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Circuit Guide: Rye House

 

rye-house-track-guide

Rye house, situated near Hoddesdon, Herfordshire is one of the UK’s premier club circuits hosting the annual London Cup, along with its monthly Club meetings on the first weekend of every month. The circuit is also visited by Club 100, BUKC, and also played host the 2016 Biz Champions challenge in February.

One of Rye House’s main claims to fame is it was the place Lewis Hamilton first drove and raced a kart when he was just 8 years old.

The main characteristics of this track are the iconic Stadium corner at turn 1, as well as two of the tightest corners you will see in Hairpin 1 and 2 meaning very short gearing is often used which adds to the frantic feeling of racing this track. The kerbs also play a large part in a good lap around Rye House.

_mg_0796-2_original
Stadium has a very long and late apex

Turn 1 (Stadium)

Arriving fast after the main straight due to the short gearing Turn 1 can be a daunting corner. Turning in flat out and quite late you should aim to nip the first apex right in the middle of the corner. It is crucial you are very smooth throughout T1 as any amount of excess sliding will lose you tenths of a second. Once you’ve hit the middle apex ease off the power and allow the kart to move out very slightly so your outside wheels eventually just touch the seam in the middle of the track, any wider and the grip decreases greatly. A very slight rub on the brakes just as you begin to increase the lock for the second apex will help the weight transfer to the front wheels enough for you to get onto the inside kerb at the corner’s tightest point. It is very important not to push too hard here, let the kart be neutral and the main thing is that you make the ideal line through the second apex. The kerb here has more grip than the track so get as close to the tyre wall/grass on the inside as possible (mind the trench that is off the back of the kerb, this will throw you sideways). Apply the throttle smoothly but swiftly as you apex and take a middle of the road exit before the kink left. It is very rewarding when you hook up the 2nd apex well and you’ll know when you get it right.

Turn 2

The kink left should be approached with a middle exit from Stadium, the kerb looks aggressive but you float across it so use as much as is comfortable. Minimise the steering lock for maximum acceleration. Use all the track on the exit.

Turn 3 (Hairpin 1)

This is possibly the slowest and tightest corner in the UK, maybe in all of karting. Brake hard on the right hand side. As you approach the apex turn in late but smoothly, bleed off the brakes and trail brake right to the apex to jack the inside rear wheel so you can rotate the kart quickly. You want to apex with just your two inside wheels on the kerb, and on a line that is just slightly later than your conventional arc. Power on hard at the apex and open the steering to use as much road as the tyre walls on the exit will allow (what MSA track limits?).

Tom Sibley
Tom Sibley

Turn 4 (Hairpin 2)

As you exit HP1 the track kinks right, keep left and brake in a straight line. The corner is tight on entry but opens up on the exit. As you turn in hold the brakes slightly and again trail brake right to the apex so when you apply the power the kart can ‘ping’ off the corner. Get as close the tall apex kerb as possible without touching it as it chucks the front of the kart about a foot in the air if you hit it. Power at the apex and as the track opens up hold it slightly tight just after the apex, then drive the kart all the way out to the wall on the exit.

Turn 5 (Pylon)

As you exit HP2 you need to start mentally preparing yourself for left hander at Pilon as it’s one of the most brutal corners around and requires 100% commitment. The kerb there used to be the stuff of legend, but it has been smoothed during the winter of 2015/2016 and is now nice flat concrete. However the track is still bumpy as hell and you’ll be shaken about no matter what. In most classes you need to turn in just after the kerb on the right juts out (don’t touch this as it unsettles the kart). Turn in with a lift or a small rub on the brakes (class dependant) and aim to get your inside wheels very close to the new concrete ‘sausage’ on the inside by the marshal post. Apex late and power over the kerb, the kart will jump as you go through so stay solid in the kart and absorb the bumps as best as possible. You want to stay quite far left here for a good run through 6.

Turn 6

Coming immediately after Pylon, brake hard sort of middle-left and turn in smoothly once the kart stops bouncing. As always trail brake to the apex and apply the power smoothly from the apex where there is a horizontal groove in the track in the middle of the corner. Mostly you will want to avoid the inside kerb here as it unsettles the kart, however some days due to conditions/rubber its quicker to get your inside wheels on top of this inside kerb and onto the tarmac just inside the kerb. Watch what the fastest drivers are doing, maybe try it yourself a couple of laps in practise, if it is faster it will feel like the kart is being pulled round the corner, if you understeer off the kerb go back to staying on the track. Don’t run too wide on exit. You should exit where the short kerb is on the left, go up to, but not onto this as it will kick the kart sideways killing your exit speed.

