History of my-KARTHistory of my-KART
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!
Looking back and moving forward: my-KART's journey continuesLooking 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.
my-KART Launch 16 June 2007 - "Foundations of Motorsport"my-KART Launch 16 June 2007 - "Foundations of Motorsport"
Saturday 16 June 2007
Citykarting Kart Circuit
Shah Alam Stadium
Kelab my-KART Selangor ("my-kart") was officially and publicly launched today with several members of the print and electronic media, with the participation of around 100 amateur karters. The launch event was aimed at creating awareness to inform recreationally active residents of the Klang Valley of the existance of a club that organises high value and low cost year long karting series.
"Shahrul Azlan Ariffin and I started the club because we love the excitement of racing, but did not have the money to venture into competitive karting or circuit racing," enthused club founder and president Fazlur ("Fazz") Rahman.
"With my-kart, now everyone can race," he beemed.
my-kart positions itself as the Foundation of Motorsports by focusing on the casual amateur karting segment. It organises series to help enthusiasts ease into karting and gradually progress upwards by developing skills, particularly in racing conditions.
"Motorsports in Malaysia is a relatively underdeveloped sport. Right now, its participation and appeal is limited to a very elite and select group of people. What we need is a bigger grassroots foundation of enthusiasts, not unlike the people who play football at the local fields on weekends. We need something very affordable and accessible which will popularise grassroots motorsports," Fazz explained.
my-kart organises monthly races for amateurs on an arrive, pay, and drive basis.
"You do not need to commit to buying any karting equipment. Thanks to kart & track operators like Citykarting and Kartquest, we can race on rental karts and not break the bank," Fazz clarified.
"In addition, my-kart emphasises safety and professionalism in everything that it does. We completely believe that safety and professionalism is a state of mind and an attitude that needs to be ingrained in our participants. We spend a lot of time and personal touch to drive this message amongst our participants. That is why you will find that my-kart members have a very strong personal bond with each other. We are racing with trusted people. This is what makes the racing fun and competitive.
my-kart has been organising rental karting events for the casual amateur since 2002. It currently organises a drivers championship series called the KART series. There are currently 3 categories in the KART series today: the K1 category which is run on 125cc karts, the K2 (100cc) and the K3 (80cc) categories. There are 10 events planned for the 2007 KART series. Saturday's event was round 6 of 10.
In addition to the 10 drivers championship events, my-kart also organises a team championship series called the Inter-Company & Car Club championship, or IC3 for short. This series emphasises teamwork, where strategy is more important than individual skill. The IC3 is targeted at company employees, particularly for those companies with brands associated with technology, development and racing, as well as car enthusiasts and car club members. Each team shall race under the company or car brand.
"The IC3 championship is an important series which we believe will widen the appeal of karting to another segment of people who identify themselves to well known brands in the market. The value that these brands can get from IC3 is a linkage to my-kart's ethos of building the foundations of motorsport -the emphasis being on 'foundations'" Fazz informed.
"Karting is the very basic of motorsports, particularly for open wheel or circuit racing. Technique and track experience is possible through karting, whereas it would be more expensive in full fledge circuit racing. It is also the entry level for anybody who wishes to pursue a career in racing. By having more people involved in karting, we create a group of people who start to appreciate motorsports, and indirectly create wider interest and visibility for the sport and industry."
The focus on the casual amateur over the past many years has been a key factor in my-kart's growing popularity. Today it attracts an average of 60 participants per half day event. The key has been low cost, high value with emphasis on safety, professionalism and plain fun racing. Participants do not compete for prizes and the events are currently self funded by participants and unpaid volunteer members.
Moving forward, my-kart aims to expand its appeal, in particular to the student segment by addressing affordability, development and safety aspects through co-operation with the corporate sector.
"Even rental karting is considered an expensive recreation for many, thus limiting local participation. Based on our member feedback we know that there is a high level of interest in karting as a recreation. To some, karting is even a sport of choice. The key is to generate wider and regular publicity for my-kart's activities and in particular the KART and IC3 series. To do this, we seek corporate contribution to help fund the operations cost as we further enhance the safety management and skills development aspects of our events, so that the participation cost to the casual amateur remains low," Fazz stressed.
"In this respect, we would like to thank ING, Shell, TeleVAS, Table Talk and Citykarting Enterprises for the support given for our launch event. Also special thanks goes to His Excellency Lody Embrechts the Ambassador for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The launch has been a great success and we believe that these companies are paving the way for the role of the corporate sector in social and sports-industry development. The value in the motorsports industry is yet to be tapped and there is enormous growth potential here," Fazz stated in closing.
Further information on my-kart can be found at their official website at http://www.my-kart.org/ or Fazz can be contacted at 019-3855 055. One time membership joining fee is only RM10, and annual subscription is RM120. Family members will enjoy preferential membership rates. Members will enjoy various karting benefits as well as special discounts on related purchases.