Younger, but no less brave! Lowering the age in the Junior and Senior categories of non-gearbox karts has changed the landscape in many competitions. The 14-year-old drivers (in the year) rushed to the higher categories, sometimes jostling their elders without ceremony. The goal of the CIK-FIA has in particular been reached in OK where the entries in the upcoming European Championship are particularly numerous: a 100% increase has been recorded at European level. The OK-Junior category remains stable, but a massive renewal of competitors has modified the hierarchy. The same phenomenon is visible, to a lesser degree, in the various brand cups as well as in the national championships which are about to begin.
It should not be concluded that the Junior categories have been weakened by these changes. The situation should settle down as early as next season, once the youngest drivers have incorporated this change, with multiple repercussions, into their programme. Ultimately, 2017 will be a very interesting year of transition in the sport. The inexperience and enthusiasm of the newcomers in Junior (at least 12 years old in the year) nevertheless requires special vigilance from the officials to ensure that the races go smoothly. The presence of detachable spoilers is also welcome to limit incidents, especially during the starts.
This unanimous measure, which has just been adopted in France, will bear even more fruit when newcomers get used to it from their debut in karting onwards. As such, the new French Junior Karting championship is leading the way in this area, as on other points, as a one-make formula in which education in good behaviour is included in the training for young champions.
Although top-level karting is doing quite well, racing at national or regional level has not yet emerged from the recession. Different organisers compete with each other to attract as many competitors as possible, but the entries are not always equal to their efforts. The organisation of round table meetings bringing together all the parties concerned is advocated by certain players in the discipline, to develop lasting solutions to a situation that drags on. However, this will does not yet lead to concrete actions. In our modern societies have we lost the taste for discussion and debate? The fierce defence of self-interest and the stigmatisation of other players involved in the same adventure should have reached its limits, right?