Club Captain's Remarks



14 May 2015

Amazing when I look at the photo on this page to think that this was less than 2 years ago and yet so much has happened since then. Well, I am signing off as Club Captain, with Brent Robb now in the seat. I am sure he will be one of the best we have seen. The role of Club Captain is pretty vague to be honest. What is it ? In my opinion, it is to be the advocate of the members and more especially, the competitors. For that reason I think Brent is an excellent choice. Already so active in the club, Brent will bring a fresh approach and I am sure will do an excellent job. It has been difficult for me to be at every club day, although I do try to be there even when we are not competing.  

Nonetheless, it has been apparent to me for some time that once you start entering the bigger meetings like ProKart and have a focus on Nationals and Island events, club days are going to suffer.I know that this is a concern for the governing body, but I do feel that perhaps the reality of the situation is that those competing at series like the Rotax Max Challenge and Prokart are unlikely to turn up for a club day unless they are wanting to put a bit of time on an engine. In the case of Mt Welly, the so-called "elite" make up a small fraction of our overall membership, so I don't believe this is where the real problem lies. 

It is a sad reality that club days have gone from 100+ competitors in the past to less than half that frequently.The last round of 3 Way saw 57 competitors - that is a good turn out by comparison. Interestingly though, Seniors only made up 18 of that number, with the remaining all juniors and below. So if we are to look at where the problems lie, it is my belief that we need to find ways to get more seniors along. There are plenty of old Yamahas and Rotax's out there in garages gathering dust - where have you gone ? Not one at the last round. Why are you not coming out to play ? A huge amount of effort goes into finding sponsors, getting prizes and just turning the event on. It would be great to get a bit more support to make it more worthwhile to those putting in the effort. Tell us what you want so we can address your needs.

The new track is underway, but Mt Welly will still be here for a couple more years yet. This club with the "shitty track" has produced more national title winners than many other clubs combined. We are criticised by other clubs for the state of the facilities (well the members of other clubs) but the fact remains, we kick arse at their tracks too. It can't just be coincidence. Winning At Mt Welly is not easy. So even if you are doing club days and nothing else, taking a podium at Mt Welly is testament to your ability. Get those old karts out of the shed, and get your butts into them. 

This weekend sees the final round of 3 Way - The Mighty Oval. Why not come along and have a go. Mt Welly is going to be a memory soon enough. How many more opportunities will you have to drive the Oval ? Here is the reality. Without people turning up for club days, it will make no sense to keep the facility. Membership fees do not pay the rent. We cannot exist on a round of Top Half and Bobs Christmas meeting, which are the two biggest meetings we have.

Well, that's my last update for this page Well overdue, and I happily now hand over the reins to Brent.


Yours in karting


7 January 2014

Happy New Year to everyone. One week into the new year and already its a hive of activity. Top of the list, the cancellation of this years CIK event in Wellington - a topic of much debate in social media. People didn't want to participate, or those that did, failed to enter on time. Why was this ? 

There is an excellent article on the Kartsport NZ website which outlines their view in full, and it makes for interesting reading. My personal view is that many people were just over Wellington. With the North Islands only a few months back, and having already hosted Nationals and the CIK event, not to mention National Schools the year before, even I was hesitant, and also didn't make the entry deadline (due mainly to the online system trying to charge late entry fees before the closing date, but that is another matter)

What the article does not address is why other clubs didn't put their hands up. Is running the CIK event too hard or too expensive ? Should KSNZ perhaps be looking at other ways to manage the event ? Should we look those promoting successful series' around the country to step up and promote a revitalised CIK event ? The cost of running an event, let alone competing in one, is a massive challenge/risk for clubs. Last year, having a combined Prokart/Rotax Challenge made a lot of sense. A reduction in the number of meetings, less travel, better returns for the host club, and of course, costs spread across more competitors, and most of all, a reduction on the demands of the officials and volunteers of which so much is asked. I am sure both these promoters wanted separate series, but economics and resources almost make this a necessity. The downside however, is that realistically people had to choose one series or the other. Clearly there is a reason why the Prokart series organisers chose not to incorporate the CIK event into their series. I do not know what their reasons are, but I am sure they had them. What I do know for sure, is that others are promoting successful series', and perhaps we need to look to those people to assist in the promotion of CIK. I hope that people see this as an opportunity to revitalise an event which has clearly lost some of it's appeal. I for one believe CIK must remain a premier event that has appeal that means people cannot wait to enter. I am sure none of this is lost on KSNZ.

