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Clubman Corner The UKC 125cc TaG class

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karting-mag-logo-15And then there were six! I am not talking about sides on a 50 pence piece and I’m not talking about England goals in the World Cup final scored by The Walcott. I am talking about the sixth engine eligible to compete on the Clubman class grid, also known as UKC 125cc TaG, and by the time you read this it is likely to be official.Oh yes, I haven’t said what the engine is. Well, it is already included on the 125 TaG grid in the USA, it is an excellent proven power unit and it sounds really great. It is the Biland!

The 250cc 4-stroke has finally been included in the list of eligible engines.It is expected that the weight will be 168kg but, apart from the need to use Maxxis HG2 slick tyres and WT4 wets, the rest of the Biland regulations and engine fiche will be the same as that for Formula Biland. Therefore a big welcome goes to Saxon Motorsport, the UK’s agents for Biland, who have already stated that they are pleased to support the class.

Official acceptance must be ratified by the MSA but I do not expect that to be a problem, so if any Biland drivers want to race at Forest Edge on the first weekend of each month you can now send in your entries. Don’t forget the class also runs at Rissington under the RAFMSA banner and at Bayford Meadows.As mentioned before, Hoddesdon Kart Club at Rye House would also be happy to receive entries for UKC 125 TaG that can now include the Biland engine. As Yazz said (in her 1988 pop record),the only way is up!

The May meeting at Forest Edge saw a new winner in Clubman with Matthew Parr showing a clean pair of heels to Andrew Kenchington who, after a spirited drive, finished 2nd with Oliver Giardino 3rd. Adam Underhill was in close contention until his throttle cable slipped, drastically reducing his speed.Mark Davis on a Biland was also in close attendance in his first outing under the Clubman banner. It was thought at one point during the weekend that Bruce Pope would have been on the podium until a failure caused his demise. So it was an exciting day’s racing with Parr not only taking 1st place but also winning a set of Maxxis HG2 tyres donated by Harm Schuurman UK.

If you own one of the six engines eligible for UKC 125cc TaG you can either race at one of the circuits mentioned previously or you could pester your club to run the class. To find out more please go to or find me at Forest Edge. Check out for meeting dates.

All smiles from Barker after his success

the race but a moment at the complex late on and he was suddenly down to 8th. Payar t was now alone at the front and by the end had stretched his lead to over eight seconds. Barker’s misfire continued for most of the race but with Bennett’s mishap Barker was promoted into the runner-up position putting him equal on points at the top of the championship table.

Desperately holding on to his top hose, Riley managed to salvage some points, clinging on to take 3rd well clear of Olaf Dau (D) in 4th. Meanwhile Bennett had staged a great recover y as he clawed his way back into the top five.
It was great to see Steve Edwards having his best outing for some time taking 6th.Battling his way through from 14th he bested some serious opposition such as Ogeborn in 7th, Hulme 8th and Kennings in 9th. Another having a great race was German Jörg Bernhard, from 31st on the grid he would complete the top ten finishers.

Of the other Brits, Dave Maxim picked up a trophy for 15th in race 2 while Gar y Parkes, Greg Rober t, Dave Har vey and Bob Hosier all finished. White, Chilcott and Crowe were early retirements, while Dan Clowes and Rob Kerkhoven managed a handful of laps apiece.

Report & photos: Robin Haworth


Race 1
1 Graham Barker – GB, Anderson/Rotax
2 Damien Payar t – F, PVP/FPE
3 Gavin Bennett – GB, Anderson/Rotax
4 John Riley – GB, Anderson/Rotax
5 Mar tin Knauder – D, PVP/Yamaha
6 Michael Sadurski – D, PVP/BRC

Race 2
1 Damien Payar t – F, PVP/FPE
2 Graham Barker – GB, Anderson/Rotax
3 John Riley – GB, Anderson/Rotax
4 Olaf Dau – D, PVP/BRC
5 Gavin Bennett – GB, Anderson/Rotax
6 Steve Edwards – GB, PVP/FPE

Championship standings
(after two rounds out of six)
1= Graham Barker (GB) & Damien Payar t (F) 45 points, 3 John Riley (GB) 29, 4 Gavin Bennett (GB) 27, Per-Olov Ogeborn (S) 16, 6
Olaf Dau (D) 13.

