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Circuit Guide: Teesside Autodrome

Teesside Circuit Layout

Located East of Middlesbrough and just off the A66, The fully-floodlit circuit is open 5 days a week for KartingThe circuit is one of the longest in the UK, with the full length 2.1km International layout being used predominantly for car and bike racing as well as drift events for the more outlandish drivers. The shorter, 1300m-long National circuit is the most popular for Karting events and is outlined in the track guide below.

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Turns 1-5

The track starts with a long straight running down to the first corner, a long sweeping right-hander that can be taken flat out. As soon as you have exited the long, wide first turn, you have little time to straighten up the steering before another flat out sequence of corners, which are usually taken single-file, unless lots of racing room is given. The circuit takes a slight turn to the right before a right/left double S-bend, which can be completely straight-lined flat out.

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Turns 6-10

Upon exit, the next turn is a left-hand hairpin, one of the two main braking points. It requires heavy braking as you are likely to be travelling at about 75mph at this point. A traditional outside line is favourable upon entry, but stay away from the kerbs! Overtaking can happen here, especially on lap 1. This hairpin is immediately followed by a right-hand hairpin, so you will need to quickly cross back over to the left side of the track to get the best entrance and exit from this important corner. Braking is unnecessary for the right-hand hairpin, as you are travelling much slower on entry. A little speed may need to be scrubbed through the turn if you turn in too early here, so try and turn in late to get a good run down the following straight. If the chicane is in play, stick to the left of the track on the approach. There’s not enough room for racing through here so it’s important to give each other room. Apex the first right-hander with a slight lift, sticking to the inside curb as best you can for a late turn in to the left-hander. This will allow you to straight line the final right-hander as you get the power on for the sweeping, banked right turn just ahead.

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Turns 11-15

The long, banked right turn at the bottom of the track is a very wide flat out corner. Sticking tight to the inside before straightening up the steering for the second braking point on the track, another right-hand hairpin, is the best choice of line. There is a lot of grip available here for late braking. Stay off the apex kerbs to avoid unsettling the kart. As the right-hand hairpin is immediately followed by a left-hand hairpin, you will need to quickly cross-over to the right side of the track to get the best entrance and exit to arguably the most important turn at Teesside.

Braking is unnecessary again here. Just scrub a little speed on entry with the steering or a small lift of the throttle, then get back on the power early to carry as much speed as possible through to the exit. It leads onto a long flat out section all the way back to turn 1, with a small left and right kink. The best line is to smoothly clip both apexes before coming back on to the start/finish straight.

Hints and Tips

This circuit will favour those who have a smooth driving style, as most of the corners are taken at high speed. There are only 2 proper braking points on the whole track, so maintaining your momentum and keeping the revs up is crucial to a fast lap around here. If you can achieve this, then you will give yourself the best opportunity to overtake. Good exit speed out of the final hairpin will give you a good run and the chance to dive up the inside of your opponent at turn 1. Likewise, the two hairpins in the infield are equally a possibility if you’ve had a particularly clean run through the double S-bend. The banked right hander opens up to the best overtaking opportunity on the track so make sure you get on the power early out of the previous chicane. This track requires a very good top end; hence any underpowered karts will be heavily punished as a result.

 [box type=”success” align=”aligncenter” ]Click here to see all of our karting circuit guides to get advice, video guides and overtaking tips for all the UK’s karting circuits.[/box]

Circuit Guide: Lydd

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James Clarke took control of the Circuit in 2011 and is investing in his vision of the future of Lydd as a karting venue. James is very passionate about Lydd & karting, bringing new people into the sport and progressing younger ones up through the classes. Their club race meetings, 2nd Sunday of each month are going from strength to strength.

Turn 1

The run from the start flag to the first corner is 
very short and normally means the grid is packed together into the Turn 1 on the first lap. The two stage corner consists of a quick right and a sharp left that opens up. It looks as though the kart needs to be slowed down a lot for this complex but a surprising amount of speed can be carried through onto the next straight. Getting yourself to the left side of the track before the corner allows you to run into the corner with maximum speed. Sliding the kart through the right hand section slows the kart and allows you to load the front and switch weight to get over the inside kerb. After hitting the inside kerb run the kart towards the exit kerb and get as close as you dare! Then follow the edge of the track to the right kink and onto the straight.

