Category Archives: Features

Features from Karting magazine

Dave Bewley talks to Barrie Williams

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Barrie Williams is reunited with one of his father’s creations

It had been a long day at the 17th International Kart Show and it was almost time to start packing things away. A distinguished looking gentleman made his way rapidly towards the historic karting stand where a 1960 Fastakart/Villiers was being displayed by its owner, Steve Greaves. “Do you know, my father used to make these things,” he exclaimed delightedly. Barrie Williams is 67 years old and has taken part in over 800 motor racing events, including 280 rallies. A BRDC member for more than thirty years he still competes in historic car races today and acts as an instructor at several circuits. Back in the early sixties he was a familiar figure at kart events all over Britain, including such venues as Olivers Mount, Oulton Park, Mallory Park, Shenington, Rye House, Aintree, Southport and Buxton. Along with his father Frank, he won a famous victory at the Aintree 200 racing with slick tyres in pouring rain. “Although Frank was his real name, my dad was better known in karting circles as Tony,” Barrie points out. “Along with Graham Hill and Dick Tarrant, he actually appeared on the front cover of Karting magazine when it first appeared in February 1960. Before taking up karting he’d been involved in motorcycle racing, so he had good contacts with firms like Sunbeam, Villiers and BSA. For many years, he ran a garage in Herefordshire and did lots of small engineering jobs on various aircraft during the war. Afterwards he was persuaded by Eddie Evans to set up an engineering works alongside the garage. It was known as Bromyard Engineering and our main line of business was producing coal mining equipment.

Mel Bayliss, another motorcycle competitor, worked at Saunders Valves nearby. When he was made redundant, Mel came to work for us. He read about a new branch of motor racing that had been imported from America. Eddie Evans, who was by then our chief engineer, expressed some interest and together they attended a local race meeting. Soon, Eddie had designed and built a kart which we eventually started to produce commercially at our factory. Dad used his motorcycle contacts and found a plentiful supply of cheap Villiers engines.” The Fastakarts I remember were all painted blue. Barrie provides the reason why. “We supplied one of our karts to a daughter of the Shearling family who produced Babycham and, from that time onwards, champagne blue became our trademark,” he explains. “I think around 600 Fastakarts were produced, all with Villiers engines. Arthur Mallock bought two of our karts for his sons Richard and Ray who later produced the Formula Ford cars. The television commentator Raymond Baxter also bought one of our karts ‘to see what all the fuss was about.’ Lennox Broughton, Ken Stansfield and Mel Bayliss became works drivers. We deliberately chose a simple design aimed at producing budget priced karts. There was certainly lots of competition from other manufacturers and I believe someone has calculated that over 60 of them suddenly appeared over a twelve month period.” Among Barrie’s outstanding memories are the 1961 Barcelona GP (won by Britain’s John Brise) and the Shenington World Championships of that same year. “My dad’s experience at the Shenington event was a painful one,” he recalls. “He’d crashed into a straw bale when another kart ran over his foot. He escaped with a broken ankle but it curtailed his activities for some time. Apart from the traditional race meetings we also took the Fastakart to various hillclimbs and usually shocked other competitors with our speed. I claimed a class win at the Radlett Hall hillclimb but a couple of weeks later we went to Shelsey Walsh and encountered some difficulties.

Tico Martini had also arrived with a kart at this one and the organisers refused to let either of us race because we had no front suspension. As Tico had travelled over from Jersey to compete, my dad took his kart back to our workshop and incorporated some valve springs from a Morris 1000 I owned. We went back and presented this kart for scrutineering but they still rejected it on the grounds that there was no rear suspension. Compared with today’s motor racing scene those were happy carefree days. We were all determined to have a bit of fun and everyone remained firm friends off the circuit.” Well over 40 years had elapsed since Barrie and his father last raced this famous marque but he couldn’t resist sitting in the seat once more, pointing out one or two finer details. “In many ways the Fastakart was an innovative design,” he claimed. “We were the first for example to incorporate front wheel brakes on our chassis and then led the way once again with a column gear change. The Keele kart and Progress were much more complex as both incorporated rack and pinion steering but I don’t believe they performed any better out on the circuit. After three or four years though, other manufacturers did come out with more modern design concepts. Dad and Mel Bayliss had a parting of the ways, Mel took another of our employees Bill Withers with him and together they set up in business ten miles away at Malvern. With dad’s consent, Bayliss & Withers took over manufacture of the Fastakart. They introduced a Class 1 model with JLO power but went bankrupt several times before Pepper & Haywood took over. I was disappointed when the Fastakart name disappeared altogether around 1968.” After his karting career, Barrie made quite a name for himself in F3, initially racing Coopers alongside Chris Lambert in a team run by Alan McKenchnie. His last significant outing in karts occurred at Rye House during the early seventies when David Hardcastle from Motor magazine persuaded him to compare a batch of Class 1 machines with Kelvin Hesketh’s World Cup winning class IV chassis. It was good to catch up with him at Donington and talk about a chassis that has an important part in the history of our sport. I’m probably just a little bit biased on this score. We bought our first kart back in 1963. Naturally, it was a Fastakart, produced at that time by Bayliss & Withers. I still have very fond memories of it even today.

Watching The Pennies

George Line is 10 years old and wants to be a racing driver. He’s not aiming for F1 or any other lofty goal. Right now, he’d settle for being able to race the 60cc kart that his parents Robin and Joanne bought him as a Christmas present. The 1998 Wright chassis is almost as old as George himself. Initially, it was powered by a Comer S60 motor, possibly of the same vintage. Robin Langford, George’s stepfather, is no stranger to the world of motor racing having set up his own team in the sixties focusing mainly on Mini Coopers. He considered that WTP offered a cost effective formula in which talent would speak louder than money. Robin was also attracted by the idea of an electric start motor, believing this to be much safer than having young drivers jumping out and attempting to pull start their karts halfway through a race. In February he bought George a brand new B5 engine and, almost immediately, the young pilot completed his ARKS test at Fulbeck. George made his racing debut a week later at P.F. on March 5th. The result was encouraging. In the final he knocked almost 2 seconds off his lap times from previous heats and finished 8th among some very experienced drivers.

Father and son could hardly wait for the next race meeting to come along. Unfortunately, wait is exactly what they must now do as the MSA has stepped in and prevented the B5 motor from being used in all further competition at least until June. Robin felt so strongly about this situation that he contacted the MSA for some clarification. Alas, the conversation left him even more baffled than before. “I was told that the WTP B5 engine couldn’t take part in any further competition as it had been quicker than the Comers at P.F.,” he said. “In actual fact the margin had been just one hundredth of a second in the first race, increasing to less than two tenths throughout the day. I’d call that a pretty even state of affairs but John Symes from the MSA insisted that, even if this margin had been just one thousandth, it wouldn’t be tolerated. This was one circuit on one particular day. Are they really saying that the Comer has to be quicker at all times on every track in the country? I can’t understand why this has become such a big deal, especially as we’re competing for separate awards. George is a very sporty young lad who’s keen on soccer and sailing, but karting really has taken over from all his other activities and he’s bitterly disappointed not to be out there racing.

