KFA100cc: taking stock of the situation on the eve of the Nations Cup

Columns: Close Up
Having completed the Calendar of 4 races, which awarded the Champion among Italy’s "100s", D'Antinone, from Monza, it is time to take stock of a season characterized by ups and downs. (F.M)

One thing must be said right away: the 2022 season has not been the year that many expected for the KFA 100cc Championship, at least at the national level, since - instead - for the most representative event of the series, the Nations Cup in Lonato next September 11, registrations are already almost sold out (still few places available, ed.). The factor that has most affected this overview is precisely the issue of participation in the races: the drivers seen at the start were not as many as the trend and the passion that revolves around these means would have led one to think, especially in comparison with some other competitions along the lines of KFA that take place in other countries in Europe.

We talked about it with Augusto D'Antinone who, in addition to winning the title this year - overtaking ex-Pro drivers of the caliber of Sandro Marra - is also a strong supporter of the series evocative of the golden years of Karting.
“It's true, participation this year was lower than expected,” Augusto explains. “The factors that determined this situation are several: one of them is the 'generational turnover'. While it is indeed true that we are less than at the beginning, it is also true that except for a very few, the pool of drivers is completely new. Moreover, 'parallel' competitions such as the Coppa Italia 100 have somewhat divided the pool of participants at the national level, if you go and see there have been some Coppa Italia races with only 1 entrant...and there is finally one thing to be said: as is often the case here in Italy, where the level of karting is extremely high, our series has been taken very, allow me to say, 'seriously'. I mean that having from the very beginning a very high competitive level many people tried their hand with the spirit of a true and proper karting category when in fact, and instead, KFA was established as a project halfway between historical karting and competitive racing. Let me better explain: our drivers are very often no longer very young, they are people with jobs, families, etc. At the moment when precisely due to the very high level of competitions I have to go and train very often, I have to invest a lot of time and resources to be in front as for any other category or one-make currently present in the landscape of competitions; thus, you can understand that it is easy to fall into the reasoning that 'I either run for victory or I stop'.”

Don't you find it at least anomalous that while here this type of racing has been declining (the numbers of 'alternatives' related to the Club circuit - with Federal 100cc regulations - are very low) in some countries of Europe we are seeing a real Boom?
“True, in the UK they have the F100, as well as a category called 100 Super A like the glorious category of the epoch, and they do up to 45-50 entries per race. In France, there is Formule 20000, and in Denmark CKR, and these categories always make a nice number of entrants. This brings out something I mentioned to you earlier, which somewhat characterizes us Italians compared to them: it has to be honestly acknowledged that in those countries there is a more suitable spirit, closer to what was our idea when KFA was born and, in fact, inspired enthusiasts in other countries to create something similar. There is no eagerness there to 'stay ahead,' to 'win or go home.' There is a passion for restoration, which remains the heart of our vision because at the center of it all are the karts and that should be enough to get you then to the track for racing. When you have recovered one of these karts, the joy and the desire to take it to the track are stronger than any other ambition: unfortunately, here we have found that passion has taken a back seat, risking reducing this special category to one among many where whoever spends the most, who trains the most, whoever arrives at the track with the most equipment wins, and I assure you that for us who have been there since the beginning, this is certainly not the spirit we have always promoted.”

What future for the KFA then? Is there an open dialogue with the Federation?
“Certainly. The Federation is thinking about an institutionalized category, although probably the KFA name will be no more: we are interested in the return of that 'easy' atmosphere that we saw in the early days, and that I will tell you, I am beginning to see again. At the last round in Lonato we drivers all had dinner together the night before the race and talked about the paddock; if someone broke something we had someone from the van next door saying "I have an extra part: rather than see you go home, I'll lend it to you." We have strict but fair regulations, in the choice of tracks we know that we cannot please everyone every year but on the other hand, there are only 4 races: inserting new races to expand the track pool would introduce a heaviness to the Trophy that is not in its prerogatives. The tracks chosen in 2022 are circuits that have fully respected the nature of these vehicles and offered beautiful races. The annexation to the Kart Sport Circuit allowed us to keep that paddock atmosphere more accessible and not constricted as regards seats."

Let's talk about weights: these means are often brought up when talking about the weight of modern karts: isn't 150 kg a bit too much?
“Let's say one thing: KFA drivers - and consequently also in Europe, those who race in these means - are all adults with a "modern Western" lifestyle, so people who have put on a few pounds over the years (laughs). 150kg is the right threshold for a man of average build, say 1.75m by 75kg, who practically doesn't put any ballast on the kart, so he ‘doesn't break his back to put it on the track trolley’.”

What's simmering in the pot for 2023?
“ACISPORT has decided to take it over, as mentioned before that the category might change its name and finally unify the competitions with this kart type. The desire to do something beautiful and meaningful with these means is there and we have confidence that the movement will see its expectations fulfilled. On the opening to homologues after 2000, on the other hand, we are adamant: it would open a scenario that would distort the KFA philosophy and would only amplify the phenomenon I was telling you about earlier: a category where people spend a lot of money to stay in front, looking for means and performance that are no longer sustainable for the profile of practitioner who races with KFA.”

One last thing comes to mind: will the available spare parts for these karts ever run out, since some parts are no longer in production?
“Good question: we've thought about it quite a bit, but here again we get into the philosophy of KFA, which is to recover vehicles that have been stopped for years in some garage with patient restoration work. Work that comes first by sourcing parts on the market, often with long and painstaking web searches, even across borders. The karts you see on the track today, and objectively some are wonderful, are the result of hundreds of hours spent working on them: that's why for us the result of the race goes in the background, here the real result, the real victory is to get on the track and have fun as only these karts allow you to do!”

For Nations Cup entries: https://www.kfa100ccseries.com/pre-iscrizione-lonato/

Photocredit: Luca Corberi

Created by: fmarangon - 08/08/22

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