WKA: Pit Board 2008-11-06

WKA's Pit Board presented by AMB i.t. - 11.06.2008 *** Dakota Rings Triple Crown Bell At Charlotte; Lawson Four-Time Champ 11.06.2008 - The season ending drama for the Horstman Gold Cup Series came to a resounding conclusion this past...

WKA's Pit Board presented by AMB i.t. - 11.06.2008

***

Dakota Rings Triple Crown Bell At Charlotte; Lawson Four-Time Champ

11.06.2008 - The season ending drama for the Horstman Gold Cup Series came to a resounding conclusion this past weekend as the 2008 national champions were crowned in the GT Machine Grand Nationals at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

Under absolute perfect weather conditions, the nations best 4 Cycle Sprint Track racers took to the ever-changing 15-turn road course at Charlotte. Coming into the event, some of the tightest points battles involved the Junior categories. When the dust settled on Sunday, Bowling Green, Ohio's Dakota Bell found himself atop the leader board 3 times. But it didn't come easy. Having to fend off the likes of Sam Beasley, Chris Wells, Kaytlyn Fauci, JR Petrella, and a host of others, Bell swept the Digatron Briggs Restricted Junior Lite, Bandit Racing Chassis Briggs Restricted Junior Medium, and Baker Racing Engines Briggs Restricted Junior Heavy classes, thus earning a Triple Crown Championship for 2008.

Not to be outdone, veteran racer Gary Lawson from Mentor, Ohio claimed four wins over the weekend, thus earning four national titles for 2008. Lawson's championship efforts came in the Custom Trophy Briggs Animal Heavy and Margay Racing Products Briggs Animal Super Heavy classes, as well as the Beasley Motorsports Arrow Karts World Formula Medium and Power Products/Super Seat World Formula Heavy classes.

In addition to the championships earned, another young driver stood atop the podium for the first time as young Stephen Brewer Jr from Baltimore, Maryland fended off Connor Brown in an exciting event in the Thor Oil Briggs Junior Sportsman 1 Heavy Class. For Brewer, it was not only his first national event win, but also a Grand National win at Charlotte to boot. Not to be outdone, Brown from Midlothian, Virginia took the Stefancik Motorsports Briggs Junior Sportsman 1 Lite main event. Combining that with his runner-up finish to Brewer, Brown thus earned 2 national titles this year.

Also laying claim to a pair of year-end titles was Jacob Heavlow from Galena, Maryland. After taking second to Jeanette, Pennsylvania's Jacob Donald in the Briggs Junior Sportsman 2 Lite main on Saturday, Heavlow roared back to take the top shelf on the podium in the Bonsignore Kart Shoppe Briggs Junior Sportsman 2 Heavy main event.

The 2008 national champions and many other special honorees will be recognized at the annual awards banquet Saturday morning January 24 as part of KartFest 2009 at the Hickory Metro Convention Center in North Carolina. For more info on KartFest 2009, contact Marie Borsuk at the WKA Office at (704) 455-1606, extension 11.

***

TAG Work Group Responds To New IAME TAG Engine

11.06.2008 -- IAME, manufacturer of the popular Parilla Leopard TAG engine, announced a new TAG engine at a meeting held in Las Vegas on October 13. In response to this announcement, the TAG Work Group met on October 23 to discuss the announcement and create a response to IAME. Following is a copy of the letter sent to Russell Karting Specialties and Italian Motors, importers of the Parilla Leopard engine.

October 28, 2008

Mr. Jim Russell, Jr.
Russell Karting Specialties

Claudio Valiante
Italian Motors

Dear Jim and Claudio:

At the October 13 Las Vegas meeting IAME announced a new TAG engine designed to replace the current Parilla Leopard. The objective of the new IAME TAG engine was reported to be to correct the Leopard's several reliability issues but to do so with no change in performance over the Leopard engine. After announcing the new engine, the major US kart organizations were asked to approve it for use in competition as of January 1, 2009.

To address that request the six major US kart-sanctioning organizations convened a conference call meeting of the TAG Work Group on October 23. This group was formed over three years ago to share information and develop and maintain specifications for TAG engines. Its members include the following organizations and their representatives:

International Kart Federation - John Motley
KART - Bernie Baldus
Stars of Karting - Paul Zalud
SKUSA - John Motley
TAG USA - Marty Casey
World Karting Association - Dan Stowell

The TAG Work Group members conducted a thorough and candid discussion regarding the implications of approving the new IAME TAG engine. As a result of the discussion the group identified two major areas of concern. The first is the request that we approve a completely new engine with less than three months notice. The second is whether a new engine is the best approach to resolving the Leopard's reliability problems at all.

Approving a complete new engine on three months' notice raises several concerns, the first of which is the idea of announcing a new engine in the midst of the current downturn in worldwide economic conditions. It would be ignoring our competitors' investment in their current engines, and the vast majority of these engines are Parilla Leopards. It would also be ignoring the unsold Parilla Leopard engines and parts currently in the distributor and dealer channel, and as a result, it could put undue hardship on our business partners and sponsors.

Second, it would require that each sanctioning organization make an exception to its published process and timetable for new engine approval. In general these processes are open to all engine manufacturers and include an adequate amount of time for engine examination, evaluation, and dyno and track testing. Allowing an exception for one manufacturer to submit a new engine outside of these established procedures would not be fair to the other manufacturers and cast doubt on the integrity of the process.

Third, approving a completely new engine on such short notice would raise questions as to the sanctioning organizations' commitment to a stable class structure and their adherence to their published engine approval procedures. Under currently published procedures some organizations could not consider the engine until the 2010 season, others not until the 2011 season.

As a result of these concerns the members of the TAG Work Group are universal in their unwillingness to approve the new IAME TAG engine for the 2009 season. In addition it is the consensus of the TAG Work Group that a new engine is not the most effective way to address the reliability issues with the Parilla Leopard.

As you know, the Parilla Leopard is the mainstay in our TAG classes. Therefore, it is the TAG Work Group's position that the changes built into the new IAME TAG engine should instead be incorporated into the current Parilla Leopard. None of these changes appear to be performance related, and they could be approved and incorporated into our competitors' engines as needed without waiting for the next engine approval period.

This approach would support the competitors' investment in their existing engines and allow them to upgrade to the new parts as needed and when they could afford them. It would also protect the distributors' and dealers' investment in the engines and parts in their inventories. The sanctioning bodies can approve these upgraded parts during their published approval period rather than waiting for the one to two years necessary to approve a complete new engine.

Please understand that the TAG Work Group and IAME share the same objective: to ensure the continued success of the TAG engine classes. As an example of this commitment, the TAG Work Group discussed the idea of allowing an aftermarket starter that would resolve one of the problems with the Parilla Leopard. The discussion was short and the decision was unanimous. We all continue to support the concept of TAG engines using factory parts, and the aftermarket starter was rejected.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the idea of a replacement engine for the highly successful and popular Parilla Leopard. In summary it is our position is that we strongly prefer that IAME offer non-performance related upgrades to the current Leopard rather than submit an entirely new engine for approval.

This letter represents the collective response of the IKF, KART, Stars of Karting, SKUSA, and WKA. Marty Casey, TAG USA, prefers to submit his response independently.

Sincerely,
    The TAG Work Group

CC: Paul Conde, IAME Export Manager

-credit: wka

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Series Kart
Drivers Chris Wells