Turn 2

Turn 2 is virtually the same as Turn 1, the only difference is there is a larger kerb on the right section which should be used completely. Similarly to Turn 1 sliding the kart into and through the corner is the quickest.

Turn 3 and 4

This corner requires late braking and diving
deep into the corner. As you turn in don’t hit the kerb too early. Make sure you clip the kerb late as you exit the corner. After run towards the exit kerb. Follow the edge of the track round up towards the bump in the track. Any Senior kart will lift of the ground over the bump, if you aren’t feeling a thud shortly after the bump, you aren’t going fast enough! This is flat out and braking should be done after landing.

Turn 5

Once you’ve landed straight line the right corner, being careful of the kerb on the right as it is sharp. Then hold the throttle steady through Turn 5 the long
left hand sweeping bend. As it begins to open up continue to hold the left line until you can straight line the right hand kerb onto the main straight. The main straight is long and bumpy towards the end. On cold tyres or a cold day watch your braking point as a few feet can make a big difference because the bumps will unsettle your kart. The braking point is as far as you can push it.

Turn 8 and 9

The last two right handers Turn 8 and 9 require gentle and progressive throttle to maximise exit speed. There is a large amount of exit kerb to use which allows you to get a good run onto the first corner. Getting the kart into the first apex is not needed, but it is important to get close to the second kerb.

Overtaking
Turn 1 and 2 provide good opportunities to overtake. Either by diving to the inside on the entry to the corner or using all of the inside kerb and cutting back. Diving into Turn 3 can gift an overtake, but be careful not to dive too deep as the other driver might cut back. The long sweeping left hander needs to be approached with care. Over takes can be completed down the main straight into turn 8. This requires late braking and again being careful of cut backs. Braking late will naturally push the kart further into the corner, be careful not to outbrake yourself.

[box type=”success” align=”aligncenter” ]Click here to see all of our karting circuit guides to get advice, video guides and overtaking tips for all the UK’s karting circuits.[/box]

Circuit Guide: Daytona Sandown Park

 

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The GP Circuit is the full 900m track. Offering eight challenging corners and several straights with plenty of overtaking opportunities. There are four hairpin bends, so a good lap becomes about maintaining a high minimum corner speed. The circuits has been designed to suit racers of all abilities from beginners to serious enthusiasts.

Lap Start

Flat out across the start/finish line and into Turn 1. Treat Turn 1 as a double apex corner, carry as much speed into this corner as possible, as smoothly as possible. Use all the track mid-corner, don’t be afraid to let yourself run out wide, then cut back to the second apex on exit. As you approach Turn 2, turn in early and clip the inside kerb for best entry.

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Turns 3 and 4

For a fast lap you need to sacrifice a bit of speed in Turn 3. If you pile into Turn 2, you’ll still be gathering it up as you enter Turn 3 and you’ll be on the left hand side of the track for Turn 4, a left-hand hairpin. So control your speed through Turn 3 to allow a wider entry and therefore faster exit of Turn 4. Use the kerb on the inside of the exit and carry as much speed as possible onto straight.

Turns 5 and 6

The straight between Turn 4 and 5 has a slight kink, keep to the left here and set yourself up for straight line braking into Turn 5. You can carry a surprising amount of speed into and out of this corner. Positioning here is crucial. Ensure you’re right of centre for entry into Turn 5 but you don’t really need to be further left than middle of the track for a good entry into turn 6. Stay tight to apex all the way around Turn 6 and keep the cart settled, so as to achieve a good exit uphill onto the short straight. Too early on the power here and you’ll be fighting the kart.

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Turns 7, 8 and 9

Be as late on the brakes as you can into Turn 7 and use the inside kerb. There’s a change of Tarmac here, so use that as a braking marker. Again, keep the cart as settled and tight as possible around Turn 8 to give a wide entry into the final turn. If you run too hot into Turn 7, you’ll carry that unwanted speed into Turn 8 and end up on the right hand side of the track; exactly where you don’t want to be. Don’t be too greedy on the brakes for Turn 9; this one is vital for the run down the straight. Turn in a little later than you think, clip the inside kerb on the way out of the corner and try to ensure a tidy exit onto final straight.

