All posts by Piers Prior

BirelART S9 – Review

The 2018 BirelART S9 is the latest chassis from the famous Italian manufacturer, we tested the 2018 model thanks to Jade karts who sell the chassis with Andy Cox Racing (ACR) being the sole importer.

Birel, now BirelART as of a few seasons ago, have always been one of the most popular chassis manufacturers, especially on the European and world stage. They have had a lot of success with drivers using their chassis, most recently with Oliver Hodgson who in 2017 finished  2nd in the British X30 championship, won the British Kart Grand Prix in senior OK, and became IAME international champion in senior X30 as part of the team PFi on the BirelArt S8 chassis.

To test the 2018 chassis Jade provided a race ready kart in senior X30 trim at Whilton Mill on a beautiful spring day, perfect to get a feel for how it handles on circuit.

The BirelART front ‘wing’

The most obvious thing that is different about the BirelART is the new for 2018 front nose cone. Closer resembling a wing than a bumper it is designed to be aerodynamically efficient and creates downforce in higher speed corners increasing front grip without disturbing the air to the brakes and airbox.

The BirelART S9 going well in X30 Junior at Super1

Jade put the kart down on their stock setup and immediately it felt great. My first impressions were that the kart has a positive front end and the steering felt precise making it very intuitive to drive. Taking the difficult Christmas corner at Whilton is done with no more than a hint of steering, and the kart glides effortlessly through the corner.

The Free-line braking system on all BirelART models is very good, full floating disk as standard means you can be sure of consistent braking at every corner. The feel of the brakes is very solid, as the pads pinch the disk the brake pedal stiffens and any further pressure gradually increases the braking force applied to the rear axle. I found myself being able to threshold brake and hold the pressure right to the apex even at the notoriously difficult downhill off camber Ashby hairpin. This ease and positivity on the brakes will I’m sure make overtaking and big lunges down the inside feel like second nature.

Very clever solution to changing steering height

Away from the circuit there were some very neat and clever additions to the chassis which I particularly liked. The steering column on the BirelART has an ingenious parallel tube and clamp system meaning adjustment of the steering wheel height is as easy as loosening and tightening two bolts, and the number of positions for steering wheel is much higher than usual meaning the chassis will suit any driver from Mini X30 all the way to the tallest Senior driver.

After close inspection, I noted another very clever addition, on each rear bearing carrier there are the standard four bolts to locate the axle bearing in the chassis, but the BirelART also had an extra optional bolt hole at the bottom of the carrier, which when inserted adds an extra stiffness to the rear of the kart for use on a green surface or in wet conditions.

Taking kerbs isn’t smooth but is still fast

Comparing the BirelART to other chassis I have driven, it felt a little stiffer than most which contributes towards the precision of the front end. There was no bouncing or ‘pogo-ing’ that you can sometimes experience with a softer chassis and personally I liked that it was that little more solid. The stiffness gives a very neutral and stable base especially in the higher speed corners, and the chassis responds well to precise driving. The only potential issue I found because of the stiffness was that the kart didn’t glide easily over kerbs, for example using the kerb into the boot at Whilton mill makes for a bumpy ride.  As a senior driver this is only a minor issue and very manageable as you can use your body to absorb the energy, it just may take a bit of getting used to for a smaller or junior drivers. Despite this the kart handles the bumps of Whilton mill very well, with the attitude of the kart not being affected by the bumps in the corners.

Due to the chassis’ inherent front end grip the kart rotates well in the middle of corners and therefore releases very well off the corners. Throughout the day as the track temperature rose and the rubber went down I experimented with the setup a little as the rear tyres began to go off just a little towards the end of a session. After lowering the rear ride height the kart settled down and began to conserve the rear tyres over a stint, and the braking stability also improved.

Every setup change we made had a noticeable and direct effect on how the kart handled which will make taking this kart to new circuits easy. According to Jade, everywhere they take the kart the setup is almost identical with minor caster adjustments using the asymmetric caster ‘pills’ normally being all that is needed to get the desired attitude through each corner.

By the end of the test day I felt comfortable in the kart and driving it felt natural, I was able to lap with just a few hundredths over a session proving how easy it was to get to grips with.

