Category Archives: Features

Features from Karting magazine

Tech Tuesday – Top 5 Rib Protectors under £120

Ribs are pretty important, inside that cage of bone is all of your important organs and damage to your ribs can not only be very painful, but it can put you out of action for months while they heal up. Not good at all. So to stop this happening you’re going to need to buy a rib protector, these vary in price but also vary in styles and features. Here are five good ones for you to consider that won’t break the bank.

alpinestars
Alpinestars Bionic rib support

Alpinestars Bionic rib support

It may not have the smoothest name but this mid-range rib protector from Alpinestars is packed with ergonomic features to optimise driver safety and comfort. The Rib panels themselves are made up from 3mm dual density padding with a polymer shell to dissipate energy away from an impact. It is also fully adjustable in the form of the front and shoulder straps as well as velcrow adjusters in the back for a comfortable and secure fit.

£114.95

kevlar-sparco
Sparco Kevlar rib Protector

Sparco Kevlar rib Protector

This Sparco rib protector has rigid sides made from a Kevlar composite for strength and lightness; this combined with the padded inner lining makes this rib protector very strong. It also has adjustable shoulder straps and a large velcrow front strap for comfort and a secure fit.

£86.36

ribtec
Tillett Ribtec rib protector

Tillett Ribtec rib protector

The design of the Ribtec is a simple one, but it’s very effective, the hard shell distributes pressure across the body while the soft inner lining absorbs impact. It has holes for efficient ventilation and one large strap at the front for adjustment. Accessories are available in the form of shoulder straps for extra comfort.

£86.40

omp_kk047e
OMP Carbon Rib Waistcoat

OMP Carbon Rib Waistcoat

This carbon rib protector from OMP has been redesigned to allow the maximum driver mobility whilst maintaining a high level of protection. All closures are buckle-less for safety and the tough carbon outer shell is very light and the padded lining is very comfortable, all this makes for a very un restricting rib protector.

£99.00

sparcospk7
Sparco SPK-7 Rib Protector

Sparco SPK-7 Rib Protector

Sparco have improved the design of the previous rib protector and this time it includes protection to the chest in the form of breast plate on top of the protection to the ribs shoulders and back. The padded inner provides protection and comfort while the adjustable straps make sure the protector stays securely in place.

£119.94

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

Like this article? Then read more Tech Tuesday here:

Tech Tuesday – Top 5 Setup Tools

Tech Tuesday – 7 things to check on your kart

Tech Tuesday: Wet Chassis Set-Up

CARLO_V3
Leaning to the outside while negotiating a bend helps increase the grip of the outside tyres

Some drivers love racing in the wet, others hate it. But it is also true that liking or disliking the wet depends a lot on what performance one has in these track conditions. Kart set-up is extremely important in wet weather and driving itself changes completely. Wet conditions set-up The main critical aspect of wet conditions is the extremely low grip of all four tyres. This leads to understeer entering bends and oversteer exiting them, with really low traction. Also braking becomes extremely difficult with frequent locking of the rear wheels. To help reduce all these effects, which persist even when rain tyres are fitted, we must really work on kart chassis set-up. First of all we must balance the chassis to give maximum front grip and maximum rear grip! A narrow rear end increases rear grip as does a wide front end for front grip. The front end can be be made really wide by fitting long front hubs. Now work on the front angles. Caster should be increased to the maximum so it gives incidence to the front tyres when entering a bend and reduces understeer. Camber should be set to zero with the driver sat in the kart. Finally, some toe-out gives some advantage. Sometimes, especially with not very tall drivers, it is important to lift the seat to raise the centre of gravity.

Edgar's Hyundri Super One MSA Series, MSA, KF2, PFI, RSF, Ben Barnicoat, ART.
Love it or Loathe it, At some point it’s going to rain, the right set up makes the world of difference.

This creates a greater momentum when running along a bend which helps increase grip on the outside tyres. Of course if you have to add weight to reach the minimum weight limit then add it as high as possible on the kart seat. Seat stays should be loosened to give more flexibility to the chassis and a stiff rear axle fitted. This last solution though, in my opinion, gives little advantage, since the speed and grip of the chassis are so low in wet track conditions that the forces acting on the chassis are also reduced. This means that the chassis flexes very little and the rear axle may not flex at all. As in dry track conditions, tyres are very important. Pressures should be much higher than for slicks on a dry track since in the latter conditions the tyres heat up much more. Be careful though that, when using rain tyres, all the tyre print is touching the ground and not just the centre section. You can check that after your first run. If you only run on the centre then the tyres won’t last as long and grip will of course be reduced. How to drive in wet track conditions As we have already started to see, in wet track conditions one important thing is to put a lot of load on the outside tyres, front and rear. This can be done by even eliminating some load from the inside tyres. So when driving in wet conditions the position of the driver’s body is extremely important. To give as much grip as possible always lean towards the side where you want to increase the grip. So when running along a bend lean to the outside.