TIPS

Use your body weight as ballast. Around Turn 1, relax and let your body lean out to the left. This will move your weight more to the outside wheels, therefore giving more grip to those wheels. Try to use this technique in all corners..

Try to focus on coming out of corners quicker rather than entering the corner quicker.

The most important turn is the final corner as, if you get this wrong you will lose time out of the corner and all along the straight and into Turn 1.

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Overtaking

There are plenty of overtaking opportunities at Sandown Park. The main place is the start/finish straight and into Turn 1. Turns 3 and 4, 5 and 6 are opposing corners, these present various overtaking options i.e. carry extra speed through Turn 3 to give yourself a run up the inside into Turn 4. If they defend here, move to the right, get a good wide entry into Turn 4 and get a better exit, this will then allow you to get past before or into Turn 5. Again, Turn 5 and 6 are opposing, so if your opponent defends into Turn 5, get a wider entry and faster exit from Turn 5 and carry speed up inside into Turn 6, a sweeping right-hander.

[box type=”success” align=”aligncenter” ]Click here to see all of our karting circuit guides to get advice, video guides and overtaking tips for all the UK’s karting circuits.[/box]

 

 

The 10 best British karters ever

CLICK HERE TO GO STRAIGHT TO OUR TOP 10


How do you select the top ten all time British Greats? The answer is “with very great difficulty.” I’ve approached the task by choosing one outstanding personality from each of the five previous decades and then adding five others who have shown unique talents. Other pundits will no doubt have different ideas, but I’d be surprised if there aren’t three or four names common to all of the lists. Here is my own version.

1960’s  

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MICKEY ALLEN (100cc)  British Champion 1965, ’66, ’67, ’68, ’72, ’76, ’77 & ’79; World Vice Champion ; World Vice Champion 1969 & ’77; 3rd place World Champs; 1968 & ’71;  European Champion (Team); 1972 & ‘78

This decade produced many outstanding figures. Former stock car world champion. At 56 years of age George Bloom captured the outright British title in 1963, winning all eight rounds. A week later, Paul Fletcher took 2nd place in the European Championships and was considered unlucky not to actually win. Bruno Ferrari still remains the only person to win three British titles in one day following a remarkable performance at Shenington in 1964. Britain’s first Junior Champion Terry Fullerton was successful on three consecutive occasions from 1966 to 1968 and John Morrell notched up a hat trick of wins in Class 1V Super over the same period.

Ultimately, the choice was quite straightforward. Mickey Allen started karting in 1963 and  burst onto the national scene during a British Team Selection Meeting at Shenington. In all major British events for the next four or five five years it was simply taken for granted that he’d emerge on the winners rostrum. He collected British titles in four consecutive years from 1965 to 1968. Mickey missed out on the 1969 event due to illness, but made amends in that year’s world championship by taking 2nd place behind Belgium’s Francois Goldstein. A year earlier he’d finished 2rd behind Thomas Nilsson (Sweden) and Guilio Pernigotti (Italy)

1970’s  

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TERRY FULLERTON (100cc)   British Champion 1966, ’67, ’68 (all junior titles),’71, ’73, ’75, ’78 & ’80;  World Champion 1973; European Champion (Team) 1972, ’73, ’78 & ’81)

At Rissington  Chris Hales shocked onlookers by beating Mickey for the 1970 Briish title. There was another surprise awaiting Mickey the following year when young Terry Fullerton got his British licence back. Terry had excluded himself from all domestic competition by taking out an Irish licence in 1969 so that he could race for Eire in the 1969 World Championships. Back in the fold once again he coasted to a comfortable victory in the 1971 British championships at Rye House. Mickey picked up his fifth British title at Wombwell but it was Terry’s turn to win again at Rye House 12 months later. Several weeks afterwards there was that remarkable weekend at Nivelles when Terry defeated Goldstein on his home circuit to become Britain’s first World Champion.