Tech Talk: Kart engine tuning – Part 1

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One of the most interesting and mysterious topics in the kart World is engine tuning. Two stroke-engines are so simple yet have so many parameters to tune and optimize. Performance can change from engine to engine, and from a simple new engine to a tuned one. What is true though is that engine tuning, done of course by keeping engine parameters within values given by technical rules, can give some additional horse power, increase torque, but this will result in 2 to 3 tenth of a second lower lap times. Halves of a second or even greater lap time reduction cannot be determined by the simple tuning of an engine, but is the sum of some other additional parameters like driving capacities and chassis setup (including tire performance).

What kind of tuning?
What is engine tuning, what is there to modify? Well one important aspect is that kart engines, especially the latest homologated ones, have already great performances and are tuned by the engine manufacturer. Finer tuning can be done by the engine tuner, but must be extremely precise in order not do spoil engine performance. Working on different parameters and elements of the engine without the right knowledge of engine functioning and possible tuning tips can only bring to a reduction of performance of the engine. Such reduction will easily be greater then the increase in performance we can generate with the right tuning.
The possible actions on the engine can be focused on some main aspects:

1. Acting on engine geometrical parameters such as: tolerances between piston and cylinder, piston ring gap measurement, phasing, squish height, compression ratio. These parameters can be regulated as indicated by the engine builder to have precise settings and good performance or they can be varied to increase performance (if one knows how to vary them correctly). Most of these parameters will also have to be checked each time a piston is changed or the cylinder is honed, so you will have to learn to deal well with all the phases of basic tuning.

2. Varying some engine components to permit best performance (spark plugs, reed valves, lubricating oil). These elements permit better performance and sometimes also better reliability of the engine.

3. Acting on shapes of the engine as ducts and ports. This action determines irreversible changes to the engine and must be done with extreme care, even more than with all the other tuning actions. Any mistake will damage the engine definitely.

4. Tuning external parameters like exhaust pipe length, transmission ratio, carburetor. The regulation of such parameters is not usually considered tuning, but their importance is so high that really an engine can express all its potential only if all the parameters, these ones included, are perfectly tuned. Also these parameters must be adjusted for example every time we go on a different track. In particular carburetion regulation must be controlled every time we change track, or weather changes, or the weight of the driver changes. Carburetion is probably the main parameter to regulate that sensibly effects both engine performance and reliability.

First step
Since competition kart engines are built to produce extremely high performance, they already are very close to maximum power output as they are when sold by the constructor. Mass production can though generate some small misalignments of geometrical parameters of the engine. The first step is then to measure all the main quotes of the engine. Squish height, piston and cylinder tolerance, phasing (opening and closing of exhaust, inlet and transfer ports), compression ratio and combustion chamber volume.

All engine builders homologate their engine (following the rules of FIA) indicating the basic parameters. These homologation data is present on “Homologation fiches”. The indications on the Homologation fiches are a base from which to start verifying the above indicated parameters. A more precise indication of the values of the engine parameters can be obtained directly by the engine builder or by the dealer that has sold you the engine.

Instruments for parameters check
To examine and measure all the parameters of the engine listed in the first step of engine tuning we have to be equipped with a caliper, a Palmer caliper, a graduated wheel (for measuring of crank-shaft rotation), a comparator for cylinder diameter measurement, thickness measurement plates, a graduated pipe for combustion chamber volume measurement. So find the parameters that are the right ones for your engine and next issue we will start with the first phases of tuning taking each single parameter at the time.

