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Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic

OFF TRACK!

Johnny May competing at Rye House in 1968 driving a Zip/Komet K77. Long before the introduction of plastic bumpers, some drivers resorted to double cowcatchers with similar effects. They were outlawed a year or so later and Dave believes that plastic ones should be, too.
Johnny May competing at Rye House in 1968 driving a Zip/Komet K77. Long before the introduction of plastic bumpers, some drivers resorted to double cowcatchers with similar effects. They were outlawed a year or so later and Dave believes that plastic ones should be, too.

55 years ago, when karting was just starting to get established over in America, Manchester United met Aston Villa in the FA Cup Final at Wembley. Villa mounted their first real attack on United’s goal and Peter McParland body checked the keeper Ray Wood with such ferocity that he knocked him out cold, breaking his cheekbone.

In those days, such brutal tackles were deemed to be perfectly legitimate and didn’t even warrant a word of warning from the referee. Treatment for injured players back then amounted to a bucket of water and the omnipotent “magic sponge”. Wood was roughly hauled into a sitting position so that his goalkeeper’s jersey could be removed and handed to another player. He was then helped off the field before reappearing on the wing 10 minutes or so later, clearly still concussed. After a brief run his legs wobbled so much that he was forced to retreat into the dressing room once more. With no substitutes allowed, however, he was expected to soldier on and came back out in the second half to resume his goalkeeping duties.

That incident wasn’t particularly unusual. In matches up and down the country similar events occurred and football professionals were often forced into early retirement as a result. Soccer players and goalkeepers in particular now receive far more protection from referees. In addition, medical facilities are much improved so that career threatening injuries have been greatly reduced. In motor racing, too, all sorts of safety measures have been incorporated and statistics now show that fatal accidents are very much the exception rather than the rule. 18 years have elapsed since Ayrton Senna became the last person to be killed in an F1 car.

Karting has followed a similar path. Circuits are designed to be much safer and, whereas medical facilities were virtually non-existent in earlier times, they must now be of a high standard at all MSA events. Racing suits that were once optional have become compulsory and crash helmets must meet certain specifications. Competitors are now surrounded by plastic that undoubtedly minimises the impact of any crash. The one area that hasn’t shown any improvement is accident statistics. Back in the sixties it was unusual to see a red flag being produced at any race meeting. During the first 20 years of karting at Rowrah I can think of only two racing incidents that resulted in drivers being admitted to hospital. The story today is rather different, as George Robinson recently pointed out in his “Max” column.

On February 19th the air ambulance was called out to Shenington following a serious accident there. It was required again at Whilton Mill a week later. You could argue that these were isolated incidents but there’s no denying that karting accidents are occurring with greater frequency. Clearly, something has gone wrong and it’s time we started asking why. It’s not a question of speed because, if anything, karts have actually got slower over the last four decades There are also less people competing than ever before, although it’s probably true that many of them tend to race more often. I believe that the big change has been in age and attitude.

45 years ago more than 90% of race entries were in the senior categories. The average competitor was married with children and more than likely involved in an occupation that penalised lengthy absences with loss of earnings. He or she tended to view racing as a weekend leisure pursuit. That situation has been totally reversed today as cadets and Juniors make up the bulk of any racing programme. As anyone in the insurance industry will confirm, this group is statistically more likely to take risks. On top of this comes pressure from the parents, many of whom are probably spending more than they can realistically afford. There’s no doubt, too, that some of these parents view karting as a make or break step along the road to F1.

I also believe that some measures originally intended to reduce injuries have had the opposite effect. I confess to a little bias on this score. I particularly don’t like plastic front bumpers and would argue vehemently with all those who claim that they’ve made the sport safer. What they have done, in my view, is make it easier to run into the kart ahead without fear of incurring injury to your own person. It would take a brave regulator to rule that plastic bumpers should be removed so, unfortunately, it looks as though they’re here to stay.

At one time everyone raced with white numbers on black plates and it wasn’t until 1967 that different colours were allocated to various classes. Some years later it was decided that black plates should be reserved for novice drivers. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I wonder now if this system should be scrapped. Placing “L” Plates on a car makes experienced drivers show more consideration, but the same concept certainly doesn’t apply in racing conditions. Few competitors like being overtaken by a raw novice and many of them show their disquiet by immediately making impossible Iunges in reply. I certainly think that it’s right for inexperienced competitors to start their Heats from the back, but identifying them as targets no longer seems to be such a good idea.