Throughout the 70’s Allen and Fullerton shared eight British titles, with only Hales and Paul Burgess (Shenington 1974) able to interrupt their total domination. A few years ago I asked Paul Deavin to name the best British driver he’d ever seen. Paul was responsible for running Mickey over a twelve year period and, for one season in 1976, actually took charge of Terry, too. His answer came instantaneously. “Fullerton, without any doubt, was the best of all time,” said Paul. “Both drivers possessed immense natural talent, but whereas Mickey was interested purely in getting out onto the circuit, Terry put lots of thought and effort into making sure his equipment was fully sorted beforehand.”

 1980’S 

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  MIKE WILSON(135cc)   World Champion; 1981, ’82, ’83, ’85,  ’88 & ’89;  European Champion (Individual); 1982, ’83 & ‘84

The 1980’s produced a wealth of British talent with names like Alan Gates, Johnny Herbert, Allan McNish, David Coulthard, Gary Moynihan, Jeremy Cotterill, Steve Brogan, Piers Hunnisett and Richard Weatherley springing to prominence. Mike Wilson stood out from all the rest by virtue of his six world championship wins, creating a record that is unlikely ever to be equalled. Remarkably, the one prize that evaded this Barnsley born lad was a British title, although he tried on numerous occasions.

His interest in the sport was sparked by a camping holiday at Prestatyn when aged 11. Although his father, Brian, had been karting for some time, Mike himself showed no enthusiasm, preferring to play soccer instead. Once having tried the rental karts at Prestatyn, though, he couldn’t keep away from them and had to ring home asking for more pocket money. Brian responded by buying him a second-hand Blow Gnat/Komet K77. “On my first run I was going so slowly that the plug kept oiling up,” recalls Mike. “Dad told me to put my foot down and I finished up crashing into the tyres a few corners later.”

Soon, though, he was winning races throughout Britain and got his big break in 1977 when Martin Hines offered him a place on the Zip kart team. That year he also received support from Angelo Parrilla’s DAP factory to race in European events. Bruno Grana was quick to spot Mike’s potential and, in 1978, he signed him up as a full-time driver for IAME. Still aged 17, Mike moved swapped his Barnsley home for a new one in Milan and has lived there ever since.

1990’S  

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MARTIN HINES (250cc Gearbox)   World Champion 1983, ’91 & ’92; European Champion 1977, ’86, ’93 & 2002

The 1990’s heralded a sea change in karting as the focus shifted to young drivers. This was an era when cadets such as Jenson Button, Tom Sisley, Luke Hines, Michael Spencer, Lewis Hamilton, Danny Wheldon, Anthony Davidson, Chris Rogers, Niki Richardson, Adam King and Paul di Resta were starting to make their mark. One driver in particular, though, managed to prove that older stars could still shine brightly. Martin Hines was 46 years old when he collected his 3rd World Championship title in 1992. He would win his 4th European Championships an incredible ten years afterwards.

He’d started off by racing pigeons as a youngster but soon expressed ambitions to become a Speedway rider. Recognising the dangers inherent in this daredevil activity, his mother persuaded him to buy a kart instead. Initially Martin concentrated on 100cc racing and gained a place in the highly successful 1969 British 4 man team. However, it was gearbox karting that brought him the most success. He won the 1976 British Championships and captured his first European title 12 months later. During the 1977 Motorcycle GP at Silverstone he kept 100,000 spectators entertained by demonstrating his 150mph Superkart. That persuaded the circuit owners to stage a GP specifically for gearbox karts some 12 months later. A karting demonstration at the 1979 F1 GP followed and, some four years later Ernest Buser was persuaded into allowing a CIK World Championship for Superkarts. Fittingly, it was Martin who became the first holder of this title.

During an astonishing career that spanned four decades Martin established himself as the king of Superkarts, creating records that none of his contemporaries could ever match. His flair for publicity occasionally irritated rivals, but was definitely good for karting and I have no hesitation in placing him up there with the all time greats.

THE NOUGHTIES

 

   MARK LITCHFIELD   S1 Junior Champion 1998;  British Champ; 2004, ’05, ’06, ’08 & 10; S1 KGP Champ 2013.

