In motorsport there are a lot of moving parts, and one of the the most important is of course the tires. Over the years we have had to adapt to the ever changing environment when it comes to tires. Whether it was the open tire era of years past, the series that selects the highest bidder for that year, or a series having their own tire, we have adapted.
Over the course of the past decade nearly every tire manufacturer has had some sort of controversy around themselves. Bridgestone was the first kart tire manufacturer to use eco-friendly materials and ran into issues with batch consistency. MOJO, Dunlop, Le Cont, MG, and others have had this same issue at one point. The most recent tire issue in North America surrounds the new Evinco tire, which may be one of the biggest defects we have seen in recent years.
Just before the end of July at the SKUSA SummerNationals in Indiana, we had heard of some issues with the Evinco tire in California, but nothing could be confirmed on any scale. As the racing began in Indiana, more and more blistering tires appeared and we witnessed one blow and delaminate on track in the hands of Tyler Gonzalez in Junior. Word got around that SKUSA and MG were putting the blame on the curbs at the circuit, but many of the west coast teams did not believe it from what they saw the week before at the Los Angeles Karting Club (LAKC) where there are no curbs to run over. At the end of the weekend there were piles of tires in tech and SKUSA did the stand up thing of giving a free set of tires to every competitor for each tire that had an issue.
Since that weekend in Indiana there have not been many races on the Evinco until the August LAKC round. Once again, tires were blistering and delaminating after just a few laps. SKUSA, MG, and LAKC have been doing their research and believe they have found an exact date that the bad tires were made based on their manufacturing codes, although we have seen tire failures that do not match this code.
On Sunday, SKUSA and Evinco put out the following statement:
We would like to officially respond to the cases of Evinco customers who have experienced tire issues at both New Castle Motorsports Park (SummerNationals) and the most recent LAKC club race. We are aware that some drivers experienced uncharacteristic tire wear and/or delamination atypical of the Evinco and MG Product line. First and foremost, we apologize for any inconvenience. We take any customer issue very seriously and are acutely aware of the matter. Regrettably the issue has been traced to a very narrow production window where a suspected raw material may have been contaminated for a small batch of Evinco and MG tires. We aren't the first tire company to have manufacturing issues, and likely not the last. That said, we want to set the example in addressing customer concerns and are prepared to make sure anyone affected is made whole. We wish to assure any driver affected that: A.) The issue is very much on our radar and we have been working feverishly to track down any remaining tires for destruction. B.) Any customer affected will of course be given replacement set(s) free of charge.
Any drivers affected are urged to contact our offices. If you have tires with issues and are planning to race at Santa Maria's PKC event — please bring your damaged tires for a replacement set. If you are not planning on racing, please contact us directly at (951) 491-0330 and we will coordinate a delivery for you.
We thank everyone for their understanding and are committed to a complete resolution to those affected.
You have to give credit to SKUSA who has really stepped up to plate here. They have not tried to cover anything up and are doing everything possible to make things right for everyone. We know they have reached out to many of the big teams and have replaced a lot of their stock in preparation for the upcoming events. This weekend the California ProKart Challenge heads to Santa Maria for the penultimate round of their championship.
The question is how did this even happen? A few experts believe it is most likely from air and or water vapor making its way into the manufacturing process. In all likelihood, there is probably no way for MG to replicate the heat seen in Fontana and New Castle to find these issues prematurely, so any quality control processes they do have would have missed any of these defects. With this weekend’s Pro Kart Challenge California event in Santa Maria it will be the first true test to see if the issues have been resolved.