On a different note however, I feel very sorry for our friends at Kartsport Wellington. Most karters out there have absolutely no perception of the man hours and money that are put in to arrange such an event. Securing sponsors, managing entries, facilities, arranging officals and volunteers for various roles, communications, etc, it is no mean feat. They have set a benchmark for other clubs in terms of their hospitality, professionalism and capability of putting together big meetings. The recent North Island event was no exception. It is a disgrace that their efforts have been rewarded with nothing. They deserve accolades from us all for what they have achieved as a group. 

I have seen a flurry of activity in recent days with the establishment of a drivers association page. I think debate is healthy. I think anything that encourages people to think about how their sport is governed and promoted is excellent. However, much of the feedback seems to be that it is "them" not "us" that is the problem. Its time to wake up guys - it's all us, there is no them.

Kartsport officials are elected at the conference of clubs. The clubs represent the views of its members. This is the 3rd term that I have been on the committee and the first as club captain. During that time, I have not had a single person come up to me to ask if their views could be represented at the next committee meeting. The future of karting is not for someone else to decide, it is for all of us collectively, and if you choose not to participate in that process, do not complain when the outcome is not something you would have preferred.

I know one thing for sure, it takes more than ideas to fix the issues we face. When I hear people complain, regardless of what, my concern drops immediately if they are not prepared to step up. Karting is about participation, and that includes the running of events. It is not just about turning up, paying $35 to enter a club day and going racing. However, that is exactly how people treat it. Looking at the state of the clubrooms after a meeting with empty beer bottles left on the tables for someone else to put in the bins is a clear indication of how many of you think. The same people convening, the same people emptying bins at the end of the days racing, the same people being asked to replace toilet rolls, and no doubt, the same complaints from me falling on the same deaf ears.

Please let's see each and every one of you put something back into a sport that has given so much. Your investment in this sport is as much at stake as the rest of us. 

Yours in karting




8 November 2013


Hard to believe its been nearly a month since my last update. It has been a very busy time. Firstly we had the conclusion to the Giltrap Group 3 Way series. Congratulations to all the winners and those on the podium. I think everyone will agree that it was a fun series with the weather playing a part in the first round, the rarely run reverse oval being included, and the fact that for the first time since I can recall, the normal direction full track was not part of the series.

I have had plenty of feedback that the series was thoroughly enjoyed, and thanks needs to go out to those that made it possible - specifically, our incredible sponsors. We need to support those that support karting, and you will see in the very near future banner ads on this site promoting all our sponsors for the series. We had some fantastic prizes and I am sure everyone agrees that the prize pool was the best we have had in many years.

The following weekend was labour weekend, and the respective island championships. KartSport Wellington put on an excellent event, with great facilities and it certainly showed what a dedicated bunch they are. What stood out was the breadth of volunteers they had helping out. Every day the cafe had hot breakfast and lunch options, and there were people all over the place lending a hand and doing their bit. 

Yet, the same cannot be said for our own club members. After pleading for help at the 2nd round of 3 way, we literally had to drag people kicking and screaming to sign up and convene a meeting. Frankly, it's just unacceptable. Asking people to go the extra mile when racing regularly and convene once every couple of years as well is not too much to ask. To those who "volunteered", thank you. For the rest, pull your fingers out, or we will simply have to pay people to do these things, and that will just impact the cost of racing. The committee does its absolute best to keep costs to a minimum as we all look forward to the new track - the last thing we want to do is waste money that we need for the future. So, be part of the solution guys.

Anyway, back to the North Islands. It was fantastic to see so many Mt Welly members competing. 10 out of 24 cadets, 7 out of 24 JR's, 4 out of 20 in Rotax lights, and 22 out of 108 total entries. Given the host club had 13 entries and nothing in the way of travel and accommodation costs, I think this was an awesome effort.

The results on the track also showed we can still hold our heads up high, with 2 of the 7 titles won, and plenty of podium places too.

Next weekend is our annual picnic day. This is a fantastic fun day, and a chance to thank those who make your racing possible. The Mums, Dads and mechanics races* are always a great thrill and the non-racing activities show how competitive we all are - the photo of CJ Sinclair leaping head first over the line in the sack race shows how much we all want to win ANYTHING we do !!

I would love it if we could get some feedback - either email me, or post on Facebook. Let us know what you would like to see. I am thinking of running a Data session for people to get a bit more out of their Mychron or Alfano. In addition, we are constantly seeing new cadet and JR's coming into the sport, and I am sure that many of you are past the bewildered stage, and perhaps interested in knowing a bit more about kart setup. There is an enthusiatic bunch of regular Wednesday afternooners down at the track, so let me know if you would care to stick around afterwards for a bit of an update. 