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George just wants to race

Quite a few of our acquaintances know that George has taken up the sport and they’re asking me how he’s coming along. When I tell them what’s happened, they shake their heads in total disbelief. I don’t think this is doing karting any good at all and I just hope that it gets sorted out quickly.” I think everyone associated with WTP will share Robin’s sentiments. Last month he wrote an excellent letter to Karting magazine that deserved some sort of response. Whether by coincidence or not, it seems the MSA may have softened its stance and some progress is now being made. At this delicate stage, the last thing we need is for someone to stick a size 10 clog in proceedings. For this reason I’ve put on my diplomatic hat that’s hardly ever been worn before. I’m also assisted by the editor’s large censor’s pen that will no doubt have run out of red ink before this article is complete. There’s so much I’d like to write about this current situation but not a lot of it would be very constructive. All I’ll say is that a rather more lenient approach was adopted three years ago when the Comer W60 replaced its S60 forerunner. Apart from being 1cc above the maximum capacity for Cadets, this motor was considerably outside the 0.2s performance differential previously insisted upon and came with a totally different exhaust to the one that had been originally tested. Now our governing body is getting all worked up about mere hundredths of a second.

Finding a happy medium between these two extreme positions would be nice. From my own point of view, I heartily wish that the B5 motor had never been introduced. The B1 provided a wonderful class that offered young drivers a chance to compete on equal terms with relatively low budgets. Unfortunately time moves on and the factory decided many months ago to stop producing this motor. The B5 has now unleashed forces that threaten to wreck WTP racing and I just wish that half as much effort had gone into promoting karting in this our 50th year. I have my own ideas as to where the responsibility lies but allocating blame isn’t what we need right now. The most important thing is to get drivers like George Line back into competitive karting as quickly as possible. They are the innocent parties and so far they’ve been very badly served. On one issue it seems that the opinions of JM Racing have been listened to. When WTP racing was in its infancy, John Mills approached the ABkC with a request to increase Cadet age limits by 12 months so that lighter drivers could remain in the class for another season. He pointed out that, in some cases, drivers were entering Minimax carrying 35kg of lead and this created safety concerns. Initially, this argument was dismissed out of hand. John’s proposal would mean having a five year age gap between drivers at the top and bottom ends of Cadet that would be more dangerous according to our top officials. I never accepted this particular viewpoint, preferring instead the maxim that ‘if you’re small enough, you’re young enough.’ Now, a recommendation has been made to increase Cadet age limits by 12 months, using exactly the same arguments expounded by John four years earlier. I applaud the ABkC on this score at least.

The Easy Life

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Easykart is designed to be an exciting alternative in entry level karting

Easykart is the name given to an international project spearheaded by a long term collaboration between Birel and IAME. The two companies are no strangers to working together, having married the mixed brands of IAME engines to Birel chassis for many, many years in order to win a vast number of World, European and national championships since Birel first began production of racing karts at the start of the 1960s. Easykart is not however aimed at the pinnacle of competitive racing, in fact quite the opposite. Easykart is designed to be the exciting alternative at the base of the kart racing pyramid. It is an interesting concept, clever in that it does not go head to head with any particular rivals. The chassis is a classic decanter design frame mounted with Freeline components.

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Club 100 will promote a race series and have a calendar of test days for 2006

It has a specific grade 40mm axle, etched with the word ‘Easykart’ and must be retained. There is no provision for castor/camber adjusters. In fact, the kart must be used with all performance components remaining original. There is enough set-up alteration allowed to keep the tinkerers happy, a removable front torsion bar, adjustable ride height and the option to run the right hand inboard axle bearing loose. Fasteners may be replaced as required but titanium or alloy is strictly forbidden. Seats may be replaced with a more comfortable option, however carbon fibre or Kevlar are not allowed on cost saving grounds. An alternative steering wheel is also allowed, so the lovely Birel Motorsport suede number would look a treat in place of the standard plastic rimmed example that I found a bit too slippery. Tyres are sourced from Bridgestone and both wet and dry tyres are likely to be branded Easykart and will be the only ones allowed. On our test kart we had a compound unheard of here in the UK.

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Birel chassis, IAME TAG engine, Freeline components and Easykart branded Bridgestones

The grip level was of good SL type, probably a bit better than the YEQ that many of us will know well. The wet will not be a very high grip type either, sacrificing speed for durability. The idea is that the structure of the Easykart project worldwide will be just that, easy! The brake is a simple hydraulic type as used on Birel race karts with success until the new generation brakes took over a couple of years ago. The brake performed faultlessly throughout the test that must have amounted to over 100 laps in all. The engine is a Parilla TaG 125 air-cooled unit. Typical of IAME, they have produced a range of TaG engines from 60 to 125cc that use the same basic design of starter, bendix, and clutch assembly. The engines are all constructed with the usual IAME attention to detail and the quality is immediately obvious. Air-cooling does make life a good bit simpler, there is no water pump or cooling system to worry about. Easy life! The engines have a cast iron liner with a regular dykes ring piston. Because the engine does not rev too highly the piston life is expected to exceed 20 hours and noise levels are also down due to the restricted rev range. The carburettor is a fixed main jet Tillotson HL384B. This is a type we have not seen in the UK before and comes with a choice of four main jets. The low jet remains adjustable but not while driving in competition because there is a cover that must be fitted that prevents manual adjustment on the move.

These measures will very much reduce the risk of a piston seizure by mistake. These engines thrive on plenty of fuel and do not need to run lean in order to reach high revs. The track test was planned at Whilton Mill a couple of weeks before Christmas. Although the circuit was damp from overnight dew the day was dry and a bit of lappery soon had some condition into the circuit and tyres. The Easykart proved to be just that, very easy and forgiving to drive, very much like a 100cc kart in terms of power delivery and a nice smooth acceleration curve. As with all karts the harder you try to go, the harder it becomes. I did find the seat and steering wheel were a bit of a challenge, I was having to hang on too much round the faster corners and was quite sure that with a better position or better fitting seat the times could have been further improved. In spite of that and also trying a variety of set-up changes I was pleased to be achieving laps that would not have disgraced the grid at the previous race meeting. Andy Cox is not making comparisons with other classes, be they 100cc or TaG. The Easykart is to be a completely stand alone series that will be closed to clubs and administered by ACR. Club 100 will be the promoters of the race meetings and will have a list of test days available at the Autosport International show. Alternatively visit Andy Cox Racing at www.andycoxracing.co.uk or Club 100 at www.club100.co.uk. Easykart racing is due to get under way towards the end of 2006 but there will be plenty of opportunity to try before you buy at a Club 100 test day before then. The series is planned for owner drivers, although there may well be an option to purchase a fully managed set of races. In other words, you buy your Easykart but you won’t have to transport it or prepare it for each race meeting. I know John Vigor of Club 100 is working on such a scheme right now and no one can be better qualified to do so in view of the logistics involved with producing a serviced fleet of Club 100 karts week in week out throughout the year.

