Category Archives: Features

Features from Karting magazine

Wet on Slicks crash course – 7 point checklist

As author of the A&D article here at Karting magazine it struck me that in these green and pleasant lands we get our fair share of circuit moisture. Few to no championships provide wet tyres so I thought I would share some of the wet wisdom I have acquired over the years from racing in A&D to help you guys to find some extra speed.

While this will mainly apply to those of you who are of the A&D persuasion, this should also be useful to the MSA guys during a sudden and freak downpour mid race – take note it may just come in handy.

Driving on slick tyres in the wet is a very particular art and is a different skill to being quick in the dry due to the alternate driving techniques used. Here are 7 tips that if you follow should see you be effortlessly fast.

1. Line

Finding the fastest line is probably the single most important thing when you’re driving in the wet on slick tyres. There is typically very little grip so the kart doesn’t really want to speed up, slow down, turn, or do anything really. If you can find a line that either makes the kart work better, or alternatively negate the need to make it work then you will find huge amounts of time.

Experiment with your lines

Experiment with your lines

As a general rule you want to drive in straight lines aiming at where the grip is. Where the grip is be will be different from circuit to circuit, corner to corner, this is where you’ll need to experiment, and watch the quickest drivers. Usually the grip will either be around the outside off the rubber, or on the kerb to hook the kart round or shorten the line.

Straighten the line as much as possible on corner exit

Straighten the line as much as possible on corner exit

Mostly the tighter the corner the wider you’ll want to go, if the corner is less than 90 degrees you’ll usually find its better to get to the apex and use the kerb.

2. Don’t turn too much

When you turn in find little to no front purchase the temptation is to just turn more in an attempt to find some bite from the front end; usually this will hinder you more than help. This is a common habit I see that is probably carried over from driving on treaded wet tyres. On wets there is a jacking effect that can be gained from excess lock being added, however on slicks you have next to no grip so this jacking effect is negligible, and excess steering should be avoided.

On slicks you are much better off smoothly applying lock just before you want to turn and feeling for when the front tyres start sliding. Once you feel the front wheels starting to slide and understeer don’t turn the wheel much more, if at all. Once the kart does start to rotate refer to point 3 and gently apply the throttle.

Often less lock more

Less (lock) is more

If you snap the wheel from straight to full lock paying attention to the outside front tyre, on most karts you will see that it will be pointing almost straight ahead. As you turn, initially the inside and outside wheel will move at the same rate, but the further you turn the less the outside wheel will move, and will eventually stop turning, in many cases eventually it’ll start to move back towards the centre. This is due to the way the track rods are attached to the steering column. As you can imagine this isn’t conducive to making the kart turn effectively. Find out how much lock makes the outside wheel go to the maximum angle, make sure you turn the wheel no further than this while driving.

Notice the angles of the front wheels due to the amount of lock

Notice the differing angles of the front wheels due to the amount of lock, this is too far

3. Using the throttle to turn

Sometimes you will be turing and feel as though the front end may never bite and you’ll be understeering for eternity, luckily there is something you can do that will allow you to rotate the kart quite effectively mid corner.

Once you feel you have reached the apex of the corner (slowest part, may not be the same place as the dry), gently apply the throttle while maintaining steering lock, you will immediately feel the kart rotate. You shouldn’t need to apply much throttle at all to feel this, probably only about 25%, any more than this will probably induce wheelspin anyway. You will quickly get a feel for exactly how much throttle you need, and it will soon become second nature with practise. Once the initial throttle has been applied to rotate the kart, lean back in the seat to get as much weight on the rear wheels as possible and gently increase the throttle as much as the grip will allow, avoiding wheelspin at at all costs (refer to point 4).

4. Avoid wheelspin!

Avoid wheelspin at all costs! I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Every wheelspin moment will cost you time, its as simple as that. On slicks the optimal slip angle/percentage is very low, this means you have most grip when the wheels are traveling at very close to the speed of the road, if you’re accelerating with your rear wheels doing near enough 55mph and you’re doing about 20mph you won’t be making much forward progress. Its better to be at less than 100% throttle than keeping it pinned with the rear wheels lit up.

Avoid wheelspin, you'll only go sideways, not forwards

Avoid wheelspin, you’ll only go sideways, not forwards

There is one exception, some longer corners in acceleration zones reward a small four wheel drift which require you to balance the throttle to keep the rear wheels just enough above the speed of the road to allow you to make a smooth arc through the corner. Reg’s Elbow at Rye house, the 2nd part of the Esses at Buckmore are both examples

A small drift in faster corners can be effective

A small drift in faster corners can be effective (and look awesome)

5. Kerbs 

Kerbs are your friends! Use them, abuse them. Kerbs are a very useful tool, they can be used to rotate the kart, hook it round the corner, straightening the line, and make you look like a karting god.