Looking froward to seeing you all at the Picnic meeting.

yours in karting


*Mums, Dads and Mechanics races are not races. They are as we all know individual testing events where groups of mothers, fathers and mechanics happen to be on the track at the same time and where no actual racing takes place of course, just to be clear isn't that right Mr Hutton ?


11 October 2013


Next weekend sees the final round of the 2013 Giltrap Group 3 Way - The Mighty Oval, and a return to the normal clockwise direction. With great prizes up for grabs and the series titles all up for grabs, its going to be a fantastic weekend of racing.

Our friends over at Auckland almost had to cancel this weekends meeting due to a lack of officials. Thankfully, they have managed to find some people in time, but it is once again a reminder that we do not have the depth of officials we need to share the workload around. It is a matter of when, not if we face the same challenge. It is fantastic to see that we have 2 people currently going through the process of becoming Grade 4 officials, and I would like to thank Elliot Osborne and Michael Kavanaugh for stepping up to the task. We need others to follow your example.

The North Island Champs are less than 2 weeks away, and no doubt many of you are busy getting prepared. If you haven't entered, it is not too late. For many, The North Islands will be the biggest meeting they have participated in to date. It can be a daunting event, but I will never forget the words of advice I got from Bob Cunningham. He said, "it's just a big club day, and every race is just practice for the final." This is great advice. The CIK format allows you to have an absolute disaster all week and still come out on top. The final is the only race that counts in the end, so use every race to find improvements.

Stick within the window you know. For example, if you find yourself dialling in massive amounts of fuel because the plug is looking lean, then I would argue that you are trying to fix the wrong problem. Engines may vary slightly with altitude and air density, but not dramatically, and unless you have a massive air-leak - something else is wrong and that is likely to be your setup. The engine is getting worked harder because the kart is binding up and this puts a huge load on the engine as it tries to fight against a kart that doesn't want to turn. The result is that the engine gets hot, leans out and goes off. I have seen many frustrated mechanics changing engines only to find the issue doesn't go away. They still don't get it. They throw their hands in the air and proclaim that both their engines have fallen over. Use logic, it is highly unlikely that last weekends weapon is now a lemon, even more unlikely that it would happen to two engines. 

The key of course is preparation. You don't want to put yourself under pressure because you failed to spend time before the meeting checking and re-checking things. The Oval will give you a chance to make sure your engine and carb are performing well. Use the Saturday to make sure everything is right.

Here is a link to an article that I think gives some great advice. In fact, there is plenty of good advice on this site. Videos that explain some of the karting basics in straight-forward, easy to understand language.

Look forward to seeing you all next weekend, and then in Wellington.

Yours in karting




What a wonderful club we have. The recent conference of clubs highlighted Mt Wellington for the job they are doing in recruiting new members. It is always great to see fresh faces around the pits. My concern however, is that once people join, their first race experience is often an overwhelming sense of panic ! I remember when Josh and I first started that as a new Dad to the scene, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and felt completely out of my depth. 3 years later, and little has changed, but I guess I am now confident in the fact that there is always someone I can ask for help.

For those of you new to the club, make yourself known. All committee members now have badges for easy identification and should also be proudly wearing their black and yellow shirts on race days. Don't be afriad to ask for help. We have all been there, and I have not found a single person yet that is unprepared to give anyone a hand, some advice or whatever you need to get you on the track.

We are also grateful to have the support of the shops on race days. Right Karts, Lascom and Alpha Karts are generally always there, and their insight and experience in invaluable. Get to know them, and ask their advice - just make sure you remember to support them too.

All you long-toothers, remember how intimidating it felt when you started ? Don't wait to be asked, if you see someone struggling, get in there and help. We are a club, and all those "secret tweaks" you know about were more than likely passed down to you by someone else.

Finally, its not just the newbies that need help. Our meetings don't run themselves, and frankly it is disappointing to see that the newer members are the ones to put their hands up to help, and the old-hands are the ones that just turn up to drive. If you haven't convened in the last 2 years, its time you did. 

We are blessed to have such dedicated and enthusiastic officials. Without them, there is no racing. It is completely unfair to expect the same people to turn up every meeting. We need people to step up and become race officials. If we have more people, it is easier on everyone. If things don't change, you are going to find yourselves having meetings cancelled because the dedicated few will have had enough. Contact me, or anyone on the committee if you can help. 

See you at Round 2 of 3 Way

Your in karting





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