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Go on slicks they said…

An even more sophisticated movement of the body is to lean to the outside and towards the front when entering the bend and then lean backwards towards the outer rear tyre when exiting the bend. This will help reduce understeer entering the bend and also reduce the oversteer exiting it. Another important factor to consider is that in wet conditions it is much better to brake earlier and concentrate on the exit of the bend. Locking the wheels when braking can make you lose control, time and spin. Also, in general, never accelerate with the front wheels turned. Accelerate only when the front tyres are straight and parallel to rear tyres, or almost so. The most important thing though is to drive the kart on completely different lines from those used when track is dry. When the rubber laid down on on the track becomes wet it becomes extremely slippery so it is much better to find grip on wet but clean tarmac. The best line to follow is to run the bend all the way round the outside where rubber has not been deposited. In some bends another possibility is to go out wide when entering the bend and then to cut in to the inside. Finally, to help comfort and concentration, it is a good idea to buy a wet suit to keep your body dry and warm. All these points are just a start, you must gain experience of driving in these conditions and fine tune your kart’s set-up to optimise performance.

 

Like this article? Then read more Tech Tuesday here:

Tech Tuesday – Terry Fullerton’s 7 ways to improve Karting

Tech Tuesday – Axles

RMCGF Ones to Watch Part 4 – DD2 Masters

The Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals fires into life this weekend as drivers get ready for one of the biggest karting events in the World. Entered into the Masters class as ever are 72 drivers who have won tickets throughout this season and all racing on equal equipment supplied by Rotax and the relevant chassis partners gives all an equal chance at victory. In this article we will look at some ones to watch along with the driver I am predicting to win the event. We will also look at the British drivers taking part in the event.

Click here to see full DD2 Masters entry list

Antti Ollikainen – Reigning Vice Champion – Prediction to Win

Antti has represented Finland for the last five years at the Grand Finals and during that time has finished on the podium twice with the last years Antti so close to victory. Let’s go back to 2015, battling for the lead Ollikainen was going toe to toe with Stephen out front and whilst  trying a move into the flat out left hander at turn six he collided with Stephen seeing the pair both slide off the track into the gravel. A year later and Ollikainen had a new rival out front in Lee Mitchener. The Fin did everything right, but going into the second corner on the final lap he over defended and Mitchener pulled off a fantastic move around the outside worthy of a World title. With a further podium back in 2014 it’s about time Antti won this event and I think you’ll struggle to find anyone more determined to do so next week.

Ryan Urban – 2015 Grand Finals Champion

It’s difficult to look past Ryan Urban for next week’s Grand Finals as a winning contender. The Kiwi won the 2015 Grand Finals at Portimao, he was certainly helped by the crash between Michael Stephen and Antti Ollikainen but it was a well deserved victory having qualified 3rd for the final. Last year the champion returned and finished 6th at Sarno which was a good result considering he had to start the final from 18th. Away from that Urban has competed in a further two Grand Finals. He’s got the ability to be calm under pressure and has the pace around the tricky Portimao circuit.

Robert Pesevski – 4th in 2016 on debut

Considering I hadn’t seen his name on a Grand Finals entry list prior to last year seeing Robert Pesevski challenging for a podium was great to see. It’s rare to happen in Masters given most drivers would have come through the Junior, Senior and DD2 classes but for Pesevski he was a new face and is now a name many will have their eye on for this year. The Austrian was unlucky to finish in 4th place given how heavily he challenged for the lead early on. But the experience of drivers around soon showed as he was pushed back into a hectic battle for 3rd. Nevertheless it was a brilliant result and I think he’ll be even stronger this year.

Gabriel Zughella – 3rd in 2015 Final

Gabriel Zughella almost did make the final at last years Grand Final but recovered impressively in the Final to come from 29th on the grid through to 13th place! The years prior to that the Argentinian picked up 3rd in the melee of the 2016 final showing good pace. Returning to the Portimao circuit he’ll be looking to settle for no less than a podium. He’s got the ability to overtake and take advantage of situation’s when the racing is chaotic which it certainly will be in the Masters class next week!