Piers Prior
Piers Prior

Turn 7 & 8 (last complex)

This again requires full commitment. Bring the kart right from turn 6 up to the white line on the right (be careful not to go over the edge as the kart will bottom out and you’ll be dragged onto the grass). Turn in just as the track juts out on the right, lift as you turn in to allow a little more weight on the front wheels so you can get all the way onto the kerb, in some senior classes you’ll need a rub on the brakes as you enter. Now comes the fun part. You want to aim for a late apex on the left hand kerb so you can stay left for the last corner and a run onto the straight. Aim to jump over the kerb so your inside wheels go up to the grass. The kerb will launch your inside wheels into the air , and you should land right on the end of the kerb quite smoothly. Once you’ve landed a quick rub on the brakes just as you begin to turn right should allow you to make a very late apex for the last corner. Mind the monster inside kerb but get as close as possible. Power hard as you apex and allow the kart to run onto and just over the kerb on the exit where the kerb visibly drops down, this should be quite a smooth line. Straighten the steering and drive to the line to complete a quick fire and technical lap at Rye house.

A great lap at rye house should flow very nicely despite the kerbs and bumpy nature of some of the corners. To be fast at Rye you have to be 100% committed and have a plan of action before you get on circuit. This is one of the most physical tracks around, after a race weekend you will feel like you’ve gone a number of rounds with Mike Tyson. Make sure your seat fits well and your arms don’t hit the engine/radiator. I highly recommend a warm up before the first session of the day.

Words By Piers Prior

[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]

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Circuit Guide: Rye House

 

rye-house-track-guide

Rye house, situated near Hoddesdon, Herfordshire is one of the UK’s premier club circuits hosting the annual London Cup, along with its monthly Club meetings on the first weekend of every month. The circuit is also visited by Club 100, BUKC, and also played host the 2016 Biz Champions challenge in February.

One of Rye House’s main claims to fame is it was the place Lewis Hamilton first drove and raced a kart when he was just 8 years old.

The main characteristics of this track are the iconic Stadium corner at turn 1, as well as two of the tightest corners you will see in Hairpin 1 and 2 meaning very short gearing is often used which adds to the frantic feeling of racing this track. The kerbs also play a large part in a good lap around Rye House.

_mg_0796-2_original
Stadium has a very long and late apex

Turn 1 (Stadium)

Arriving fast after the main straight due to the short gearing Turn 1 can be a daunting corner. Turning in flat out and quite late you should aim to nip the first apex right in the middle of the corner. It is crucial you are very smooth throughout T1 as any amount of excess sliding will lose you tenths of a second. Once you’ve hit the middle apex ease off the power and allow the kart to move out very slightly so your outside wheels eventually just touch the seam in the middle of the track, any wider and the grip decreases greatly. A very slight rub on the brakes just as you begin to increase the lock for the second apex will help the weight transfer to the front wheels enough for you to get onto the inside kerb at the corner’s tightest point. It is very important not to push too hard here, let the kart be neutral and the main thing is that you make the ideal line through the second apex. The kerb here has more grip than the track so get as close to the tyre wall/grass on the inside as possible (mind the trench that is off the back of the kerb, this will throw you sideways). Apply the throttle smoothly but swiftly as you apex and take a middle of the road exit before the kink left. It is very rewarding when you hook up the 2nd apex well and you’ll know when you get it right.

Turn 2

The kink left should be approached with a middle exit from Stadium, the kerb looks aggressive but you float across it so use as much as is comfortable. Minimise the steering lock for maximum acceleration. Use all the track on the exit.

Turn 3 (Hairpin 1)

This is possibly the slowest and tightest corner in the UK, maybe in all of karting. Brake hard on the right hand side. As you approach the apex turn in late but smoothly, bleed off the brakes and trail brake right to the apex to jack the inside rear wheel so you can rotate the kart quickly. You want to apex with just your two inside wheels on the kerb, and on a line that is just slightly later than your conventional arc. Power on hard at the apex and open the steering to use as much road as the tyre walls on the exit will allow (what MSA track limits?).

Tom Sibley
Tom Sibley

Turn 4 (Hairpin 2)

As you exit HP1 the track kinks right, keep left and brake in a straight line. The corner is tight on entry but opens up on the exit. As you turn in hold the brakes slightly and again trail brake right to the apex so when you apply the power the kart can ‘ping’ off the corner. Get as close the tall apex kerb as possible without touching it as it chucks the front of the kart about a foot in the air if you hit it. Power at the apex and as the track opens up hold it slightly tight just after the apex, then drive the kart all the way out to the wall on the exit.