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2000 FA World Champion Colin Brown and George Robinson enjoy the Easy life

I believe it was a brainwave of Andy Cox’s to involve Club 100 in this exciting new concept, their experience will guarantee its success. At the present time ACR are only promoting the 125 Easykart for Seniors. There are other models that will be assessed as to their viability in the UK market for 50cc Cadets from 6 years of age, 60cc Cadets from 8 years of age and 100cc for Juniors from the age of 12. The Senior Easykart 125 comes almost fully assembled, all you have to do is fit the bodywork and put the petrol in. £1850 + VAT buys an Easykart and all you have to do is drive it and have hours of fun. The Easykart concept is already very successful in the USA, Italy, South America and Poland. Birel and IAME have set up a separate organisation, Easykart International, to take care of the development. In this way the concept can grow without impinging on their core businesses. In the modern world of karting where more and more people want to participate without the hours burning the midnight oil preparing equipment, the Easykart concept has all the attributes to be a global success. George Robinson Photos: Chris Walker FEBRUARY 2006 www.kartingmagazine.com 69 Club 100 will promote a race series and have a calendar of test days for 2006 Birel chassis, IAME TAG engine, Freeline components and Easykart branded Bridgestones 2000 FA

SIMPLY THE BEST: Mike Wilson interview

The dialect was distinctly South Yorkshire and his appearance could only be described as nondescript. He was there beside the Delta Karting stand in his Parka jacket, looking like a market stall trader who had perhaps strayed into Donington Park by accident. One or two eminent personalities, including Paul Carr and Ricky Grice engaged him in animated conversation. However, 90% of visitors to the International Kart Show at the end of November didn’t spare him so much as a second glance. Their attitudes may have altered if they’d known something of his background. For ten years he totally dominated the international karting scene, setting a record of six world title wins that is never likely to be equalled. Fernando Alonso acknowledges that his expert tutelage was responsible for setting him on the path towards F1 glory. Ayrton Senna reputedly called him the best driver he had ever raced against. Pablo Montoya praises him for the valuable advice which he eventually passed on to his son Juan. His name is Mike Wilson, the karting champion whom Senna, Schumacher, Hakkinen and many other top F1 stars all failed to match in serious competition. This is his story. The place was Shenington on a crisp and clear day back in September 1974.

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Catching up with Michael Simpson at Donington

The young teenager hobbled painfully away from his kart, managing a brave smile in response to the expressions of condolence from various supporters and friends. It should have been a triumphal occasion, the biggest in his life so far. Several weeks earlier he’d been a hot favourite to win this particular event and become the British Junior Champion. However, a bad smash during an international event at Rye House had left him with a broken leg. Determined not to miss out on the action he’d arrived at Shenington with his leg in plaster and required permission from the medics before he could race. Mechanical failure in an earlier heat had further compounded his problems. From a lowly grid position, however, he’d managed to gain 4th spot before colliding with Bryce Wilson in the final. Unable to restart his kart, Mike watched rather disconsolately as Martin Smart claimed the title. Move the calendar forward 8 years and there’s a familiar figure limping around the paddock once again. The occasion is rather more important. It’s the 1982 World Championships at Kalmar, Sweden and Mike is now the reigning champion having won this title at Parma 12 months earlier. Just two weeks earlier he’d removed a plaster cast from his ankle before walking down the aisle with his new bride Nicoletta. Racing under a handicap has now become almost second nature to him and he wins his first final quite convincingly from pole position. The main event proves rather more difficult as his teammate, Lars Forsman, has a clear power advantage. However, he manages to keep the rapid Swede at bay for 28 gruelling laps and comes home to win his second consecutive world title. His road to fame and fortune had begun in modest surroundings 11 years earlier. “I was on a week’s camping holiday at Prestatyn with some mates from school,” he recalls. “On the second or third day we came across a track running rental karts.

It was owned by Graham Liddle who had won the World Cup at Morecambe a few years earlier. I spent the entire day there and blew all my money on these karts. I had to ring my dad and ask him if he could come to Wales with some more money. He wasn’t very pleased and demanded to know what I’d spent it all on. When I told him, he went with me to the kart track and we both had a few goes together. He actually had a kart of his own at that time, but I’d never shown the slightest interest in it, preferring football instead. After arriving back home, he went out and bought me a secondhand Blow Gnat with a Komet K77 motor. I remember my first outing at Wombwell with this kart. I oiled the plug up three times going so slowly. Dad came up to me and said, “Look Mike, this is a racing kart, not a toy. You’ll have to put your foot down.” I did exactly what he said and promptly finished up in the tyres.” Despite such an inauspicious start, Mike was well and truly bitten by the karting bug. “We were soon spending every weekend racing at Wombwell, Fulbeck, Rye House and any other circuit that happened to be holding a meeting” he claims. “I was lucky to have parents who loved the sport even more than I did myself. It occupied every spare moment of our time. Each week we’d spend until Wednesday discussing the previous race and then three days would be taken up planning for the following Sunday’s event. Mum and dad were working class people and they must have made enormous personal sacrifices to finance my karting activities. Winning my first world title at Parma gave me enormous satisfaction because I felt that I’d repaid their dedication in some way.” Mike’s breakthrough occurred early in 1977 when he joined the Zip team and immediately made a big impression in domestic karting. His reputation took on international dimensions later that year when John Mills took him to Parma for the World Championships, running with factory backing from DAP. His performance was good enough to catch the eye of Bruno Grana who promptly offered him a 12 months contract with IAME. “It was a difficult decision for me because DAP had given me my first real opportunity at international level” confesses Mike. “However, I was 17 years old at that time and the chance to join the world’s biggest team was too good for me to turn down. It was a contract I kept renewing every year until my retirement from active karting. Mr Grana obviously preferred to keep his drivers on short term contracts and they suited me also because I could keep my options open. The downside was that I had no real security and this put me under lots of pressure when things weren’t going particularly well.”

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Kalmar, Sweden, 1982 and a second World title for Mike ahead of teammate Lars Forsman

Indeed there was immense pressure placed upon a young lad barely out of school. He’d come from a very close knit family and suddenly found himself living in a strange country trying to cope with an unfamiliar language. “It took me six months to learn very basic Italian and another year until I could hold a proper conversation” he says. “I did feel homesick on many occasions but there was a job to do and I simply had to knuckle down. The relationship I had with Mr Grana was always very businesslike. He could be very kind but even after I’d become world champion, he’d make sure that I knew who was the boss. Angelo Parrilla (head of DAP) was an engineer at heart, whereas I’d say that Mr Grana was strictly a businessman. I broke my ankle shortly before getting married to Nicoletta. There was no way that I intended walking up the aisle with a plaster cast on my leg, so I had it removed. When Mr Grana found out, he went ballistic. He said I’d jeopardised my World Championship prospects but I was able to calm him down by pointing out that the plaster had been hindering all of our testing.” Mike’s early association with IAME had been fraught with problems. He failed to make much of an impact at Le Mans during the 1978 World Championships won by American driver Lake Speed. The following year’s event at Estoril was dominated by Peter Koene and an unknown Brazilian driver called Ayrton Senna Da Silva, both of whom had been taken on by his old DAP team. 1980 ought to have been Mike’s year, but a sudden bout of pneumonia prevented him from contesting the World Championships at Nivelles in Belgium. Peter De Bruijn won this one ahead of Senna and Terry Fullerton. At Parma the following year, Mike was unstoppable. This particular event was run with the best of three finals to count. With two wins under his belt, he’d secured his first world title before the third final took place and was able to cruise home in this one behind his teammate Forsman. Another IAME backed driver Ruggero Melgrati beat Senna for 3rd. Then came the 1982 victory over Forsman which gave him a famous championship “double”. He was on top form again at Le Mans in 1983 to win his third world title, despite intense pressure from Forsman who appeared to be several tenths quicker. This hat trick had been achieved by only one other driver, François Goldstein and so there was cause for special celebration. The following year he went over to Liedolsheim in Germany determined to make it four in a row.