I’m all for making progress, but every now and then it is better achieved by adopting reverse gear.

 

Categories
Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic

OFF TRACK!

Johnny May competing at Rye House in 1968 driving a Zip/Komet K77. Long before the introduction of plastic bumpers, some drivers resorted to double cowcatchers with similar effects. They were outlawed a year or so later and Dave believes that plastic ones should be, too.
Johnny May competing at Rye House in 1968 driving a Zip/Komet K77. Long before the introduction of plastic bumpers, some drivers resorted to double cowcatchers with similar effects. They were outlawed a year or so later and Dave believes that plastic ones should be, too.

55 years ago, when karting was just starting to get established over in America, Manchester United met Aston Villa in the FA Cup Final at Wembley. Villa mounted their first real attack on United’s goal and Peter McParland body checked the keeper Ray Wood with such ferocity that he knocked him out cold, breaking his cheekbone.

In those days, such brutal tackles were deemed to be perfectly legitimate and didn’t even warrant a word of warning from the referee. Treatment for injured players back then amounted to a bucket of water and the omnipotent “magic sponge”. Wood was roughly hauled into a sitting position so that his goalkeeper’s jersey could be removed and handed to another player. He was then helped off the field before reappearing on the wing 10 minutes or so later, clearly still concussed. After a brief run his legs wobbled so much that he was forced to retreat into the dressing room once more. With no substitutes allowed, however, he was expected to soldier on and came back out in the second half to resume his goalkeeping duties.

That incident wasn’t particularly unusual. In matches up and down the country similar events occurred and football professionals were often forced into early retirement as a result. Soccer players and goalkeepers in particular now receive far more protection from referees. In addition, medical facilities are much improved so that career threatening injuries have been greatly reduced. In motor racing, too, all sorts of safety measures have been incorporated and statistics now show that fatal accidents are very much the exception rather than the rule. 18 years have elapsed since Ayrton Senna became the last person to be killed in an F1 car.

Karting has followed a similar path. Circuits are designed to be much safer and, whereas medical facilities were virtually non-existent in earlier times, they must now be of a high standard at all MSA events. Racing suits that were once optional have become compulsory and crash helmets must meet certain specifications. Competitors are now surrounded by plastic that undoubtedly minimises the impact of any crash. The one area that hasn’t shown any improvement is accident statistics. Back in the sixties it was unusual to see a red flag being produced at any race meeting. During the first 20 years of karting at Rowrah I can think of only two racing incidents that resulted in drivers being admitted to hospital. The story today is rather different, as George Robinson recently pointed out in his “Max” column.

On February 19th the air ambulance was called out to Shenington following a serious accident there. It was required again at Whilton Mill a week later. You could argue that these were isolated incidents but there’s no denying that karting accidents are occurring with greater frequency. Clearly, something has gone wrong and it’s time we started asking why. It’s not a question of speed because, if anything, karts have actually got slower over the last four decades There are also less people competing than ever before, although it’s probably true that many of them tend to race more often. I believe that the big change has been in age and attitude.

45 years ago more than 90% of race entries were in the senior categories. The average competitor was married with children and more than likely involved in an occupation that penalised lengthy absences with loss of earnings. He or she tended to view racing as a weekend leisure pursuit. That situation has been totally reversed today as cadets and Juniors make up the bulk of any racing programme. As anyone in the insurance industry will confirm, this group is statistically more likely to take risks. On top of this comes pressure from the parents, many of whom are probably spending more than they can realistically afford. There’s no doubt, too, that some of these parents view karting as a make or break step along the road to F1.

I also believe that some measures originally intended to reduce injuries have had the opposite effect. I confess to a little bias on this score. I particularly don’t like plastic front bumpers and would argue vehemently with all those who claim that they’ve made the sport safer. What they have done, in my view, is make it easier to run into the kart ahead without fear of incurring injury to your own person. It would take a brave regulator to rule that plastic bumpers should be removed so, unfortunately, it looks as though they’re here to stay.