Turn 5 (Pylon)

As you exit HP2 you need to start mentally preparing yourself for left hander at Pilon as it’s one of the most brutal corners around and requires 100% commitment. The kerb there used to be the stuff of legend, but it has been smoothed during the winter of 2015/2016 and is now nice flat concrete. However the track is still bumpy as hell and you’ll be shaken about no matter what. In most classes you need to turn in just after the kerb on the right juts out (don’t touch this as it unsettles the kart). Turn in with a lift or a small rub on the brakes (class dependant) and aim to get your inside wheels very close to the new concrete ‘sausage’ on the inside by the marshal post. Apex late and power over the kerb, the kart will jump as you go through so stay solid in the kart and absorb the bumps as best as possible. You want to stay quite far left here for a good run through 6.

Turn 6

Coming immediately after Pylon, brake hard sort of middle-left and turn in smoothly once the kart stops bouncing. As always trail brake to the apex and apply the power smoothly from the apex where there is a horizontal groove in the track in the middle of the corner. Mostly you will want to avoid the inside kerb here as it unsettles the kart, however some days due to conditions/rubber its quicker to get your inside wheels on top of this inside kerb and onto the tarmac just inside the kerb. Watch what the fastest drivers are doing, maybe try it yourself a couple of laps in practise, if it is faster it will feel like the kart is being pulled round the corner, if you understeer off the kerb go back to staying on the track. Don’t run too wide on exit. You should exit where the short kerb is on the left, go up to, but not onto this as it will kick the kart sideways killing your exit speed.

Piers Prior
Piers Prior

Turn 7 & 8 (last complex)

This again requires full commitment. Bring the kart right from turn 6 up to the white line on the right (be careful not to go over the edge as the kart will bottom out and you’ll be dragged onto the grass). Turn in just as the track juts out on the right, lift as you turn in to allow a little more weight on the front wheels so you can get all the way onto the kerb, in some senior classes you’ll need a rub on the brakes as you enter. Now comes the fun part. You want to aim for a late apex on the left hand kerb so you can stay left for the last corner and a run onto the straight. Aim to jump over the kerb so your inside wheels go up to the grass. The kerb will launch your inside wheels into the air , and you should land right on the end of the kerb quite smoothly. Once you’ve landed a quick rub on the brakes just as you begin to turn right should allow you to make a very late apex for the last corner. Mind the monster inside kerb but get as close as possible. Power hard as you apex and allow the kart to run onto and just over the kerb on the exit where the kerb visibly drops down, this should be quite a smooth line. Straighten the steering and drive to the line to complete a quick fire and technical lap at Rye house.

A great lap at rye house should flow very nicely despite the kerbs and bumpy nature of some of the corners. To be fast at Rye you have to be 100% committed and have a plan of action before you get on circuit. This is one of the most physical tracks around, after a race weekend you will feel like you’ve gone a number of rounds with Mike Tyson. Make sure your seat fits well and your arms don’t hit the engine/radiator. I highly recommend a warm up before the first session of the day.

Words By Piers Prior

[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]

Categories
Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic

Karting in the year 2003: a history

JANUARY 2003

The Formula A World Cup at La Conca was won by Jerome D’Ambrosio (Birel/TM). The first Brit was Paul Di Resta down in 17th place. We took a look at the Brooklands circuit that was to hold a round of the Stars of Tomorrow series later in the year. Unfortunately the event didn’t take place and the series was curtailed two rounds early. The Inter Nations Challenge at Rowrah was abandoned because of unacceptable driver behaviour.

FEBRUARY 2003

Biland held a World Finals for their 4-stroke engined class in the South of France. The CIK announced four 4-stroke classes that were expcted would be progressively introduced into their championships, replacing the existing 2-stroke categories, over a 9 year period. K2, K3 and K4 would share a common base engine with different rpm limits and carburettor sizes, while K1 would be unrestricted on those two parameters.

MARCH 2003

Mark Cronje won the Rotax Max World Finals on home soil at Zwartkops in South Africa. The UK’s Ian Parsons was 2nd ahead of two other South Africans, Claudio Piazza-Musso and Michael Stephen. We unveiled the venue for the 2004 event – the Ghibli Raceway in Egypt designed by British concern Protrain.We took a look at Keith Campbell’s awesome 500cc beast powered by two twin-cylinder Rotax Superkart engines.

APRIL 2003

Oliver Oakes (Tony/Vortex)dominated 100cc Intercontinental A at the South Garda Winter Cup on his Senior debut. Davide Fore (Tony/Vortex) and Andy Zanella (Top/Comer) won Formula A and Juniors respectively.Three British kart manufacturers – Dartford Karting, Gillard and S.W.R.D. – homologated chassis with the CIK, whilst Aerostar (bodywork) and Kelgate (brakes) were also successful with their applications.