The BrielART S9 is without doubt one of the best chassis I have driven, and would definitely be in my short list of favourite chassis. Jade karts are the UK importers and will be happy to answer any questions about the chassis, or anything else. The BirelART TKM chassis has taken off with a large proportion of the Super1 TKM grid now using it to great success, I can see this X30/OK/Rotax equivalent doing something very similar in the coming months/years.

Thanks to Jade Karts for supplying the chassis and Engines for the test.

 

Photos courtesy of BirelART, and Chris Walker 

Written by Piers Prior 

Club73 – 73 more ways to have fun karting

Last week I was invited to the fourth round of the Club73 karting championship. For those who aren’t familiar, Club73 is a 10 round series that travels to circuits in the south east and midlands. It is organised by current senior race director at Buckmore park Clinton Bell and is designed to give fun, competitive racing on a budget. Coincidentally Clinton was the first person who taught me how to drive a kart almost 12 years ago.

Professional race director Clinton Bell enjoying his own series

Round 4 of the championship took take place at the awesome Ellough Park circuit in deepest Suffolk, a really fun circuit that has previously hosted the Formula Kart Stars series.

The format of the series is unique, each race is 30 minutes long and each driver will compete in one of the A, B, or C races. The grid for each final is set by championship order, then each race’s grid is reversed e.g. 1st in the championship will start at the back of the A final. This poses a unique scenario where you will always be placed near your series rivals, however to win you will need both speed and race craft to pick your way through the drivers starting ahead of you. Drivers score championship points based on their ‘class’ (Super-pro, Pro, and Clubman) which is decided by the series organisers based on previous karting experience and ability. Drivers also have the opportunity to race for the team championship by joining one or two other drivers meaning there are even more chances to win a trophy.

Drivers Briefing at Ellough park on a beautiful May evening

Arriving on the day I could immediately tell I was going to have a great time, I was welcomed and many introduced themselves as they had heard I was coming, I even spoke to some people I haven’t seen for years who are now racing in the series, it was great to chat to everyone about their experiences of Club73. The atmosphere was very informal and everyone was ready for an enjoyable race, and the pre-race banter was flying. It felt more like a friendly social gathering than a race meeting, this is one of the main reasons this series has become so popular with on average over 60 drivers at each round.

Conversing with Clinton and eventual winner Danny Hurlock

Down to business, the race. As a new driver you are allocated a class, Super-pro for me, and then you’re placed at the back of the appropriate final. Starting last in the A final I would be mixing with the leaders of the series.

Making my way to the grid in the Custom Racewear Karting mag suit

After the manic start in the very equal Sodi karts supplied by Ellough park, the race settled down with recent Dayton 24 hour race winner Jack Goldsmith, current championship leader Danny Hurlock (someone I used to race against when I was 9 years old), and I fighting for the lead. We found ourselves together from the second lap, and swapped positions frequently as we fought our way through the 17 other karts. The further through the field we got the closer the racing became, with the order between us never remaining for more than a few corners. During the final 15 minutes of the race we managed to break free from the pack and had one of the best races I have ever been a part of.

Considering the full wrap around bumpers of Ellough’s Sodi rental karts, the racing was squeeky clean, changes of position came with no more than a kiss of side pods. Ellough park’s layout lent its self to the awesome racing with almost as many overtaking opportunities as corners. With our fastest laps separated by just a tenth or so it was impossible to break away, thus a tactical race ensued. If any of us gained even a couple of kart lengths it would be disappear in a matter of corners.

Probably the largest gap between Danny, Jack and I all race

After half an hour of hard racing Danny managed to pull a gap at the critical moment of about half a second with a lap to go, just enough to maintain his lead. I managed to narrowly hold off Jack Goldsmith for second place in a race for the line coming down to less than a tenth of a second.

I loved my first taste of the Club73 championship, this is potentially the friendliest championship around, ideal for any fairly new kart racers looking for a slightly more competitive series, or those who haven’t got a large budget.

The series is welcoming, visits 7 great circuits, is great value for money and will provide great competition whatever your ability, what more could you want. The banter doesn’t stop at the circuit though, their Facebook group is full of information and good spirited banter.

I would highly recommend Club73 to anyone especially those who are getting into their first race series, you can tell everyone loves the series and all that goes with it.

Thanks must go to Clinton Bell, the series organiser, Ellough Park, and Andy from Sprocket Photography for the images.