How you use each kerb depends on the specific one you are using as kerbs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Mostly in faster corners you’ll be using it to straighten the line, and in slower corners it’ll be used more to rotate the kart or to pull the kart round acting like a guide rail.

Kerbs are there to be used (and abused)

Kerbs are there to be used (and abused)

If you are struggling to make it to a kerb due to the lack of grip, don’t turn onto it, just aim the kart straight at it early and just coax the kart towards the apex. Its better to go a bit slower and make the line, than over shoot by going a bit too fast.

6. Braking

Similar to acceleration, you want to keep the rear wheels near the speed of the track. Unlike on wets when you can under rotate the rear wheels to get some bite, on slicks once those wheels are locked you won’t be slowing much and you aren’t going to be fully in control, plus it’ll only take a small nudge to send you round into a spin.

For heavy braking zones e.g. Christmas at Whilton, Hairpin 1 at Buckmore, the last corner at Llandow etc. you will often find more grip and control by braking offline to the inside by about a kart width, this will allow you to brake slightly later and have more control on turn in. Trail the brakes right into the corner and release them just as you feel the kart starting to grip, this will aid rotation. Fast rotation mid corner is your goal.

7. Use your bodyweight

You don’t have much grip to play with, so sometimes you have to make some. Using your bodyweight is one way to aid the handling of the kart to your advantage. The more weight on a tyre the more grip it will have, so moving your weight to give a specific tyre more grip can be advantageous.

Just before you brake it can help to push on the steering wheel and straighten your arms which will force your shoulders back and more weight on the rear tyres. As you then enter the corner and turn the steering wheel, lean forward and out to get the weight on the outside front tyre, this will help rotation mid corner. Then once you start to accelerate again, retake the position you were in for braking to help avoid wheelspin.

Sam Spinnael - 'The leaning tower of Belgium' making use of his bodyweight

Sam Spinnael – ‘The leaning tower of Belgium’ making use of his bodyweight

When leaning forward try not to lean so far that it impedes your ability to catch a slide, it’s not a huge advantage to do this so it’s not worth using if you don’t feel in full control, however if you are looking for those final few tenths, it can make a difference.

In Summary

Slow corners

Lean back and brake off line, avoid locking up. Either go wide to find the grip or use the kerb for a shorter distance and fast rotation. Lean forward slightly and only turn the wheel as far as you need to. Come off the brake and gently apply the power to help rotation mid corner. Straighten up nicely and lean back for a clean exit avoiding wheelspin.

Medium speed corners

Gently rub the brakes aiming either at the kerb or outside (which ever is faster), sometimes a nice smooth four wheel drift can help keep the minimum speed up. Get to full power nice and quickly without wheelspin.

Fast corners

In general try not to induce understeer, and use the shortest line that requires the shallowest angle through the corner. If the kerb allows, use this to straighten the line even more and rotate the kart, get to power on or just before the apex and possibly use the throttle to induce a controlled slide on exit, but don’t over do it.

Checklist

  1. Line – drive in straight lines towards the grip
  2. Don’t turn too much – often not as much as you may think
  3. Use the throttle to rotate the kart mid corner
  4. Avoid wheelspin at all costs!
  5. Kerbs – don’t be afraid to get up close and personal, they often have a lot of grip
  6. Braking – keep the wheels rotating, brake deep into the corner, release to for rotation mid-corner
  7. Use your bodyweight – move your weight towards the tyre(s) you want to have more grip
  8. BONUS! Speed comes from driving better, not driving harder – be gentle and precise

I hope this helps some of you guys and girls out there, this should apply to most hire karts including, Club100, DMAX, Sodi’s, plus many more. These techniques should also apply to MSA style karts come a mid race downpour.

 

Olli Caldwell: My 5 best karting memories

Olli Caldwell recently announced he will be moving to the British F4 Championship this year and to mark the occasion we spoke to Olli to look back at his successful Karting career. Olli ended Karting on a real high with fantastic results in the Rotax Max Euro Challenge which led him to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. But now the Young Racing Driver Academy member has decided it’s time to move on to single seaters.

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So, without further or do, here are 5 moments Olli considered his best karting memories!

