By Tarquin Bateman.
The Tiger Kart Club, founded in 1958, has a current membership of over 240 licensed drivers and social members aged between 6 and 70 years old. The Club operates two international standard tracks across the Perth metropolitan area, and hosts competitions with racers from around the world.
Formula 1’s Daniel Ricciardo, V8 Supercars racer Garth Tander and actor Heath Ledger are among some of the Club’s famous alumni. This month, we sat down with Tiger Kart Club committee member Troy Stones to talk about the Club’s culture, fostering potential and maintaining engagement with current and past members.
What is the community and culture like at Tiger Kart Club?
Our club is very friendly and welcoming; we have very long-standing members who have been involved for decades along with a steady stream of new members joining us every month. Karting is a uniquely inclusive sport in that females and males all race together in their respective age groups. While it is a very competitive sport, at the end of each race meeting we gather in the club rooms for trophy presentations and a chat to swap war stories of the days racing. We often refer to Karting as a family and that is how it feels.
The affordability, inclusivity and family involvement are really why members join and stay with our club.
How do the skills learned by participating in Clubs like yours prepare younger members for success later on in life?
Karting is one of the rare sports where children are 100% responsible for their actions on the race track. There is no coaching from the sidelines, they make decisions about whether or not they go for a passing move and they’re responsible for the outcome if they don’t pull it off. Our Club also teaches resilience as there’s not a first place for everyone – wins are earned. There is disappointment and hardship to overcome but also massive highs and elation at winning big events. The discipline, resilience, driving skills and life skills learned in our sport help our members in life, school, business – all facets really.
As a leader within your Club, how do you recognise someone who has the potential to be great?
You see so much talent come through our sport in particular and the pathway to motorsport success is a particularly tough one. Young drivers like Daniel Ricciardo or Garth Tander have something special about them, and you know it when you see it. It’s often not only their on-track results that set them apart but the work they put in a way from the race track, along with the way they conduct themselves when the helmet is off.
Daniel visited the Club a few years back, and hosted a junior development program at our Cockburn facility. It was very private from the media, and gave the kids uninterrupted access to Daniel for this day. It was remarkable to have him donate his time to give back to the sport and club.
Garth Tander has also made appearances at Kart meetings from time to time when his schedule has allowed it.
Some of our other successful members have used the skills they learnt at the Club to branch into business, engineering or even to work in professional race teams. We are extremely proud of our alumni, who demonstrate that dreams can come true and who continue to inspire the next generation of ambitious
How can you make sure your club meets the training and development needs of people who have great potential?
A massive ongoing focus of our club is to foster the development of our members to reach their full potential. This actually isn’t limited to drivers – through our base of fantastic volunteers we are also running ongoing training programs for officials who run and organise Karting WA. We are running regular Stewards school, Technical Scrutineer schools and Clerk of Course training. Our officials travel across the state and country to officiate race meetings.
Past members value their early days at Tiger Kart Club, and are happy to give back when they can. We have a life member program filled with people who have remained active and engaged with our club for decades. We draw on the experience of these members to help guide new members into the club and sport.
As a club we are also very fortunate to have some strong partnerships with car racing teams like Arise Racing and Fastlane Racing who help create pathways to future motorsport progression for young WA karters. These programs are a big part of our club community and largely how we make sure our young members are getting the support they need to succeed.
How does Tiger Kart Club engage with the wider community?
Last year the Tiger Kart Club and a large number of its members were involved in the production of the Go Karts movie in association with screen Australia. It stars Richard Roxburgh, Frances O’Connor, Dan Wyllie and a host of local talent.
Many of our young and senior members filled the cast of drivers in the movie. Our tracks are featured in filming and many of members went along to fill extras roles through production.
As a club we also subscribe to the Act Belong Commit model and believe in equality and inclusion of all, we promote the core values of Respect, Trust, Inclusion and Equality.