 

Written by Piers Prior

Photos courtesy of Andy – Sprocket Photography

F100uk – 20k revs and a whole lot more

Since my experience of the F100 festival at Fulbeck back in 2017 I have craved getting behind the wheel of a 100cc rocket again. Thanks to Jay Fairbrass who leant me his pride and joy, a 1994 Tonykart Esprit along with an ex Bobby Game IAME TT75 engine, I was able to take part in round 1 of the F100UK championship at Llandow in the Pre95 class a week ago, and what a weekend it was!

The ‘F100 – spirit of the 90s’ is a championship run by 100cc karting enthusiasts who loved the era of the late 80’s and 90’s. Walking around the paddock you can really feel the passion for the sport, and speaking to the drivers everyone is in love with their light, 100cc, 20k rev screaming karts. The combination of, the light and nimble chassis, the hours spend restoring their equipment, combined with the simplicity of the direct drive engines gives them the same excitement about karting that many of them had at the time – something few get from modern karting.

FormulaA world Champion Colin Brown finding the limits, and looking awesome!

I arrived at Llandow, a new circuit to me, on Saturday morning where I was introduced to the team once again for the first time since Fulbeck, and the excitement ahead of the upcoming race weekend was palpable. Chris Derrick, 2017 Pre95 champion and a competitor of mine for the weekend was quick to offer me a track walk to help me get my eye in. Moreover a few words of wisdom from Formula A world champ and all round legend Colin Brown meant I was as prepared as I could be.  My Tonykart had been prepped beautifully by GMS on behalf of Jay and looked as ready to get on circuit as I was.

The Pre95 Tonykart felt great during testing

Warm temperatures and sun bathed the Welsh circuit as I got to grips with the kart in the morning. The Pre89 & Pre95 class run on Mitas SRC slick tyres, a fairly hard tyre designed to be usable for hundreds of laps, and this seemed to be the case. Once I got my eye in I was able to lap within just a couple of tenths of champion Chris Derrick on tyres nearly a year old. The Pre2000 class run on the popular Komet K1H tyre used in X30 both for performance and availability giving great grip and performance similar to the tyres of the Formula A era.

This was not the first time I’d driven Jay’s beautiful Pre95 Tonykart…

If you’ve seen the article I wrote from the F100 festival you will know how much I enjoyed driving these karts, and for me this weekend was a huge treat. I love driving karts, and kart was an absolute pleasure to drive; nimble at just 148kg in race trim, the kart glides around the circuit effortlessly, it felt like the kart was encouraging me to back it into every corner – of course I obliged, would be rude not to wouldn’t it…

The kart encourages pushing hard into the corners

Cold, windy and wet, Sunday was to be a very different day. First practice was just about dry enough for slick tyres, however for heat 1 the Komet K1W treaded tyres were certainly needed. My first lap on wets was the formation lap, and add to that, I was starting from pole position, I was being thrown straight into the deep end.

Pinching the fuel pipe while rolling up to keep the engine clear

After nearly falling flat on my face while trying to bump start, and taking my mechanic Dave Wooder with me, I had a guess at the wet line. The lights went out and away into the unknown I drove. Miraculously I held the lead until lap two when whilst hitting approximately 18k revs the big end on my ex Bobby Game IAME motor let go and ended my race practically before it had begun.

Colin Brown showing us how bump starting is supposed to look

One thing I especially liked about the karts was how amazingly simple everything was, the only setup changes we made from full dry to full wet was a small increase in front width, a few extra teeth on the rear sprocket, and of course wet tyres. The karts are much stiffer with fewer adjustments than a modern kart meaning it is harder to get lost with setup.

Heat 2 I was to start from 7th on the grid, the was track still wet, new engine bolted on in a hurry, I had an awesome race. After a good start, I made it into 2nd position and I was closing the leader, meanwhile Alistair Topliss was closing on me fast. A Three way fight ensued with Alistair making it past me before passing the leader in the very next corner, which also allowed me to follow him through; 2nd place is where I would finish.

Alistair looking fast in testing, adding to the already competitive field

This is quite a convenient point for me to talk about an observation I made from the viewing gallery and on circuit. Everyone at F100 is there to race, however every overtake, battle, and move I witnessed was carried out with not only respect for the other driver, but also the equipment. Whether this is because everyone knows how much time and effort has gone into each kart’s restoration, or the lack of bumpers making the risk of a move higher, or the respect shown is higher overall, I’m not sure but the fact its there is important.