5. Racing in the Bahamas with Formula Kart Stars

Back in 2012 aged just 9 years old Olli travelled all the way to the Bahamas with Formula Kart Stars to put on a show for the locals in their karts as part of the Bahamas speed week. The Bahamas was a one off trip that the FKS Championship ran and only a select few drivers got the chance to travel over where they’d driver the karts around at set times and show the local children how the karts worked. It was a great scheme and something Olli will always remember!

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4. Finishing 9th in British Cadet Championship 2013

In 2013 at just 10 years old, Olli finished 9th in the Super One British Cadet Championship in what was a hugely competitive year! The championship winner that year was fellow F4 driver, Oliver York with Alex Quinn finishing as runner up. Olli ended the season in style as he battled with the afore mentioned drivers and more for the victory all the way to the end at Shenington. It went down as one of the best kart races ever, have a watch below! Olli also finished as Vice Champion at Forest Edge in the same year.

3. Pole at Zuera: Rotax Max Euro Challenge 2016

One of Olli’s highlights last season was round three of the Rotax Max Euro Challenge at Zuera, Spain. Olli started the weekend with pole position in qualifying before he went on to fight for victory in all three heats! He did the same in the Pre Final and finished 3rd and had a fantastic Final leading most of the race. He was just pipped by Axel Charpentier on the last lap, but it was at this point many tipped him to go to the World Finals!

2. Finishing 3rd in the Rotax Max Euro Challenge 2016

Olli had a fantastic season in Europe last year and finished 3rd in the hugely competitive Rotax Max Euro Challenge! Over 55 drivers took part in the four round series and Olli’s huge consistency took him to a championship podium. He did no racing in the UK last year and pulled out of the BNL Karting Series with a broken rib which made the Euro Challenge even tougher.

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1. Representing Great Britain at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals

That championship podium in the Euro Challenge brought Olli a ticket to the prestigious Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals where he was one of 12 drivers to represent Great Britain. Olli’s pace in practice forced the camera crew to have him as the ‘camera kart’ for the weekend and Olli ran at the front for the whole weekend! The Pre Final saw Olli out on slicks in the rain, but despite this he managed 7th which would put him 13th on the grid for the Final. After a bad start to the race Olli recovered from 22nd to 8th and set a new lap record ending his Grand finals experience in style!

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It’s fair to say Olli has some very fond memories from Karting all of which have prepared him for the next stage of his career. British F4 is next for Olli, but we hope to see him around the karting paddocks throughout the year.

Olli will be competing in the Challenge Cup this year, but with his 15th birthday in June he will be missing the first four rounds of the series which may put him on the back foot, but he’s proved on more than one occasion he can learn quickly and he’s in great hands with Arden Motorsport.

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Images courtesy of The RaceBox & Jakob Ebrey

 

Like this article? Then check these out:

Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals 2016 Highlights Video

Sam Marsh: My 5 best karting memories

RHPK Winter Cup 2017: Team Karting magazine diary

The Rye House Pro-Kart (RHPK) Winter Cup took place and present for the first time at the event were Team Karting magazine with a brand new driver line-up in Matt England, Jack Ransom and Leigh Babbage. Partnered with BIZ Karts for another season the Winter Cup would be a chance for us to  fix any teething problems and get to know each other better as teammates.

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Practice

With the event finishing earlier than championship rounds practice was just two hours with an open track allowing teams to pit and make setup changes. With a difference in heights and stature between all three drivers to contend with, we were only able to make it out for thirty minutes of the session which was split down into a ten-minute session each. After coming in from practice all three of us felt the kart needed some changes done which we would try in qualifying.

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Qualifying

With practice out the way we started to make some changes to the kart ready for the one lap shootout which I’d be doing. It was an interesting new format RHPK brought in for qualifying where you came straight out the pits across the line and that was the start of your one lap.

Unfortunately qualifying did not go well, the changes we made didn’t seem to quite work and new tyres didn’t help either! This left us down in 21st and last place. So again, spanners and ratchets were going everywhere as we made some drastic changes to the seating position and handling.

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Race 1

Usually the RHPK championship is a four hour race, but for the Winter Cup the organisers run two races, each two hours in length. Starting from the back was always going to be difficult considering the quality of the grid let alone the conditions we were racing in without a proper setup.

However, on the rolling lap I could feel the kart was now a lot better thanks to some great setup choice from the team. The first lap went perfectly for us as I managed to get us through to 11th place. By the end of lap two we were 8th then by the end of my first stint we lay in 6th place! It was just what we needed to do before I handed the kart to Jack for the second stint.