Things certainly looked good after he’d built up a massive lead over Jorn Haase and Guiseppe Bugatti. With less than two laps remaining, however, his Komet engine expired leaving Haase to claim victory. Money had never been an important factor in his career but, with a young child to support, it suddenly assumed greater significance. “I asked Mr Grana for an increase in salary and he told me to speak with Oscar Sala from Birel” Mike recalls. “Oscar told me that it wasn’t company policy to pay their drivers, but he offered me six karts which I could sell. That wasn’t really satisfactory and so I switched over to Kali karts with Mr Grana’s approval. They paid me very well, but it took quite a while before I could develop this kart to my satisfaction.” The 1985 World Championships were held once again at Parma. Mike emerged a convincing winner with Bugatti this time finishing ahead of Haase to claim 2nd place. Goldstein’s record of 5 world titles was looking under threat as they moved to Jacksonville in Florida for the 1986 event. This meeting turned into a total farce when all the European drivers staged a boycott. “The circuit was a complete joke and wouldn’t even have been fit for a club meeting back in the sixties,” Mike recalls. Along with all the other competitors who had boycotted this event, Mike had to serve a six month ban which excluded him from most of the 1987 European rounds. This severely hampered his prospects in the World Championships at Jesolo, won by Giamperi Simoni. He recovered the following year, however, to take his 5th world title at Laval after a classic tussle with Simoni. The following year at Valence he broke Goldstein’s long standing record by winning world title number 6. This put the lid on a truly fantastic karting career and Mike immediately retired to concentrate on manufacturing his own karts. He also ran his own team and could count Fernando Alonso among the many talented young stars to benefit from his expert guidance. As a competitor, he’d taken on and beaten many top personalities who would eventually win fame and fortune in F1. Included in this list are Senna, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Fisichella, Magnussen, Capelli, Zanardi, Coulthard and Herbert. The record books and anyone who attended world championship events throughout the eighties will confirm that Mike Wilson was ‘Simply the Best’. There’s no doubt that Mike Wilson could claim to be the top driver of his era, but his last world title was won 17 years ago and even 17 months is a long time in karting. I wondered how one of today’s rising young stars might react to him. Kalvin Quinn is thirteen years old, around the same age as Mike when he first arrived on the national junior scene. In 2006 Kalvin will contest the S1 Series in Minimax under the guidance of former British Champion Rob Jenkinson. He arrived at Donington armed with lots of questions and, during an interview lasting for almost two hours, received some interesting replies. The gist of their discussion is reproduced here, along with Kalvin’s observations. Quinn: Which performance do you rate as your best of all time? Wilson: That’s a difficult question to answer because I had so many memorable races. I’d probably choose the 1988 World Championships at Laval because I won this one against all the odds.

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Laval, France, 1988 and title number five, his second for Kali

I was the old man in the IAME camp by then and attention was focused on the younger drivers. From a purely business perspective, I understand why this happened, although it hurt me at the time. I had an excellent battle with Giamperi Simoni who had a power advantage, particularly in the later stages. Winning this one gave me lots of satisfaction and I went home believing that I’d proved a point. Quinn: Did you ever feel nervous? Wilson: Yes! I’d get butterflies before every race, no matter how big or small. They disappeared once I’d got my helmet on and I could concentrate on the task ahead. Quinn: Did you ever do any special fitness training leading up to an important race? Wilson: No, never! I’ve always believed that the best preparation for racing is time spent in the seat and nothing I’ve experienced so far has altered my opinion. My brother in law is a weight lifting fanatic and, after trying out one of our karts for ten laps, he had to come in suffering from fatigue. The muscles he’d developed were completely wrong for karting. So working with weights or whatever won’t make you a better driver I’m afraid. Quinn: Do you think of yourself as being English or Italian? Wilson: That’s quite difficult to answer. I made my home in Italy 28 years ago and obviously my wife and children are all Italian. My own roots are in Yorkshire though, and every time I arrive in England it feels like I’ve come back home. When I won my world titles I believed that I’d captured them for Britain as much as for the IAME team. Quinn: Have you always had the support of your family during your karting career? Wilson: Yes, absolutely! I also believe that karting brought us much closer together as a family. Quinn: Were you disappointed when your son chose soccer instead of karting? Wilson: A little bit at first, perhaps, but I could understand his reasons. Alex is 22 years old now and currently on loan to Monza having previously played for Atalanta.

He puts in a lot of effort which I’m sure will be repaid. Soccer is more of a team sport than karting, but the dedication required at top level is similar. I always believed in encouraging children to take up sport in one form or another and it’s a bonus if you can get paid for something you enjoy doing. Quinn: As a Junior, did you ever imagine being employed by a factory like IAME? Wilson: No! That sort of thing never happened back then, at least not to British drivers. I did get some help from Jack Barlow (Barlotti) and Martin Hines (Zip), but it was very limited. Quinn: How confident were you in your own ability as a driver? Wilson: Very confident. That may sound big headed, but you’ve got to believe totally in yourself if you’re aiming for the top. It’s like two boxers entering the ring. Sometimes you already know which one will lose because he’s psyched himself out even before a blow’s been struck. I never allowed myself to feel beaten before any race even when I knew that my equipment wasn’t quite quick enough. Quinn: Who do you think was the best kart driver you ever raced against? Wilson: There’s no doubt in my mind that Terry Fullerton was the best driver I ever encountered. Senna was obviously pretty exceptional too, but Terry always managed to squeeze the maximum from every kart he ever drove. My old teammate Lars Forsman could count himself very unlucky not to have been a world champion himself. He was very rapid and also a remarkably clean driver. Perhaps that was part of his problem. I always felt very comfortable having Lars alongside me, whereas I’d have been nervous with Terry as a teammate. At Kalmar, for example, Lars was definitely quicker than I was but couldn’t get past me. If it had been Fullerton behind, then I know he’d have tried to come through and we might both have ended up in the tyres. Hakkinen was another driver who greatly impressed me during the short time I knew him in karting. It wasn’t a great surprise to me when he went into F1 and eventually became the champion. Quinn: Who amongst today’s drivers have particularly impressed you? Wilson: There’s a very long list and it’s too long to go through right now. If we stick with the Brits, then Mark Litchfield, Jon Lancaster, Martin Plowman and Jason Parrott all strike me as being capable of winning the world championships. I don’t have to mention Oliver Oakes because he’s already achieved that distinction. Until he moved into cars 12 months ago Ben Hanley was obviously a world beater too.

It’s great that Britain is producing so many top quality drivers. Back in the sixties we had just one or maybe two drivers who could genuinely be classed as world beaters. It’s a well known saying that success breeds success and you need lots of strong competition to bring out the best in yourself. I was fortunate to enter karting when we had a lot of very good British drivers so I cut my teeth racing against the likes of Terry Fullerton, Mickey Allen, Paul Fletcher, Roger Mills, Terry Edgar and Ricky Grice. Quinn: Did you ever think about moving into cars yourself. Wilson: Yes. In fact I did test an F3 car about 20 years ago but I didn’t have the budget available to do a full season. Whereas karting was providing me with a good wage, even just a few races in F3 would have taken up every penny I had. For some that isn’t a problem but it certainly would have been for me as I had a young child to support. In my last year of karting I earned around £30,000. That’s small beer compared to the salaries commanded by today’s F1 stars but still enough to provide my family with a comfortable lifestyle. Quinn: What was Alonso like as a kart driver? Wilson: He was pretty exceptional as you might expect. Like many young karting stars he wanted to make the move into cars as quickly as possible, immediately he’d reached the age of 16 in fact. I talked him into remaining on karts for another two years and I think he benefited from this advice. Quinn: Was there anything in karting you wanted to achieve but didn’t? Wilson: I’d have loved to have won a British title, whether in Juniors or Seniors, but somehow it never happened. Even after a few years with IAME I still retained my RAC licence and went to Felton for the 1979 British Championships hoping to lift this prize. Mickey (Allen) was very quick in that race but I still thought that I’d beat him until my engine seized. It was quite a crushing blow for me at the time. If someone told me that I could have a British title in exchange for one of my world championship wins then I’m not sure what my reaction would be. It’s the one thing missing from my karting CV and something I regret not achieving. Quinn: How many hours did you spend each day as an IAME contracted driver? Wilson: A lot more than most people would imagine. It was definitely a full time job, especially in the early years of my contract with IAME.