MAY 2003

Oliver Oakes won ICA at the Margutti Trophy. Leaving it very late the CIK decided that the World Championship should be for Formula A at a single event instead of the multi-round championship for Formula Super-A.It was announced that the Comer W60 would take over as the British Championship Cadet engine from the existing Comer S60. Mark Rochford’s running costs and net equipment costs for winning Formula A Super One were put at £1676/round.

JUNE 2003

For the first time, 4-stroke karting was represented in the Super One Series with a debut season for the Junior and Senior TKM classes. Alex Zanardi had a kart seat fitting at CRG less than two years after his horrific Champ Car accident. Driving standards at the Fulbeck round of the Rotax Super One Series were described as diabolical. Carlo Forni demonstrated the importance of matching pistons to cylinders in his latest Tech Talk column. We interviewed Paul Carr.

JULY 2003

Bertrand Grooten (Tony/Vortex) and Bas Lammers (S.Hutless/Vortex) both took wins at the opening round of the Formula A Euro Champs at Angerville. Major upgrades were completed at Buckmore Park and Rye House. Carlo Forni  guided us through the various reasons for engine seizures. Damien Payart won both races at the opening round of the European Superkart Champs at Brno in the Czech Republic. We tested the Rotax RM1 kart that would evolve into the DD2.

AUGUST 2003

Davide Fore (Tony/Vortex) took a win and a 2nd place at round 2 of the Formula A Euro Champs at Alaharma in Finland.In response to the CIK pushing ahead with their plans for the top level of karting to be 4-stroke, Ed Wassenberg, Chairman of the Dutch Autosport Federation, suggested setting up a rival federation, the World Karting Federation. The CIK did not adopt 4-stroke for their premier classes and the WKF was never heard of again.

SEPTEMBER 2003

Bas Lammers and Carlo Van Dam won the two finals at the Braga Formula A Euro Champs round. David Gregory was on the podium both times. We tested a Junior Biland kart but the class never got under way. Adam Christodoulou won both the Minimax and Junior Rotax O Plates at the same meeting. We ran a feature on Dean Warner who had lost the use of his right arm after a motorcycle accident and had taken up karting, initially Rotax Max before moving into 250 National.

OCTOBER 2003

Motor-sporting legends and dignitaries gathered at Buckmore Park for the opening of their new clubhouse and announcement of ambitious future plans. Damien Payart (Div.1) and Andrew Agnew (Div.2) were crowned European Superkart Champions at Donington Park. Michael Simpson won his 5th Kartmasters title. It was announced that Honda Cadet & Senior would adopt the GX160 T1 engine from 2004.

NOVEMBER 2003

Ben Hanley took a win and a 2nd place at the final round of the Formula A Euro Champs at Mariembourg, with Bas Lammers winning the title. The Stars of Tomorrow series came to a premature end when the final rounds at Kimbolton and Brooklands did not take place. The Corridonia Euro Champs saw titles go to Nicholas Risitano (Juniors) and Nicola Bocchi (ICA). TKM announced that Seniors would get a engine capacity increase from 100cc to 115cc.

Categories
Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic

Karting in the year 2003: a history

JANUARY 2003

The Formula A World Cup at La Conca was won by Jerome D’Ambrosio (Birel/TM). The first Brit was Paul Di Resta down in 17th place. We took a look at the Brooklands circuit that was to hold a round of the Stars of Tomorrow series later in the year. Unfortunately the event didn’t take place and the series was curtailed two rounds early. The Inter Nations Challenge at Rowrah was abandoned because of unacceptable driver behaviour.

FEBRUARY 2003

Biland held a World Finals for their 4-stroke engined class in the South of France. The CIK announced four 4-stroke classes that were expcted would be progressively introduced into their championships, replacing the existing 2-stroke categories, over a 9 year period. K2, K3 and K4 would share a common base engine with different rpm limits and carburettor sizes, while K1 would be unrestricted on those two parameters.

MARCH 2003

Mark Cronje won the Rotax Max World Finals on home soil at Zwartkops in South Africa. The UK’s Ian Parsons was 2nd ahead of two other South Africans, Claudio Piazza-Musso and Michael Stephen. We unveiled the venue for the 2004 event – the Ghibli Raceway in Egypt designed by British concern Protrain.We took a look at Keith Campbell’s awesome 500cc beast powered by two twin-cylinder Rotax Superkart engines.

APRIL 2003

Oliver Oakes (Tony/Vortex)dominated 100cc Intercontinental A at the South Garda Winter Cup on his Senior debut. Davide Fore (Tony/Vortex) and Andy Zanella (Top/Comer) won Formula A and Juniors respectively.Three British kart manufacturers – Dartford Karting, Gillard and S.W.R.D. – homologated chassis with the CIK, whilst Aerostar (bodywork) and Kelgate (brakes) were also successful with their applications.