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Jack has hardly ever done any laps at Rye House, but that didn’t stop him going out there and matching my times! Jack is the smallest driver in the team and looked uncomfortable throughout the race, something we will look into for Round 1. He was able to hold position in his stint before we came in for our last stop. We also took this chance to refuel to give us plenty of fuel for the start of race two.

Leigh went out in the final stint and with the track getting dryer was setting some great times despite being 20kg overweight! This was due to led we drilled to the seat which we will be looking into for Round 1. He managed to hold position and bring the kart home in 6th place. We’d gained 15 places overall and got a result no one saw coming!

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Race 2

For race two all teams at drivers briefing had to pull the starting position from a Trophy which determined where you started for the race. This was interesting as this meant both the Super Class and the Clubman class were all mixed up which definitely made the starts/race more interesting.

I pulled out P12 for the team which, considering our race one start, we weren’t too disappointed with!

I managed to get another great start and kept out of trouble which soon had us sitting in 2nd place with the fastest lap and reeling in the leading team Custom Rods! However, as we approached 40 laps I started to struggle slightly as was passed by RPM 1 & 2 so it was at this point I pitted.

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Jack then jumped in and was immediately flying putting in some very fast lap times! However towards the end of his stint the light faded and the rain started to fall again making it difficult to just stay on!

With around 20/30 minutes to go Jack came in as Leigh prepared for the final stint. With only a little bit of fuel needed to get us to the end we did a ‘splash and dash’ putting in just enough needed for Leigh.

Leigh then went out and was able to still put in great laps consistently despite the weight disadvantage. He brought the kart home in 4th place which is a record result for the team! The overall result was decided on points added together from both races and after this we were classified in 4th place for the Winter Cup!!

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Bearing in mind Leigh Babbage hasn’t sat in a kart for three years he was on fire putting in laps only one tenth off myself and Jack.

It was a record breaking start and a result that puts in good shape for Round one in March, a race that is going to be televised and has a full grid of 36 drivers that sold out in just seven hours!!

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As always a big thanks must go to BIZ Karts, UFO engines and Andy Webb from Sprocket Photography.

Written by Matt England

Images courtesy of Andy Webb, Sprocket Photography

 

Like this article? Then read these:

Karting magazine RHPK 2016 Review

Circuit Guide: Rye House

X30 Winter Cup 2017 Preview

The first ever X30 Winter Cup takes place this weekend in Valencia and the event looks set to be a big one with a number of the World’s best in the X30 classes making their way to Spain to compete.

In this preview, we look at the potential, ones to watch and some new faces to the circuit

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Racing will be streamed live on Telemundi Media this weekend

X30 Junior

There is a reasonable grid of 19 drivers in the Junior class with recent rule changes forcing many to move up to the Senior class. This has opened the door for some potential new faces to run at the front and maybe even stand on the podium.

Angus Moulsdale is certainly one to watch. Angus competed in the X30 Euro Series last year with an impressive result of 6th at Zuera, he was also impressive at Kartmasters and his experience should help him get off to a quick start this weekend.

Angus Moulsdale

Angus Moulsdale

Unsurprisingly there are lots of Spanish drivers entered and one who could go well could be Mari Boya. Mari, who originally hails from Italy, went well at last year’s Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals finishing 10th in the Mini Max class. It may a slight step up but having proven he can do it on the World stage I think Mari will challenge for the win this weekend.

Sticking with the Grand Finals when it came to Valencia back in 2014 one driver entered into the Junior class stood on the podium. That driver was Ruben Moya Lopez (ESP) who was 3rd in the Micro Max class. Ruben clearly knows the track well and should go well come rain or shine this weekend.

As for the other Brits, Alexander Walker and Josh Rattican, both I believe are making their European debuts with Josh just up from Cadets. However, they are both with experienced teams in Dan Holland Racing and Coles Racing so should improve as the weekend goes on.

Ruben Moya Lopez

Ruben Moya Lopez

X30 Senior

As expected the Senior class holds a much bigger grid with 42 drivers entered for this weekend. Trying to pick a winner out has proved very difficult, but here are some drivers I think will go well this weekend.

I think the first driver to look at is Brett Ward. The reigning Vice Champion in X30 Euro Series Brett won’t be looking to settle for 2nd this time and I think he stands a very strong chance in winning. A fellow Brit, Jordan Brown-Nutley has just won the Rotax Winter Cup at the same track so high on confidence may take a famous double.

Brett Ward

Brett Ward

If we look to the home favourites, I’d say Carlos Leon could win this weekend. He was very strong in the X30 Euro Series and International Final last year and now on familiar territory may hold a slight advantage. Likewise, Alejandro Lahoz Lopez may be tipping himself to go on and win the event.