Valence 1989

Mike takes his record breaking sixth title at Valence in 1989

The hours would vary a lot but test sessions often involved 8 hours of solid driving in which I’d be setting up motors for myself and other competitors associated with the factory That was on top of kart preparation working alongside my mechanic Giulio Rabaglio. It could be pretty exhausting work but came as part and parcel of being a professional driver. Quinn: If you could change one thing in karting today, what would it be? Wilson: I think I’d like to make it simpler and more affordable. Thirty years ago I was able to race successfully because my parents made all sorts of sacrifices themselves. Lots of kids don’t have that advantage and karting’s probably even more expensive in real terms than it was back then. Quinn: I’ve been racing for 5 years and would like to do well at national level. What advice could you give me so that I might achieve my full potential? Wilson: I’d tell you to do your best in every race and never give in no matter what obstacles you might encounter. If at the end of a race you know in your own mind that you’ve done the best job possible, then the actual result is of secondary importance because next time out you’ll be racing with that little bit extra confidence. Remember what I said about the two boxers. it’s very important that you start a race believing in your own ability. I’d also advise you not to have too many options with regard to equipment. It’s quality rather than quantity that matters. If you’re trying to choose from half a dozen motors, or even numerous setups, then it can become very confusing and 9 times out of 10 you’ll finish up making the wrong choice. Be decisive, select the equipment and set-up you think is best and then have confidence in your own judgement. The same principles apply to your tactics out on the circuit. Don’t make half moves, if you attempt to overtake then make sure it’s going to stick.

That way you’ll gain the respect of other drivers, however grudgingly given. But above all else, make sure you enjoy your racing because once it becomes more of a pain than a pleasure then it’s time to get out.

KALVIN’S COMMENTS “Before carrying out this interview I didn’t know all that much about Mike Wilson, although I’d heard his name mentioned at a few race meetings. I looked on the internet and found an interview that had been carried out a few years ago by Gordon Kirby. I also had copies of a few articles in Karting magazine that had been written at the time of his world championship successes. I realised that he’d been a great driver and was very nervous about meeting him. When we met I was really surprised at how easy it was to talk with him. He answered all of my questions honestly and the whole interview was very enjoyable. I came away hoping that I could become just like him. I don’t mean by winning a world championship or anything like that. I’d just like to copy his attitude towards racing because I think he had the right approach. That’s why he was six times world champion and it’s what made him better than all the rest.”

RENAULT CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS

1

JICA winner Ben Cooper

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. After all, it’s obvious now isn’t it? Take the best drivers from Super 1 and Stars of Tomorrow, assemble an enormous prize fund, attract some big name sponsors, throw them all together and see who comes out on top. Only no one thought of it. Well, until John Surtees did. So it’s appropriate that the only man to win world championships on two wheels and four, came up with the concept of the Champion of Champions.

There was a real buzz in the paddock on the morning of Sunday 30th October at Buckmore Park. With the sense that this was a really cool, exciting end of season bash. Renault’s enormous media and hospitality unit added  to the impression that the Renault Champion of Champions was already a major fixture in the karting calendar. What’s more, the event had attracted numerous other champions and not just from karting. Boxing legend Barry McGuigan was clearly enjoying the racing and SEAT touring car star Luke Hines was present to support the Zip Young Guns team, while sporting huge sunglasses and pink and white shoes!

2

Scott Malvern won Super Libre on his class debut

Katherine Legge was busy chatting about her Toyota Atlantic exploits in the USA while keeping a keen eye on the on-track action. The inimitable Perry McCarthy entertained everyone with stories about his Formula 1 career and, of course, about being ‘The Stig’. As Renault’s guest of honour, Perry was also responsible for handing out the trophies which he did with genuine pleasure, constantly beaming at the youngsters collecting their big cups and even bigger presentation cheques.

3

Ed Cockill read the conditions correctly and won Senior Rotax by 40 seconds!

The one downside was the lack of entries overall. Junior Gearbox only attracted six drivers and what should have been the blue riband event, Super Libre, could only pull in some 14 competitors. Ironically, British champion Mark Litchfield and fellow Formula A star Jason Parrott were both in the paddock but merely to support drivers in their teams. Bill Sisley aims to address this and have a strong field of established Formula A drivers next year. The absence of big names in some of the classes only made the event far more open and unpredictable. And that made for awesome racing. The CADETS never fail to entertain and the Pre-Final was no exception. In the first few corners there was contact aplenty with Mackenzie Taylor biffing eventual winner Chris Warburton through Cafe and Chris Thomas shoving Ben Palmer into the downhill esses. But once the race had settled down, it became a straight fight between Warburton and Taylor. Whatever the Fusion driver could throw at Warburton, it was resisted with incredible coolness. At the flag, the two sportingly shook hands.

4

Perry McCarthy and the Atol girls get in on the Cadet podium photo

You know I mentioned unpredictability? Well, British Number 1 Sam Jenkins rocketed off grid 13 in the Final and started a stunning drive to pick his way past driver after driver. As the chequered approached, Jenkins passed Taylor for 5th, then Pirie, before disposing of the squabbling Palmer and Warburton. Once in front, the others had no response and were left to sort out who would be first of the losers. The JICA Final produced another upset. Especially for Oliver Rowland. The clear winner of the Pre-Final, Rowland could have been forgiven for thinking that the Final would merely be a formality. Not that you could ever discount the likes of Kartmasters winner Richard Bradley and the ever-quick Nigel Moore. But Rowland had won the Pre- Final by over 6 seconds. As the lights went green, the form book was about to be shredded. In his first JICA race, combative Yorkshireman James Godbehere got a flyer and slotted into 2nd behind, not Rowland but Ben Cooper. From 9th on the grid, the Wright driver had an absolute screamer of a start and powered into the lead. This seemed to wake up the prerace favourites and they set about closing in on Cooper, Godbehere and the other faststarter, Anthony Moss. Bradley led the charge and was soon 2nd, as Godbehere started an eventual slide into retirement. Rowland was now 3rd. Despite having a 2 second lead, Cooper was slower than the chasing trio. Rowland was a tenth quicker than Bradley and used that extra speed to take 2nd. At the pace they were running the slightest error would cost and, as Bradley ran wide, Moore nipped through. In midfield, Paul Marsh’s dice with Jordon Lennox-Lamb came to a nasty looking halt as he clipped the Birel driver’s rear bumper and
launched into Lennox-Lamb’s back. The red flags flew and a single file restart was scheduled. At the restart, Cooper got the jump on his rivals with Bradley nicking 2nd from Rowland. Not to be outdone, Moore joined in the fun and briefly held 2nd before the Top Kart top gun Rowland resumed his pre-red flag position. However, Bradley was in no mood for giving any quarter and proceeded to bang wheels with Rowland as he tried to wrest the place back. This was his undoing as Moore, unsighted by Bradley, saw a gap, went for it and clinched the third step on the podium.