MAY 2003

Oliver Oakes won ICA at the Margutti Trophy. Leaving it very late the CIK decided that the World Championship should be for Formula A at a single event instead of the multi-round championship for Formula Super-A.It was announced that the Comer W60 would take over as the British Championship Cadet engine from the existing Comer S60. Mark Rochford’s running costs and net equipment costs for winning Formula A Super One were put at £1676/round.

JUNE 2003

For the first time, 4-stroke karting was represented in the Super One Series with a debut season for the Junior and Senior TKM classes. Alex Zanardi had a kart seat fitting at CRG less than two years after his horrific Champ Car accident. Driving standards at the Fulbeck round of the Rotax Super One Series were described as diabolical. Carlo Forni demonstrated the importance of matching pistons to cylinders in his latest Tech Talk column. We interviewed Paul Carr.

JULY 2003

Bertrand Grooten (Tony/Vortex) and Bas Lammers (S.Hutless/Vortex) both took wins at the opening round of the Formula A Euro Champs at Angerville. Major upgrades were completed at Buckmore Park and Rye House. Carlo Forni  guided us through the various reasons for engine seizures. Damien Payart won both races at the opening round of the European Superkart Champs at Brno in the Czech Republic. We tested the Rotax RM1 kart that would evolve into the DD2.

AUGUST 2003

Davide Fore (Tony/Vortex) took a win and a 2nd place at round 2 of the Formula A Euro Champs at Alaharma in Finland.In response to the CIK pushing ahead with their plans for the top level of karting to be 4-stroke, Ed Wassenberg, Chairman of the Dutch Autosport Federation, suggested setting up a rival federation, the World Karting Federation. The CIK did not adopt 4-stroke for their premier classes and the WKF was never heard of again.

SEPTEMBER 2003

Bas Lammers and Carlo Van Dam won the two finals at the Braga Formula A Euro Champs round. David Gregory was on the podium both times. We tested a Junior Biland kart but the class never got under way. Adam Christodoulou won both the Minimax and Junior Rotax O Plates at the same meeting. We ran a feature on Dean Warner who had lost the use of his right arm after a motorcycle accident and had taken up karting, initially Rotax Max before moving into 250 National.

OCTOBER 2003

Motor-sporting legends and dignitaries gathered at Buckmore Park for the opening of their new clubhouse and announcement of ambitious future plans. Damien Payart (Div.1) and Andrew Agnew (Div.2) were crowned European Superkart Champions at Donington Park. Michael Simpson won his 5th Kartmasters title. It was announced that Honda Cadet & Senior would adopt the GX160 T1 engine from 2004.

NOVEMBER 2003

Ben Hanley took a win and a 2nd place at the final round of the Formula A Euro Champs at Mariembourg, with Bas Lammers winning the title. The Stars of Tomorrow series came to a premature end when the final rounds at Kimbolton and Brooklands did not take place. The Corridonia Euro Champs saw titles go to Nicholas Risitano (Juniors) and Nicola Bocchi (ICA). TKM announced that Seniors would get a engine capacity increase from 100cc to 115cc.

Categories
Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic

Karting in the year 2002: a history

JANUARY 2002

Paul Di Resta and Alessandro Piccini won our 2001 Kart Driver Rankings, compiled in association with Champion spark plugs. WTP Cadet arrived in the UK. We told the story of GP Karting in Kenya, the only kart circuit within 2,500 miles. The tarmac broke up the first time it was used, poisonous snakes were a regular hazard and the residual water in the safety tyres had to be drained to reduce mosquito breeding potential.

FEBRUARY 2002

Sebastian Vettel and Jeremy Iglesias were the two junior winners at the 9th indoor event at Paris Bercy while Fernando Alonso was impressive in the main event. Italy won the team event on both days with totally different team members. 4-stroke Bilands were used for the first time. We paid a visit to Zip Kart and met Alec Bottoms who built the first “Zipper”, and also interviewed John Surtees.

MARCH 2002

250cc Formula E looked like it would enjoy something of a resurgence as SGM and FPE both built new engines for the class. Promax, endurance racing using the Rotax MAX, was being touted as the next big thing and had been adopted as the MSA British Endurance Kart Championship class. Circuits at Brooklands, Glasfryn Parc and Lakeside were all either being built or extended.

APRIL 2002

The Rotax Max World Finals were held at Langkawi, Malaysia with the country’s Prime Minister on hand to present the commemorative medals. The Rotax DD2 kart was unveiled with its axle passing through the rear of the 2-speed gearbox casing. There were interviews with Roger Mills and Mark Rose, while BRDC McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year finalist Danny Watts gave a step-by-step guide to making the move from karting into racing cars.

