Reply To: Should we allow front brakes for TAG?

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Most of you won’t read a post that is this windy and I don’t blame you! But I have points to make here. Sorry

I absolutely disagree with Curt and Mike on this.

It is clearly proven in Rotax not to become a “crash fest” or be a performance advantage! Look at the results guy’s, every other position has Ft brakes, does not have Ft brakes, has Ft brakes etc…Where is the advantage? Rotax has their stuff together where safety and consistency is concerned.

Curt / Mike, are you comparing Shifter braking to Tag? I would NEVER mix shifters on the track at the same time, some with brakes and some without, especially in a class like 80cc Shifter which may be the first shifter the pilot has driven. You as fathers of the 80 drivers should have stood someone up on that! There were drivers who ran the front brakes and just took the weight penalty, whats up with that. Plus I seriously doubt any of the 80 guys came across the scales a 400lbs – 430lbs. Hell, I wouldn’t even do that to the Pro Shifter pilots, it would be a recipe for disaster with the best of kart pilots! With a shifter the technique is totally different than Tag, and braking is executed in a straight line and as hard as you can, as late as you can, release, turn in, let the kart set and catch it with power. (point and shoot) I know there are exceptions but for the most part the bias is not adjusted to set the chassis or continued heavy braking after turn in. I can absolutely agree not mixing them in shifter but that’s not what we are talking about.

I’m really disappointed in Tagusa for folding because of internet forum activity (pressure) regarding the decision to let heavy guys (including Tag Masters) have front brakes as an option. They obviously know that there can be a problem or safety issue, 4-strokes got em so did Tag Heavy So did Masters for a day and a half. You would hope they look at the safety part, even if it’s a minority number of racers they are protecting, grow some stones and stick with what is right. For all the praise I’ve given them in the past for tackling a nearly impossible task of creating a level playing field in Tag with so many varying engines. I’ve really lost faith in them.

I’ve laid kinda low on this subject because I would rather just find another class that is safer rather than get flamed or have my kid face the embarrassment of negative big guy comments. Or get the old “you’re trying to get everybody to adapt to your overweight…” And that sucks, and I’ll tell you why. We have been working our way up through the ranks over the past several years. At first, we were shooting for a podium, that was our goal. We started to hit the podium more frequent then our sites shifted to winning every time we are on the track, we are there to win, still haven’t won a shifter race in 2 years (you guy’s got lucky at the last Csc Race, that was ours, then the rain came) We know it’s going to be an accomplishment when we do. We’ll know we’ve outperformed the best that day. That gets me to my point. 2005 Lee and George won the Masters Championship. Who did we want to beat in 2006? And he didn’t race, we wanted him, he was the best, not that they weren’t others that were good, but everyone wants to dethrone the Champ right? We were bummed. Well I’ve had racers calling us wanting to make sure what were running next year. Last year Roman was the best (in that class) and that’s who the cross hairs will be on next year. And we may well not run that class. It would have meant more to beat Lee outright! I’m sure beating Roman for the Championship fair and square next year would have brought the new Champ a great feeling of accomplishment. To be the best you have to beat the best, type thing.

We are not the only ones who have brake problems. And those of you who think I’m just whining, there is a big difference from 380 lbs and 400lbs+ We do not have issues at all with some circuits. But Bandi, The Track, Vegas or any track that has heavy braking zones too close together to allow the stored energy to dissipate between these zones. As Greg mentioned in an earlier post (by the way he runs ft brakes when he can, for safety reasons) our karts are for the most part designed to come across the scales somewhere around the mid 300lbs. (the median Italian driver is a little smaller) I don’t see a slug of weight on most of the Masters karts I see roll across the scales in the Csc. And I think there are a few drivers that may have decided not to run karts next year (Masters) and the brakes may have weighed in that choice.