The Max Column: July 2006

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karting-mag-logo-15A very welcome guest to the Warden Law round of the Super 1 was Paulo Mantese from Vega. This was his first visit to a race meeting here in the UK and he has promised it will not be his last. The weather was at least dry for the main part of the weekend even if there was a very cold North-East wind. This meant that the dry tyres that have been the subject of conversation and conjecture of late were in use for the whole of Saturday and Sunday. There were no reported problems with the supplied race tyres.

It was interesting for Mr Mantese to meet a lot of competitors and Team Managers, all in all a very positive visit. The UK is an important market for the tyre companies and an area of the sport that can be very political. Tyres will always be a bone of contention, if only people would realise that there will always be variation in every element of the equipment used for racing. It amazes me that tyres are generally as consistent as they are today and as cheap! Honestly we never had it so good, I can remember paying up to £150 per set and they were scrap after a handful of laps.

If some of the energy expended complaining about the equipment was invested in training the drivers to do a better job, the sport would be so much the richer. Will someone please tell those Juniors that a contact lap is a slow lap! While there was some great racing at Warden Law there was also some very low quality driving, long faces and damage. On a positive note the Club did a great job, the paddock parking was well organised and everyone was cheerful and helpful. I ate two of those pies in the Café and swear that I used more Diesel to get home afterwards.

The Rotax facory have introduced a few changes to various components of the engine. Firstly the clutch assembly receives an improved support plate. The new plate is 1.5mm thick. The clutch shoes have been thinned down by 0.3mm in order to accommodate this. The clutch back-plate remains unchanged dimensionally. The fulcrum pins on the back-plate are slightly changed as well. These measures are to improve reliability of the clutch, the biggest single failure in this area is breakage of the fulcrum pin. These usually have a good life in terms of hours of use but can break spontaneously. The clutch shoe then jams which causes the engine to be locked in gear. There is also a new type thinner support plate for use with existing clutch shoes, this plate is the same thickness as the out-going zinc plated item but is a better material with a phosphate finish to improve reliability.

There is also a small change to the new production cylinder barrels. The sealing area for the exhaust flange is now fully machined. This has been introduced to improve the efficiency of the leak down tests carried out by the factory on assembly.

There is also a new gear cover to be introduced, while the old cover was sand cast the new type is die cast and has several new features. It has a new cast impulse fitting and a separate screw purely for checking the oil level.
Since the introduction of the improvements to the starter motor, I have not heard of any failures of the live carbon brush wire. It is now permitted to put some silicone gasket onto the vulnerable braided copper wire where it is joined to the brass terminal. This reduces the vibration damage almost to nil. It is still worth checking the starter from time to time, but the majority of the old problems have gone away now.

There is definitely renewed interest in the DD2 class, this started life as the RM1. The new enthusiasm comes from the introduction of the engine as a separate unit. Main stream chassis manufacturers are now producing Karts to accept the DD2 engine with its 40mm axle passing through the back of the gearbox. Here in the UK we can soon expect to see Karts from Gillard, CRG, PCR, Birel, Hasse and Arrow taking to the tracks DD2 powered. This may well be the impetus the concept needs to really get it kick started in this country.

Darrell Smith the Rotax official test driver looks set to get back into competition with a well-sorted team for the 24hr at Le Mans. The Rotax factory are not calling this a works team but they are passively supportive of the project. The Max engine is really ideal for this type of racing, its reliability and ease of use are now really closing the gap to the more powerful Formula A engines. The grid at the 24hr this year will number 40 and at least half of those are expected to be Rotax Max powered. There will probably be about ten or a dozen full blown Formula A teams and the rest will be made up of the other 125 TaG engines, like Leopard, Sonik, IAME X30 and the occasional Biland. Darrell has the support of Arrow Karts from Australia and will be running under the British umbrella that includes a couple of other teams. All three will be Rotax powered, they will complete in the region of 100 hours running between them. The idea this year is to take the fight to the established 100cc teams with our Rotaxes. For the first time ever I actually believe it is now possible to beat them, what a great feeling that would be!