5

Another Junior Gearbox title for Thomas Duggan

I don’t know why, but Buckmore always seems to produce superb Junior racing. We’d been spoilt already but could the JUNIOR ROTAX brigade also deliver? You bet they could! Chris Palmer took the early advantage from pole but that man Adam Christodoulou was keeping him honest in 2nd. David Sutton and Sam Bennett were also piling on the pressure. Christodoulou was clearly eager to lead from the front and waited just a handful of laps before making his move. However, he couldn’t make it stick and Palmer regained the advantage. As the leading pair went into the first corner, Christodoulou sized Palmer up before lunging down the inside into the first hairpin. What he didn’t plan was to leave a barn door sized gap, allowing Sutton and Bennett through. At the same hairpin, Christodoulou relaunched his bid for the lead and managed to take 2nd from Bennett. The Tonykart driver shadowed and stalked Sutton for several more laps before going for it. Like a pantomime audience the crowd gasped and ‘whooohed’ as Christodoulou and Sutton fought for the lead. This was a belting race but these two were not the sole source of drama. Stefan Wilson gave it everything to edge Sutton further back to 3rd. After the muted response to his victory at Kartmasters, Christodoulou was generously applauded by the spectators. In the fading light, he really had shone. I’m not a betting man but before the SUPER LIBRE Final, my money would have been on Dan Cruttenden. In the morning warm-up he’d been throwing some spectacular Scandinavian Flicks for the cameras, looked fast and had a body language in the kart that said, ‘I’m well up for this’. His win in the Pre-Final simply underlined all of the above. But in the main Final it all went ‘Pete Tong’. Despite taking an early lead, a puncture put paid to his chances and he retired. Making his debut in this class, Scott Malvern looked like an old hand and took the lead with Richard Kent now 2nd. Sharper by name and by nature, Alex Sharper was out to make a name for himself and scythed past Jonathan Walker.

6

Back on top again, Adam Christodoulou won an enthralling Junior Rotax Final

As the race unfolded, Malvern and Kent eked out a slight cushion and so began to worry solely about each other. The tension increased as Kent launched his kart over the Cafe kerb but Malvern blocked him. Behind them, Walker repassed Sharper who responded by chucking his kart into the first hairpin, keeping it on the black stuff and found himself back in 3rd. Persistence always pays off and eventually Kent found a way past Malvern for the lead. Malvern however knows every millimetre of every overtaking place at Buckmore and as the two entered the last sequence of corners of the last lap, he pushed up Kent’s inside and got through. A jubilant Malvern was in stark contrast to the dejected figure of Kent as they crossed the line. Sharper hung on for a fine 3rd spot from Walker. The predicted rain finally fell, just before the MINIMAX Final. And it made tyre choice a lottery. Those who remained on slicks had little or no chance. Tom Ingram practises kart control by testing in the wet on slicks and showed just how good he is at it by driving from 11th to 1st within a few corners. Polesitter Devon Modell was powerless to respond and sank to 14th. As the rain increased, so did Ingram’s domination, to a 12s lead. Sarah Moore displayed great skill and courage in overtaking two drivers in one corner on opposite lock for 6th! Jack Harvey paddled round in 2nd, some five seconds ahead of Alex Widdrington and Patrick Fletcher. A superb win for Ingram and judging by the grins of his family, well after the racing had finished, they’re probably still smiling as you read this.

7

Barry McGuigan was an interested spectator

Though still damper than a baby’s nappy, the track began to show a drying line for the SENIOR ROTAX Final. Trouble was, not everyone saw it. Ed Cockill did. Initially, Michael Simpson, Chris Lock and Iain Inglis led the opening laps but, as the rain stopped and the circuit dried rapidly, Cockill began his irresistible charge from back to front. Nearly half of the field gave up the ghost as their wets started to cook, with only Dan Holland and Chris Trott able to press on regardless. But they were completely unable to do anything with Cockill. He won by over 40 seconds.
Like Cockill, Lee Jenner also had a remarkable Final. Driving from 27th on the grid to 4th. But on wets! He described his tyres as “roasted” by the chequered. The weather finally made it’s mind up in time for the JUNIOR GEARBOX Final and promptly lashed down. With just six karts on the circuit, we were never going to be in with a real treat. Henry Surtees did however do his utmost to give his father a fairy tale ending to the day. Running 2nd for most of the race, he snatched the lead from ‘O’ Plate champion Thomas Duggan with just a couple of laps to go. But rather than attack, Surtees defended and so came under enormous pressure from Duggan. It was nail-biting stuff as the pair went into the last lap locked together. Into the right-hander by the pit exit, Duggan got his nosecone up the inside of Surtees but he held his lead as they hurtled towards the next right hander. Under braking, Surtees could not defend from the outside. Duggan slithered through, shut the door, snicked through the gears and won by the smallest of margins. Winner of the Pre- Final, Dean Stoneman could not find his earlier pace and trailed in a lonely 3rd. And lastly, the points tally. By adding the scores from the Kartmasters GP to those won at the Champion of Champions, the Renault Elite League saw Richard Bradley win the JICA title and Daniel Rowbottom, Super Libre. So, the building blocks are there for another high profile, quality race meeting. If Bill Sisley and Big John can attract more stars, perhaps even international drivers and bigger grids, then before long Britain could have an event to not only complement the Kartmasters but perhaps become an attractive season closer for the top European teams too.

Report: Adam Jones

Formula Cadet
1 Sam Jenkins (Zip), 2 Chris Warburton
(Zip), 3 Shaun Pirie (Shark).
Fastest Lap: Sam Jenkins.

JICA
1 Ben Cooper (Wright/Parilla), 2 Oliver
Rowland (Top/Parilla), 3 Nigel Moore
(Birel/Parilla).
Fastest lap: Max Chilton.

Junior Rotax
1 Adam Christodoulou (Tony), 2 Stefan
Wilson (Tony), 3 David Sutton (Gillard).
Fastest lap: Adam Christodoulou.

Super Libre
1 Scott Malvern (Gillard/TM), 2 Richard
Kent (Tony/Vortex), 3 Alex Sharper
(Birel/TM).
Fastest Lap: Richard Kent.

Minimax
1 Tom Ingram (Tony), 2 Jack Harvey (Tony),
3 Alex Widdrington (Gillard).
Fastest Lap: Tom Ingram.

Senior Rotax
1 Edward Cockill (Cosmos), 2 Dan Holland
(Gillard), 3 Chris Trott (Gillard).
Fastest Lap: Edward Cockill.

Junior Gearbox
1 Thomas Duggan (Birel/Honda), 2 Henry
Surtees (Gillard/Honda), 3 Dean Stoneman
(BRM/Honda).
Fastest Lap: Thomas Duggan.

DOUBLE MACX – Dave Bewley talks to Max Goff & Mackenzie Taylor

They come from different backgrounds, one with very firm Scottish roots and the other steeped in Northamptonshire tradition. They have different ambitions and each has his own distinctive driving style. They are teammates who have also been fierce rivals 1in at least one championship this season. As drivers they have at least one thing in common. Both have given maximum effort in pursuit of their goals as anyone who has followed the major championships will no doubt testify. Max Goff, a tall lad by Cadet standards, has earned a big reputation, especially in the WTP Little Green Man Championships which he dominated virtually from round 1onwards. Mackenzie Taylor is smaller in height and weight but the impact he made in Comer Cadet this year was positively huge. After winning the S1 title with a round to spare, he finished as runnerup to Sam Jenkins in Stars of Tomorrow and actually led the series for much of the year.

Mackenzie was born into a motor racing family. His father Rod was an accomplished motor cycle racer who finished as runner-up in the British Championships on three separate occasions. Douglas, his uncle, was also an accomplished star on two wheels, having won the Scottish ACU title no less than five times. Mackenzie is named after multiple motorcycling champion Niall McKenzie, a friend and former rival of Rod’s. “Niall christened his own son Taylor McKenzie after me, so I thought that I’d better return the compliment,” claims Rod. “Obviously I encouraged him on to two wheels at a very early age and he soon started competing in Motocross events but
then we met up with Ted Taylor who won the first ever Kart GP at Silverstone. Ted convinced us to buy a Comer powered Swiss Hutless and Mackenzie soon decided that four wheels were better than just two. He made his debut at Blackbushe almost four years ago and collected the prize for 1st novice. After that he had some good races at Rye House and actually finished his first season by taking 6th place in the 2002 WTP series, although competition back then wasn’t quite as severe as it is today.”

