CKN Special Report: Can Briggs & Stratton save Canadian Karting?
Special to CKN
We are just starting the third year of the ‘Briggs era’ in Canadian karting – and this could well be the most important year for Canadian karting in some time.
The dynamics of Canadian karting has changed over the years – and it is open to about 1000 conversations as to why. Clubs have given way to being the entry point, now it’s arrive and drive who bring in the new karters. Clubs have also taken a beating when it comes to club racing – again, a 1000 conversations as to why. Really, the reasons don’t matter as much as what the community as a whole is doing to move forward.
Enter Briggs & Stratton and the L206 program.
This program was correctly aimed at filling the spot of entry and regional competition and let’s be honest – to remove Honda, and its associated problems from the fold.
One of the early problems with the Briggs program was perception. There was the failed World Formula Briggs that just a few years earlier was touted as the next big thing.
Well, it wasn’t.
Briggs had to overcome the World Formula issue and that would mean time and investment – and a great product.
Three years into the L206 program in Canada, and I think we all can agree, the corner has been turned.
Gone – for the most part – are the small packets of ‘Honda resistance’ and the L206 program is now, nationally regarded as the entry level program, but with also regional and National opportunities.
What this means is that karting in Canada is set to grow.
While we still see relatively strong Rotax fields here in Canada, a look at the last ASN Canada FIA National Karting Championships will show the two classes with the most growth – Briggs Junior and Senior.
This is a trend that should continue Nationwide this year and beyond.
The L206 has proven itself as a viable product for this market. It has overcome the World Formula shadow and now confidently stands on its own.
The question now becomes how to move up and coming karters into the Briggs ranks. This is a more complex problem as arrive and drive operators are for profit, not non-profit clubs.
This means they aren’t in any big hurry to give away customers.
However, arrive and drive customers all –at some point – feel the need to go faster, and that drives them into the club/regional ranks.
It’s up to dealers to put these drivers into a Briggs program.
Three years in the product is firmly entrenched in Canadian karting with a great support structure. So, will Briggs L206 save Canadian karting?
My answer is…..it already has.
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