Category Archives: Formula TKM Column

News, insight and updates from Sidney Sprocket, the man in the know when it comes to Formula TKM karting

Formula TKM News

DSC01397Well it is that time of year again when those involved in the management, organisation and control of kart racing have to pore over the regs to finalise details for the coming season.

Last year there were significant changes within the TKM 2-stroke classes to move away from TKM homologated karts to any kart meeting the required specification. There were plenty of fears it might cause a problem, but I think the reality is that it has been well received and opens up the market.

In contrast to the mass of changes last year, this time the changes are small and really could be described as a bit of tidying up rather than anything else – that is other than the weight and size issue for Juniors which will be going ahead but on a sensible level.

So just to run through the general changes for the 2-strokes, in no particular order they cover the following:

On materials. carbon fibre or similar chain guards will be permitted. The requirement for a steel or aluminium block to be part of the front bumper fitting is gone. Plastic is now OK.

For floortrays there is a new general rule and drive towards making them safer. Too many have sharp exposed corner edges which can cause a lot of injury. In future such items must be made safe, if necessary by bending the tray upwards at such areas.

Brake and throttle pedals are now free in terms of make and fitment, though unless driven by a disabled person, they must be retained as foot operated.

There is a revision to the rule on the new style noise box which allows and indeed recommends the fitment of a wet box which may now be retained by affixing to the noise box itself so long as no holes are drilled through into the air pathway. A sensible move which will open the market to suppliers of some neat devices I have seen. But note only to be used when official conditions are wet or open.

One quite significant tweak is to extend the twin piston ring Junior engine rule which requires the top ring to be free for at least half of its circumference at all times. Previously this had not applied to the Extreme engine with its one piston ring because it was never seen that a coked-in ring could be an advantage. However it seems some tuners have been experimenting with this so to nip it in the bud the new rule says no top rings stuck in position whatever the engine/class.

As previously detailed there are also the changes being introduced to ensure smaller Junior drivers are not swamped by over heavy karts. New maximum kart weights have been set down, a minimum driver weight in full race gear set at 38kg with a minimum height in race boots at 135cm.

The reality of the above weights and height is that it is very unlikely any average size driver will have any problem meeting them. What it is intended to do is prevent way to small kids becoming the victim of an accident with an over heavy kart. The TKM stepping stones of weight and restrictor size have already taken away such dangers and this is just a fine tuning of the situation.
This means that we can now keep the starting age for Junior TKM at 11yrs instead of it being raised as first suggested by MSA to 12yrs or even older.

As far as the TKM 4-strokes are concerned very little in the way of change. A tiny tweak to the available main jets, and a recommendation that when using the Enduro style radiator the exhaust manifold be protected by a heatshield as an alternative to webbing wrapped around. In fact thinking about it, both would be the perfect answer!

The only major change for 4-strokes is the switch for the Seniors to the Green label new age Maxxis tyres for dry weather which are proving so outstandingly good in maximising performance yet also providing astonishingly long life.

Only the other day I was told that after an experienced driver had done 200 laps he put on new ones and only found a couple of tenths. On the previous tyres it would have been at least half a second. A true peace of engineering quality for which Maxxis should be congratulated.

One change that is definitely chalked up for the 4-strokes is a likely addition of a TAG electric starter system similar to that used with great success on the 2-stroke engine. The technology has to be slightly different because of the high engine compression but it is hoped to have the whole thing tidied up and ready to sell early next year. A great boost it should be.

Finally as a general rule across both TKM 2 and 4-stroke Junior classes comes the suggestion that the two classes should race together wherever there is a demand. The two have performance similarity within hundredths of a second so why not?

Now while we are on the subject of regulations it is worth underlining the importance of being on top of them metaphorically. I am always amazed at the number of drivers and (dare I say it scrutineers) who are not up to date on the regulations.

If you are going to compete it is essential that you look through the regulations each year and see where things have changed. Some changes might seem very minor but if you get caught by one of them it could ruin your racing for the day if not longer.

Remember the scruts do a horrible job for which they should be thanked, and might not want to chuck you out, but if you have something which is out of order then it could get you excluded. So very important to read the rules and note the changes which are always underlined. There is no excuse for not knowing the regs since they are available for free download off the www.tal-ko.com website and also in the official MSA Kart regs book and TKM regulations book.