 Ben Hanley, Gary Catt, Jamie Green. Oliver Oakes, Robert Foster-Jones, Michael Simpson, Benjy Russell and a host of others made their mark in this particular decade, but none visited the winner’s rostrum quite so often as Mark Litchfield. An absolute master in wet conditions, he was also pretty difficult to beat even on dry sunny days. At the age of 31 you could argue that his best days are behind him, although those who took part in last year’s S1 Championships for KGP might have a different tale to tell. Mark’s five British titles are testament to his natural talent and he could have so easily added a world championship crown to his collection. At Braga eight years ago he looked to have this elusive prize within reach when a mechanical failure ruined his chances. Instead, it was another British driver, Oliver Oakes, who emerged victorious with fellow Brit Jon Lancaster taking 2nd place.

Mark was born and bred in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, just a stone’s throw away from the Darley Moor circuit that, at one time, used to regularly host karting events. His father, Dave, is a former saloon car racer who most TKM competitors will know as the boss of Litchfield Motorsport. After his spirited performance in the 2000 World Championships at Braga, where he recorded a top ten finish, Mark was taken under Paul Fletcher’s wing and has remained with him ever since. He is one of the few British drivers lucky enough to have made karting a full time occupation and the vast experience is now being passed down to younger competitors.         

FIVE OTHER UNIQUE TALENTS

Long before Art Ingels built the world’s first kart John Brise John Brise was well known in motor racing circles. A successful F3 competitor, he switched to stock car racing soon after it arrived in Britain and became a three times world champion. It was at a stock car race that he first met Bernie Turney who introduced him to the world of karting. In 1961 at Brands Hatch John became the first 100cc British Champion. Some weeks earlier he’d stunned his American rivals by winning the GPKA “world championship” round at Shenington. Thereafter he made a successful transition into the gearbox classes. John’s eldest son Tony eventually graduated into F1 but was tragically killed in an aircraft accident along with his team boss Graham Hill.

Anyone who was privileged to watch Dave Ferris racing during the sixties would have marvelled at his skill. In contrast to Mickey Allen’s somewhat aggressive style, Dave always looked totally relaxed but this deceptive appearance masked a steely determination. Just a few inches prevented him from becoming Britain’s first world karting champion when he took 2nd place behind Francois Goldstein in the 1970 event at Thiverval, Belgium. His racing days were cut short whilst testing a Formula 3 car at Brands when he was struck in the head by a flying lump of concrete.

Gearbox competitor Dave Buttigieg was also blessed with outstanding natural talent. In 1976 he became the first European 250cc champion, winning this title again in 1978 and 1982. There were also World Cup victories in 1976 and 1979. When Martin Hines established his highly successful Zip Hermetite team Dave became a prominent member along with Carolynn Grant-Sale whom he later married. .After their divorce she went on to become Carolynn Hoy, a name that most of today’s karting fraternity will be familiar with.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Jenson Button entered karting at the age of eight, not long after his parents, John and Simone split up. He completely dominated the 1991 British championship for cadets and won the Junior TKM crown 12 months later. After competing in the 1994 Junior World Cup at Ugento in Italy he signed as a professional with Tecno. He won the Italian Championships at his first attempt and took 2nd place in the 1995 world championships for Formula A. He was crowned the 1997 European Champion in Formula Super A before switching to cars. Jenson picked up the 1998 BRDC McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award and before embarking upon a successful F3 season. Following a successful test with Williams he was signed up by the F1 team. Almost ten years elapsed before he became world champion, this time racing for Brawn.

A family holiday in Ibiza sparked Lewis Hamilton’s karting ambitions when he was only 3 years old. He obtained his first kart as a Christmas present just before reaching the age of eight. After winning all of his novice races he also claimed victory first time out on yellow plates. With support from Zipkart he picked up the first of two national cadet titles and famously approached Ron Dennis at the 1995 awards ceremony saying that he’d like to drive for McLaren in F1 eventually. Racing in Europe with McLaren support he finished as vice European Junior Champion. 12 months later he won the European senior title before moving into Formula Renault. In his first season of F1 racing, Lewis almost became world champion, but made sure of the title 12 months later.