At one time everyone raced with white numbers on black plates and it wasn’t until 1967 that different colours were allocated to various classes. Some years later it was decided that black plates should be reserved for novice drivers. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I wonder now if this system should be scrapped. Placing “L” Plates on a car makes experienced drivers show more consideration, but the same concept certainly doesn’t apply in racing conditions. Few competitors like being overtaken by a raw novice and many of them show their disquiet by immediately making impossible Iunges in reply. I certainly think that it’s right for inexperienced competitors to start their Heats from the back, but identifying them as targets no longer seems to be such a good idea.

I’m all for making progress, but every now and then it is better achieved by adopting reverse gear.

 

Categories
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Finding a balance: ARC & Klaassen Motorsport

Danny Allin testing at PFi Chris Walker
Danny Allin testing at PFi
Chris Walker

By Mary-Ann Horley

One of the UK’s newest kart manufacturers is David Klaassen, who now builds the ARC, with growing success.

2011 was the first year that David thought that the kart was properly balanced and was happy with it. The process had begun when Klaassen Motorsport bought the rights to the ARC name in 2009. He knew manufacturing the kart himself wouldn’t be cost effective so that was to be done by Parolin in Italy. To design the frame he thought through everything he had seen on other karts, and also chopped up an old Tonykart and had the metal analysed. The prototype came back from Italy, and after testing a few changes were needed before the kart went into production.

“What most people don’t realise is that there are 21 grades of chrome moly. I also laid in bed and thought about things I’d seen on karts that work and what doesn’t work,” he said.

There is another model in the traditional TKM two-bearing style that is slightly smaller.

There is also a Rotax kart in development, which they are testing at the moment. “I don’t think it’s a million miles away, there’s a couple of things I’d like to change as I think it needs a bit more rear end in cold weather but we’re pretty happy with the front.”

The ARC had varying levels of success in the past but probably never as consistently as they do now.

The team line-up is the strongest it’s ever been. “Matt Davies is on fire at the moment. He’s very quick, very small, since January he has finished in the top three each time and is a definite contender for Super One,” said David of the junior driver he is working with for the second year.

“Jake Campbell-Mills can also be a contender this year and can definitely push Matty, he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to do. He’s got the lap record at Shenington.”

“Extreme driver Alex Thomas had a good season with us last year, he was a rookie and got number 15 which I think was very good in itself. He’s a very good team member, strongly committed, 110% effort at all times, even when things aren’t going his way. He won the Wigan club championship.”

“Joshua Waring has been loyal for two years, this is his third year, he’s a very consistent driver, also 100% committed and has done a lot of the testing and development over the past year. He was runner-up in both the TKM Festival and the Super One.” Waring’s highlight of the year was winning twice at the Rowrah Super One round and finished the year just behind Joe Porter.

In Shenington’s growing TKM Clubman class, Danny Allin is the club champion, and also racing in the class is Waring’s dad Mark. Danny often beats the conventional TKM Extremes.

There are other drivers receiving team support but working on their own for budget and other reasons.

David’s biggest successes have been in TKM but he says this hasn’t been a concrete plan, “It’s just that good things seem to happen for me in TKM.” After working with drivers like Chaz Small he had run James Bean in TKM Intermediate, winning the Super One Championship, and carried on from there to build up a successful team. When the opportunity arose to buy the rights to manufacture ARC karts, which he had been running drivers on anyway, he took it and took advantage of the loosening of regulations.

Traditionally TKM karts had to be homologated every three years, made in the UK, only have two bearings and have very limited chassis adjustments. But firstly Tal-Ko changed the regulations to allow foreign karts if homologated, and now any kart without homologation, as long as only two bearings are used and none of the torsion bars are removable.

TKM has grown from these changes, as manufacturing karts in the UK was no longer a way to keep costs down as it was when the class was launched. The economies of scale that Parolin, OTK and Intrepid have counteracts transport costs and usually currency fluctuations and the best way to support the British kart industry was to allow new companies like Klaassen Motorsport to come in cost-effectively.

David still works in the family heating systems business and says he gets a huge kick out of beating teams and manufacturers who are able to devote all their time to it. “Competing with the teams who can throw money at it gives me a lot of satisfaction.” He laughed when I asked if he really wanted to be running Klaassen Motorsport full-time and I said I hoped I wouldn’t get him in trouble with his dad! “Yes, there’s always a part of me that would like to do it full-time if I could, that’s normal, it’s just being brave and doing it,” he said.

The hardest thing he says is “always being at the sharp end, doing it week in, week out, and trying to make money in the sport.”