And finally… off to the Kartmania show shortly where Tal-Ko will have a stand displaying lots of TKM 2 and 4-stroke equipment as well as the demon new Veloce karts which have been giving outstanding performance.

The stand will offer a reasonable range of popular engine spares and tools, though clearly not everything! And as usual company boss Alan Turney and class co-ordinator Grahame Butterworth will be holding one of their workshops helping new and old drivers to get the best from their kart and engine. Don’t miss it!

Sidney Sprocket

Formula TKM News

carb jets
The two jets on the Walbro carb

This month it is time to go back to some basics to clear up some ill-founded paddock gossip regarding carburettor settings for the TKM BT82 used in our 2-stroke classes.

For the simple fact is that by not paying attention to the simple guidance Tal-Ko give on carb set up, quite a few drivers are losing out big time on performance and also reducing the life of their engine.

There are a couple of fundamental reasons for this and it seems to be a trend that goes in cycles as new people move into the class so let’s do our best to stamp this one out promptly.

The first basic that people get hold of is that allegedly 2-stroke engines go faster with a lean (weaker) air fuel mix. It can be true of some types of 2-strokes, but it depends on the design of the engine and in the case of the BT82 it certainly does not apply.

So while obviously the engine doesn’t want to be flooded with fuel, it will not get faster and faster the more you weaken off the mixture by screwing in the jets mostly because by running it too lean you are also causing the overall engine temperature to rise which is not good for engine power!  All air-cooled 2 stroke engines run faster when cooler!

In fact the opposite is true. If you put an engine on an accurate dyno, you discover that in reality it likes to be quite juicy and rich for best power, especially in the very important mid-range which is where most running is done.

The second fundamental which confuses people is that the Walbro carb has two jets which can be adjusted which effectively interact with each other. On many carbs the low speed jet is non adjustable which leaves it simple as to which one to adjust.

By getting the matching of the pair wrong you can seriously compromise not only the power from your engine, but also its life because too little fuel mix means too little oil lubrication and therefore potential engine death!

It is perhaps worth adding a third fundamental which is that while years ago many people had a basic understanding of air-fuel mix because it was something you had to set correctly on your car, these days it is all done by fuel injection and on-board computers.

So right back to the start. The fuel mix which goes through your engine has two basic functions. The petrol is the stuff that goes bang and gives you power. The oil mixed in with the fuel gives you lubrication. The amount of both of those going through is controlled by the jets – screwed in means less (weaker) and out means more (richer).

The other element in there is air which is what is sucked in through the carb air cleaner and obviously you want as free a flow as possible so that means a nice clean air filter element.

Now the slow speed jet, which has a screw head on it, is a small diameter jet aimed at supplying the engine with fuel used at low revs. The size of the jet is geared to this low level of fuel quantity required.

The high speed jet – the one with a bar across it for easy adjustment on the move – is the one that has the size to cope with the greater volumes at high revs. Note both jets are marked with an L and H respectively.

The two jets must be balanced to give the correct overall performance through the range and the starting point suggestions for the jets are given freely by Tal-Ko in their books of regs available to buy or on their website in the 2-stroke running section. Go to www.tal-ko.com

Now the fundamental mistake that people make here is to listen to the paddock gossip which says that you should screw the low jet right out and leave the high speed one only open a fraction. No, No, No!!

By doing that you will end up with an engine that has holes in its power curve and be much more critical on having the mixture setting just right. Most fundamentally, at high revs it will starve your engine of its life giving fuel and oil mix, causing overheating and drastically reducing its life.

Let me just repeat – the jets must be correctly balanced. A tad either side is no problem. A large chuck out of sync and the whole thing turns into a problem.

So to start from scratch, the low jet should be turned right in gently with a small screwdriver until it feels shut. Do not force it too far as damage will occur. Then turn it back out to two full turns. Screw the main jet in and then bring that out to just less than half a turn. Now those settings will give you a ‘rich’ setting which is a good safe starting point.

If you have a clutched engine the first thing you need to do at this point is start the engine and see if it will tickover smoothly with these settings. If it does then great. If not then trying screwing the low jet in a small amount to see if the tickover speeds up and smoothes out. Once you have that setting then you are ready to go on track. If you have to turn in the low jet 1/8 of a turn then simply turn out the high the same amount so that the sum of the 2 jet settings add up to 2 1/2  (2 on Low + 1/2 on High = 2 1/2 Total)

Whether clutched or direct drive you now need to assess the feel of the engine. And the good thing here is that even if you are a Dad watching from trackside you will be able to tell. Ideally you want the engine to be giving out blue smoke for the first lap or so, reducing down to maybe just a small puff when going back on power after a corner.