Roman got is a$$ saved in Vegas at the end of the back straight, lost brakes, thank God he was on someone and he rode them into the corner, thankfully neither of them crashed and Roman offered an apology and explanation after the heat race. The driver finished the heat thinking there was a crazed serial killer behind him. Roman wasn’t the same the rest of the weekend. He wasn’t the only one, one guy lifted his kart onto the stand after scaling and both brake pads fell on the ground (no it wasn’t a Crg product) You know what? there are a lot worse concerns than losing all stopping power and going into something or someone. Sending your kid out there hoping an extremely hot rotor doesn’t explode and tear into the flesh on his back or God forbid penetrate from the bottom of the helmet. Kind of takes the fun out of it for me and my driver. Curt you were standing next to me in Vegas, not that much fun to #1 hope your driver doesn’t get hurt #2 hope he can finish with brakes. If Roman was 130 lbs soaking wet and Matt was a big kid, 200+ and did not have a lot of choices for classes to be competitive in and based on the comments above, I would be standing right behind you lobbying for changes so you would feel comfortable sending Matt out on the track. Couldn’t really say I don’t have a dog in that fight, could I?

We raced in Monaco. We were one of maybe 4 karts without front brakes. You know what? There were some damn good drivers there (Kyle was nearly lapped by the leader and he finished in 7th place!) and definitely the most aggressive drivers I’ve seen in kart racing. And I don’t think there was one instance of differential of brake capability causing an incident. The only time I could see any advantage to front brakes is, very sharp hairpin located at the end of a quite significant straight where you go from a very fast speed to a 20 mph (or so) corner. They are going to be a bit of a disadvantage on a high speed sweeper that requires light braking on entry. Sound familiar a Tag challenge? Some things work better at some tracks and some better at others?

If Tagusa thinks Tag 4-stroke at 400lbs need front brakes (which I totally agree with) and Tag Heavy needs front brakes at a possible 405lbs, Why wouldn’t Tag Masters be allowed to run them? Tag Masters min weight for the Sonik and some others is 430lbs! That’s min. weight! Thats not saying a driver / kart may not be over that! I understand the cost! The cost of my Gp karts was not $1000 more for front brakes! And I’ll bet I could upgrade them if I had to for a lot less than that $1000. (my health insurance has $1000 deductible per year?) And I’m very happy for the racers on Ekn that can get through an entire season on a rear brake only kart on 2-3 sets of pads! Wonder if they are fast or just have really wonderful brakes?

Why did Tagusa decide to make them permitted in Masters in the first place? Safety? What does their retraction do for that? Think I know why they changed it! Shouldn’t they have stuck by their decision? You have high profile people out there slamming the decision to allow front brakes and some are predominantly a Leopard Tag class who over rides the class weights for that engine to 355 and 385! They weren’t mandatory they were permitted or optional. Go back on Ekn a few years ago when all the racers were up in arms about Rotaxs decision to allow front brakes in the name of safety. Many of the same people were very adamant then too.Well… that kind of fizzled out didn’t it? Now the racers who want them run them and the ones don’t, don’t! No advantage and I guess the “big one” never happened. I believe that listening to the racer is a good idea, to a degree. Rotax stuck by there guns in the name of safety and it didn’t ruin their series. At least there is a little fortitude there. (and we have not run a Rotax for 2 seasons and do not currently run in that series) I’m certainly not going to hurt Tagusa (and have not desire too) by not running in a tag class and my feelings aren’t going to change anything. And yes, I’m a little passionate about this! I want to go next year and if there is a new champ in that class, make them earn it. The championship should run through us! Probable isn’t going to happen.

Getting frustrated and giving up on karting isn’t an option, our best friends and the people we enjoy spending time most with, are the competitors and shop / track owners. Plus, my wife still answers the phone “Pit Mom” when I call and she has never won anything. To be voted Pit Mom and Family of the Year by those same people. We would have to be there come hell or high water!

Sorry for another long post but I believe there points that racers aren’t looking at. And yes, I will state my opinion all day long on this subject because I feel it is safety related. It’s kart racing, it’s supposed to be fun but way before that, it should be safe and not just for our kids, everyone. In my opinion, the benefits far out weigh the risks.

Permitted = Yes Add weight = No

Rick