyone that works at the NKA gets up in the morning.

Joe Janowski
NKA, Inc.
Real Simple 2 Classes, current AKRA Pro Rule open clutch, big pipe, and a Bone Stock sealed class, small pipe, mini muffler, shoe clutch, floor mounted tank, ( back to original intent ) and yes they can be sealed, teched first sealed ( seals with serial numbers ) then just do tech weekly, Claims don't work just opens the door to Stupid Competitiveness guy's will claim just to be idiots and it will ruin the class.
If you want the clone class to realllllly take off? Make everyone buy a Burris(tm) type subplate motor mount, then the track / club buys a pallet of clones. An adapter plate and throttle cable get bolted on each engine. Then at sign in you draw for qualifying position and you draw your motor number. You go the the engine shed an pick up your clone with 3/4" shoe clutch. Run 'em box stock with tank and box muffler, only overriding the governor spring with a piece of wire. A good oil is run for the whole raceday. *Don't tell me it can't be done because we ran Tecumseh H35's with the same Kendall 10W30 for 4 complete racedays with no governor on asphalt with no appreciable wear.) At end of day, engine and clutch are turned back in. During the week or early on raceday oil gets changed and clutches verified for good function. Repeat process.

Both engine and clutch are maintained by the track and the resultant fees are integrated into the class entry fee. Some will be dogs, some will be fast, most will be in the middle, but the luck of the draw evens it out for the most part. A reasonable gear ratio limit is set, upper and lower, and spot-checked at weigh-in --- the clutches are all same tooth, and marked with a stamp, so it's easy to police ratio. A bit of extra work? Yes. As fair as you'll get? Yes. Low-hassle for the family -- yes.

At the extreme, you'd have parc ferme for tires too, but lets not get too tricky.....

Otherwise, if you want something to apply to today's clones, I'd spec a spring rate with open springs, I'd spec a billet flywheel and billet rod, and I'd spec a overall cc and valve size. Then the rest would be open. The can of worms was opened once y'all started changing them from as-shipped. And since you can't re-pack the worms, you might as well hurry up the rules creep until we've reached flathead-rules-equivalency. Then lock the rules down for 5 years, IMO. Stability breeds stability.....As far as I'm concerned, you could permanently lock the specs and then just let the builders and tinkerers play within the margins.

But I'm a UAS 2-cycle racer now, so what do I know?! :)
Sealing the engines would be pretty tough to pull off. Crate Late Models have major issues with the sealing programs, as do tons of other programs that use seals. To work, they need to be from one source, and that would be pretty tough for clone to achieve. That, and there are already a significant amount of engines out there. I think if it had started that way, you would be correct. To come in now, or in a year, and try to do that would be almost impossible and really expensive. But...I like the train of though that you had, although I'm going to be partial to the NKA rule set.
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Third time I've seen 'lock up the rules' tonight.

Ted, I like your thoughts. Doing what you initially talk about takes a lot of moving parts to work in sync, and from my knowledge of people, that is tough to pull off. But I agree that would be nice. As for now, yes, the cat is out of the bag and won't be put back in.

I love the opens. Actually, I'd love to try one out at some point.
By keeping current AKRA rules for 1 class you got a better chance of keeping butts in seats, apply your rule to a second class but steer it more to a lower budget starter class because no matter what you do it will go through a building, proving period, once it's around say 2 yrs provided ya get it right then guy's will adjust keeping and adding more butts in seats.

Yes the seal deal would be bit of a pain but it could be done, price in bulk like $ 1.58 ea they ship things every day.

A freeze rule is a great idea as long as it's a good rules package to begin with, plus I applaud you for throwing this out there taking info to try to get it right from the get go.
I'm an NKA supporter and will continue no matter what ya do.

Good Luck !!
All I can say is this motor started out as a $100 engine and know we are getting close to a $1000 engine almost back to were the flatheads ended up. This was suppose to be a cheaper way to go with good reliability every time we change something or allow a new part price just goes up. Know I know some people are going to say build your own motor or this and that but if you won't to be up front you have to go to a builder just my opinion.
Clone sealed engines that engine builders have to buy in on a program to be able to freshen them up.for any reason engine is illegal u strip his program rights for 1 yr.something has to be done before it ends up like the flathead and karters can't afford it and the karting sport drops off.the biggest problem the last 15 yrs or better is to much politics.
I would also say to keep the rules as they were posted for 2014 and use those rules for the next 3-5 years without adding more mods or changes, that would be a big step towards growing the clone classes in my opinion. Seems that the biggest thing people are complaining about with clones is the rules changing so much, so it would make sense to keep the rules the same for a few years and give the clones time to pick back up and regain popularity among the other engines. I also believe that sealing these engines would help make things go a little smoother as well.