The thing you are more likely to get on those fairly rich settings is something called 4-stroking. We won’t bother to go into explaining the techy reason, but it is basically a point when the engine will not rev any more and goes flat sounding at high revs on a straight. That is a sign of being too rich.

Now it is very important to get your engine to initially 4 stroke so that you know where you are with your settings especially when you change carbs, engines etc and this will aid you to then adjust the main jet in a small amount at a time each lap until you just lose the 4 stroke as you are about to brake at the end of the longest straight!

Once you feel/hear a nice crisp note all the way down the straight you have got the right setting. Then you should have an engine ready to race and win!

It is all very simple stuff but you would be amazed how many people do the wrong thing and listen to gossip which leaves them seriously underpowered. So be rich and powerful!

Sidney Sprocket

TKM Insight – Which drive-line?

So you’ve decided you want to make the move to TKM for next season. But then there’s the big question – what type of drive-line to choose, TAG, clutched or direct drive?

So what are the differences? In general driving terms on the track there is little to tell because the clutch on the TAG & clutched models is always engaged like direct drive unless you come to an almost stop. However in the wet the clutch has the advantage of allowing you to brake and lock the rear wheels without the problem of the engine stopping which can be a problem on a direct drive. And of course the clutch gives you a huge advantage when something happens on the track. You can spin and re-join the race or come to a halt avoiding accidents and then just drive away providing of course you have set up the correct tickover so the engine does not stall. Here are some more detailed points:

TAG (Touch & Go)

FOR – The easiest with an on-board electric starter. An automatic centrifugal clutch so you just press the throttle and go. Ultra easy to start by the driver with stop start push buttons and quick re-starting should the engine die giving maximum confidence for the driver.

The engine is uprated with larger exhaust and raised compression to increase power and overcome the additional weight on the crankshaft of the starter system. Pole positions and wins at top championship level confirm its performance.

AGAINST – It adds about 4.5 kilos to the weight of the kart which is fine if the driver is well under the weight limit but could be a problem for drivers near the limit. It is more expensive to buy (about £450 extra) and more complicated to look after requiring good care to wiring to ensure no problems.

Clutched Drive

FOR – Gives all the ease of an automatic centrifugal clutch and the benefit that brings should you spin off, but without the complication and weight of TAG system. The engine is started by a mechanic with a remote hand-held electric starter unit (a bit like F1) and if the tickover is correctly set up then the engine should not stall if the driver spins off. It is only a shade heavier than direct drive and simple with no on-board wiring to worry about. If you don’t like the clutch or simply want to test it as a direct drive unit then it can quickly be converted by removing the clutch and fitting in its place a special long direct drive sprocket and nut.

AGAINST – You have a fairly heavy starter unit to carry around. If the engine does stall in a spin on the track then you can only re-start with this starter. Clutched engine costs about £120 more than direct drive plus extra cost of about £290 for the hand held starter. Purists will say it is slower than direct drive engine but a clutch has been used to win the British championship in the past so don’t take too much notice!

Direct Drive

FOR – The simplest, lightest and cheapest; less to go wrong making it idiot-proof. No wiring or battery chargers to worry about. Purists will say it’s quicker. Certainly gives the driver the most absolutely direct connection with engine and kart. You can use a smaller 9 tooth sprocket on tight tracks which the TAG & clutched units cannot.

AGAINST – It is a chore lifting and push starting. In the pits at least you can use a wheel pusher device to help, but if you spin on track then it is down to the driver to do it themselves which is hard work. Juniors will only get re-started on-track with a helper. A definite no if you have any back problem.

So over to you for final choice. For my money with a Junior I’d always go with a clutch, be it out-board or TAG started. It gives them the best possible chance.

For a Senior, the direct drive does have the advantage of simplicity but I’d still argue that having a clutch just makes it all so much easier and more pleasurable.

Formula TKM News

Well let’s start this month with something totally non technical but which will be of interest to hopefully everyone in the TKM 2 and 4 stroke classes – the Maxxis Formula TKM Festival.

The exciting news is that the event is returning to Kimbolton following the club’s resolution of a planning problem which effectively put a stop to Friday testing.