Close, hard racing but with respect between drivers and their restored equipment

Heat 3, A choice had to be made, slicks or wets. The track was drying, dark clouds were overhead, it’s would be a gamble either way. I decided on slicks to save my only wet tyres for the final. Wets were the tyre to have, with only my last couple of laps being faster than any wet tyre runners, however I enjoyed having a play sliding the kart around in the greasy conditions.

Shortly after our final Pre95 heat the Pre2000 grid were all lined up and waiting, the majority on slick tyres. The heavens preceded to open triggering a frenzy of tool wielding and nut running. The whole grid lending each other tools, an extra pair of hands, all to make sure everyone made the grid. The community spirit meant everyone could start on wets and a great race it was too!

Chaos on the dummy grid as the rain fell, but everyone was keen to help each other

The time had come for the final race of the day, this time there was no doubt about tyre choice, it would be wets for all, despite some having severely worn their only set out in the previous heat. Starting 7th once again the start was going to be crucial, however a situation I have never experienced meant I lost a little ground over the line due to my toes getting caught under the bumper of the kart in front (no pods here remember).

Around the outside of row 3 I gained two positions at turn 1, then one more place further round the lap; the kart was on fire and I felt I could place it wherever I wanted. My master mechanic and former British/European karting champion Dave Wooder had given me the perfect setup, tyres, gearing, front width were all spot on. I had great pace in the early stages allowing me to pick off the drivers ahead one by one as I went. I’ve rarely felt so at one with a kart as I did during this final, before I knew it I was tucked up behind leader and No.1 kart Chris Derrek, ‘how have I got here’ I asked myself. After sitting behind Chris for a lap or so I made my move and was able to drive away and extend the gap to about 3 seconds by the flag.

The karts are just as fun to drive in the wet as the dry

From the outside, the last few laps may have looked fairly eventless, however having had my motor go pop from the lead once, and my revs hitting 19k and above twice a lap I was far from chilled. Choking at every opportunity, I wound the jet out further and further in the hope of prolonging the ticking time bomb by my right hip as I felt the heat radiate on the side of my seat. Thankfully I could bring it home, and in first place! What a buzz, I did not expect to be fighting for a win in my first race in the series, and I was delighted which was fairly obvious from my face for about half an hour after I stepped out the kart.

What a buzz, awesome kart, awesome race, and a win! What a weekend

What a weekend indeed. Looking back now, I don’t think I could have had a more complete F100UK experience, I sampled it all; dry running at maximum speed, getting drenched in the rain, blowing and engine (a rite of passage from what I’ve heard), even driving on slicks in the wet. Every moment I spent on circuit I felt alive and with a smile on my face, and almost as importantly I had an amazing time off track, in the paddock, dummy grid, wherever I went everyone was there together enjoying the ‘golden era’ of karting, now. The atmosphere was amazing and not like I’ve experienced before and it’s a credit to everyone in the series, and the whole F100 team.

A huge thanks must go to Jay Fairbrass without whom this would never have gone ahead, he sorted everything from the kart, my mechanic, to the engines, as well as all of his normal duties leading up to and at the race weekend. He deserves a medal, but should you have the pleasure of knowing him, he will tell you he wouldn’t do it if it weren’t for the huge enjoyment and satisfaction he gets from being a part of the wonderful series.

Thanks of course must also got to the whole F100UK organisational team, Chris Derrick, James Fox, the scrutineers, marshals, Lee Crampton for his awing space and everyone I met throughout the weekend and made it so enjoyable. Finally, Dave Wooder who ‘spannered’ away on my kart all weekend giving me a great and sturdy machine to drive and putting up with my indecision and changes of mind when the weather looked changeable.

 

This series deserves every credit it given, everyone goes about their racing in amazing spirit and the feeling of community and belonging is what causes people to get hooked and want to come back, much like I now do…

Written by Piers Prior

Photos courtesy of ‘Jessica Maund – Busy Bee Photography’, F100UK, and Elizabeth ‘Mummy’ Guest (who’s son won Pre2000, congrats Glenn!)

 

 

 

 

…oh, and sitting at 20k revs before hitting some choke while backing it in, that’s pretty good as well.