There is now a lot of non MSA racing taking place aside from practice and just leisure Karting. In a recent survey it proved that about 35% of all Max engines sold to date are being used for MSA racing.
This means that the Leisure and “Fun racers” are an important element of after market business. The question is how best to serve them.While the best of the MSA drivers racing at British Championship level believe that an engine should be fully rebuilt at 15-20 hours, there is a significant number of leisure Karters who are regularly running their engines for 60 hours with no ill effects.

I cannot recommend this however these guys are out there proving it can be done. Interesting that the main “bone of contention” at the moment is that the best of the engine builders are in fact prematurely ageing some of the friction components inside the engine.

The Rotax Factory are looking at a flat rate schedule just as those used in the garage trade. This would mean that a customer could work out, with some accuracy, the potential cost of any repair or servicing operation. The flat rate schedule would not detail labour charges, however it should be possible to ask the dealer for their individual charges. I believe it would also be advantageous to have the parts list published in this magazine from time to time with the list prices alongside. These measures would help to ensure a level playing field for all customers. I hope that some progress will be made on this subject in the very near future.

A sad footnote to the weekend at Warden Law, I heard that Tony Cruttenden’s Parrot had died.

Track Guide: Cadwell Park

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As you approach this uphill left-hander at approximately 110mph you should have grabbed 6th gear where the short circuit comes in from the right hand side. Keep to the right hand side of the track and start to turn in between the service road and the marshals post. Aim for
a late apex holding 6th gear and allow the camber to take you through the corner. On the exit let the kart drift to the middle of circuit before pulling back to the left.


After climbing away from Coppice you come down one gear to 5th as you aim for the first apex and then let the kart run out to the left hand side of the track as you reach the blind brow of the hill. As the track starts to drop downhill make a gradual turn trying not to scrub off
any speed. Ignore the first kerb and aim for the second kerb as your apex of the corner and grab 6th gear. Use all of the track on the exit but keep off the kerb as this could compromise your speed along Park Straight. Hold 6th gear down through the dip on Park Straight. As the track
rises keep to the left hand side as there is a slight curve.


As you crest the rise and onto the flat you can see Park corner in the distance. The approach is at approximately 112mph pulling 3,900rpm. It’s hard on the brakes and down two gears to 4th. Hug the inside kerb and let the kart run out on the exit. The corner is slightly
cambered but keep off the exit kerb as it can suck you off the track as the circuit levels out. I grab 5th gear after the exit kerb as there is a bit of a dip on the circuit.

Chris Curve

This is a seemingly never-ending right hand curve. I stay tight for the first part and once past the marshals post let the kart run out to the left. Grab 6th gear and continue to hold the outside line all the way round the curve. This is essential to set you up for the next sequence.


This corner has a difficult approach. You need to keep to the outside of the circuit for as long as possible. Come down one gear to 5th and aim for the last part of the kerb on the right hand side. If you apex too early you are on the wrong line for the next part of the corner. As you reach the kerb on the right hand side the track starts to fall away to the left and you need to throw the kart in and use the camber. The exit is blind and you need to be careful not to run over the kerb on the right hand side. The track drops steeply downhill and I grab 6th gear.


There is a steep drop down to this corner and you need to brake hard and come down two gears to 4th. For those that miss their braking point there is a service road that can be used.
Keep the kart to the right hand side all the way down the hill as the turn in to Mansfield is very late, although be wary of a possible block pass up the inside. I square off the corner and take a late apex. Let the kart run out on the exit and grab 5th gear and then into 6th pulling 3,800rpm.
The track then curves slightly round to the left but don’t be tempted to take what would be the shortest route as there is a nasty bump on the inside. The best line is in the middle of the track.

The Mountain

This section has two parts to it. Brake hard on the approach to the left hand lower part and come down three gears to 3rd. You can throw the kart into the apex of the corner as it is banked and then goes uphill. Make sure that you keep to the left hand side of the track on the exit. The next right-hander comes up very quickly and you need to be aggressive on the turn-in.
Apex cleanly, stay in 3rd gear and keep the power on up the very steep climb. Don’t run out past the middle of the circuit as the track curves slightly and you could find yourself on the grass.Stay in 3rd gear approaching the crest and the kart takes off. I then grab 4th gear and accelerate hard as the kart lands.

