The 60 day junior restrictor evaluation period has concluded. The evaluation was a joint effort between the NKA, Tri-State, Mid-Atlantic, and National Karting League.
Improving safety, the goal of the evaluation, can take many forms. This evaluation focused on the size of the restrictor, but it started a conversation about other areas that need to be improved or clarified. In conjunction with this evaluation, we also reviewed safety gear, additional performance data, class ages, track sizes and preparation, and rough/over-aggressive for many NKA facilities and events. All of these categories contribute to the overall safety of an event.
The conclusions of the evaluation are as follows;
Effective immediately, the restrictors for all Junior classes in those three series will revert to the original plate sizes; JR 3 - Blue, JR 2 - Purple, JR 1 – Green.
For large and/or high grip tracks, we strongly urge the use of the small pipes.
For weekly facilities that changed the plate sizes; if you feel that the change was a positive move for your facility we urge you to continue.
NKA officially recognized class ages are as follows;
JR 3 12-15
JR 2 10-12
JR 1 8-10
Not holding to this defined age criteria for JR racers allows for a wide mix of physical strength, skill, decision making aptitude, and aggressiveness and could easily contribute to any number or types of incidents. It is critical that young racers compete against those of similar age and aptitude.
PERSONAL SAFETY EQUIPMENT
The evaluation concluded that many facilities are not properly enforcing the use of approved helmets. We have created the NKA Helmet Certification Program that supplies NKA approved helmet stickers and instructions on how to evaluate helmets that we will supply free of charge to all NKA events, with many already having taken advantage. Regardless if a facility uses the certification program or not, it is the responsibility of the racer to use an approved helmet at all times during an event.
In many parts of the country a culture has developed that has resulted in a significant amount of rough/aggressive driving, with intentional contact being allowed on a regular basis. Not surprisingly, this is the likely the prime contributor to many incidents involving not just junior drivers, but all drivers.
If safety is truly a concern, we urge all of our facilities, series, and events to take rough driving and intentional contact seriously, and begin utilizing the black flag.
We’d like to personally thank all of the junior drivers and their parents for working with us and the three series during this evaluation. Reducing incidents involving junior drivers continues to be a goal of ours, and we’ll continue the process of evaluating adjustments for the 2017 season. The continuing evaluation will not have any further impact on 2016 events.