One of their biggest assets is the supportive atmosphere in the team, with no berating of drivers who don’t come up to scratch for some reason. Dave’s second in command is Geoff Allin, who back in the late 1990s and 2000s was the master at getting results on a tiny budget with his son Danny in Junior Yamaha. When you go into the awning the atmosphere is purposeful, busy, but nothing but positive.

But outside the team I wondered if it was difficult to get drivers to try something different in present market conditions but David said “We always struggle with the likes of Tonykart who have a very good reputation, but people are starting to jump on board and break the mould, people are more interested. And it’s cheaper!” At the March TVKC club meeting a very well-respected Extreme driver was racing the ARC and was cautiously optimistic.

Danny Allin demonstrated the kart at PF International for us, his first time driving on the new circuit, which had already been his favourite. David consistently says that what he is looking at with the kart is “balance”. It’s what he says sets the ARC apart from it’s rivals, and that it’s very easy to set up. In the team they don’t tend to change very much between wet and dry and find it very easy to set up. “We’ve done a lot of testing, but a lot of it is down to the tubing I use as I don’t think there’s much between any chassis design,” he said. Danny loved the new circuit and he, David and Geoff demonstrated the user-friendliness of the kart by making small adjustments between the sessions. There weren’t other TKMs at the notoriously variable in speed circuit but they were very happy with the end results.

David’s father is the Uber-Scrutineer Paul Klaasson, who has been known to come into the awning and tell new drivers not to expect any favours from him! Paul’s father Peter is still going strong as a Clerk at Rissington.

Talking about the sport in general, David is optimistic compared to a lot of people: “I quite enjoy my sport to be honest, I did enjoy the old 100cc days but you have to go with the times. The only thing I would like to change is that there’s too many classes, and that’s why at club level we’re not getting the entries at the moment.

Categories
Features Features Features Features Features Features Features Features

Finding a balance: ARC & Klaassen Motorsport

Danny Allin testing at PFi Chris Walker
Danny Allin testing at PFi
Chris Walker

By Mary-Ann Horley

One of the UK’s newest kart manufacturers is David Klaassen, who now builds the ARC, with growing success.

2011 was the first year that David thought that the kart was properly balanced and was happy with it. The process had begun when Klaassen Motorsport bought the rights to the ARC name in 2009. He knew manufacturing the kart himself wouldn’t be cost effective so that was to be done by Parolin in Italy. To design the frame he thought through everything he had seen on other karts, and also chopped up an old Tonykart and had the metal analysed. The prototype came back from Italy, and after testing a few changes were needed before the kart went into production.

“What most people don’t realise is that there are 21 grades of chrome moly. I also laid in bed and thought about things I’d seen on karts that work and what doesn’t work,” he said.

There is another model in the traditional TKM two-bearing style that is slightly smaller.

There is also a Rotax kart in development, which they are testing at the moment. “I don’t think it’s a million miles away, there’s a couple of things I’d like to change as I think it needs a bit more rear end in cold weather but we’re pretty happy with the front.”

The ARC had varying levels of success in the past but probably never as consistently as they do now.

The team line-up is the strongest it’s ever been. “Matt Davies is on fire at the moment. He’s very quick, very small, since January he has finished in the top three each time and is a definite contender for Super One,” said David of the junior driver he is working with for the second year.

“Jake Campbell-Mills can also be a contender this year and can definitely push Matty, he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to do. He’s got the lap record at Shenington.”

“Extreme driver Alex Thomas had a good season with us last year, he was a rookie and got number 15 which I think was very good in itself. He’s a very good team member, strongly committed, 110% effort at all times, even when things aren’t going his way. He won the Wigan club championship.”

“Joshua Waring has been loyal for two years, this is his third year, he’s a very consistent driver, also 100% committed and has done a lot of the testing and development over the past year. He was runner-up in both the TKM Festival and the Super One.” Waring’s highlight of the year was winning twice at the Rowrah Super One round and finished the year just behind Joe Porter.

In Shenington’s growing TKM Clubman class, Danny Allin is the club champion, and also racing in the class is Waring’s dad Mark. Danny often beats the conventional TKM Extremes.

There are other drivers receiving team support but working on their own for budget and other reasons.