There are lots of drivers who have come over from the Rotax classes including the Strawberry Racing Team! They have brought with them Nicolas Schoell, Mark Kimber, Dean MacDonald and Jenson Butterfield. All very quick drivers!

When it comes to new Seniors I’ll be interested to see how Oliver Clarke gets on and watch out for Joey van Splunteren. The 2010 Rotax Max Euro Challenge Champion could be very fast this weekend!

Carlos Leon

Carlos Leon

X30 Mini

There is a small entry in the Mini class, but it’s quality remains very high! One driver worth noting is American Ugo Ugochukwu. Ugo is a former Florida Winter Tour Champion so it’ll be interesting to see how he goes in the X30 Winter Cup.

As for the five Spaniards entered, well you’d have to think any of those could be podium contenders. It’ll be interesting to learn who the championship contenders will be when we hit round one in April!

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Written by Chris McCarthy

Images courtesy of The RaceBox

 

Like this article? Then check these out:

Jordan Brown-Nutley books his place at the Grand Finals

Rotax Winter Cup 2017 Videos

Tech Tuesday: Engine cleaning

This week we’re going through the process of cleaning and checking your X30 engine after a race meeting.

Remove the chain guard, the earth cable and the carb and plug up the holes so degreaser doesn’t get inside the engine.

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Remove the clutch, using a tool to hold the ring gear so you can undo the nut that holds the clutch on. It’s better to use that than a piston stop tool which will put the crank out of balance costing valuable power!

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Check the clutch for wear on the teeth – the one taken off our engine was good, but the 10-tooth shown here for comparison has some “shark-fin” wear on it which will get worse.

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The old style clutch drum shown here on the right has holes which can let grease and track crud in which can make your clutch illegal if checked by the scrutineer, so check your clutch for grease (you should do this throughout the weekend anyway).

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The washer and the o-ring that sits inside the clutch helps prevent ingress of grease from the needle roller bearing that the clutch drum rotates on. Make a note of the order – bearing, o ring then washer – as you take them off the clutch.

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The clutches shoes are very robust, but you need to watch closely for wear and cracks on them in the area indicated by the screw driver and for wear and possible corrosion on all the parts you took off.

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Finally take the cover off the Bendix to clean it

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Spray the engine with elbow grease and give it a good scrub with a paint brush, leave the elbow grease on for a few minutes and keep brushing. You can get parts cleaners from Machine Mart which use kerosene or even old mixed petrol as a cleaning agent but we prefer to use Elbow Grease which is a cheap and gentle degreaser. Engines can be filthy after a wet weekend, covered in oil and mud. The aluminium cases and barrel are naturally porous which holds on to dirt so when you give them a good clean you have the chance to get a close look at everything. The engine looks much better after a good scrub too!

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Once you’ve given it a good wash and scrub with degreaser then rinse it off with brake cleaner and to dry it blow it off with a compressor.

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The Bendix cover and the chain guard are damaged from a chain which snapped at the last race so we’re going to replace them.

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Next take the reed block out and check the reeds for chips and cracks, it will usually be at the corners and edges.

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Check the condition of the two reed block gaskets.

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Check the big end of the con rod for discolouration which will indicate a serious problem, although it’s rare.

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Check the oil level – this needs to be done when the engine is level and due to the engine mount it isn’t. You can either take the engine mount off or prop it up with something.

Take the 14mm gold bolt out. The oil is just starting to drop out here so the level is OK. The amount of oil required in the gear case is specified in the owners manual. Although the owners manual specifies a relatively thick SAE30 engine oil it’s best to use a thin oil like light gear oil or Automatic transmission fluid. Thin oil in the gear case saps the least amount of power. If you need to put more oil in take the cap for the breather out and use a syringe to fill it up again.

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Take the head off to check the general condition of the piston and the o-rings inside the head.

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If you’re going to take the barrel off make sure the o-rings don’t fall down inside the engine! It’s easily done and a pain to get them out again. Worst case scenario is you would have to split the cases to find the O ring although washing the bottom end out using petrol and turning the engine upside down would probably get the lost O ring out.
In good light, have a look at the condition of the barrel, looking for scoring of the bore and any unusual wear marks. Check for carbon deposits around the exhaust port and scrape off the carbon if there is any.

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Check the general condition of the piston, looking for bad score or wear marks and check that the ring is free around the piston. The piston has ‘rings’ present on the skirt from the manufacturing process. These rings help retain oil on the piston. If there are any polished areas on the piston where you cannot see the rings then this is a likely place where a seizure could occur. The older a piston gets the larger the polished areas get and the less oil being retained on the piston. The coating on the IAME pistons is very good and the engine is not prone to seizure unless by human error on the carburation but the longer a piston is left in the engine, the higher the chance of damage to the bore by normal wear or by a seizure!

