A07U3055_Mick_SmilingAs the year is drawing to a close I wanted to take a just a few moments to reflect back on the year that was and to look forward to the year ahead.

2014 was our “Year of Review”. 2015 was the “Year of Change” with the focus being heavily on our competition elements. Change is always a challenging thing to achieve no matter what it is and change in karting is absolutely no different.

Our task as a Board has been to modernise karting, to set about bringing the enjoyment in the competition element to the forefront, to create appropriate pathways from

the youngest competitors through to the highest levels in the sport, to create a level playing field and a culture that will be conducive to growing our sport with integrity.

We are focused on the positives of what does make and should make this a truly great form of Australian motorsport.

It has been really encouraging to see so many former karters who have moved on to ‘bigger and better things’ in their motorsport careers spending time at the kart track in 2015. Some of the biggest names in Australian motorsport and V8 Supercars have been regulars at karting events with many of them putting back into the sport that kick started their professional racing careers – simply wonderful. It’s a little known fact that most of our tyre testing was done (free of all fees) by drivers who started in karts and who raced in this year’s Bathurst 1000 – thanks guys.

The decision to introduce the Vortex and IAME engines into competition at all levels has been an undoubted success.

  • In the first year there are now just on 2,000 of the new engines in regular use in our competitions across 5 Classes and 15 Divisions.
  • The level of parity between the engines in each Division is exceptional (straight out of the box) with regular race results being decided by hundredths and tenths of a second.
  • The ease of use is outstanding with the TaG feature and unparalleled reliability coming to the fore.
  • The period between engine rebuilds is now much longer than was ever before the case with the older engines. Running and rebuild costs are down.
  • The driver is now the determining factor in winning races – not the fact that they’ve got a ‘gun’ engine.

We are looking forward to great results from the new DVS engines in the KA1 and KA2 classes in 2016 – the beginning of the revitalisation of our high performance competition with the same strong levels of parity, longer periods between rebuilds and engines that will serve our competitors well for many years to come.

2015 was the first year of the Australian Kart Championship being run as a multi-round fixture. The five rounds averaged more than 200 entries per round, this was exceptional but this is just the beginning. We are looking forward to the further development in the AKC next year with Round One just six weeks away.

The Rotax Pro Tour also went to new levels in 2015 with similar results across all rounds of our National Series.

2016 will be our “Year of Development”.

As anticipated by 2014’s “Whole of Sport Review”, some of our greatest challenges lie in encouraging entry in our sport and then retaining them for the long term.

Next year we will be focusing on the development and implementation of our “Get Started in Karting” initiatives. After a pilot program was conducted in 2015, the Junior Sprockets aspect will be expanded and is set to become an integral part of the program.

The “Top Clubs” initiatives and grassroots development programs become our next challenges. The goals being to attract and retain competitors and volunteers and ensure good governance and risk management at all levels of the sport.

We will set about making it easier and more rewarding to join a kart club and to compete regularly. Developing a collaborative approach between our stakeholders to get more people started in karting is a high priority in 2016.

Undoubtedly 2016 is set to be an exciting year!

The Board is looking forward to see how each State decides to structure their State, Zone and Club competitions with some of the freedoms permitted under the new State Regulation structure that we have implemented in the 2016 Rules.

Hard work and strong financial governance over the past two years has given KA a sound financial base and created a stepping stone into these new projects. We have a number of new commercial partnerships and initiatives for 2016. Some of which are already announced and some that will be announced early in the New Year.

Thank You
At year’s end I would like to thank all of those who have worked so hard to give enjoyment to our competitor groups during 2015.

Our VOLUNTEERS – the officials who stand out in the sun, wind and rain and who have to make the hard decisions to make sure that you can race safely and fairly. Our committees who give freely of their time and expertise asking nothing in return.

To our CLUBS and in particular their committee’s and executive groups. By you doing what you do and looking after the many millions of dollars of karting infrastructure spread across our great land, karting is possible right across the country. To our STATE ASSOCIATIONS, our EXECUTIVE COMMISSIONERS and Secretaries, Officials Coordinators, Stewards, Technical Officers, Race Secretaries and Organising Committees – the men and women with the truly hard jobs – thank you!

To our SPONSORS, OFFICIAL PARTNERS, SUPPLIERS AND STAKEHOLDERS – Castrol EDGE, Jayco, CAMS, Dunlop, ALM Sales, MG Tyres, DPE Kart Technology, IAME, Remo Racing, Vortex Engines, Paul Feeney Group, Rotax, MOJO Tyres, International Karting Distributors, Ricciardo Kart, St George Karts, Scuderia PCR Australia, Revolution Race Gear. Thank you for your support.

To the KA BOARD AND STAFF. Thank you for your commitment, diligence and tireless work. The progress and achievements for the sport you have lead and delivered on since September 2013 is impressive indeed and I am proud to work with you to develop the sport.

To be absolutely clear, this is a sport with a very bright future in Australia. It is a sport that is on the rise. There is much to be done and there is a willingness to see things through to fruition, no matter the obstacles that may confront us along the way. As with anything in life, those who align themselves with “the program”, work within the system and contribute the most also generally achieve the most. So it is with karting. We have exciting times and programs ahead of us and I look forward to you all joining together to contribute to the growth of Australian karting.

Christmas Wishes
Personally, and on behalf of the Karting Australia Board and Management, I would like to wish our entire karting community a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and safe New Year. I look forward to seeing you trackside in 2016.