David’s biggest successes have been in TKM but he says this hasn’t been a concrete plan, “It’s just that good things seem to happen for me in TKM.” After working with drivers like Chaz Small he had run James Bean in TKM Intermediate, winning the Super One Championship, and carried on from there to build up a successful team. When the opportunity arose to buy the rights to manufacture ARC karts, which he had been running drivers on anyway, he took it and took advantage of the loosening of regulations.

Traditionally TKM karts had to be homologated every three years, made in the UK, only have two bearings and have very limited chassis adjustments. But firstly Tal-Ko changed the regulations to allow foreign karts if homologated, and now any kart without homologation, as long as only two bearings are used and none of the torsion bars are removable.

TKM has grown from these changes, as manufacturing karts in the UK was no longer a way to keep costs down as it was when the class was launched. The economies of scale that Parolin, OTK and Intrepid have counteracts transport costs and usually currency fluctuations and the best way to support the British kart industry was to allow new companies like Klaassen Motorsport to come in cost-effectively.

David still works in the family heating systems business and says he gets a huge kick out of beating teams and manufacturers who are able to devote all their time to it. “Competing with the teams who can throw money at it gives me a lot of satisfaction.” He laughed when I asked if he really wanted to be running Klaassen Motorsport full-time and I said I hoped I wouldn’t get him in trouble with his dad! “Yes, there’s always a part of me that would like to do it full-time if I could, that’s normal, it’s just being brave and doing it,” he said.

The hardest thing he says is “always being at the sharp end, doing it week in, week out, and trying to make money in the sport.”

One of their biggest assets is the supportive atmosphere in the team, with no berating of drivers who don’t come up to scratch for some reason. Dave’s second in command is Geoff Allin, who back in the late 1990s and 2000s was the master at getting results on a tiny budget with his son Danny in Junior Yamaha. When you go into the awning the atmosphere is purposeful, busy, but nothing but positive.

But outside the team I wondered if it was difficult to get drivers to try something different in present market conditions but David said “We always struggle with the likes of Tonykart who have a very good reputation, but people are starting to jump on board and break the mould, people are more interested. And it’s cheaper!” At the March TVKC club meeting a very well-respected Extreme driver was racing the ARC and was cautiously optimistic.

Danny Allin demonstrated the kart at PF International for us, his first time driving on the new circuit, which had already been his favourite. David consistently says that what he is looking at with the kart is “balance”. It’s what he says sets the ARC apart from it’s rivals, and that it’s very easy to set up. In the team they don’t tend to change very much between wet and dry and find it very easy to set up. “We’ve done a lot of testing, but a lot of it is down to the tubing I use as I don’t think there’s much between any chassis design,” he said. Danny loved the new circuit and he, David and Geoff demonstrated the user-friendliness of the kart by making small adjustments between the sessions. There weren’t other TKMs at the notoriously variable in speed circuit but they were very happy with the end results.

David’s father is the Uber-Scrutineer Paul Klaasson, who has been known to come into the awning and tell new drivers not to expect any favours from him! Paul’s father Peter is still going strong as a Clerk at Rissington.

Talking about the sport in general, David is optimistic compared to a lot of people: “I quite enjoy my sport to be honest, I did enjoy the old 100cc days but you have to go with the times. The only thing I would like to change is that there’s too many classes, and that’s why at club level we’re not getting the entries at the moment.

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The TKM Column

It can be harder to get tyres working in conditions like this Chris Walker
It can be harder to get tyres working in conditions like this
Chris Walker

By Sidney Sprocket

If there’s one thing you can guarantee in karting and motor sport in general it is the odd effect winter temperatures can have on tyre performance.

Year after year all sorts of odd results and comments come to light as low temperatures and track conditions play havoc with the carcass of the tyre. Yet strangely they normally seem to go away as the weather gets warmer.

A year or two ago I recall people claiming that there was a 5s a lap difference in the performance of wet tyres. That’s night and day in racing terms and in due course it proved to be a total misconception.

Against this backdrop over the past few weeks just such a set of comments have come to light, concerning in this case Maxxis slick tyres, where some have been claimed to have slightly less performance than normal.

When the comments came from a handful of people Tal-Ko took the situation seriously and immediately instigated some testing to see if there is a problem and if so if it could be identified and understood.

What quite quickly came to light is that in a lot of cases the problem was solved when tyres were properly bedded-in with enough heat to get them working properly.

However there have been just a very few people who appear to have a problem not cured by better bedding-in. On that basis Tal-Ko have sent off to Maxxis a variety of tyres to check for any chemical or other variation between them in an effort to nail any other cause.