Hall Bends

I grab 5th gear as I go past the paddock and then back to 4th on the first right hand apex. Just clip the kerb and keep to the right hand side before flicking the kart into the next left.

The track is nicely cambered so it helps you through the corner. Then switch to the right hand side of the track and let the kart run out a bit to the left as you go over the crest with the circuit turning left. This can be a difficult sequence of corners. If you get the first part wrong you are
compromised all the way through. I hold 4th gear all the way through Hall Bends.


The hairpin arrives at you very quickly after you have gone over the left-handed crest after Hall Bends. Brake hard and come down to 2nd gear. Take a late apex except on the final lap when you may need to defend your position. The track drops steeply at the apex so don’t cut it too tight as it could throw you out on the exit. Grab 3rd gear on the exit and accelerate away as the track starts to drop.


I grab 4th gear before the corner as the track continues to drop slightly. I take a slight lift as I go into the corner to settle the kart and turn in using the inside kerb. The exit is off camber but you need to be committed and grab 5th gear as the corner opens out to give you maximum
speed for the next straight. The track continues to drop and as it levels out grab 6th gear as you cross the finish line to record a time of 1m 30.64s at an average speed of 86.31mph.

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Track Guide: Castle Combe

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I have just changed up to 5th gear across the start and finish line to gain as much speed as possible. This sets you up for the approach to Folly and the fastest part of the track. The right hand kink does not create any difficulties to the engine or the steering and there is little adjustment to be made. Keeping the kart at a consistent, fast speed is the best way to approach it. Maintain your speed as the track drops slightly on the exit but don’t let the kart drift out too much to the left.

Avon Rise

The approach is slightly uphill with the brow right on the apex of the corner and itis a bit bumpy. With the kart towards the right hand side of the circuit, turn in to the apex on the brow and keep the kart to the left of the track. This is important to create a good line and set you up in time for your entry to the next corner while maintaining good pace.

Quarry Corner

Keeping the kart as square to the track as possible will optimise the braking potential. There are multiple lines taken through this corner but ideally you should brake in a straight line and come down two gears to 3rd. Turn in appears to be a bit late and you should aim for the apex. If you are defending, you may need to position the kart more to the right on the approach but this will compromise your apex point. Use the majority of the track as you exit the corner and grab 4th gear.

The Esses

Keep the kart in 4th gear as you head down Farm Straight and position the kart to the left of the track. The positioning of the kart will open up for the first part of the chicane. Try to take as much of the kerb as possible when turning into the right. As you approach the turn to the left, come down to 3rd gear and move on to the power. Take the kerb as early as possible, taking a wide line which will help to maintain as much speed as possible. Use most of the track on the exit and as you come out of the chicane, change up into 4th gear.

Old Paddock Bend

Move the kart across to the middle of the track on the approach to Old Paddock and change up to 5th gear. Follow this up by easing the kart into the corner. As long as you have a good line the corner can be taken flat out, however it can be bumpy and uneven so the course that you follow should be plotted carefully to reduce risk of injury or damage to the kart. Plan your route so as to make sure for the best run down the Hammerdown Straight.

Tower Corner

The Hammerdown Straight has a slight left hand kink in it and you should ensure that you don’t drift out otherwise this will compromise the entry to Tower. The approach is slightly downhill for this difficult and tricky off-camber corner. Brake and change down two gears to 3rd and take a late apex. Be patient with the throttle due to the kerb on the exit – it is not forgiving and can drag you off the track. Accelerate after this and change up to 4th gear as the circuit starts to rise. Bobbies Keep to the left of the track on the approach and change down to 3rd gear.