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Check the crankshaft for cracks.

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Reassemble, paying special attention to the o-rings and the gaskets and when you go to put the nuts back on the head you need to do them up to the torque specified in the owner’s manual.

 

Like this article? Then read more Tech Tuesday here:

Tech Tuesday – Carbs

Tech Tuesday – Axles

Arrive and Drive column – January

2017 is well and truly underway, and what a year of A&D karting we have ahead of us. With new tracks for DMAX, new formats in Club100, new prices, and much more of the same awesome karting we keep coming back for.

DMAX

DMAX have recorded record entries for their first round at Milton Keynes on the 19th February with over 60 people signed up already. The 2017 DMAX championship is going to be one of the biggest and best ever.

Club100

Club100 are back with the Lightweight, Heavyweight, and Elite sprints, and due to demand 2017 sees the return of the Clubman sprints. For the teams, there are the Premier, Clubman, and Intermediate endurances catering for all abilities, plus the 60-minute challenge. Not forgetting Club100 have introduced the brand-new quadrant series where teams of 1-4 drivers race in four 25-minute races. With so much choice there’s bound to be a series for you.

BPKDC

Buckmore Park are still pushing forward after winning Karting magazine’s circuit of the year and have announced they are holding two ‘Extreme’ championships with the BP Extreme Solo and BP Extreme Team events held over four rounds in the summer months. Buckmore have also lowered the prices of their main solo events, find out more here.

BUKC

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Rounds 1 and 2 of the BUKC were held at 2016 circuit of the year, Buckmore Park on the 1st and 2nd of February with over 200 students competing in Club100’s karts. With racing very wet on the 1st for the Premier and intermediate classes. Loughborough A took victory in the round 1 sprints being the only team to take 2 wins, one each for Darryl Evans and Piers Prior. Wins also for Nottingham, Hertfordshire, Liverpool, and Reading A’s.

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Round 2’s endurances were equally as wet, this time Oxford Brookes A, C, and Hertfordshire A took victories. Hertfordshire A’s win in race 3 was Sam Spinnael’s 4th win in as many races in the BUKC, an un-blemished record, can he continue that for the rest of the season?

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The championship stands with Oxford Brookes A & C first and third split by Loughborough A, with Nottingham A close behind split by only 5 points. However, with dropped rounds to come as the championship progresses it is likely some teams will shoot up the leader board.

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In the Inters, Liverpool have a small buffer to Warwick B and Leeds Beckett A

For a full report visit the BUKC website

Thanks must go to ‘Mr Karting’ Stu Stretton for the great pics above, many more can be viewed on the BUKC Facebook page.

NKL

Whilton Mill NKL is back again this year and entries are filling up fast! 20 entries were received within 2 days of opening. With the first round on March 6th and will be streamed live on their YouTube channel. For more info and entry info visit http://www.nkleague.co.uk/nkl/

Covkartsport

Covkartsport’s winter series is underway with round 1 at Daytona Tamworth taking place at the end of January. Round 2 Whilton Mill will take place on the 19th of February. The series is traveling far and wide and will provide great racing.

British Rental Kart Championship 2017

Karting magazine caught up with BRKC series organiser and VLN racer Bradley Philpot after the 2017 BRKC held at Formula Fast indoor karting, Milton Keynes.

“Karting Magazine: The BRKC is now one of the biggest events in A&D karting in the UK, and is recognised all over the world as is evident by the number of foreign drivers, what makes it so attractive?

Bradley Philpot: I think BRKC is now recognised as having a particularly high level of competition, and rather than putting drivers off, I believe they want to test themselves against the best in the World. Drivers also see the level of effort that the host circuit put into performance equalising the karts. But we could talk about the TV coverage, huge prizes, the list goes on. I would like to think it’s the entire package that attracts drivers.

KM: What prompted you to start the event in the first place, and how has it evolved?

BP: Myself and James Auld (now the BRKC’s commentator) were looking for a high level rental kart series in the UK that was similar in nature to the Kart World Championship (formerly Indoor Kart World Championship). We couldn’t find anything that contained everything we wanted, so I decided to set something up myself.

BRKC2017 hairpin 1

KM: Many other karting and motorsport series have been struggling for interest and entries in recent times, yet the BRKC sells out every year and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, what do you think sets it apart from other championships in this regard?

