The MotoMaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship at Goodwood Kartways was the first major event since ASN Canada introduced the pushback bumper system for all categories.
We kept tabs on the number of penalties being issued throughout the weekend and were actually surprised by the totals.
On Saturday, there were 26 penalties issued for pushback bumpers being activated. Of them, 11 came in Briggs Senior, with seven alone in their Prefinal. This was a little higher than anticipated, but given the tight confines of Goodwood, it wasn’t out of expectation.
There was a significant drop on Sunday, with only 10 penalties being issued, and interestingly, only one all day in Briggs Senior. In fact, all classes saw a drop or were the same on Sunday compared to Saturday.
Thankfully, we saw no drivers getting excluded for trying to push their bumper back out after a race session.
To get an officials point of view from the event, we asked Rob Oakman, the Race Director for the MRFKC, what his thoughts from the weekend were. After monitoring the bumpers at the TRAK club races leading up to the MRFKC, Oakman too was curious to see how the drivers used their bumpers at the first major race of the season when the grids grew a little bigger and more competitive.
“It’s interesting. At the club level, we get very few penalties. I expected a few more at the Ron Fellows race but not the numbers we ended up with. Part of that is people getting used to the new limits. Part of it is drivers pushing too hard.
I think the racing is much better with them. Drivers have to stay back a bit more than they’re used to. Some of them are realizing that they can set up passes because they have given themselves room to get a run. Before they couldn’t because they were pushing the driver ahead and killing their own momentum.
The push back bumper was never going to fully eliminate contact, but it has changed it and is making the racing better.
Some people are complaining about the automatic penalty rule and the exclusion if you touch your bumper before the scales. The way I have explained it to people is to think of it as a wing on an F1 car or a splitter on a sports car. It doesn’t matter how you hit it. Once it’s damaged, it’s damaged.
As the drivers get used to the new bumper the numbers will drop. We have already seen that in the difference in penalties from Saturday to Sunday. I think by the time we reach Hamilton we will see club level numbers.”
The next test in Ontario will be at the Canadian Mini Indy Speedway in Hamilton as the MotoMaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship rolls into town on June 14-16. Drivers looking to get some practice and testing time at Hamilton are reminded about the CKN Dash for Cash at Hamilton on Sunday, June 9.
Pushback Bumper Penalties by category (Saturday/Sunday)
Briggs Cadet – 0/0
Briggs Junior Lite – 4/2
Briggs Junior – 4/3
Briggs Senior – 11/1
Briggs Masters – 1/0
Rok Mini – 1/0
Rok Junior – 1/0
Rok Senior – 4/4
Rok Shifter – 0/0