#PLD2018 Charity Event – Whilton Mill

The Paul Lee-Davis race is one of our favourite events of the year, its a mixture of fun filled racing, good spirited banter, and most importantly raising an incredible amount of money for the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). This year’s event, organised by Dan Underhill (pictured) was another success building on last year’s event.

Dan Underhill storming to a solid B final finish

Drivers and personalities from all forms of karting, largely the hire kart scene, come together to celebrate the life of Paul Lee-Davis who was a keen karter and member of Club100’s racing series. Paul lost his 18-month battle with Prolymphocytic Leukaemia in 2011 and this event is held annually to support the work of the ICR who will help people who suffer similar circumstances in future.

During the lunch break an auction was held for some desirable items and experiences from generous donors, as well as the traditional start line photo with all the drivers.

Class of 2018

This was my first experience a PLD event and I had a hugely enjoyable time, everyone was in great spirits despite the awfully wet weather which made for very tricky driving conditions. Whilton mill’s brand new Sodi RT8 karts were faultless all day, despite the awful weather and plenty of muddy moments around their international circuit.

The event was streamed for all to see via Alpha Live and many tuned in to watch the racing throughout the day. You can catch all the action again via the Alpha YouTube channel.

Results from the day can be viewed on Alpha timing.

C Final winner – Stuart Germon (HW)

B Final winner – Dante Dhillon

A Final

1st Piers Prior (Karting magazine)
2nd Joe Richardson (HW winner)
3rd Brandon Williams

Podium with organiser Dan Underhill (left) and commentator Andrew Mather (right)

We would like to thank Dan Underhill for organising this great event and for helping to raise over £4700.00 pounds for ICR! Thanks also to all those who participated in the event and donated. We can’t wait for next year!

 

Written by Piers Prior

Images courtesy of Toni Onions 

Three sisters – Alive and kicking

Three Sisters circuit, Wigan has been a favourite amongst British karters for many years, however its future was put at risk when in 2017 when it went into liquidation. Despite this, support for the circuit is massive, and people took to social media in their thousands to help, with the group ‘Save Three sisters Race Circuit’ getting well over 4k likes on Facebook. Recently we paid the circuit and the new owners a visit to see what’s been going on and discuss the plans for the future.

Chris Pullman, who is now in charge of the daily running of the circuit spoke to us about what has been done so far.

“The resurface was completed at the beginning of January” adding “It was nice at the Autosport show when people were asking ‘when’s it going to be resurfaced?’ and being able to say ‘It’s done!’”

I think the circuit itself is a great place to start. Having never personally been to Three Sisters I had heard great things about the layout, but less rave reviews about the surface itself due to the extensive repair ‘patches’. The large investment into resurfacing the whole circuit and all its layouts has certainly cured this. The track surface is now beautifully smooth with perfect lines bordering the circuit, but the topography of the circuit has not changed, maintaining its charm.

 

 

The Investment into Three sisters won’t only be beneficial for the karting scene, but it will benefit every one of the motorsports that take place there, from car sprints, to Mini motos. Updated and upgraded barriers and Armco, general facility improvements, and plans for the club house are ongoing.

With this being my first visit to Three sisters, I was instantly impressed with speed and enjoyment driving this circuit brought me. The circuit is also used for drifting, special stage rallies, Super moto, etc. meaning it is far wider than most other many other British kart tracks, and with its long radius corners and very long start/finish straight the club layout must be one of the fastest kart circuits in the country. Moreover, having the option to run either of the club, or valley layouts is a huge asset to what is already an amazing track.

 

Chris Pullman and Sam Pollitt on the brand new tarmac

To drive the circuit, Sam Pollitt of Sam Pollitt Racing was kind enough to loan us one of his race prepared Tonykart Rotax evo karts for a couple of session on each layout. The kart was well suited the track and I felt instantly at home driving it (once I had figured out which way to go). Despite the sub-zero temperatures I didn’t want to stop driving.

It is well known that people love both layouts with the club circuit offering high speed corners and slipstream racing, and the valley circuit for a more technical challenge. The rapid triple chicane that’s notoriously hard to master but hugely rewarding to drive.

 

 

Thinking about the fast nature of the circuit, it doesn’t surprise me that the MBKC field a grid of gearbox drivers who relish in being able to stretch the legs of their karts, something not possible at many circuits in the UK.

