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Written By: Grahame Butterworth
Well after much deliberation and discussion within the class I can now bring you the low down on the regulations for the Formula TKM 2 & 4-stroke classes in 2007 and beyond.
What I am sure will be seen as good news for many in the classes is that actually although there are some fundamental changes, in reality little changes to cause anyone undue cause for concern.
Let’s just clear the 4-strokes out of the way by saying that there are no significant changes here at all. The classes continue to grow and will not be revised. Nice and simple that!
For 2-stroke things are more complicated but should come as good news.
Homologation of karts is going to continue with a new three year period coming into effect from January 1, 2007. And if you have an old kart the good news is that you can still use it with no problem. For TKM the valid homologation period is being extended to 12years – three years longer than usual – so a 94 homologation kart is still useable.
The significant change is that karts need no longer be UK made – but that does not, repeat NOT mean that international style karts will be allowed in. Quite the reverse.
The change to allow overseas karts has two effects. Firstly it means that a UK company can if they wish source a kart from abroad and maybe save some money in doing so. It also means they can buy components such as chassis and stub axles abroad, again often at lower prices.
With more and more components such as brakes, bodywork and brackets already coming from abroad and being fitted to existing TKM karts it makes logical sense to make this change to take in the chassis etc. Also of course the number of UK manufacturers has declined making it harder work for the class with so few manufacturers to support it.
Where an overseas manufacturer wants to make a kart for the class the only proviso is that they must have a UK based agent who is a member of the British Kart Industry Association.
As far as the actual class rules are concerned the changes are minor. Brake systems will become free which cuts out the sometimes expensive problem of having to homologate new systems when a manufacturer changes spec. However the spec of the brakes will be exactly as now -one callipers, two pads and maximum two pistons per pad. ABS etc banned.
This change will apply to all karts so you can change your system if required – though it seems unlikely any major advantage will be gained. But again it makes it much easier for those people who might have a faulty system for which spares are difficult or impossible to obtain.
Otherwise kart spec remains pretty much as now with 30mm hollow axles, no caster/camber adjustment and no torsion bars. But you will be allowed free seats stays (maximum of two per kart) and there is a general tidying up of rules.
It seems likely that the entire TKM rule book will be re-written in conjunction with the fiche, not to change anything but to make things a lot easier to understand without all the amendments that have taken place over the years.
Some things will be made easier to help both scrutineers and drivers avoid those silly technical infringements that cause needless pain. Things like size of cable ties, airbox intakes dropping off, etc.
Two areas where changes will be made concern the noisebox and exhaust. The noisebox looks set to be replaced by an entirely new unit which is more robust yet still retains a built-in filter – very important in maximising engine life.
I am told this noisebox should have a lower price than the existing unit and withstand the knocks of racing better. The problem in getting it has been to find one which is actually as effective at doing its job as the current one! Its fitment will be optional so no-one is being forced to buy it.
As far as the exhaust is concerned Tal-Ko are looking at a new system which will reduce noise yet also increase power. This will be a complete system which does away with horrible but very effective flex to give a much more effective package. Again this will at first only be an optional item but clearly one of those things that with time will become an automatic choice.
I think in both cases first sight of these will be at the Maxxis TKM Festival in August. Oh and on the subject of Maxxis, their tyres will remain as the class tyre in unchanged format.
It seems pretty certain that the Senior Extreme class will remain exactly as it is now in terms of structure. But where they may be a change is within the Junior/Intermediate age bracket.
All sorts of different ideas are being looked at here to help encourage youngsters into what should be the sensible choice in terms of stepping up from cadets or starting off as a novice as well as a class for the experienced Junior who wants a level playing field with good performance that does not cost the earth to compete in.
Discussions centre around change of structure, use of mandatory clutch, creation of a true stepping stone of performance, weight changes, etc. The idea is to increase appeal and scope rather than cause grief to anyone with the aim of boosting numbers.
At this stage final deliberations are not quite there but watch out for news on the latest coming very soon in what could be a very important revision of the classes that helped bring on so many talents like Jenson Button, Anthony Davidson and Gary Paffett.
Whatever the final outcome rest assured that Tal-Ko will be continuing to put its weight behind the classes and doing its level best to ensure they remain the natural choice for karters wanting the best racing and the best value racing for their money in the UK.
And finally just a reminder that you have but a few days left to get your entries in for the Maxxis Formula TKM Festival at Kimbolton over August 11-13 weekend. The best racing you’ll get anywhere in UK karting with a structure that allows everyone to have great racing whether novice or superstar.
You can get your entry packs from Daphne Freeman at 76 Guntons Close, Soham, Ely, Cambs CB7 5DN enclosing a large stamped addressed envelope. And remember that even if you are a novice then you can take part.
See you there!
Suggest photo caption reads something like…Exhaust flex and wrap could become a thing of the past.