The following season, Mackenzie concentrated on WTP using an ex-Thomas Arme Zip chassis and repeated his 6th place in the championship. “It was still a good result for me,” he maintains. “That was the year when Jack Harvey became champion ahead of Jordon Lennox-Lamb and Jesse Smart. I had a bad accident in the opening round of last year’s competition at Fulbeck. It prevented me from racing for a good while and meant that I couldn’t win the championships or even finish in the top six. I decided to drop out of this competition and concentrated on Comers instead. Racing in WTP taught me a lot about competing up at the front and I found all this very useful when I moved into Stars and S1. Last year I missed a couple of Stars rounds and finished 26th, which wasn’t too good, but I was quite pleased to take 14th spot in S1. Twelve months after Mackenzie made his
karting debut, so Max Goff entered the sport. “We bought a Mari kart initially,” says Max, “but as soon as I came off my novice plates I switched to a Zip. I had some good results in the Comer class but it wasn’t until last year that things really started coming together. I finished 12th in the Stars of Tomorrow championships and 11th in S1 which wasn’t bad for a first attempt. Our plans were to just do Comers this year but Rory Campbell persuaded me that I’d have a good chance in the WTP Little Green Man series. Rory can be very persuasive but he kept his promises and I finished up winning the title. My teammate Ashley Bibby, finished as runner up so that says a lot about Rory’s set up. Doing all three championships has meant taking part in 19 rounds so, along with events like the ‘O’ Plate and TV Masters, it hasn’t left a lot of time for clubbies. Racing with Fusion and Rory’s Racecraft outfit has obviously made things a lot easier for us and without their support we couldn’t have managed.” As an interested onlooker at Little Green Man rounds this year, I spent most of my time secretly hoping that someone would beat Max. His domination of this competition, at least for the first five rounds, was such that it seemed as though no one else would get a look in. The opening round at Dunkeswell did produce a win for Ashley Bibby, but 2nd placed Max still managed to look every inch a potential champion. After that there seemed to be no stopping the Corby flyer as he won four consecutive rounds in convincing style. Only at Wigan did a slight chink appear in his armour as he finished 5th. However, this was achieved after setting off from 16th position and it seemed good enough to secure Max the championships. “We’d done the maths and left for home convinced that he’d scored sufficient points,” says Ian. “I got quite a shock when Mike Mills rang later in the week advising me that the bonus points were being awarded differently to how we’d all expected and that this now made it mathematically possible for Ashley to win. We turned up at P.F. and everything went wrong for us. Fortunately from our point of view, Ashley didn’t quite manage the maximum score he needed, but it was a closer call than we’d expected.”

3

Mackenzie took the Super 1 title and was second in the Stars of Tomorrow British Champs

Mackenzie’s assault on the S1 championship got off to a steady start at Three Sisters when he claimed 4th behind James Godbehere, Ashley Jones and Nicholas Cristofaro. Max Goff served notice of his intentions here by taking 5th. Mackenzie’s hopes were delivered a hammer blow during the next round at P.F. when he was excluded for a nonperformance enhancing technical offence after seemingly finishing 3rd. Spirits in the Fusion camp were no doubt lifted by a storming victory for Max. They went down to Clay Pigeon for round three with Max in buoyant mood and Mackenzie probably feeling a little subdued after appealing against his exclusion. Third place here kept Mackenzie’s championship hopes alive but this round had devastating consequences for Max who was excluded from one of his heats due to a broken choke pin. By the time round 4 at Larkhall came along, Mackenzie had won his appeal and was now actually leading the championships. He celebrated with a fine win and Max made it a great day for the Fusion team by taking 2nd place. The calculators were busy at Rowrah and it became clear that Mackenzie needed only a top ten finish to seal the title. In fact he finished a comfortable 4th with Max once again demonstrating his ability by winning this one very impressively. Mackenzie was equally prominent in the Stars of Tomorrow series that got under way at Rowrah where he finished 3rd. He was upstaged at Shenington by Max who scored a brilliant win from 16th on the grid. Fifth place at Wigan was followed by a fighting 3rd at Larkhall but equally significant was the total number of points he’d amassed in his heats. This made him the championship leader by five points when they went down to Llandow for a double header. Second and 4th places in the two Finals would normally have been enough to stretch this lead even further. However, Sam Jenkins chose this particular weekend to be in supreme form. Apart from taking 1st and 2nd in the two Finals, Sam only dropped one point from six heats, leaving just about every competitor marvelling at his sheer pace. It placed Sam in a very strong position for the final round at Buckmore where a finely judged 2nd place behind Nicholas Cristofaro was sufficient to see him crowned as the new British Champion. “James Bradshaw is the only Cadet driver to have won the S1 and Stars titles in one year and it would have been nice to repeat his success,” confesses Mackenzie. “I gave it my best shot and I’m really delighted to have finished the year as S1 champion. I think that having a title like this is bound to be a big help when you’re looking for sponsorship and support. I’d like to thank Dan Hazlewood (Fusion) for all the help he’s given me this year and, of course, Leon from Soixante who supplied me with great motors. This year Stars and S1 have been very
competitive and we had at least ten different drivers who were all quick enough to become champions. It’s been a very hard year for me and I’m sure my dad has sometimes found it difficult as well. I’m very proud of him for what he achieved in his own racing career. At some stage I’d like to race motorbikes just like he did but I couldn’t see myself doing it for a living. Like most other Cadets, I’d like to try single-seater cars some day although that’s a long time away. Next year I’ll be moving up into JICA and that’s something which I’m very excited about, although the difference in speed might take some getting used to. I’ll be running alongside Oliver
Rowland in the Zip Young Guns team and that’s something else I’m looking forward to immensely.”

Away from karting, Mackenzie is keen on both soccer and rugby and enjoys watching F1 but doesn’t really have any favourite team or drivers. Max shares Mackenzie’s liking for soccer and rugby but also adds cricket to his list. He’s a fan of F1 too, naming McLaren Mercedes and Kimi as his favourites. In karting, Alexander Sims, Oliver Rowland and Mackenzie are the drivers that he respects the most. “It was also good to see Ollie Oakes winning the World Championships this year, although I’ve never actually seen him race” adds Max. “I think it’s bound to give British karting a boost, especially with Jon Lancaster finishing 2nd. Next year I’ll be moving into Minimax. I haven’t finally decided on the chassis yet but we recently bought a secondhand Intrepid quite cheaply and it seems very good. One decision we have made is to run our own team next year. That’s
no disrespect to Fusion or Racecraft. They’ve been superb throughout the whole year, but both Dan and Rory want to concentrate on Cadets still, so we didn’t have any option other than to leave.”

