Looking back and moving forward: my-KART's journey continues
2006 was yet another wonderful year for my-KART.
As I write this review, events in my-KART pale in comparison with the realities of life. The flooding in the southern states of the country, and in neighbouring Indonesia, as well as typhoons in the Philippines and earthquakes in Taiwan, and not to mention the many unrests around the world.
Still, every bit that my-KART does has its purpose in the whole scheme of things. For my-KART it is about bringing the fun and excitement of racing to as many people as possible. I believe that my-KART has met these modest aims.
The success of my-KART thus far is a tribute the members, the participants (very fair, very competitive yet safe), the volunteers and the many hardworking core members. I thank all of you for the success you brought to my-KART.
We've come a long way.
my-KART has now existed for more than 4 years and 4 championship seasons. Starting from a modest funkart series in 2002/2003 and a handful of karting enthusiasts, we expanded to include a K2 and K3 category in the KART series in 2004 (which remains popular to this day), and adding the Mega Enduro series in 2005 and 2006. Today we see around 40 to 50 participants at each KART series event and around 8-10 teams in each Mega Enduro. We ran a total of 16 events in 2006. This has kept us fairly busy.
On the administrative side, my-KART has finally obtained approval from the National Sports Commission for the formation of Kelab my-KART Selangor. This is a significant milestone for my-KART. With the formation of the club, my-KART can further expand its role in popularising grassroots motorsports in the country. With the establishment of the club, my-KART can now become a viable channel for the development and promotion of grassroots motorsports. The next step for my-KART is affiliation with the FIA's sole representative in the country - the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM). Enthusiasts wishing to progress further in racing can use Kelab my-KART Selangor as a launchpad for their racing careers and club membership for their racing license application.
That said, my-KART shall remain true to its roots... which is to bring racing to the masses. This is our core purpose.
Successes we can all be proud of.
my-KART's bread and butter is the amateur kart races. We organised 10 sprint races, 5 mega enduros and 1 special event in 2006.
The KART series sprint races remains the most popular of all our events. Each race attracted around 40 drivers each. More than 130 drivers participated in the sprint races this year. Both the K2 and K3 finales were nail biting thrillers with down to the wire finishes. In both series, the leader was pipped to the post. In K2, veteran Razak Halim squeeked past an unfortunate Zoolhilmi - both on equal 99 points but Razak edging ahead on qualifying points. In K3, the season long leader Nazri Ng was eventually passed on the finish line by season long challenger Nizam Rahman. 119 vs 120 points. This was a photo finish script Hollywood would approve.
The Mega Enduro series was equally exciting. Early leaders PC Net Comm look set to clinch an easy championship win. However a sustained mid-season slump allowed chief challenger, Team Aliens, to invade on their parade. PC Net had to dig deep in the final round to retain their slender lead and hoist the KartQuest Challenge Trophy (donated by Raja Razman) for the first time. 78 vs 77 points.
To wrap up 2006, we organised a season grand finale with a K1 pilot on 2 December 2006. Even the rain could not have dampened the spirits of the participants on the day. The K1 pilot event saw tremendous support of 14 drivers... boding well for the future K1 series.
Through all this, my-KART continues to unearth some racing talents, some buayas, child prodigies, and some remarkably spirited veteran racers. Motorsports in Malaysia needs to uncover these talents... but not all of them can afford to race. This is why my-KART will continue its presence in the rental karting scene.
Still some improvements needed.
That said, 2006 could have been much better. Several my-KART initiatives stalled for a variety of reasons. At the end of 2005, we planned to launch the Inter Company, Car Club (IC3) championship series in 2006. However due to lack of focus, the IC3 plan had to be put on hold. IC3 is necessary in the future to expand my-KART's appeal to a broader and more corporate segment.
In addition to IC3, there remains an opportunity for a series involving schools, colleges and universities. A notable number of my-KART participants are students. However, the current my-KART series may be even costly for them. So a solution will need to be developed to address this particular segment.
Aside from these alternative series, a key ladder for my-KART sprint series participants is the K1 series. The K1 series is meant to be the next step above the K2 series, but just below the owner karter series like the Rotax Max Challenge and the Asian Karting Championships. Affordability remains the main challenge in launching this series. Karting like all motorsports remains relatively expensive. This makes launching the K1 series very difficult. That said, I fully believe that we can come to an acceptable solution. We will be spending more effort to develop this further.
Moving forward - 2007 and beyond...
What is important right now is for my-KART to sustain participation in the K2 and K3 series and provide a channel for drivers through a feasible progression path. These decisions and directions will be based on the following principles:
- affordable & accessible
- safe & professional
- fun & exciting competition
- sustainable & relevant
To this end, my-KART shall continue to focus on the following activities in 2007:
- community: building the community & be active in social activities
- members: continue to drive memberships & inculcate our values amongst our members
- excellence: focus on excellence in our racing events
- alliances: forge alliances
- awareness: create corporate awareness, and wider visibility
Community and members are the lifeblood of my-KART. It is important that this aspect of my-KART is strengthened further. my-KART is a club which serves the members and the wider population of racing enthusiasts. Its success is driven by the members themselves. None of what we have done today could be achieved without you all. All the my-KART activities and the successes gained were purely from member volunteer work and tireless effort. I cannot thank all of you individually here, but you know who you are.
The strength of our club moving forward is a function of the continued contribution from all members in driving the club towards its greater goal of popularising grassroots motorsports. We shall continue to identify and develop programmes to meet the needs of members and enthusiasts. Amongst others, we will need to do the following -
- develop broad areas of interests and benefits for members
- create a specific function for fund raising activities, funding and commercialisation efforts
- develop the K1 series - an affordable nextstep for experienced K2 members
- revisit IC3 and ISCU (Inter School, Colleges and Universities) to expand the appeal of karting
- design coaching programmes & clinics for members
- establish a communications function to generate the visibility and awareness
The Club will have its first Annual General Meeting in April 2007. I would ask all members to participate in the coming AGM and shape the direction of my-KART and amateur karting in Malaysia. Hopefully, one day the country would become a true motorsports nation and participation in motorsports is no longer limited to the elite.