Lower the speed as much as possible and, as you enter the right hand bend, hit a late apex. The braking into the right hand bend is difficult. This is due to the track dipping in level and the kart being unable to maintain grip. Approaching in a lower speed will help to avoid this. Out of the left hand dip the track begins to rise and widen out. Use as much of the track on the exit as possible in order to maximise acceleration.

Acceleration will be difficult out of the corner due to the rise in track and a touch of oversteer. There is a big, smooth kerb on the right hand side of the track and this can be used. Hug the kerb on the way out using as much speed and throttle as possible and grab 4th gear. Westway Accelerate as hard as possible up to 5th gear and maintain the speed through Westway. It’s not really a corner and is straightlined allowing you to maintain the speed of the kart.

Camp Corner

Position the kart to the left of the track along Dean Straight as this will help to set you up for the final corner of the track. If the kart is well set up and balanced on the approach you can afford to take a small lift off the throttle or downchange to 4th gear for a decrease in speed. Halfway around the corner there is slight unevenness in the tarmac which can be felt as a bump in the track. This will unsettle the kart and could affect speed and throw the kart off its line. The best way to handle this is to be prepared for the bump and continue through it at pace. Let the kart run out on the exit and change up to 5th gear as soon as possible and gain as much speed as available to cross the Finish line in a time of 1m 7.666s, a speed of 98.42mph.

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Track Guide: Lonato

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The South Garda kart track was built in 1988 by Geometri Corberi and is situated near Lonato, east of Milan in Northern Italy.With a length of 1010m and a width of 9m, the track which is CIK FIA homologated, every year plays host to many International competitions – such as the Winter Cup and in past seasons, the European and World Championships.

The Lap

“As you cross the Start line, you’ll be flat out on the throttle. Position your kart to the right hand side of the circuit but leave a gap of about one foot from the yellow line. It’s not necessary to brush along the grass as the first turn is just a gentle left hander. Keeping on the gas and bouncing off the limiter, gently turn left, clipping the apex and position yourself in the centre of the track as the track raises ready for the flat out right hander which is turn two. Be very careful not to drift too far left after Turn 1 thinking you’ll have a better line for Turn 2. During a race weekend, bits of rubber from the tyres congregate off the racing line and during the dry, these bits of rubber act like ‘marbles’ and if you wander onto these bits of rubber, you will lose complete grip and be sent flying off the circuit.

Turns 2 & 3

is a double right hander that although daunting, you don’t lift and you take them flat out. It can be quite bumpy so keeping the kart tight and on the perfect line as well as smoothness on the steering wheel is of paramount importance. Otherwise, your kart will hop or you’ll just end up developing oversteer which will cost you time. Although on the track map it as classed as two corners you just take it as one big one. Exiting Turn 3 and there’s a short straight which you allow the kart to drift over fully to the left hand side of the track using the momentum from Turn 3.

Turn 4 & 5

These are extremely important. Approaching Turn 4, you keep your foot hard on the gas and as you turn in, ease off the accelerator carrying fast speed into the corner. Good strong arms and upper body strength is required here as the more speed you take into Turn 4, more the energy is transferred from the steering wheel and into you. It’s important to load up the kart on the approach to Turn 5 for a quick lap. The more speed you take into 4 the better the load will be. Allow the kart to drift left as you take the natural racing line but try not to use too much brake. Simply turn the steering and get that inside wheel to lift to help spin you around corner 5. Good loading is very important on this corner as the exit begins to go uphill and any bogging down really does hurt the lap time.

Turn 6

As you exit Turn 5 there’s a short straight that goes uphill with a tiny left kink leading towards a difficult left hander that is, Turn 6.This turn is probably the hardest turn to get right because its tight. However, with the amount of rubber that gets laid down, it’s possible to take a lot of speed through this turn. So as you can imagine, get it right and you’re on the time, get it wrong and it can cost you three tenths to half a second easy. So for the corner on entry, you go slightly wider than the middle of the track. As you approach the corner you come off the gas rolling with a good amount of speed in and allowing the rear wheel to come up and then get back on the gas just before the corner to give you a good exit! But you must keep to the left to get yourself ready for the next few corners ahead. As you exit the corner there is a bit of a straight with a very gentle right hander which leads you past the mechanics on your approach the first hairpin (Turn 7) that’s a left turn.