Speaking again to Chris after driving the circuit we discussed the resident kart club MBKC (Manchester and Buxton Kart Club) and how they use alternating Club and Valley layouts for their club championship, which I think is a brilliant idea. It gives the local members the opportunity to race on both circuits throughout the year. Furthering this, Chris was enthused to tell me that they had secured a round of the British drift championship on September 15-16th, this being one of their first national events since the handover.

I was interested to know about Three sisters’ plans for national karting championships with the track hosting Super1 and other notable series in the past, Chris noted “I would like to think so. We had a meeting with one of the organisers of a big championship run within the UK. For the work that needed doing it was a little too late for the dates that were set for this year [2018], lets hope for next year… or possibly something later on in the year maybe.” Furthering this he mentioned “The club themselves also hold the ‘Gold Cup’ event which is later this year, that’s their big one. Hopefully that’s a chance for people who haven’t been back since the resurfacing to come along to race.”

Bill Sisely is the new CEO of the circuit and has been instrumental in all the upgrades and improvements made so far, along with his team at the circuit. He has had many years’ experience in running kart circuits, being the owner of Buckmore Park until it was recently bought by John Surtees, and this experience should hopefully allow it to thrive re-establish itself on the British motorsport map.

Wigan has without doubt gone through some ups and downs over its history, the past few years especially, but we are glad that the future is looking bright for such a great circuit. Karting, cars, rallying and drifting alike should all benefit thanks to the investments being made and the commitment Bill, Chris and the whole team continue to make. I could feel the passion and belief everyone has for the place and this should help it succeed in the future.

We would like to thank Three sisters, as well as Bill Sisley and Chris Pullman especially for allowing us their time to relay everything that is going on. Thanks also to Sam Pollitt who prepared and provided a kart for us to test the circuit, despite the arctic temperatures.

 

Written by Piers Prior

 

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Tested – Lucas Axle, Britain’s 21st Century axle design

Its not often a component is revolutionised in our sport. Karting is a sport where the equipment has been refined over and over since its inception, you need only look at the karts from the 50’s and 60’s to see how far we have come through constant evolution. However, for about the past 15 years the 50mm axle has remained largely unchanged, and unquestioned by most.
One person who has questioned the design however is Andy Lucas who noticed a pattern in axle failures spurred on by footage taken of a failure of his driver’s axle 5 years ago, all of which he explained to Chris McCarthy in this interview.

The test

In conjunction with Jade karts, Andy invited us to Shenington to test one of the new Lucas Axles on a TKM extreme Jade kart, and to discuss the features and story behind the axle.

This would be my first time driving a full blown TKM, and only my second time at Shenington in five years, but I picked it all back up pretty fast, and was able to get down to testing the axle right away. The kart felt great and as anyone versed in karting will know Shenington is a great track, I was having a whale of a time. Once I found my feet I began to push the kart and axle to the limit, to see if I could find any specific characteristics, good or bad, about the new axle.

The kart was very easy to drive, and the axle was confidence inducing. The behaviour of the kart was predictable and smooth. I could put the kart where I wanted. Park Bend, turn 1 at Shenington was a perfect example, this corner is flat out and requires precise inputs into the steering to gently load kart into the corner for the optimal line. After finding the correct line I felt I could do it consistently lap on lap. The same applied into the bruno chicane, the constantly changing weight transfer from the right, to braking, then the left would have highlighted any inconsistencies, but it at all felt very natural.

Towards the end of the test I was able to lap the circuit within a tenth of a second most laps which is indicative of kart that is handling well and consistently.

One thing that did stand out to me was corner entry into slow corners under heavy breaking. Stratford hairpin was the best example. I could trail the brakes all the way in, gliding the kart to the apex. Now whether this was the kart, the axle, or a combination of both I can’t say for sure, but what I can say for sure was I felt at home within just a few laps in an unfamiliar kart at a circuit I haven’t drive since 2012. They must be doing something right.

I spoke to Chris just after my last session about the day, check out my reaction here.

The theory

As Chris mentioned, the Lucas axle has been in development for 5 years now since Andy Lucas first thought of the idea. The design of the axle has reliability and precision at its core. Andy said to me “This high performance axle design has F1 standards of precision and is designed not to snap, there are too many axles breaking in competition, this development will reduce the risk immediately”.

