2007 and 2008 - events, shifts, changes and transformations
The world in 2007
2007 tragically closed off in a bloody manner with the assassination of former Pakistan leader Benazir Bhutto. Tragedy continues with various bombings, diseases and natural disasters around the world.
However, 2007 also saw some upsides in the science, technology and medicine - with further progress in stem cell research (using skin, as opposed to embryos), a discovery of a habitable planet (only 41 light years away), the launch of the iPhone, and the Nintendo Wii making waves in the games market.
Nearer to home, 2007 marked Malaysia's 50th birthday. We also saw the first Malaysian in space, and the stock market reach its highest point since the economic crisis in late 90s. On the other hand, concerns about political and racial stabilities continue.
In motorsports, Kimi Raikkonen won his first championship, whilst Lewis Hamilton made a huge debut. Sebastian Loeb continued his world rally dominance and locally, we saw the formation of the Motorsports Association of Malaysia.
my-KART continues to strengthen its purpose
On the back of the major events of the year, my-KART continues to cement its role as the organisation that brings simple fun and excitement of racing to as many people as possible. After all, the world needs some fun and life. I am proud that my-KART does this through tireless volunteer work from many members and non-members. I am also hugely encouraged that all this is achieved through the diversity of its members working as one, and leveraging on each others' strengths.
my-KART is a 2.0 organization that relies heavily on community, sharing and collaboration for the benefit of a bigger society.
I am very happy that many more my-KART members are starting to take on leadership roles in many areas of my-KART's activities by coming up with new programmes and initiatives. This is how we can increase the output from this karting community. Central to this is the fully interactive website at http://my-kart.org/
I am pleased to report that our karting events remain as popular as ever. Our K2 and K3 series continue to attract more people. Other organisations are starting to approach my-KART for properly organised amateur karting events.
The 2 my-KART organisations (club and private limited company) serve the my-KART brand well. Paid members continue to increase as benefits such as event and walk-in discounts prove to be attractive. Moving forward more work needs to be done on the member benefits and I am proud that 2008 shall see our first K1 season proper. We've had long discussions with various parties and members on the subject of developing additional "rungs" on the my-KART racing ladder.
We should be pleased to see members and participants of my-KART events moving on to more serious competition and being successful at it. I do hope that we can see more of this in the future.
Further down south, we see the start of an amateur karting group in Singapore. As always, my-KART would like to encourage more of this happening as the increased participation in karting is important to popularise grassroots motorsports. The future for karting in Malaysia / Singapore looks promising. I believe that my-KART will continue to play a significant role in shaping motorsports in this region.
However critically, my-KART will need to increase its discussions with the motorsports governing bodies (AAM and MAM) in order to ensure that the local motorsports industry continues to grow sustainably.
New faces in the winners circles and new chicken wings
The events in 2007 saw a number of new faces in the winners circle with Suhazlan winning the K3 DRIVERS series on his first attempt beating Syazril Amri in the final round. Nizam Rahman dominated the K2 DRIVERS series, with Iskandar Mohamad and Nazri Ng battling out for the next positions.
2007 also saw the first lady winner in the K3 class when Emmy Diana Abdullah won round 8, beating the likes of Suhazlan and Syazril Amri on merit.
A few mad my-karters who can't get enough of karting took it upon themselves to start informal practice & fun sessions called Chicken Wings. The chicken wings sessions turned out to be incredibly fun sessions with no specific championship objective but purely for the benefit of fellow my-karters who want to improve their skills and simply have fun. Many senior karters have shown to be genuinely willing to share skills with others.
As mentioned earlier, many of the senior / core my-karters have done a lot of work to setup a new K1 series for 2008. I would like to encourage others to also share and collaborate to help expand my-KART's appeal to a wider group of people.
Prospects for 2008 look good
I acknowledge that more will need to be done to increase my-KART's appeal and presence. I anticipate that we will have to focus a lot of effort to launch and refine the new K1 DRIVERS series.
Also I believe we need to start thinking of series for teams and series which could be exciting from a spectator point of view. We previously organised once off Inter Company & Car Club (IC3) events. However, I believe that our marketing and commercial efforts will need to be significantly enhanced in order to build strong visibility and involvement participants outside of the current my-KART participants.
Another potential area for exploration is the Inter Schools, Colleges and Universities competition. Karting is something which should be made accessible to the younger population as many of today's youngsters are brought up with F1 drivers as their heroes. We need to leverage this and give some of them additional opportunities... which is why corporate involvement is crucial.
We will continue to focus on sustaining the (K1, K2 and K3) DRIVERS series and provide a channel for drivers through a feasible progression path.
As mentioned before, my-KART's decisions and directions on events shall continue to be based on the following principles:
- affordable & accessible
- safe & professional
- fun & exciting competition
- sustainable & relevant
In 2008, my-KART shall continue to focus on activities along these lines:
- 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
Repeating what I said before:
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.
This does not change. I really appreciate all the efforts from all of you - whether you know it or not.
Whilst we set out to do a number of initiatives in 2007, we did not manage to complete all of them. So for 2008, we shall continue the following:
- develop broad areas of interests and benefits for members
- create a specific function for fund raising activities, funding and commercialisation efforts
- 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
I would ask all members subscribe to the Club membership and to participate fully (as participant, volunteer and spectator) in all our events 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.
May you all have a Very Happy 2008!