About what the guy above said about the track buying a pallet of motors and clutches and keeping them, that does not seem like a fair and level field because it would be no different than things are now, you said yourself some motors would be dogs and some would be fast, and that is not a level playing field. If you were to have the track buy motors and keep them there, each and every motor needs to be identical and even as far as power so no one person has any advantage over everyone else by having a better motor. I also am not a fan of the claim rule just because i have seen and heard of people claiming motors just out of spite because they lost to that motor or the driver that had the motor. I know i would not want to lose an engine i have all my hard earned money and hours and hours of my time into for a quarter of what i have into it, because i consider my time worth something like many other people do. Do away with the claim and keep the rules that we have for 2014 seems to be the best way to go to keep karters racing and bring new racers into the sport.
I won't race in a claimer class. I have never understood that concept. It generates conflict. Somebody/s ends up supplying motors for everybody else and is never caught up because he's always putting together a new motor.
The track owning the motors and drawing for a motor is a better concept for lower classes than claimer rules, as long as they will actually maintain the motors/clutches.
It might work.

Sealed motors are sort of a joke too. Has anyone seen how crafty racers that want to cheat can be?
The GM sealed motors for cars were a nice idea.
Til someone started selling the special sealer bolts to cheaters.
I won't race in a claimer class. I have never understood that concept. It generates conflict. Somebody/s ends up supplying motors for everybody else and is never caught up because he's always putting together a new motor.
The track owning the motors and drawing for a motor is a better concept for lower classes than claimer rules, as long as they will actually maintain the motors/clutches.
It might work.

Sealed motors are sort of a joke too. Has anyone seen how crafty racers that want to cheat can be?
The GM sealed motors for cars were a nice idea.
Til someone started selling the special sealer bolts to cheaters.

Yep, all it takes in a sealed class is for an employee of the company selling seals to realize just how much some racers who really want to cheat would pay for those seals.....would be a heck of alot more than the tracks were paying for the seals, im sure.
So far I'm seeing a lot of good ideas. Some hard to implement, and some too late to implement. But some are doable for sure.

The one thing I'd like to talk more about is the freezing of rules. I really like this idea, and to be honest, I've considered it before. Rule changes, when not done specifically for a safety reason, tend to simply increase cost and make life more difficult. Maybe some engine builders or other industry types can weigh in as well on this idea.

I'll be honest in that there is no way it can be done for 2014. There are still a few questions to be answered. But what if the goal of the NKA was to institute a rules freeze from 2015 to 2018 barring changes for safety reasons? What would be the issue? Where would the problem come from if this was done? Would it be better for you and the sport, or worse?

Btw, I'm really glad I started this conversation, and I'm really glad many of you have joined in. Too many times 'politics' does get in the way of common sense. This has been a great way for not only us at the NKA to hear directly from those of you that have chosen to speak up, but for anyone in the industry as well.

Joe Janowski
NKA, Inc.
Sealed motors will not be a saving grace. Just go back and take a look at how the Wazoom motor went. That was the clone motor equivalent econony package in the FH days. It would have been great if racers just would have left it alone. It didn't take long for the crafty individuals to figure that seal thing out. And that was before todays technology.

Let's just be real here for a minute. Look at all the different ideas you've already gotten. There will be more to come. Different ones I mean. That in itself shows the amount of dissparity this engine faces. Until that dissparity is COMPLETELY done away with and EVERY rule organization out there bites the bullet and gets on the same page with one another, there really is no hope. Asking people who race what they would do will never solve a problem. Waaaaaay to much "my idea is better than yours" mentality. In reality it only adds to the confussion and shows the true broadness of what people want from one end of the spectrum to the other. No one will ever be completely satisfied. That is unless its ALL their ideas. Make the rules. Lock them in place for a fixes amount of years and adjust after a certain time frame if needed. Dont try and make everyone happy. You'll only bring misery upon yourself in the long run. Luckily I only havr to tech them now and don't have to worry about if I can get what I want in there. LOL
Claim rules and sealed engines are fine for beginner classes. Face it guys, the clone is no longer a beginner class, it is THE class. Beginners classes should be for local tracks and set up as local options, which, of course, is something any track can do at any time.
There is simply no need for a national local option set of rules. Shucks, it's kind of an oxymoron anyway (national local).
The class rules should fit the mindset of the general collective who are serious about running the class. And the update system should be flexible, someone will find a way around a rule and there goes your "carved in stone for 3 years" deal out the window.
There are always unintended consequences with anything.
"Freezing" of the rules for say 3 years is not a good idea. Lets say a "loophole" is found in a particular rule or a crafty builder is able to get "around" a rule that gives a clear advantage. Say it costs a few hundred extra dollars to get these new trick parts or a couple extra hundred in machine work to make the extra power. Do you not want to be able to "fix" this problem when it happens? Why say, "we will fix it in 3 years after the little man has become disgruntled and left." If you, as the governing body, dont want to change the rules for a set time, then dont but at least leave yourself the ability to "govern" your own organization. Good to see you asking for ideas!
We here at Cactus Speedway will never run a claimer race. As far as the track itself having the engines to swap out - never, never. We have enough to do getting the track ready along with the other work. Don't get the idea that we need to add more to our work days!