The thing that put this in perspective for me as a racer was this situation pictured below. Not only do you not want an axle letting go for obvious safety reasons, but imagine this; You’re fighting all year head to head with your competitors, be it Super One, or any club championship, sometimes the points are very close at the end of the year, and 1 ‘DNF’ can often be the difference. Using the Lucas Axle effectively negates the risk of an avoidable axle failure which could mean you collecting those few points you need.

The Axle itself has been tested by top drivers including Scott Allen and Danny Keirle. They have put it through its paces and completed back to back comparisons with standard axles. Mark Allen the founder of Jade Karts arranged for the new design to be tested on a 250cc Superkart with impressive results. Jade Karts have chosen the Lucas Axle in competition and incorporate the axle in the TKM Kart chassis that Jade manufacture.

Jade will no longer supply drilled and machined axles to customers, they recognise the significant safety and performance advantages without them.

The Axle

So you’ve heard all about it, what it does, why it works, who’s tested it, what it feels like, but you’re probably wondering how this axle is physically different. The theory is there are no holes in the axle, and no flat keyways, thus meaning the axle should be better balanced, and structurally more reliable.

The axle and keys have been designed using a Kinematic coupling method ensuring the keys fit the axle exactly, every time it is installed. This offers a balanced, stronger and safer alternative to axles with drilled holes and machined flat areas. The surface pattern that matches the key in this design has evolved from over 1000 design configurations of which Andy Lucas holds the intellectual rights.

When I first saw the axle in person it looked very good. The key sits in the keyway very snugly with no play at all, and possibly tighter than the usual design. The keyways are located at 90 degrees around the axle further increasing the better balanced properties of this design. The tolerances in the machining of this axle are obviously high which is very good sign.

Overall

The Lucas Axle is an innovative British design that could potentially take over the Axle market in the UK, and then possibly the world. The Axle is more evenly balanced, has higher tolerances, and due to its design, safer than the conventional axles available. Moreover, it will be at a price point below what some will be paying for their current Axles.

British design, British build is yet another bonus for this product. I personally believe as its rolled out there is no reason why this can’t become the new norm in karting, and I’m all for it.

Andy Lucas and his newly released Axle

Jade karts and Andy Lucas are encouraging anyone interested to know more to get in touch with them via the dedicated phone number

07756 025097

 or contact Andy via the email address andy@lucasaxles.com with any questions, queries, or concerns.

 

Written by Piers Prior

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A taste of the golden era – F100 Review

Arrive and Drive to MSA – Whilton Weekend

Arrive and Drive column – April

We’re getting into the meat of the year now with all series in full force. The weather is nice enough to look forward to, and our rain suits are breathing a sigh of relief.

Club100 Round 3 – Rye House 

Rye house was the venue of the round 3 of the Club100 championship, as previous home of Club100 its a spiritual home of the series.

Catch all the videos on the Karting Magazine website here

Elites

King Club100 Steve Brown was looking almost unstoppable in the heats with two podiums and three top tens, however he was shadowed by Joe Holmes who lined up second in the final.

In the final Joe and Steve went hammer and tongs, with Joe just edging Steve at the chequered flag. Steve still leads the championship ahead of Ian Blake and Joe Holmes.

Clubman 

Harry Neale was the inside man in clubmans with his debut win of the season in the final. He was pushed hard by Pietro Pagano who just couldn’t best Neale despite setting the fastest lap. That leaves Pietro in a very strong position in the championship in 2nd. Jack Bolton had another strong round finishing in 3rd, and maintains his championship lead narrowly.

Heavyweight 

In the heavies, Tom Hill and Andrew Dawson took the spoils in race 1 & 2 respectively with Andrew Dawson as highest scoring driver with a 5th in race 1 to back up his win in race 2. John Gooch was the only championship front running driver to take a podium and sits 3rd in the standings. Solid top 10’s for Mark Ridout and James Browning keeps them in the championship fight.

Championship Debutants Jeff Chapman and Shane O’Neil both took podiums in race 2.

Lightweight

Darri Sims was pick of the lightweights with a first and second in race 1&2. Sammy Venables took his maiden win at his home circuit in race 2 edging out Sims, He will be strong for the remainder of the season if he can maintain this pace.