MAY 2002

We visited the Team Biland factory in Switzerland where the 250cc twin cylinder 4-stroke Biland SA250 engines were produced. Also on show was a development 200cc single cylinder engine for rental karts and World Formula called the Hurricane. 17 drivers took part in the first race in the UK for the new WTP Cadet class. Sniper introduced a laser wheel alignment system for accurate measurement of camber and toe in/out.

JUNE 2002

The major engine and kart manufacturers were up in arms at CIK proposals, led by the then President Yvon Leon, that included the proposed introduction of four-stroke engines and future exclusion of two-strokes in all CIK classes. We talked to the designer of the new FPE twin cylinder 250cc engine for Superkarts. One lucky magazine reader won a paint job for his helmet and we showed the various steps from unpainted to the completed design.

JULY 2002

The victors at the Clay Pigeon Senior Super One round in 2002 are still at the top or well known in karting circles ten years on: Mark Litchfield (Formula A), Micky Higham (100 National), Martin Pierce (Rotax Max) and Charlie Bruce-White (TKM). The UK Cup meeting for the long circuit gearbox classes at Pembrey saw wins for Don Thompson (210 National), Rob Nash (Formula 125), Graham Barker (Formula E), John Riley (250 Int) and Paul Bateman (250 Nat).

AUGUST 2002

Alessandro Manetti (CRG/Maxter) took both wins for the D.R. (Dunlop Racing) team at the opening event of the multi-round World Champs at Mariembourg. Ben Hanley (Maranello/Maxter) impressed on his series debut, taking pole and then 2nd place in Final 2.We tested and loved a new version of the 125 Europa one-make gearbox class utilising a Topkart chassis and MC BAT engine but class numbers never really got above a single grid.

SEPTEMBER 2002

Ronnie Quintarelli (Birel/TM) won both races at the second round of the World Champs at Alaharma in Finland. F1 drivers Mika Salo and Mika Hakkinen were amongst the spectators.The British Kart Grand Prix at Pembrey had less than 90 entries, the poorest turnout in the GP’s history, while the first round of the re-introduced European Superkart Championship at the Nurburgring had to be cancelled due to fog.

OCTOBER 2002

Martin Hines led the Division 1 Superkart Euro Champs after two wins at Donington. John Riley topped the Division 2 points table. Giedo van der Garde (CRG/Maxter) and Michael Ammermuller (Tony/Vortex) shared the wins at the third round of the Formula Super A World Champs at Braga but the championship was still led by Birel’s Ronnie Quintarelli. The Pogue Mahone team dominated the Clay Pigeon Pro-Kart Festival, winning all 4 races.

NOVEMBER 2002

David Hemkemeyer (Formula A), Robert Dirks (ICC) and Francesco Laudato (Super-ICC) won European Championship titles at the third and final round at Mariembourg. Future F1 driver Sebastien Buemi was victorious at the European Junior (JICA) Champs at Angerville while Jonathan Thonon took the ICA honours. Gary Catt, a privateer up against works teams, was 3rd. England retained their Inter Nations Challenge title in Ireland.

DECEMBER 2002

Giedo van der Garde (CRG/Maxter) won both finals at La Conca to win the Formula Super-A World Championship from Ronnie Quintarelli (Birel/TM) who had led the points table coming into the meeting. The Tony Kart Racing Team of Davide Fore and Marko Asmer retained the Team title. Martin Hines (Div.1) Zip/Rotax and John Riley (Div.2) Anderson/Rotax clinched the European Superkart titles at Le Mans.

Categories
Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic Historic

Karting in the year 2002: a history

JANUARY 2002

Paul Di Resta and Alessandro Piccini won our 2001 Kart Driver Rankings, compiled in association with Champion spark plugs. WTP Cadet arrived in the UK. We told the story of GP Karting in Kenya, the only kart circuit within 2,500 miles. The tarmac broke up the first time it was used, poisonous snakes were a regular hazard and the residual water in the safety tyres had to be drained to reduce mosquito breeding potential.

FEBRUARY 2002

Sebastian Vettel and Jeremy Iglesias were the two junior winners at the 9th indoor event at Paris Bercy while Fernando Alonso was impressive in the main event. Italy won the team event on both days with totally different team members. 4-stroke Bilands were used for the first time. We paid a visit to Zip Kart and met Alec Bottoms who built the first “Zipper”, and also interviewed John Surtees.

MARCH 2002

250cc Formula E looked like it would enjoy something of a resurgence as SGM and FPE both built new engines for the class. Promax, endurance racing using the Rotax MAX, was being touted as the next big thing and had been adopted as the MSA British Endurance Kart Championship class. Circuits at Brooklands, Glasfryn Parc and Lakeside were all either being built or extended.