Turn 7

The approach to the first hairpin is quite difficult under braking as there is a small bump and big drop downhill. This is the notorious place that overtaking gets accomplished. Due to the nature of the hairpin, a lot of speed can be carried through the turn which encourages drivers to outbreak each other. For a flying lap, approach on full throttle then snap on the brakes and load the kart up to lift the inside wheel to prevent bogging but still carrying a good amount of speed and to ease you through the tight complex of the first two hairpins. You can apex a little later than the middle of the corner but- be careful not to run too wide.

Turn 8

Try to keep at very worst to the centre of the track and bring it back a little to the left for the immediate right handed hairpin . Smoothness is key especially as your speed is fairly slow and any form of sliding or hopping will destroy your lap time. Important still is the exit of the second hairpin which is a fairly sized straight, so the exit of the second hairpin is fundamental compared to entry. Top tip, don’t enter too fast and focus on the exit!

Turn 9, 10 and 11

Now flat out down the short straight into a series of hairpins which lead to the final corner. The first hairpin (Turn 9) isn’t the hardest one of the three as it’s a fairly simple, just like the ones at PFi. The only difference is that you must apex a little later to prepare yourself for the second of the three hairpins. Upon the exit of Turn 10 bring the kart to the far right hand side for the left hand hairpin, which again is similar to the second hairpin at PFi only you have to apex a little later around the corner to come over to the right for the final hairpin (Turn 11) and the final corner of the lap. During a racing situation, be careful at this point. If someone lunges down your inside, there’s nowhere for you to go and you’ll be severely compromised which will have a knock on effect to the final turn.

Turn 12

As you exit the left hand hairpin, pull the kart to the very far left hand side for the final corner which is a right handed hairpin. This is one of the most important corners of the circuit as your exit speed will determine your top end speed along the start straight. As with the previous hairpin, be careful that no one tries to overtake you because, if they do it will compromise your speed all the way down the straight and can put you under pressure from other drivers. The good thing with the final turn is that should someone make a lunge, if you can hang on around the outside and keep your foot down, you’ll have the inside line for the first corner and you should be able to keep the position. Under normal circumstances, apex late and allow the kart to run wide maximising the track and get ready to start another lap of this brilliant circuit.

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Track Guide: Blackbushe

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Start/Finish Straight
Whilst the 125m start/finish straight is driven as a straight line, the original circuit construction was completed with meandering circuit edges. 40m before the first corner there is a slight right hand kink in the straight, which drivers often cut to create a ‘straight line’ braking zone into Turn 1. This driving line can prevent opponents from pulling alongside and overtaking on the inside into the first corner.

Turn 1 & 2 – Bennetts & Wish Bend
Bennetts and Wish Bend can be tackled as a double apex corner in order to maximise speed through this sequence. Start with a hard dab on the brakes after the long straight which is key to a clean and early apex into Bennetts, before aiming to place the right hand front tyre as close as possible to the inside kerb. On clipping the apex, gently release the steering lock and let the kart run out to the left hand edge of the circuit, pointing the kart towards the end of the exit kerb on the left hand side of the circuit.

It is tempting to turn in early to Turn 2, Wish Bend. Instead, keep the kart out wide for slightly longer than feels natural and lift off the throttle on turn-in, getting back on the power as the front right hand tyre clips the last few teeth of the apex kerb. The circuit naturally rises through Wish Bend, which momentarily unweights the kart, as well as making the late apex difficult to sight, so this is possibly one of the trickiest corners to master at Blackbushe.

On the exit of Wish Bend, position the kart so that it runs three quarters of the way across the circuit, rather than attempting to use the full circuit width, straightening the kart so it is well positioned for entry into the next sequence of the circuit.