When that problem first arose it was Whilton Mill who very ably stepped in to offer this major event a home for the past three years. Not only did they give the event a good home but also managed to chart out some revised formatting which worked to benefit the event.

But with Kimbolton now back on full song it seems only right to return the event to the circuit that worked with Tal-Ko to create the event 14 years ago. They have put many years of hard work into making this a must event to attend, not just for the racing but for the good spirit too.

And even better news is that Kimbolton themselves are just starting on some major work which will see the creation of a new toilet/shower block, new catering area, spectator viewing and a substantially revised dummy grid and park ferme.

So put the date of August 12-14 in your diary now because Kimbolton are determined to mark their return with a bang!

Next some more good news for all of you who have to buy TKM engine parts – and let’s face it that must be pretty much every single one of you reading this!

Mr TKM, Alan Turney, has created some engine parts exploded diagrams that quite literally show every last little item on the BT82 2-stroke and K4S 4-stroke. What’s more every individual item down to the last washer is illustrated and has a clearly shown part number making it incredibly easy to sort out what you need.

So absolutely great for ordering and identifying parts – and also very handy if you take something apart and then can’t remember how it goes back together. Even little things like the order of gaskets etc on a carburettor are shown.

And better still, the whole set of technical exploded drawings for both engines can be rapidly downloaded onto your PC and printed out – all free of charge. Or of course you can tap into the illustrations from the circuit using your iphone or equivalent. What is more, you can also download a full parts price list from the same website so you can know exactly what your bill will be. Just go to www.tal-ko.com and get downloading.

Personally I think it is a fabulous move and really makes a big difference to understanding your engine and all its parts.

I recall when I first started in the class in the days of its inception you didn’t even get a bit of paper to recommend carb settings let alone anything else. Tal-Ko, more than any other engine manufacturer, have made great strides forwards in this respect so give them a pat on the back.

Now to Shenington, a club which has a strong entry of TKM 2-strokes. The club there have just been given the OK to proceed next year with a ‘Clubmans’ version of the Extreme class in addition to the normal Extreme class.

Karts competing in this class will still meet the latest TKM regs but are bolted down to some cost cutting criteria which should very successfully keep costs as low as possible.

The karts themselves must be of a design never intended to house a torsion bar, They are not allowed data logging and must run with a fixed sprocket size regardless of weather etc. Rear axle must be 30mm and no front hubs allowed.

Interestingly on tyres they must compete with used ex S1 championship tyres which will be sold to them at £30 a set. Bargain!! Oh and special test and race entry packages.

It will be interesting to see how it goes. Initially they will run with the Extreme normal grid but if there is sufficient take-up then they will be given a separate grid.

The club are hoping for costs to work out at about £100 for a race meeting. I remember working on the same amount about 20 years ago so that sounds like excellent value. I am sure the Shenington club will be pleased to provide more information.

And finally we are coming to that point in the year where many fair weather karters very sensibly decide to park their machine for the winter. Looking out of the window who can blame them! But before you do, a few easy things to do that will save you time.

The insides of the carb don’t like being left either full of petrol or conversely dry with just old deposits left in them which turn into a sticky goo. Do that and almost certainly you’ll have trouble first time out next year unless you thoroughly strip and rebuild the carb.

So just prep your carbs for the winter by squirting a little WD40 through them. It will leave them in much better condition for when you want to use them again.

And while you are at it then it is a good idea to drain off everything from the fuel tank and leave that dry. When you go to use it next year give it a good blow through with an airline, replace all the pipework with new inside and outside the tank and make sure you have good tight seals on all connections.

To complete the fuel jobs get rid of any mixed fuel you have in cans. It goes off with time so best to slip it into your car fuel tank if a small quantity. Or, you can put it into a suitable container which you then use to rinse and clean your chains. Mixed 2-stroke does that job very effectively.

A small tip on fuel to finish. It is all too easy to have fuel cans that are mixed and others that are not. Clearly if you put pure fuel in your tank you will end up with a seized engine. To be avoided at all costs.

To avoid that, as soon as you have mixed a can of fuel and oil put a cable tie through its handle. Just remember to cut off the tie as soon as you have used the last of the contents and you’ll never be muddled again.

Sidney Sprocket

Formula TKM News

CARB RESTRICTOR PLATES 2010
New weights apply

Well at the time of writing there are all sorts of things floating in the air about the MSA’s proposed new Super Cadet class and the effects it will have on other Junior classes like TKM.

