Colin Wright talks to Kartlink about his resignation and the future of British karting
As we reported last night, the ABkC Chairman Colin Wright has resigned, so we talked to him this morning to see what his thinking is.
Colin has been the Chairman since late 2013 and is also the Treasurer at Forest Edge Kart Club. He has raced himself (and did some more at the start of this year) and his son David is also an active racer.
The Association of British kart Clubs was formed in 1990 to be an interface between the drivers and the MSA. It’s composed of MSA-registered clubs, some of whom send elected specialist representatives to Steering Group meetings four times a year with as many club representatives as possible attending the AGM.
“I resigned for a number of reasons,” Colin said. "I wanted to make the organisation more open and to help the smaller clubs, and that hasn’t happened.
"I’ve been thinking about it for six months and I’ve always been open about not being sure whether I’m the right person.
"The smaller clubs are still struggling and the structure isn’t relevant. Committees meeting three or four times a year don’t work and we’ve been doing the same thing for the past 20 years.
"The MSA have gone through their strategic review and are on the karter’s side now, so the sport should be looking positive, but the ABkC has to do the same. There’s a lot of skilled and well-meaning people but it’s not helping to get new people in and it breaks my heart.
"It’s also very difficult when I go racing with my son and we get accused of cheating or being corrupt.
"We have to be realistic about the sport – very few are going to get to F1, but it’s very simple to understand and could be publicised very well. I was working on a TV series which would show karting as it is, and it would have been on a terrestrial channel. The ABkC should be doing this.
"They need to learn and be relevant to all the clubs, and at the smaller clubs the grids aren’t there. The ABkC needs to be championing these clubs. Maybe the MSA needs to allocate more resources and take over a bit, as there needs to be a force to make every club successful. Trying to get things done as a committee is not the right way.
"Outside of MSA karting the sport is healthy, and they are mostly using Blue Book regulations, so karting is doing well but the regulated sector is down. MSA and non-MSA karting need to be aligned and the MSA, ABkC and the NKA [the organisation for leisure karting] need to work together. With the changes at the MSA I’m confident that can happen in the next few years.
"However, the MSA doesn’t look at social media, so people need to email them to get their voices heard. Ultimately they will have to use social media but expecting them to do it yet is a bit early.
“Some clubs are doing well and they need to learn from each other. There’s very few original ideas out there so the clubs that will do best are the ones that plagiarise best and communicate best.”
Colin emphasised that his resignation is nothing to do with anything that happened at the LGM round at Forest Edge at the weekend.
Kartlink asked ABkC Secretary Graham Smith who would chair the association in the mean time and he said “Nigel [Vice-Chairman Nigel Edwards of TVKC] will step up to chair the next meeting, but it is up to the Steering Group on 4th October if they want to appoint Nigel as chairman pro tem until the AGM in December.”
Colin says he is “massively looking forward to getting back to racing”. He’s not planning any changes to his role at Forest Edge but will probably be more active. The club is at present maintaining an entry rate of over 200 drivers at every meeting despite running meetings on the same weekend as one of the other big clubs, Trent Valley Kart Club.
At Forest Edge he says they have just done a mailshot out to 30000 households, and that if they can get just two extra members from that then the costs are covered.
“I’m still very passionate about the sport,” said Colin. “My son David has no interest in going in to cars and I might race some more. I can’t race at Forest Edge as they are too good for me, with 55 entries in Rotax 177. Maybe I will talk to Tim Taylor about a KZ kart.”
Kartlink is also planning to interview other figures in the ABkC and we will publish their official statement when we have it.