It has to be said that over the two decades Maxxis tyres have been used for the class their consistency has been excellent and aside from the very rare faulty moulding there has never been a problem on performance. This is therefore a situation that Maxxis and Tal-Ko Racing company are taking very seriously.

Indeed it could be there is no problem, but everything is being done to cross-check the tyres and ensure total consistency.

So while we await final word on that front let’s look at the effects of temperature – especially low ones – on race tyres. And let’s see how to take appropriate action to solve the problem.

The performance of any race tyre is directly related to two vital things – the nature and grip level of the track and the temperature of the tyre. Finding the sweet spot to optimise performance is the key to racing success.

In the summer when temperatures are reasonably warm we get used to putting on a set of new tyres, blowing them up to about 10psi, and going straight out on the track to get optimum performance within a few laps. It is a no brainer.

But in the winter, when temperatures are low, then things can be very different and it requires potentially a different approach to the use of new tyres. This situation is the same for all tyres whether kart or car race tyres.

Every tyre contains oily releasing agents which are used to assist the tyre in releasing from its mould without any tears or damage. The outside of the tyre feels slightly oily and they are slippery.

In summer when you go out onto the track with new tyres they quickly build heat and evaporate and burn off the outer surface to give the first layer of grippy rubber. This normally takes about three to six laps to complete.

However in winter when temperatures are low it can take far longer to get rid of this oily surface. And with less grip there is then less heat build-up in the tyres and the slower they will bed in. Indeed they might not reach the required temperature at all.

So what to do? It means that when temperatures are low you must plan accordingly. That means more time to get tyres bedded in, and using much harder tyre pressure – say 18 – 20psi – to get some heat build-up in cold weather.

It is also worth looking at other kart settings to make the tyres work harder such as changing to a harder axle, raising the ride height and changing track width settings. The bedding in period can easily be 10 minutes and more. Once you get through the oily top layer and generate some heat then the tyres should work effectively.

Bear in mind too that track surfaces can also have a considerable effect on grip and vary in their reaction to temperature. That affects bedding-in time required. And note cold tyres can sometimes seem to wear out quickly because they are harder and skid across the abrasive surface instead of sticking as they will at lower temps.

So for now make sure you really bed those tyres in at temperature – and when there is more news you’ll be the first to know.

Let’s round off by just saying that it looks as though the TKM Inter-Club champs in the midlands is looking very healthy. This pioneering series racing at Kimbolton, Shenington, Rissington and Whilton Mill has been warmly received with around 40 drivers registered and plenty more following suit.

It is aimed at providing Junior and Senior drivers with a new style of championship aimed at keeping costs right down while providing a good reason to race at a number of circuits.

Categories
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The TKM Column

It can be harder to get tyres working in conditions like this Chris Walker
It can be harder to get tyres working in conditions like this
Chris Walker

By Sidney Sprocket

If there’s one thing you can guarantee in karting and motor sport in general it is the odd effect winter temperatures can have on tyre performance.

Year after year all sorts of odd results and comments come to light as low temperatures and track conditions play havoc with the carcass of the tyre. Yet strangely they normally seem to go away as the weather gets warmer.

A year or two ago I recall people claiming that there was a 5s a lap difference in the performance of wet tyres. That’s night and day in racing terms and in due course it proved to be a total misconception.

Against this backdrop over the past few weeks just such a set of comments have come to light, concerning in this case Maxxis slick tyres, where some have been claimed to have slightly less performance than normal.

When the comments came from a handful of people Tal-Ko took the situation seriously and immediately instigated some testing to see if there is a problem and if so if it could be identified and understood.

What quite quickly came to light is that in a lot of cases the problem was solved when tyres were properly bedded-in with enough heat to get them working properly.

However there have been just a very few people who appear to have a problem not cured by better bedding-in. On that basis Tal-Ko have sent off to Maxxis a variety of tyres to check for any chemical or other variation between them in an effort to nail any other cause.

It has to be said that over the two decades Maxxis tyres have been used for the class their consistency has been excellent and aside from the very rare faulty moulding there has never been a problem on performance. This is therefore a situation that Maxxis and Tal-Ko Racing company are taking very seriously.

Indeed it could be there is no problem, but everything is being done to cross-check the tyres and ensure total consistency.

