I first organised a kart event when I was in Price Waterhouse in 1994.
This was after the height of the Prost vs Senna battle in 1993, and the emergence of one Michael Schumacher. We also had Mansell making a cameo. The racing fever for us started long before Malaysia even dreamt of hosting an F1 race. Then I read about a developer in Templar's Park who had converted a piece of land into a temporary karting circuit. We organised two races there before the track closed down once the developer got his permit to develop that very land.
Since then, my infrequent karting activity stopped for a while, and I soon joined Shell. It was only in 1998 at an impromptu kart race at Batu 3, that I found a karting kaki in the name of Shahrul Azlan. We then attempted to form a karting club within the sports club, but failed to get it off the ground.
Fast forward to 2001, and I took over as sports club chairman and immediately introduced karting, with Shahrul Azlan the chief organiser. The first season was a resounding success with about 20 drivers turning up each event. This was no doubt helped by the greater awareness of motorsports in Malaysia -now that we are an F1 host country. 2002 was another successful year with even more participants from within Shell.
In early 2002, I was aching to having a karting reunion for my former PW buddies. We did one at Mofaz Penchala, and were amongst the first to race there. Off an on, I would organise some informal races with some of my karting buddies. And so did Azlan. By mid year, we were aching to have joint karting event to make it more meaningful as opposed to the usual free style events. We soon saw an opportunity to develop a network of karting buddies outside Shell.
The birth of my-KART
Thus in August 2002, my-KART (independent of any company sports club) was formed from a mailing list which combined our karting buddies. We used Yahoo!Groups as the mailing list to manage our communication and event announcements for amateur karters primarily in Klang Valley.
2003 was our first full season of karting with 9 races in total. In 2003, we ran one category (80cc & funkart) which attracted around 15-20 karters each event. During 2003, we were able to -
- test the interest level
- gauge the level of experience and skill
- learn the requirements in organising kart events for people we generally did not know until the events
- understand the safety issues and how we can manage them develop a core group of karters and develop the relationships
Early in 2004, we organised 4 half-day coaching sessions over a weekend at Sepang. 22 drivers from the group responded and had the opportunity to learn driving techniques on both the Yamaha 100ccs and the Rotax Max Seniors. The feedback from those who participated exceeded all expectations.
It was clear then, that we were on to something with my-KART: there was a strong interest in motorsports that was yet to be tapped. The problem: affordability and accessibility.
Given the increasing interest, we introduced the K2 category for 2004 and raised the performance bar to the 100cc category. Yet, we maintained the low cost entry level. This continues to attract very strong interest till today. For 2009, we are running exclusive K2 rental karts dedicated for the my-KART DRIVERS' series.
In 2008 we started the first full season of K1 races run on rental 125cc Rotax Juniors and on CRG road rebel chassis. The K1 series was a resounding success with drivers becoming more serious about their karting and showing some great skill, competition but yet retain the camaraderie.
We now run three race categories for each event:
- the K3 category for newcomers (rookies) and first-timers to karting - races are on 80cc 2-stroke rental karts.
- the K2 category are for those who have been karting for a while and known to the my-kart community through regular participation in K3 and K2 series - races are on exclusive 100cc 2-stroke rental karts.
- the K1 category are for those who are the core of my-kart and are true regulars of my-kart and have been karting for a while - races are on exclusive Rotax Junior Max 125cc 2-stroke rental karts.
Event participation is accepted through referrals (member introduce member) with very little publicity. All participants are to subscribe to this website. Total website subscribers now stands at close to 1100 people (as at January 2009) which is around 20 times the number at the end of 2003. Each event currently attracts more than 60 karters in total for the K1, K2 and K3 categories.
Organisationally, my-kart operates both as a club "Kelab my-KART Selangor" registered with the National Sports Council and a company "mykart Promotions Sdn Bhd". The club are the main organisers of the member & grassroots events, whilst the company retains ownership of the my-kart intellectual property and commercial rights. Moving forward, we shall be expanding my-KART's awareness to the wider public.
We are currently growing our group of karters in the various categories, whilst encouraging talented karters to move up the ranks to K2 and K1. We are beginning to see some subscribers getting more serious about their karting. There are more opportunities awaiting us, and we believe we are at the forefront.
Happy karting and safe racing!