Since there now seems to be a buddying up by the MSA with the German authorities and joint agreement on class rules etc it all seems the more… well  odd. And it has not won many friends in the UK.

But the most important point for those in and looking to join TKM juniors is the effect of the new class on entry age into Junior TKM. Various meetings have been taking place and my ear to the ground hope – and I stress hope – is that at least for next year there will be no change.

Personally I think a lot more is going to come out in the wash about all this over the next few months. So be forewarned – staying quiet will do no good. We must all make suitable loud noises to ensure a sensible resolution to the situation. Maybe we should picket the MSA Kart committee meeting on August 10 discussing the issues – but maybe that would be politically incorrect of me to suggest!

One thing that has been decided and implemented is a tweak to the weight/restrictor size regs for both Juniors and Seniors in the TKM 2-stroke classes. In both cases a tweak taking effect from July 1 under rule B.3.2 which allows for adjustments to take place to correct any unfair advantage

In Juniors 3kg has been added to the lightest 120kg black restrictor group and in the Seniors, 2kg have been added to the lighter end sector running with a blue restrictor now at 146kg.

In both cases what has been noted here is a small but important advantage for those two groups over the other weights/restrictors. It is an advantage that has become more apparent once the weather has got hotter and partly relates to tyre performance.

The important thing here is that the classes want to ensure that larger drivers are not at the general disadvantage they have been for so many years in karting.

The weight change will not make a massive difference but it will just take away that very slight extra edge of speed on the exit from a corner.

The decision to make these changes was taken after considerable studying of data, track tests and dyno tests. The other categories remain unchanged and certainly from the racing I have been watching lately they are so well matched in terms of speed that it has been a good overall job.

One side effect of the Junior research situation is that it has thrown up sheafs of figures on weight of karts, drivers, restrictor sizes etc. And the interesting fact from the last S1 round at Shenington was that the largest amount of lead any driver was carrying in Juniors was just 4kg.

The significance of that is that Junior TKM can prove that it has substantially reduced the weight of karts for smaller drivers and in doing so reduced the argument that the karts are unsafe for younger/smaller drivers. Let’s hope the MSA agree!

With the warmer weather it is interesting to look at the new age green label Maxxis slicks and see just what a good job they are doing. Despite the rubber hardness sure reading being similar to the older tyres, they give better grip and get to their optimum working temperature faster.

It is very clear from looking at the tyres after use that they are really gripping the track and working rather than sliding and graining which could happen with the previous era. The net result is more grip and longer life, the perfect result.

The squarer modern looking shape of the latest tyres gives less movement in the sidewalls and in particular at the front has increased the effective grip patch area on the track. That helps to get the kart into a corner all the more crisply, while the rears now also give better braking.

As a result of the success of these new tyres one planned change for the TKM 4-stroke seniors next year is a switch to these Green label new age tyres. It will provide very similar performance but with longer life and at a saving of about £19 per set after VAT. Can’t be bad.

Although it may seem like the year has only just started, it is the time when regulation amendments have to be drawn up for the next season. Having had a major upgrade of regs for this year, all of which have gone down well with competitors, the indications are that for next year there will be virtually no changes.

There is no doubt that the changes made have boosted the classes, and numbers  – especially in the Juniors – are significantly up on last year. Long may it be.

One expected addition for the TKM 4-strokes is the likely availability of a TAG version of the engine, hopefully due to go on sale at the beginning of next year.

Now let’s end with a thought…how would you as a parent like to see your budding F1 driver offspring do a season’s S1 championship with a kart and engine available on a pure rental basis and with a special deal on all the other associated costs?

A chance to do the S1 series in a special category in which all karts are provided on a rental basis and every engine prepped by Tal-Ko and brought to the events to be given out on a random draw basis.

It’s an idea currently being considered by S1 and Tal-Ko as a way of making it easier for youngsters to ease their way into top level karting. It would also be a guaranteed way of keeping the racing clear of any cheque-book advantages.

It is by no means a certainty but it will be if enough people are interested. So…if it appeals to you then get in touch by emailing the special TKM address – ideas@tkmdriversclub.com

Sidney Sprocket

Formula TKM News

0_9234 2
Hardly used tyres can be purchased at a considerable saving on the new price

Times are hard and money is tight pretty much everywhere, but quite rightly people still want to have their fun. Formula TKM karting is full of people like that so this month let’s look at ways you can save money on your karting and keep the bank manager happy.