Dmax Round 3 – PFi

Round 3 of the Daytona DMAX championship visited possibly the best karting facility in the country PFi, for its third round. The circuit’s long straights would really allow the Rotax Powered karts to stretch their legs.

Full results and reports can be found on the DMAX website here

All the videos from the heats and enduros can be found helpfully compiled in an easy access format on the karting magazine site here

Lights heats

Axel Slijepcevic and Cameron Noble lead early while it kicked off behind between Zack Swanell and Max O’Shaughnessy leading to a black flag for Swanell. Eventually Dante Dhillon made his way past Slijepsevic to claim second behind Cameron Noble. The top 8 drivers all had a fastest leo within 0.2 seconds showing just how closely the karts were performing.

Inter Heats

Chris Hackworth led away from the front row with Jordan Taylor in hot pursuit. After problems in the heats Bobby Trundley was on the war path making up many positions early in the race to try and catch the leading drivers. Chris Hackworth made the most of the pack getting baulked at Hairpin 2 and scampered away to an insurmountable lead. Bobby Trundley made a successful comeback from 10th to finish 2nd ahead of Taylor and Ellis.

Heavy Heats

A great start from Tomek Zaustowicz in 2nd place gave him the advantage over Alex Pritchard. Tarik Almou set fastest lap while in pursuit of Zaustowicz, while Pritchard earned a black flag for an over defensive move on Bennett. At the flag Zaustowicz took the win ahead of Almou and Munro who had a solid run.

Light Enduro

Max O’Shaughnessy set pole by just 0.009s over Luca Hirst with a great 3rd for Charlotte Manton, the top 13 were covered by less than a second.

Luca Hirst stormed to a 10 second victory and set fastest lap ahead of the very close pack of O’Shaughnessy, Ayrton Hirst, Tom Kempynck, and Charlotte Manton.

Inter Enduro

Chris Hackworth and the recent form man James Perry were the men to beat with Hackworth taking the top spot in qualifying.

In the race Bobby Trundley found some pace he left on the table in qualifying to win by over 10 seconds from Chris Hackworth and Tor Ryan. The pack spread out somewhat.

Heavy Enduro

In qualifying Tomek Zaustowicz was again the man to beat, however he was pushed hard by Adam Nakar who came within a tenth of pole position. The two were the class of the feild.

They carried on their dominance in the race pulling nearly half a lap over their nearest rival Malcolm Clark, but Tomek just edged it by a second, with Nakar in 2nd and Clark in 3rd. Eli Vergara made great progress to finish 5th from 15th.

 

NKL Round 3 – Whilton National

Catch all the action from Whilton Mill re-live on their Facebook page here

Wins in the heats for Brandon Williams, Tom Kitchener, James Saunders, and Andy Spencer put Brandon Williams on pole. Brandon lead every race until the last lap when an almighty battle ensued for the whole lap. Spencer took the lead at Christmas only to be challenged back through Zulu and again at the boot where it looked as if Williams had completed a winning switchback, but Spencer just edged it on the run to the line but by just 0.043 seconds.

Covkartsport Round 1 – Daytona Tamworth

Round 1 took place at Daytona Tamworth. Andy Spencer again was the main man in the lights scoring maximum points in race 2 and 3 to win overall, with the Pauls; Gasson and Cox, in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The heavyweights were won narrowly by Sam Foster ahead of Matthew Spencer, with Guy Tolley in 3rd.

Full results can be found here

Driver of the Month 

Highly Commended:

  • Dante Dhillon – For coming back from unfortunate heats, winning the B-final and making 9 places to finish 7th in the NKL A final at round 2.
  • Sammy Venables – Taking his maiden Club100 win in some style at Rye house Club100 Lightweights
  • Luca Hirst – Winning the DMAX light enduro by 10 seconds ahead of stiff competition at PFi.

However this month’s winner is…

Tomek Zaustowicz

Tomek absolutely dominated at PFi in DMAX heavies winning both the Heavy Heats final from second, as well as the heavy enduro despite being chased hard by Malcolm Clark. Congratulations Tomek.

 

May is next on the calendar, lets hope for some more awesome racing and hopefully some great weather.

 

Written by Piers Prior

 

Like this article? Read more Arrive and drive column’s here:

Arrive and drive Column – March

Arrive and drive column – February

Arrive and drive column – Janruary

Arrive and drive column – December