by Mark Wicks
In the most recent edition of Karting Australia’s Full Throttle e-zine, Karting Australia CEO Kelvin O’Reilly told Karting Australia members about “The Plus 1 Project” the organisation is communicating to its affiliated clubs.
Tyres was one of the topics mentioned in the article, specifically the final two years of the current five-year tyre contracts, and whether a “club level only” tyre should be investigated.
To quote O’Reilly: “Shortly we will be polling our Drivers, our Affiliated Clubs and our State Associations as to whether or not their preference is to use the current (Prime) tyres or specified Option Tyres in club competition in each Competition Class.”
So far there’s been no evidence of this poll happening (at least, not that we’re privy to), so thought we’d ask you the question – but with an extra option, plus the ability to submit your own answer.
Logically, KA’s thinking is aimed at getting more people karting more often by reducing running costs, which is one of the key barriers to participation.
But could the plan backfire? Let me explain.
No question, having a more durable club level tyre would reduce costs for club level karters and no doubt get participation up – for people who race only at club level.
But what about those who compete in other series and state level? I know of many competitors who race at these events on a new tyre, then get another meeting out of them by racing a club day.
If club days move to an option tyre, these karters would require another set of rims for their “club day” tyre and not get to re-use the one-meeting-old Prime tyre. Would these drivers therefore give up their club level racing?
Then there’s the chassis issue – would a different kart or axle be required when switching between Prime and Option? If so, that cost and effort is a deterrent to participation.
Maybe KA is intending that competitors can choose either the Prime or Option for club level racing? While that has merit and allows the karter to choose, I think it’s sorta dumb as it would create another split in performance, much like having another class. Anyway, if there’s a choice of a fast tyre and a slow tyre, people won’t be using the slow one…
Many have criticized the current spec tyres, but others are more than happy with what we have. Should things just be left as they are for another two years?
Or should KA force a change to a longer wearing tyre, but enforce it across ALL events, not just club level?
Cast your vote, feel free to comment.