Let’s first of all look at engine servicing and rebuilds. The short answer here is don’t just ignore servicing to save money because it will probably cost you a lot more in the long run. A blown up engine can be very expensive. But there are ways you can bring down your servicing bills.

For example if you are doing club events and keeping the maximum revs sensible then you can very easily let your BT82 2-stroke engine run to 20 hours with no problems. Years ago I recall my son winning a club series with no rebuild all year and the engine up to 25 hours.

The important point is to make sure the engine is running fairly rich through the rev range and to keep the maximum revs down to say 15,500rpm. Bear in mind that the Club 100 operation which uses the engines for high performance rental use takes them up to around 60 hours between rebuilds just by keeping the revs down to 14,500rpm or so.

That doesn’t mean you will be slow. Use a slightly longer exhaust joint to maximise power in the lower to middle ranges. You might even go quicker because high revs do not necessarily mean high speed.

On the subject of rebuilds do shop around for prices. Some charge too much for what should be a straight re-build. And remember that a full factory rebuild at Tal-Ko is at a very sensible rate starting at £235 + vat for a direct drive engine.

On the TKM 4-stroke engine, it just goes on and on which seems like forever at 60+ hrs without needing to be touched – so long as you change the oil every time and occasionally service the clutch. Real low cost racing.

Give sensible thought to how you use your engine and your track time. So for example if you have two engines then my advice would be to pick the one that is your favourite and keep that for racing. Use the other one for all your testing etc. That way you can afford to run that test engine a little richer and maintain its life to the maximum.

And on the subject of testing…ask yourself the question are you seriously testing set up, lines, etc or are you just getting some track time the day before a race meeting to hone your skills and have some fun?

To be honest a lot of people fall into the latter category and good luck to them. This is after all meant to be a sport to give enjoyment. So if that is the case then be sensible on your pocket and use older tyres, engine etc for the testing and the best stuff just for racing.

Talking of tyres let’s just look a little further into that area. It is a simple fact with any tyres for any form of racing that the newer and fresher they are the softer and therefore faster they will be. That is not to say that you cannot get many hours use out of tyres but simply to state a basic fact.

So use the principle that (wheels permitting) you use older tyres for testing and the best ones for racing. With the new slicks we have for this year in 2-stroke you’ll want to gain experience with them but if you are just having some testing fun then use your old tyres.

As far as wets go then ideally you want some older wets to use for drying or damp conditions and save the best for racing in deeper water. And don’t forget that the slick tyres will work surprisingly well in just damp conditions. It is only when standing water is present that wets really come into their own.

And whether wet or dry tyres don’t overdo the pressure. Too high a pressure and the tyres get too hot and lose grip – and they also will harden up the rubber for the future.

Oh and a final tip on tyres. Get friendly with people doing the S1 series. They will frequently sell off used tyres in superb condition at nominal cost which are ideal for club use.

Chains – buy the best quality chains because they last longer. They need to be washed thoroughly after each event and then thoroughly lubricated every time out. Beware using chains past their best because if they break it will mean the crank needs true-ing up.

The carbs will go for ages without any problem. Don’t just put new innards in them for the sake of it. Replace the diaphragms etc when you can detect on a tester or in use that they really are worn out.

Bent bodywork or bars? If it is bodywork then try soaking it in a bath of hot water to let it get nice and supple and then try to straighten out the damage. It does work – and if you get in the bath too then you really are making a double saving. Mind you a duck is more fun! Minor bends in bars can be sorted with careful effort but make sure you are not leaving the bar weakened or broken.

Buy sensibly. That means buying sundry items like nuts and washers from somewhere like Screwfix where they cost next to nothing in bulk. Buy your specialist needs at the track and do your best to avoid the extra burden of delivery costs that come with orders bought over the internet.

If you need tools then don’t just rush to Halfords or Snap-On. Look on ebay or on stands at exhibitions and you’ll find tools at a fraction of the cost that do a very adequate job.

And if you are travelling away to events and using a hotel then remember that hotels are struggling at the moment and offering all sorts of discounts to people making early bookings. Remember too that if you go for a dinner bed and breakfast rate then it will always be better value than paying for B&B and then ordering dinner extra.

Finally, if you need new crash helmet or race gear then look around for the best deals. Plain coloured helmets are always cheaper than the fancy coloured ones but are in fact the same product. Have fun!

Sidney Sprocket