Northwest championship series evolving for upcoming season with continued focus on customer feedback and increased SKUSA and IAME partnership
Can-Am Karting Challenge promoter Mike Rolison is extremely excited about his series as the 2017 season nears, as the program will evolve significantly heading into the new year. Rolison has spent the last two months on the road attending different karting events with his team, and he’s used that time to study the current landscape of the sport. Running both the SKUSA Pro Tour and the California ProKart Challenge in 2016 and 2017, Rolison has seen the explosion of the IAME program first-hand, winning the PKC X30 Master championship last year. The exploding popularity of the IAME Swift and X30 engines has motivated Mike to add these class to the Can-Am Karting Challenge, replacing the Mini and Micro Max classes with Mini Swift and Micro Swift. The Rotax Max Junior, Senior and Masters classes will remain, as will the popular 206 four-cycle spec program, and the series will again offer a TaG category that will open the door for X30, Rok, X125 and Rotax owners to come play. As part of its growing partnership with Superkarts! USA and IAME USA, the Can-Am will be offering special engine pricing for the Swift to make it extremely easy for existing Mini and Micro drivers to make the switch to the nationally-supported IAME categories.
“The Can-Am program is still very committed to offering the best karting series possible for the Northwest area of North America,” stated Mike Rolison, owner of the Can-Am Karting Challenge. “We find ourselves in a year of change for the sport, and for our program. The one constant is that we provide a fair, professional, safe and fun championship series for racers of all experience and skill levels. I want new racers, club level drivers, and the top regional pilots to be able to come here, watch and compete alongside some of the best racers in North America. The program we have put together for 2017 allows any and everyone to participate at the Can-Am Karting Challenge.”
The 2017 Can-Am class structure is a mixture of age level categories and different powerplants. As already stated, three Rotax Max Challenge categories remain as part of the program – Senior Max, Masters Max and Junior Max. These categories feature some of the best drivers in North America and the Senior and Junior divisions will once again be competing for 2017 Rotax Grand Finals tickets. The international event is set for Portimao, Portugal in November.
The Briggs & Stratton 206 categories have become a major part of the fun and excitement during Can-Am weekends. Four different divisions will race in 2017. Briggs Senior, Masters, and Junior will be joined by a new Cadet class, all utilizing the Briggs & Stratton engine rulebook. The only change this year is that multiple tire brands will be allowed for competition. Evinco Blue, LeCont Red, and MaxOne Green will join the MG Tires Red compound as those allowed for the 2017 Briggs divisions.
The series added a local option TaG race group last year. The motivation for this move was to establish to provide an opportunity for local competitors to race as part of the Can-Am program without having to purchase or rent a different engine. The idea was to allow drivers to pull their kart out of the garage or trailer, and get it back onto the race track. This year’s rule structure is going to mirror the Gearup Challenge F-Series program, featured in the Northeast, that promotes multi-engine TaG competition. TaG Senior, Masters and Junior categories will be available in the same race group with X30, Rok, X125, Leopard and Rotax engines. Shifterkarts remain part of the Can-Am experience, running as always under the Superkarts! USA banner with Stock Honda powerplants.
Staying with the Superkarts! USA structure, the Can-Am Karting Challenge is making the change at the Cadet level, moving from Rotax powerplant to the IAME in the form of Mini Swift and Micro Swift. The same categories found at the SKUSA Pro Tour, along with the ProKart Challenge programs across the United States, will now be featured at the Can-Am. A special IAME Swift engine purchase program for loyal Can-Am racers will be available and pricing will be released next week. In addition, an incredible prize package is set to be announced in the coming days for those competitors in the Mini and Micro Swift categories. The series will also be offering guaranteed SuperSunday starting positions for Mini and Micro Swift, and the Stock Honda classes at the SKUSA SuperNationals, for the Can-Am series champions provided the class meets the average minimum entry numbers.
“We’re thrilled to be growing our association with Mike and the CanAm Karting Challenge,” added Tom Kutscher, SKUSA CEO. “The Mini and Micro Swift classes have been a tremendous addition to our program and when we split TaG Cadet into the two separate classes, the response was overwhelmingly positive. We have a number of SKUSA members from the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada participating in the IAME classes on the Pro Tour, and it’s exciting to see that they’ll have a place to race back home in between the Tour events and the SuperNationals. Mike has a quality race staff and he knows very well how we run our races. It’s great to have the series in the IAME family.”
The 2017 Can-Am Karting Challenge will consist of three race weekends at three distinct facilities. The opening two rounds of the championship series takes racers to the home of the Tri-Cities Kart Club – the Horn Rapids Kart Track – in Richland, Washington on May 19-21. The Can-Am returns to action on July 21-23, heading north to Canada and the famed Greg Moore Raceway in Chilliwack, British Columbia. The season finale hosts the fifth and final round in a championship format over the September 15-17 weekend at the historic Pats Acres Racing Complex in Canby, Oregon.
New-for-2017 will be the closure of practice leading up to the event. Can-Am has worked with the three facilities to close track practice from Monday-Thursday leading up to each of the three events. This was done to help lower the cost for competitors. Also new will be the mandate for pushback nose pieces for 2017. The same system utilized in CIK events and other organizations around the world is set to be implemented at the Can-Am Karting Challenge. More details regarding the system will be announced at a later time.
Registration for the opening rounds of the Can-Am Karting Challenge is set to open on April 18, available along with complete rules, class structure and other information at www.canamkartingchallenge.com. Be sure to find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About: Can-Am Karting Challenge
The Can-Am Karting Challenge is the newest and growing regional racing program, focused around supporting the western coast of North America with drivers and teams coming from Canadian and the United States. The three-event program offers categories of the Rotax Max Challenge, Superkarts! USA along with Briggs & Stratton. This program provides a unique atmosphere, formatted much like a national summer series program.