These, then, are our top ten British drivers of all time. It’s been difficult enough selecting them from many outstanding candidates. Even harder is the task of placing them in order, but I’ve finally decided on the following;

KARTING MAGAZINE’S BEST BRITISH DRIVERS OF ALL TIME

10.  John Brise
9.    Lewis Hamilton
8.    Jenson Button
7.    Dave Buttigieg
6.    Mark Litchfield
5.    Dave Ferris
4.    Mickey Allen
3.    Mike Wilson
2.    Martin Hines
1.    Terry Fullerton   

Like this article? Then read these:

Terry Fullerton: 7ways I’d improve karting

Top 5 European drivers in 2015

Tech Tuesday: 7 things to check on your kart

Kart prep is an ongoing thing but to get your season off to the best start you can’t beat a pre-season garage session. We’ve spoken to industry experts to get the last word in kart preparation after a winter lay-up.

1 Check for regulation changes

Every year drivers get caught out by what seem like petty rule changes and the worst case scenario is that it happens at the first round of a championship where you have to count any zero scores due to technical exclusions. So read through the MSA general karting regulations, your class regulations, and any club or championship supplementary regulations. Don’t let it be you who is chucked out for having your tyres rotating in the wrong direction!

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Most teams and kart shops are able to check your kart is straight on a jig

2 Check your chassis is straight

For better or worse, most modern frames are less stff than they used to be and more prone to bending from bouncing off kerbs or other karts, let alone more solid obstacles. This is why flat tables are a common sight outside team awnings. Many teams will check and straighten your frame for a reasonable fee, just ask!

3 Strip down and clean the kart and engine

You will want to do this more often than once a year, but a spring cleaning session is an ideal opportunity. Strip the whole kart down, including the removal of the rear axle assembly. Use a cleaning spray and make sure you get into the awkward corners, and if you’re using a pressure washer only do it after you have removed the parts with bearings. As you go along, check for cracks, worn cables and bolts and broken springs, and clean the brake discs with brake cleaner.

Laury Curran of Maranello Karts UK says “Clean the engine; the more you clean, the more you will find. Clean sprockets and chains in petrol or diesel and check they aren’t worn out then put the sprockets in order.”

A worn out chain will twist sideways and teeth on sprockets will become hooked.

Jamie Rush of R&S Motorsport says “Part of the clean that is important is to grease up the bearings, we usually use a product called Tri-Flow. It’s usually something a lot of people forget.”

At least once a year it us recommended to go over the entire kart replacing nuts and bolts, you can buy them in bulk from a local fastenings wholesaler.

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4 Check all accessible engine parts

Even if you can’t rebuild your own engine, for example in Rotax, there is plenty you can do to keep it in good condition. After you have cleaned it, take the engine apart as much as possible, using the manual that you can usually download or buy from the engine manufacturer. Many of the following need to be done as often as after each race or practice session, but get them all done in your pre-season prep session then you know where you’re starting from.

11-POINT ENGINE CHECKLIST

1 Clean and check the air filter, then clean after each wet race or practice. Clean with soap and water or brake cleaner.

2 Replace sump oil if using a four-stroke engine. You may need to do this as often as every meeting.

3 Check the starter cable if your engine has one.

4 Replace balance gear oil in engines such as the Rotax Max, and thereafter do after about five hours running.

William Pettitt

5 Replace gearbox oil and check it for metal particles by filtering through a clean white cloth. The drain plug should have a magnet that attracts metal swarf from normal gear wear and tear, but if you see an excessive amount get it checked by a specialist.

6 Check the clutch for wear, you’ll need special tools to loosen it and pull it off the shaft.

7 If you have a power valve it needs to be kept clean. Use something like Scotchbrite with carb or brake cleaner but not emery cloth as it will polish the valve too smooth and potentially make it illegal. Check it is fitted centrally and that it slides in and out easily.

8 Check the reed petals for chips at the edges or breaking up.

9 Check and replace starter motor brushes.

10 Check all electrical components are in good condition, including the earth wire from the ignition coil to the engine.

11 Check and replace exhaust wadding when it is burnt and brittle.

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5 Strip and service the brakes

Dean Golba of top TKM team DSG Racing says “Last time they were used chances are it was probably wet. Brakes don’t like moisture or dirt, they seize up and drag or bind on the disc. New pads, seals, fluid and a full bleed will make sure there are no issues and they are ready to go for the new season. Check which type of brake fluid your system should use, don’t mix DOT 5 Silicone based with DOT 5.1 Glycol Ether based.”