APRIL 2002

The Rotax Max World Finals were held at Langkawi, Malaysia with the country’s Prime Minister on hand to present the commemorative medals. The Rotax DD2 kart was unveiled with its axle passing through the rear of the 2-speed gearbox casing. There were interviews with Roger Mills and Mark Rose, while BRDC McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year finalist Danny Watts gave a step-by-step guide to making the move from karting into racing cars.

MAY 2002

We visited the Team Biland factory in Switzerland where the 250cc twin cylinder 4-stroke Biland SA250 engines were produced. Also on show was a development 200cc single cylinder engine for rental karts and World Formula called the Hurricane. 17 drivers took part in the first race in the UK for the new WTP Cadet class. Sniper introduced a laser wheel alignment system for accurate measurement of camber and toe in/out.

JUNE 2002

The major engine and kart manufacturers were up in arms at CIK proposals, led by the then President Yvon Leon, that included the proposed introduction of four-stroke engines and future exclusion of two-strokes in all CIK classes. We talked to the designer of the new FPE twin cylinder 250cc engine for Superkarts. One lucky magazine reader won a paint job for his helmet and we showed the various steps from unpainted to the completed design.

JULY 2002

The victors at the Clay Pigeon Senior Super One round in 2002 are still at the top or well known in karting circles ten years on: Mark Litchfield (Formula A), Micky Higham (100 National), Martin Pierce (Rotax Max) and Charlie Bruce-White (TKM). The UK Cup meeting for the long circuit gearbox classes at Pembrey saw wins for Don Thompson (210 National), Rob Nash (Formula 125), Graham Barker (Formula E), John Riley (250 Int) and Paul Bateman (250 Nat).

AUGUST 2002

Alessandro Manetti (CRG/Maxter) took both wins for the D.R. (Dunlop Racing) team at the opening event of the multi-round World Champs at Mariembourg. Ben Hanley (Maranello/Maxter) impressed on his series debut, taking pole and then 2nd place in Final 2.We tested and loved a new version of the 125 Europa one-make gearbox class utilising a Topkart chassis and MC BAT engine but class numbers never really got above a single grid.

SEPTEMBER 2002

Ronnie Quintarelli (Birel/TM) won both races at the second round of the World Champs at Alaharma in Finland. F1 drivers Mika Salo and Mika Hakkinen were amongst the spectators.The British Kart Grand Prix at Pembrey had less than 90 entries, the poorest turnout in the GP’s history, while the first round of the re-introduced European Superkart Championship at the Nurburgring had to be cancelled due to fog.

OCTOBER 2002

Martin Hines led the Division 1 Superkart Euro Champs after two wins at Donington. John Riley topped the Division 2 points table. Giedo van der Garde (CRG/Maxter) and Michael Ammermuller (Tony/Vortex) shared the wins at the third round of the Formula Super A World Champs at Braga but the championship was still led by Birel’s Ronnie Quintarelli. The Pogue Mahone team dominated the Clay Pigeon Pro-Kart Festival, winning all 4 races.

NOVEMBER 2002

David Hemkemeyer (Formula A), Robert Dirks (ICC) and Francesco Laudato (Super-ICC) won European Championship titles at the third and final round at Mariembourg. Future F1 driver Sebastien Buemi was victorious at the European Junior (JICA) Champs at Angerville while Jonathan Thonon took the ICA honours. Gary Catt, a privateer up against works teams, was 3rd. England retained their Inter Nations Challenge title in Ireland.

DECEMBER 2002

Giedo van der Garde (CRG/Maxter) won both finals at La Conca to win the Formula Super-A World Championship from Ronnie Quintarelli (Birel/TM) who had led the points table coming into the meeting. The Tony Kart Racing Team of Davide Fore and Marko Asmer retained the Team title. Martin Hines (Div.1) Zip/Rotax and John Riley (Div.2) Anderson/Rotax clinched the European Superkart titles at Le Mans.

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Karting in the year 2001: a history

JANUARY 2001

The first ever Rotax Grand Finals were held on the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico with 67 entries from 18 countries. At that time the event was only for Seniors and drivers used their own chassis with the pooled engines. The Rotax 125 MAX DD engine was unveiled.Paul Di Resta won the JICA ‘O’ Plate at Rowrah. Fraser Sheader (ICA), Adam Wright (100C) and Roger White (100C/160) were the other champions. Ellough Park in Suffolk held its first few meetings.

FEBRUARY 2001

Davide Fore beat Vitantonio Liuzzi to win the Formula Super A World Cup at Motegi. Lewis Hamilton won Formula A and also took the honours in the Young Stars event on the opening day of the glitzy Elf Masters karting competition held indoors at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy. Dave Bewley looked back at the first year of the innovative Racing for Buttons scheme at Rowrah that had provided around 100 young children with an opportunity to try a Comer Cadet outfit for free.