BP: The fact that we do our best to improve upon what is already a deliberately very fair series each year is obvious to the competitors. We believe that affordability, prestige and fairness shouldn’t all be mutually exclusive terms in karting. People don’t simply come to race either, as actually watching the races you aren’t competing in is extremely interesting too. The strategic element with the laser pitstop system is also unique to BRKC. Having to outfox your opponents not just in terms of speed, but with a superior strategy adds to the drama and the entertainment value of the series, and keeps drivers wanting more.

KM: The event has been running for seven years now and just gets better every year, what have you and the Formula Fast team been doing to keep it fresh and exiting for the drivers?

BP: Each year we have a huge debrief about what worked well and what could have been better. Phil and Ollie at Formula Fast love to use BRKC as a showcase for how fantastic their kart circuit is, and every year they demonstrate brilliantly that this is the case. We try to add extra elements each year which genuinely add to the event, without including gimmicks. The laser pitstops for example, were an evolution of a previous system which contained a potential human error element from staff members. With the introduction of the lasers, the emphasis was entirely back on the drivers to get their pitstops right. Other factors like the increase in quality of the live streamed TV coverage, which is now close to F1 levels of professionalism by Scruffy Bear Pictures, also keeps drivers excited for the following season.

andrew-duff- BRKC2017 pitstop

KM: The BRKC is run over one weekend, and in January which is unusual, what was the decision behind this?

BP: We recognised early on that there are many rental kart series as well as car racing championships which run through the summer, and were extremely keen to avoid clashing with any of those. From my experience at the Kart World Championship, which is held over one week, a standalone event works well for this kind of format and allows us a full year to plan and perfect everything for the following event.  As the British National Qualifying Series for the KWC, we also consult with other NQS from across Europe to make sure the foreign drivers can compete at the events in each country without clashes. I think it works well and complements the other series in the UK and across Europe.

KM: Formula Fast Milton Keynes has hosted the event since 2014, despite its small size it seems to work well, what make this partnership so successful?

BP: The team at Formula Fast bring a certain skillset to BRKC, which allows me to focus on other elements like promotion without the distraction of taking payments for example. They are very experienced in running high quality events, and demonstrate that skill each year. In terms of the venue size, much like the Race of Champions which takes place in stadia around the world, Formula Fast’s arena-like circuit feels like just the right size for spectators to enjoy all the action, and drivers to enjoy driving the circuit. It helps that we also change the track during the weekend to give drivers an extra challenge with something new to learn.

jake-crofts-1 BRKC2017

KM: You race in the event, as well as organise it, what’s your favourite thing about taking part?

BP: There was a time a few years ago when I recognised that I needed to either organise or compete in order to do a good job of either of them. However since we have been hosted by Formula Fast, I haven’t needed to get involved in the running of the event during the weekend, which allows me to enjoy the weekend as a competitor. I think that also gives me a clear perspective of what can be improved and what works well from a driver’s eye view. My favourite thing about taking part is simply how hard it is to do well. You have to dig so deep to beat the best drivers from around Europe, so any success you have tastes all the sweeter for it.

bradley-philpot-12 BRKC2017

KM: It is widely regarded as one of the most competitive championships with some of the closest racing around, what makes it so tight? Moreover, considering how tough it is, how has a certain Ruben Boutens managed to walk away with victory 4 years running?

BP: Firstly, the quality of the drivers and the closeness of the kart performance makes it so tight. The best drivers truly take it very seriously, agonising over whether to remove 100 grams of lead from their seat insert before each race to get their weight just right, practicing in the days before the event, studying strategy among many other things. I think Ruben’s dominance of the championship for the last four years demonstrates that BRKC truly does allow the best driver to win. Ruben has simply been the best. He’s something special, having won the BRKC four times, as well as being reigning Dutch, Italian, Belgian and Polish rental kart champion. He was Red Bull Kart Fight Dutch Champion too. He’s been Vice World Champion three times now. Maybe this year he will finally go one better! Did I mention he runs and wins marathons for fun?

Ruben Boutens Winning BRKC2017

KM: Moreover, are there any drivers you’d like to have at the event who you think might be able to mix it with the big boys, like for instance Club100 champions Steve Brown, Joe Holmes, or Tom Golding?

BP: It would be great to have Steve Brown and Joe Holmes for sure. We always want the best drivers available and I do my best to extend a welcome to anyone who hasn’t tasted BRKC before. Tom Golding competed this year, narrowly missing out on the semi-finals. He had some bad luck and could have finished a little higher, but he worked hard over the weekend to dig into the specific style required to be fast on a slippery indoor circuit. Former FIA World Champion Colin Brown raced with us in 2016, also just missing out on the semi-finals. It’s brutal out there!