Using the wrong type of fluid can cause the seals to perish and lead to leakage and failure.

Laury adds “Learn how it comes apart and goes back together in case you need to do it in a hurry, and check brake discs for wear and cracks.”

And illustrating how important karting professionals think keeping your brakes in order is, Jamie had yet more tips “Always good to give the brakes a bleed, maybe re-kit and also de-glaze the pads and discs (especially gearbox and front brake classes).”

To de-glaze, rub the pads and discs with an emery cloth.

6 Check your datalogger or dash

“Something else is to clear the memory on the data logger and check all the sensors are functioning. Sometimes with the low temps and damp it can cause some problems,” says Jamie.

Also keep the cables and connectors in good condition and check that they aren’t pulled tight or chafing anywhere as this will eventually cause failures.

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7 Weigh your kart

Have you been munching mince pies or been on a new year health kick? Either way you may have some adjustments to make to your kart. If you are overweight, apart from the obvious solution, there are plenty of lightweight components to invest in such as floor trays, magnesium wheels if not already used, a seat or nuts and bolts.

You can also save weight by running a very small fuel tank. If you have the opposite problem, you should put some thought into where you put your lead, so try to use some corner weight scales and try to get the weight balance right.  If your corner weights vary on each side them you might be dealing with a twisted chassis which brings us back to point two. Driver-only weight also comes into it – several classes have minimum driver weights so if you’re a parent with a Cadet moving up to Juniors check they are eligible. If they’re underweight, you have two options; a steak-and-chips only diest for 3 months or a lead vest!

Learn from 40 years of experience

George Robinson, or Robinson Sport, who specialise in Rotax engines, has these great tips focused on Rotax engines in particular but they apply for anyone preparing a kart to go racing:

1)      A worn front sprocket is so often overlooked, as soon as the teeth start to look sharp or hooked, you are losing horsepower, the most efficient chain transmission is when all items are new or as good as new, that’s both sprockets and the chain.

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2)      If the in-line fuel filter shows any sign of dirt in the paper gauze—change it, it will have lost some of its efficiency and could be gradually starving the engine of fuel.

3)      Earth of the Ignition pack or Coil must be in good clean condition and the earth strap must not be too close to the High Tension Plug lead, these will arc across quite wide gaps particularly if wet and will cause misfires and possible damage to the ignition pack.

4)      Make sure that the engine mounting clamps are in good condition and grip the chassis tubes evenly and securely. Also the engine bolts that secure the mount. Vibration in this area will cause carburetion problems and probably crack the chassis as well…expensive !

5)      Throttle cables are ignored until either they snap or seize up. The Pedal stop should be adjusted so there is still a small amount of movement in the cable without it being tight as a Guitar string. Too tight and it breaks.

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Like this article? Then read more Tech Tuesday here:

Tech Tuesday – Honda GX200 vs. Gx160

Tech Tuesday – Rotax Max Evo: 10 things you need to know

Straight talking – KKC’s new jig

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Three months ago the KKC Kart Shop invested in a new jig which could be the savior of many people’s race weekends.

So what makes this new jig so good? It’s a state-of-the-art jig which will show up problems that many older jigs wouldn’t be able to find. The karts are put on the jig by fi?ing in at the back using the axle and then resting across the two metal stops at the middle and front. Once your chassis is in the jig, KKC will look at the kart to check it sits flat. Next they’ll check the steering to see if that’s moved at all and finally they’ll move onto the corners, where they measure each height in millimeters.

Whilst there, I was shown exactly what the guys will do when fixing a kart and my first impressions were that it was very efficient and chassis friendly. I’ve seen many different ways of straightening chassis over the years and I would have absolutely no doubts or worries handing my kart over to the KKC staff to fix. They have various bars which will slide into or between tubing and will then be gently nudged into whatever direction it needs to go.

Currently the jig will accept all karts except Bambino chassis, although KKC are currently working on
a solution for this. The quickest fix is the steering which could be done between heats and costs between £25 and £30. However a chassis not si?ing flat would be around £75 and a further £50 for any extra hour a?er that.