Turn 3 & 4 – The Esses
There really is little rest around Blackbushe; Immediately after navigating through the first set of corners, it is time to concentrate on the Esses.

On entry to the Esses, place the kart in the middle of the circuit on a constant three quarter throttle and maintain a consistent distance from the left hand track edge as the circuit begins to gently curve left. As the corner tightens further to the left, briefly apply slightly more steering to ‘jack the kart’ into the turn, aiming towards the white line located at the end of the apex kerb. Once the kart is positioned correctly, unwind the steering and apply full power so the kart effectively drives in a straight line into the Esses. Some of the left-hand kerb can be used on approach to the apex but drivers should be wary of unsettling the kart.

This driving line will position the kart in preparation to quickly change direction and hit the second right hand apex of the Esses. With a slight lift off the throttle, place the kart so that the right wheels clip the last part of the apex kerb immediately applying full power after the apex. Since the kerb here is situated in the ‘middle of the track’ (it delineates the divide from the direct drive and gearbox permutations), it is tempting to cut more of the kerb, but this can lead to running wide on the exit or, worse, spinning.

On exit from the Esses, maintain full throttle and let the kart run out to the last part of the exit kerb on the left hand side of the circuit as the track begins to gently slope downhill.

Turn 5 & 6 – Cooper Curve & Top Pit Bend
Turn 5 is a flat out 150 degree left hand kink in the track. The optimum line requires the driver to take a late apex through the kink, positioning the kart in a straight line and running parallel to the left hand edge of the track on the exit. For a quick driver exiting the Esses, it is possible to pull alongside a slower driver on the outside around Cooper Curve and set up an over-take on the inside into Turn 6. However, this may compromise exit speed onto the following straight so some thought is required as to your race tactics before making a ‘lunge’.

After Cooper Curve, the track continues to drop downhill into a 20m straight before a fast entry into the 73 degree, off camber, right hander called Top Pit Bend, which could be likened to a less extreme version of Paddock Hill Bend at Brands Hatch. A conventional racing line can be driven through this downhill corner, with a dab of the brake and a slight lift off the throttle required on entry to point the kart into the corner. Position the wheels as close as possible to the apex and exit kerbs without actually hitting them and take care not to run wide on the exit since the kart will straddle the kerb and is likely to result in the loss of a race position.

On the exit of Top Pit Bend, the circuit straightens for 50m along ‘Pit Straight’. Maintain full throttle and keep the kart on the left hand side of the circuit along this section of straight, driving parallel to the kerb on the left hand side of the track. There is a small compression before the track rises slightly uphill towards Turn 7.

Turn 7 – Pit Bend
Pit Bend is a fast entry right handed corner, which leads into the final Chicane. The turn-in point should be at the transition from asphalt to grass on the left hand side of the track and definitely after the compression to avoid getting the kart ‘out of shape’ on corner entry.

As the kart turns in, lift off the throttle and then gently reapply the power through the corner to balance the kart through the long right hander and into the entry of the chicane, taking care not to ‘overdrive’ the corner or run wide. Some drivers prefer to take a fast entry into the corner which can result in running wide through the corner. However, a driver maintaining a tighter inside line through this long right hander can sometimes sneak past a driver ahead creating a potential overtaking opportunity for the thoughtful racers.

Turn 8 – The Chicane
The Chicane is the final corner sequence around the lap and arguably the most important corner to master a smooth line and optimise gearing since it leads onto the long start/finish straight.

A good exit from Pit Bend should ideally allow a short burst on the throttle and a straight line entry into The Chicane complex, before braking for the left hander of the chicane. Maintaining control of the kart under braking here is important, so the driver can get on the throttle as early as possible and power through the chicane as the steering lock unwinds. On exit of the chicane, use some of the kerb on the right hand side of the circuit and then let the kart naturally run out to the far left on re-entering the start finish straight to maximise top speed as the lap is completed. A clean exit from the Chicane could provide an opportunity to overtake onto the straight and possibly take that all important position on the final lap!

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