KM: Are there any exiting plans for the future?

BP: We always have exciting plans. I can’t divulge them fully now, but expect some more technology that hasn’t ever appeared in any other kart series in the world. I’ll leave it at that.

BRKC2016 train

KM: This all sounds great! How can people get involved next year?

BP: The best way is to join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/britishrentalkartchampionship/ and to register your interest at www.brkc.co.uk . Join in the conversation on Facebook, because the drivers are extremely helpful and friendly, and there’s always someone to answer your questions. Watch some of the footage of previous events at our YouTube channel BritishChampionship . That will show you how everything works.

KM: You are making moves in international car racing, most notably at the Nurburgring, what keeps you coming back to karting? Is there any advantage to your career in staying involved?

BP: I’ve always loved karting, and I genuinely think it helps keep you sharp. I’m embarking on a season with Peugeot in the brand new 308 TCR car in the VLN Series and I look around the grid at all the drivers who either never karted or have given it up, and I always feel like I have an advantage over those guys. It’s brilliant for fitness too. I wish I had time to do more of it.

BRKC2017 podium

KM: Finally, is there anyone else you’d like to thank who possibly helped with the event, or for any other reason?

BP: It’s dangerous to start mentioning people because I’m bound to forget someone, but aside from the track staff, James Auld (commentator) and Darren Cook (TV director) are both instrumental in making the event truly meaningful. They do such a brilliant job. But there are so many people behind the scenes who make BRKC what it is.

KM: Thanks a lot for your time Bradley and best of luck in with the event for next year, and also for the VLN.

Thank you to Slawek Piskorz for is great images, head over to his Facebook page or the BRKC Facebook group where all of the photos from the event are available

5 Things you need to know from BRKC 2017

-3 days racing held at Formula Fast indoor karting centre in Milton Keynes

-100 drivers from all over Europe

-£1000 cash prize

-Ruben Boutens wins 4th straight title

-Closest and most competitive A&D championship in the UK

The report of the final can be found here

Driver of The Month

There haven’t been many A&D events since the new year, the main exception being the BRKC, therefore we though it only right that the A&D driver of the month for January is…

Ruben Boutens!

Ruben Boutens BRKC2017 doty

Ruben has now won the event 4 years in a row, showing utter dominance every year. Furthermore he is unbeaten in any race (including heats and semi finals) in 13 races! Incredible. While there was no vote this month we didn’t think anyone would begrudge Ruben the crown for January 2017.

February’s driver of the month will return to the original format, feel free to get in touch on social media during February to suggest drivers for the shortlist. A winner will then be voted on by you at the end of the month.

 

Written by Piers Prior

 

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

Arrive and drive column – December

Arrive and drive column – November

Arrive and drive column – October

Arrive and drive column – September

Arrive and drive column – August

Tech Tuesday: 5 Toolbox Tools

So you’re running your own kart? You’ve got your own tools. Your mechanical knowledge sits between ham-fisted chimpanzee and F1 mechanic and you’re ready go to. Stop. consider these tools that, while not essential, will make your life so much easier.

Circlip removers

Circlip removers are really useful tools, especially if you plan on performing a brake master cylinder rebuild where circlips hold the piston and parts of the mechanism into place.

Rough Price: £5

Circlip remover

Exhaust spring puller

Though a big screwdriver would suffice, if you’re running in a class with high tension exhaust springs such as Rotax, one of these will make things easier and safer than using the wrong tool.

Rough Price: £5

exhaust spring pull

Tyre remover and bead break

If you’re changing your own tyres, a bead breaker is a must. Good luck getting your tyres off without one, a remover tool however is helpful but not essential as with enough experience and tekkers you will be able to remove tyres with only your hands.

Rough Price: £25

Bead breaker

Wheel gun

 Yes, you can use a ratchet. But when the track is drying up fast and there’s only 1 minute till you’re on the dummy grid, having one of these will make the difference when a quick tyre change is needed.

Rough Price: £100

wheel gun

Steering Lock

When you’re making fine adjustments to castor and toe angles, you really don’t want the steering wheel to move, these jam the steering column into place so you can keep your measurements accurate, just remember to remove it before you go on track though.

Rough Price: £35

Steering wheel lock

This article was originally published in Karting magazine in May 2015 and was written by Michael Killingworth

 

Like this article? Then read more Tech Tuesday here:

Tech Tuesday – Engine cleaning

Tech Tuesday – Carbs