You couldn’t have it in a much be?er location; it’s on site at one of the UK’s most popular circuits, Whilton Mill and the KKC team have already worked on 25 karts over three race meetings. The jig will no doubt prove hugely useful and represents value for money, especially for anyone who would otherwise have to abandon their race weekend. Thank you KKC!

You can contact the shop on 01327 844 320 or email them at sales@kkckartshop.co.uk

Circuit Guide: Grand Prix Karting Birmingham

Situated just one-mile from Birmingham city centre, the circuit runs two layouts and also offers a Cadet circuit. They’ve also just added a new fleet of BIZ karts. Here’s how to nail a fast lap.

Turn 1

Cross the start finish line, staying to the left side as you approach. Turn 1. This is a difficult turn as it has a lot of negative camber running through it and as you turn in you can’t see your exit point. The biggest mistake here is to attempt it flat out, it should be a slight lift with maybe a touch of feathering going through (depending on your weight) try to catch the apex as close as you can and look to exit about mid circuit as this will help with your set up for Turn 2.

Turn 2

As long as you have exited Turn 1 correctly this should be a simple lift into Turn 2 again hugging the apex; then just let the kart run wide coming out and gently pull it back over to the left to avoid losing too much momentum approaching the next turn.

Turn 3

Approaching Turn 3 you should be on the hard left now – as long as you are and you’re feeling brave this corner can be taken flat out. Be warned this is a hit and miss turn if taken flat out and if you miss your turning point, or the apex, you will not make the exit. The key to this turn is the apex. On the inside of the turn there is a slight dip to the circuit, you need to catch this dip to hold this corner flat out. Let the kart run wide coming off, this will put you right on top of the white line when you exit and about 100mm off the grass verge. Stay left as you approach Turn 4 “The S’s”.

Turn 4 (The S’s)

The mistake made here is to clip apex to apex on the inline – the key is to apex to apex on the outline. The straighter the line as you exit the better the run to Turn 5 “Hairpin”. Approaching Turn 4 from the hard left you can enter the S’s flat out and hug the barrier to the right. The apex to this turn only becomes visible as you are on your turning point; try to make sure that as you turn in you can see straight to the right hand apex. If you are on this line, the S’s can be negotiated with a slight lift. Avoid running too far wide to the right as this will spoil the run down to “Hairpin”. Be warned, this line into the “S’s” leaves you wide-open for someone to dive up the inside and steal your position.

Turn 5 (Hairpin)

This corner is the hardest to keep consistent of the whole circuit. The track elevation at the hairpin changes as you approach and again as you hit the apex and braking up to this turn is extremely tricky. The key to this turn is the exit; this is the longest flat out section of track and so getting the exit from “Hairpin” is crucial. To sum this corner up in a few words “steady in, fast out”. Approach the hairpin from the hard left, run deeper into the turn than you would normally expect, using the brakes hard as you approach your turning point. DO NOT lock up the rear axle as this is a recipe for facing the wrong way as you approach. Instead of clipping the turn at the centre move the apex further round to straighten your exit line which is the reason for the deeper line in, giving you better straight line speed towards Turn 6. If you find you are running close to the barriers on the exit, you are turning in too early.

Turn 6

Coming away from the Hairpin there is a slight left kink which is flat out, but keep on your toes and make sure that you have the kart in the correct position on the right as you approach Turn 6. Going through Turn 6 the circuit camber is slightly adverse. Approaching from the hard right you pass a barrier and on passing the last section of it just dab the brakes. This corner only needs a dab just to keep the rear of the kart from coming out; it also helps with the outline as you don’t want to be hard over to the right when you exit. The apex is to be found on the centre of the corner, when exiting this turn you should be positioning around 3⁄4 width of the circuit to the right as this will help with the inline to Turn 7.

Turn 7

From the 3⁄4 mark on the exit of Turn 6 pull the kart over to the left mid circuit width then 3⁄4 of the circuit for the inline to Turn 7 (there is not enough room between the 2 turns to make your way hard left and benefit from it). The key to this turn is to utilise all the exit space, so approaching from the 3⁄4 point you can take this turn flat out. The apex to this turn is in the dead centre of the turn; exiting this turn let the kart run wide to the right. Executed correctly you should put the whole kart over an old white line and on completion should just miss the barrier guiding you back onto the circuit to complete your fast lap!

 

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