So while we await final word on that front let’s look at the effects of temperature – especially low ones – on race tyres. And let’s see how to take appropriate action to solve the problem.

The performance of any race tyre is directly related to two vital things – the nature and grip level of the track and the temperature of the tyre. Finding the sweet spot to optimise performance is the key to racing success.

In the summer when temperatures are reasonably warm we get used to putting on a set of new tyres, blowing them up to about 10psi, and going straight out on the track to get optimum performance within a few laps. It is a no brainer.

But in the winter, when temperatures are low, then things can be very different and it requires potentially a different approach to the use of new tyres. This situation is the same for all tyres whether kart or car race tyres.

Every tyre contains oily releasing agents which are used to assist the tyre in releasing from its mould without any tears or damage. The outside of the tyre feels slightly oily and they are slippery.

In summer when you go out onto the track with new tyres they quickly build heat and evaporate and burn off the outer surface to give the first layer of grippy rubber. This normally takes about three to six laps to complete.

However in winter when temperatures are low it can take far longer to get rid of this oily surface. And with less grip there is then less heat build-up in the tyres and the slower they will bed in. Indeed they might not reach the required temperature at all.

So what to do? It means that when temperatures are low you must plan accordingly. That means more time to get tyres bedded in, and using much harder tyre pressure – say 18 – 20psi – to get some heat build-up in cold weather.

It is also worth looking at other kart settings to make the tyres work harder such as changing to a harder axle, raising the ride height and changing track width settings. The bedding in period can easily be 10 minutes and more. Once you get through the oily top layer and generate some heat then the tyres should work effectively.

Bear in mind too that track surfaces can also have a considerable effect on grip and vary in their reaction to temperature. That affects bedding-in time required. And note cold tyres can sometimes seem to wear out quickly because they are harder and skid across the abrasive surface instead of sticking as they will at lower temps.

So for now make sure you really bed those tyres in at temperature – and when there is more news you’ll be the first to know.

Let’s round off by just saying that it looks as though the TKM Inter-Club champs in the midlands is looking very healthy. This pioneering series racing at Kimbolton, Shenington, Rissington and Whilton Mill has been warmly received with around 40 drivers registered and plenty more following suit.

It is aimed at providing Junior and Senior drivers with a new style of championship aimed at keeping costs right down while providing a good reason to race at a number of circuits.

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Junior Insight

 Chris Walker

Chris Walker

By Connor Jupp

I finished the 2011 Season on high seeded 4th in the UK and 3rd in Europe, 2nd in Las Vegas – making my rookie year truly memorable.

However, given these achievements, I have has to re-focus and set myself new bigger challenges ahead for 2012.

In preparation for the Winter Cup I made sure my training through Christmas was maintained to a high level, we managed to get in some much needed track time just after Christmas at the Algarve Kartodromo, by the time we had left I had posted nearly 900 laps in the kart.

I missed a lot of days schooling last year due to my race commitments, I had seen Senna the movie over the festive period, and remembered that his Mum said “Ayrton worked harder on his school work so he could race moreâ” by the way, if you have not seen Senna, go get the DVD, it’s brilliant! I have since adopted this attitude and have posted some good results at School, anyone racing at this level should always remember that education is very important, so those reading this column should take note and work hard!

In recent weeks I have been testing at Lonato in Lake Garda in preparation for the first big event of the year, where the team and I worked hard on several key aspects of my kart’s set up, which resulted in better overall times. We also worked on the driving side and I focused more on consistent lap times, I aimed to be within less than a tenth each lap (aside from overtaking) and made sure that the first three laps on the track were fast.

Testing was fairly difficult in Lonato as we battled with sub-zero temperatures and freezing conditions, the track was unusually fast for the time of year with times being posted well under the 44 second mark. Lonato is a fairly short track compared to Sarno where the lap time is well over 60 second, it has some very difficult in field sections which must be handled properly or you enter the straight very slow.

The smaller rookie lads tend to be fast on the big rapid tracks due to their small frontal mass, but like me last year struggle on the in-field in high grip conditions, anyone entering their first year should concentrate on upper body strength to help them hold on through the tight stuff. The Lonato race signifies the start of the season and this year is totally sold out with 108 entrants in KF3, I never made the Final last year, but I fully intend to do better this year!

[Please put a credit to Total Sport Promotions as we did when we had this in a few months ago]