2

Max dominated the WTP series and won two Super 1 rounds

“I think that Fusion has easily been the best team in Comer Cadet this year but they’ll have their work cut out in 2006 when our own team is up and running” alleges Max. “It’s called Xtreme Motorsport and we’ve already
signed up Formula BMW driver Craig Boyd to act as mechanic. Apart from my own interests in Minimax, we’ll be looking after three Cadet drivers, Jordan King, Roy Johnson and Callum Bowyer who recently won the King of Clubs championship. Piers Sexton will be looking after me in Minimax and I’m hoping that Paul Munn will also be available although it’s possible that he might do a season racing Seats. After my time in karting, I’d like to take up a career in motor racing. Everyone wants to get into F1 and it would be very nice to think that I could do it, but, realistically, any job as a paid driver would be great.” By any yardstick 2005 has been a successful year for Max. “Winning the WTP Little Green Man title is something I’ll always remember,” he says. “I think I’ll also remember the round at Wigan when I wrote my kart off in practice. Rory was a fantastic
help in getting me up and running in time for Sunday’s race but we were also overwhelmed by the number of people who actually offered to loan me their karts so that I could score points if my own wasn’t fixed. I thought that was really good and showed there’s still a lot of sportsmanship in karting. Comers has been very exciting as well. Dan Hazlewood and Piers Sexton are both very good to work with. Apart from them, I owe my mum Mandy, dad and sister Ria an awful lot for the way they’ve all supported me all year.”

Dan Hazlewood meanwhile looks ahead to 2006 without the services of his top two drivers. “Max McGuire is staying on in the team and he’s shown tremendous improvement this year so I’m confident that he’ll be one of the frontrunners. We’ve also got Jacob Stilp and James Appleton joining us and I’ve been very impressed by their prowess. 2005 was a great year for us and I’m hoping for similar results in 2006.” With these words, Dan acknowledged the very significant impression made by Mackenzie and Max upon Cadet racing. His new drivers certainly have a hard act to follow.

Dave Bewley

Jason Parrott’s Japanese Journey

This year Formula A racer Jason Parrott has been keeping us up to date with his exploits abroad. We thought the World Championship at Braga was to be to his last International outing of 2005, however, as you will read, some exciting developments have taken place and, at the last minute, he secured a drive at the CIK Asia-Pacific Championship at Suzuka and for 2006. So here 1really is his last column of the year. Following the World Champs we were approached by Maranello Kart UK to race with them in 2006. Dad and I had a meeting with Fraz, Steve Green of Maranello Kart UK and Peter Morling of the Gerald White Group, the upshot of which was a 100% commitment to the British, European and World Championships for 2006. Maranello Kart UK is a new company set up to handle the sole distribution of all Maranello kart products in the UK. We formulated our agreement and started our programme almost straight away with a three day factory visit and test at Garda with Ben Hanley and Jules Bianchi (the other Maranello works driver) followed by the Asia Pacific Championship at Suzuka in Japan, all this and still only five weeks after the World Champs! Fraz, dad and I left Stansted on the Monday to travel to the Maranello factory where we spent a whole day packing tools and spares to take with us in our luggage to Suzuka. The following morning we had an early 5am start to fly from Verona to Frankfurt with a three hour wait for our connecting flight to Osaka. After an eleven hour flight we arrived to find ourselves nine hours ahead of British time, very disorientating but we soon got over it. On arrival at Osaka we were met by Manabu, the Maranello distributor for Japan with his minibus. We then had a two hour journey to the track that is adjacent to the F1 circuit. We had lunch and met all of the Japanese team and then visited a local shopping centre. It was a huge building and my new teammate Jules Bianchi insisted on greeting every female, young or not so young, in Japanese. A few of the team purchased electrical appliances that were a lot cheaper than in either England or Italy. Dad bought a new shaver so has no excuse for not shaving anymore. We almost got thrown out as Jules thought it would be a good idea to sit in the trolley and so I pushed him into the shelves and left him there.

When we finished there we went back to the hotel, unpacked and then met up in the local Italian restaurant. We had a lot of laughs and the atmosphere is like one big family. Armando is the boss, Yan the engine man from the Czech republic, Euan a Scottish mechanic who has lived in Italy for three years, Jules from France and my dad, Fraz and myself from England. We met up with some of the other Italian teams in the restaurant so it was quite a lively evening although we retired fairly early to sleep off our jet lag. As always it was an early start at 7am. We spent the day at the track building up and preparing the karts that had arrived by air freight in kit-form. The timetable was the same as the World Champs, Friday test and Saturday and Sunday racing so Thursday afternoon Jules and I biked around the outskirts of the F1 track and the amusement parks. Everything was on a massive scale and immaculate. We left the track around 5pm for the hotel and later the Italian restaurant again. Another great night ! Friday morning saw us at the track by 7.15am and out by 8.30am running in our engines. We had five 20 minute sessions as did the ICAs so it was half an hour on and half an hour off. It was pretty hectic. We tested quite a lot, two karts, three engines, two carbs, four exhausts and two sets of tyres but I was about 2 to 3 tenths off the pace. The day flew by and the track was hard to master with a really abrasive surface. We left the track around 6pm and went straight to a traditional Japanese restaurant. It was an experience, everyone took their shoes off and the diners knelt on the floor around the table. I got the short straw and had to sit next to Fraz’s feet! The waiters brought uncooked food to the table and prepared it on a cooker, like a mini barbecue in the middle of the table. The food was excellent and they kept bringing loads so Fraz and Euan kept eating it as they did not wish to be rude (read up on your Japanese customs lads) together with several jugs of beer. We finished quite early so our host Manabu took us to an arcade where we played baseball and racing games until about 9pm when we retired to our hotel. Yet another early start with warm-up before qualifying. Both Jules and I were on the pace with our best engines still to come for qualifying. Qualifying however was a disaster. On my first flying lap (my third total lap) the engine seized so I had no fast laps recorded.

We later discovered the piston ring had broken so Jules and I decided to sit out the three heats to save our tyres and preserve my only engine for the Final. Yan, our engine man, rebuilt my remaining engine so I could run it in during the morning warm-up. The whole team ate at the circuit restaurant and after the meal we tried to get Armando on the hire karts but he declined and made us go back to the hotel and pack so we would be ready to leave after the racing. Sunday morning we crammed our bags into the minibus and headed to the track. We had a 30 minute warm-up where I ran my engine in and tried a few mods but we couldn’t test much as our tyres were shot. I had nearly new tyres for the first Final where Jules and I started from the back row. I didn’t make a good start but finished strong and made 9th. Jules on the other hand made a superb start and managed to win. For the second Final everyone had new tyres so our advantage there was over, although Jules still had his best engine. I made a good start and got up to 5th only for it to be red flagged due to a problem with the lights. My second start was not so good and I only made one or two places but I couldn’t hold it as I didn’t have the engine speed and I finished 11th. Jules however drove a fantastic race and managed another win, so well done Jules! After a bit of celebrating and packing up we were away to the airport hotel ready for another early flight (after a few celebratory drinks of course). The next day at the airport they tried to charge us 700 euros for excess baggage even though we paid nothing on the way out. After a bit of arguing and bartering we were once again on the plane for another 12 hour plane journey. With the time difference we arrived at Frankfurt at 3.30pm. We were supposed to then go on to Verona with the rest of the team but managed to change our flights from another Frankfurt airport to fly direct to Stansted meaning we got home a day earlier. However, when the shuttle bus arrived at the other airport we were told that all flights were cancelled because of bad weather and some of their computers being down. We had the choice of waiting 24 hours or going to another airport, so we jumped the taxi queue and asked the driver to put his foot down. Two hours later we were at Baden-Baden airport and ready to be on our way, however the plane was delayed. We finally got home exhausted at 1.30am having been up for 28 hours! Although very pleased for Jules and the team I felt a little disappointed with my result. I learned a lot and know I need to do a lot more laps on the kart as it is different to what I am used to driving but I can see the potential. With Maranello I believe I am a member of a superb team and look forward to racing with them in 2006.