MARCH 2001

Apex Racing of Sheffield revealed a radical new 100cc kart engine that could be converted from reed to rotary valve in 5 minutes by means of a bolt-on cassette. The superbly finished, steeply inclined engine was also supplied with two inner cylinder heads, one for ‘torque’ and one for ‘speed’. Sadly the Apex disappeared just as quickly as it had emerged. The karting section at the Autosport International show was jam-packed with the latest CIK homologated engines and Formula TKM and Cadet karts.

APRIL 2001

Ben Hanley (Kosmic/Vortex) won Formula A at the Winter Cup with Mark Litchfield 4th. Robert Kubica was on pole in Super A and Sebastian Vettel was on the podium in Juniors. The MSA and ARKS announced a new initiative ‘Fit to be a Kart Champion’ to help young karters in their bid to reach the top. The Foot and Mouth outbreak had a significant effect on karting activity. Lydd hosted the first S1 qualifier with Oliver Rowland (Cadet) and James Bean (Junior TKM) the two winners.

MAY 2001

A new controlling body for UK karting was announced, the Kart Control Board, but it never really made much impact. Geoff Hall made a fun return to karting at Blackbushe after a few years lay-off, his kart fitted with buttons for tyre shredders, smoke screen and ejector seat! His wife brought an egg timer to time him! The Foot and Mouth outbreak was badly disrupting karting with Shenington, Rissington, Kimbolton and Warden Law among those to cancel meetings.

JUNE 2001

Paul Di Resta won the opening round of the Champions of the Future series. There were concerns over the amount of tank tape being discarded from radiators once engines had warmed up. We tested a Biland SA250 4-stroke fitted to a Deavinsons chassis. The opening Junior Super One round at Clay Pigeon had to be abandoned before the heats could be completed as there was a river at Billy’s and off-track excursions in every race.

JULY 2001

The new multi-round format for the World Champs was previewed. Twenty-two Formula Super-A teams of two drivers would contest five rounds in Canada, France, Italy, Belgium and Japan. Ben Hanley (Kosmic/Vortex) and Carlo Van Dam (Gillard/Parilla) were the victors at the opening round of the Formula A Euro Champs at Oschersleben. We tested the new TKM 4-stroke engine and witnessed a display by a Gravitron electric powered kart.

AUGUST 2001

The new multi-round World Championship got under way with 21 two-driver teams. CRG with their pairing of Vitantonio Liuzzi and Toni Vilander led after the opening round from CRG Holland and Tony Kart. The CIK Executive Committee adopted the proposal that the Karting World Championship be incorporated in the framework of some Formula 1 GPs as from 2002! The idea however never came to reality. Clay Pigeon was put on the market for offers in excess of £1.2 million.

SEPTEMBER 2001

Sebastian Vettel led the Junior Euro Champs after the opening round at St Amand. We were impressed by the Semel brake lock reduction system as it reduced lap times and wear on key components. Alessandro Piccini (Formula C) and Alessandro Sferrella (ICC) won the two 125cc Euro Champs titles on offer. The CIK reconfirmed its intentions of moving ahead with 4-stroke racing engines but underlined the conflict that still existed.

OCTOBER 2001

Davide Fore (Tony/Vortex) was dominant at the second round of the new format Formula Super A World Champs at Salbris. Carlo Van Dam (Gillard/Parilla) took a 1st and a 2nd in Formula A to strengthen his Euro title bid. Sebastian Vettel (Tony/Vortex) wrapped up the Euro Junior Champs at round two at Thy Hanstholm while Williams F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg was 2nd overall in the Cadet Green Helmet Trophy behind Erik Janis (Birel/TM).

NOVEMBER 2001

Carlo Van Dam clinched the Formula A European Champs at Mariembourg to give Gillard karts their first European title. News came through that the final round of the Formula Super-A World Champs would be held at Kerpen instead of Suzuka. Paul Di Resta retained his Champions of the Future JICA title while England won the fifth Inter Nations Challenge at Llandow from the host nation. Jean-Philippe Guignet (Tony/Vortex) won the ICA European Champs at Braga.

DECEMBER 2001

F1 Champion Michael Schumacher was drafted into the Tony Kart Racing Team for the final round of the Formula Super-A World Champs at Kerpen. Sauro Cesetti (Kosmic/Vortex) won both finals with Schumacher (Tony/Vortex) 2nd in Final 2 while Vitantonio Liuzzi (CRG/Maxter) clinched the title.Paul Di Resta (Top/TM) won the MSA British Junior Champs with a 3rd and a 2nd at the final Super One round at Buckmore Park.