Michael Stephen – Taken out whilst leading the final in 2015

Michael Stephen was the second driver involved in that enthralling 2015 final which saw himself and Ollikainen in the late stages of the final whilst battling for the lead. Given the fact he was leading Michael would have certainly felt hard done by as well as devastated to see his chances of World Glory instantly shattered. I’m not too sure what the South African has done since then as he was not at last year’s Grand Finals but if he can repeat the form he had back in 2015 then he’ll be seriously tough to beat.

Others who could challenge…

Tiffany Chittenden – Former British DD2 Champion

The former British DD2 Champion returns to the Grand Finals once again for her fourth appearance. Tiffany, who will be representing New Zealand, had a best result of 6th in 2014 and drove very well at Sarno last year to finish 11th from 33rd on the grid.

Derek Wang – Showed since of brilliance over the last two years

Last time the Grand Finals was at Portimao Derek was fastest in qualifying before eventually going on to finish 27th. Since then the American has been on the podium at the SKUSA Supernationals and was 12th in Sarno last year.

Kris Walton – 5th in last years final

Perhaps one of the stand out performers in the finals last year, Australian driver Kris Walton on his Grand Finals debut was 5th from 22nd on the grid! Should he start further forward in next week’s final he may be heading home with some silverware.

Tiffany Chittenden

RMCGF Ones to Watch Part 3 – DD2

The Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals fires into life this weekend as drivers get ready for one of the biggest karting events in the World. Entered into the DD2 class as ever are 72 drivers who have won tickets throughout this season and all racing on equal equipment supplied by Rotax and the relevant chassis partners gives all an equal chance at victory. In this article we will look at some ones to watch along with the driver I am predicting to win the event. We will also look at the British drivers taking part in the event.

Click here to see full DD2 entry list

Bruno Borlido – Vice Senior Champion in 2014 – Predicted Winner

Bruno Borlido has featured at the last six Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals events but this will be the first time the Portuguese driver will do it in the DD2 class. Over Bruno’s six years at the Grand Finals most have been full of bad luck come finals day but his best result was back in 2014 where in the traitorous conditions he was able to finish 2nd at Valencia behind Carlos Gil (ESP). With his track knowledge if Bruno can keep himself towards the front throughout the heats I think he has a very good chance of victory next Saturday.

Ferenc Kancsar – Reigning Double-Defnding Champion in DD2

He’s the man to go unbeaten at the toughest race in World Karting two years on the trot and now Ferenc is looking to make it three titles in three years to match Christian Morgado’s (RSA) record between 2012 and 2014 in DD2 Masters. Ben Cooper is another driver to have three Grand Finals titles to his name having won his third back in 2012 at Portimao. Doing the double put Ferenc on level pegging with Wesleigh Orr (RSA) who completed the same feet in 2004 and 2005. Another South African did similar in the shape of Caleb Williams (2009 & 2010) although that was across two different classes. Pier-Luc Ouelette, Christophe Adams and Ukyo Sasahara are the only other drivers in the prestigious list of eight drivers to win more than one title. However, next Ferenc could join Morgado as the only two drivers to win three in a row!

Ferenc Kancsar

Constantin Schoell – Rotax Max Euro Challenge Champion 2017

Winning the last Rotax Max Euro Challenge this year was Constantin Schoell. The Austrian drove a good Grand Finals last year qualifying an impressive 6th for the final before things went slightly pear shaped in the final. First Grand Final nerves perhaps but with that now out of the way I think he could be a real threat this year. He is the reigning European Champion which has helped Kancsar to titles in the past.

Constantin Schoell

Gerard Cebrian Ariza – IAME International Final Champion 2017 Shifter

The Spaniard was the surprise package at the IAME International Final and went on to win in dramatic fashion. Gerard was unbeatable in the final but Tom Bale did have a go into turn one on the last lap in a do or die attempt which almost saw them both out of the race. Thankfully for Gerard he limped home to still take the win. He’s got plenty of experience racing in DD2’s and more so in the KZ2 class. High on confidence and based not a million miles away from the circuit I think the CRG driver will challenge for a podium at the very least

 

Glenn van Parijs – BNL Rotax Golden Trophy Champion

Glenn van Parijs qualified through via the BNL Rotax Golden Trophy event having stepped away from karting this year but coming back for this event do not expect him to be any slower than he was before. Having been racing in GT4’s Glenn still raced in the Winter Cup earlier this year along with selected BNL events. He’s looked quick every time he’s been out and was quite simply unstoppable at Genk two weeks ago. Glenn finished 10th at last years Grand Finals in the Senior class so has the experience required to do well next week.

Others who could challenge…

Zachary Claman De Melo – 3rd in 2014, Vice Supernats Champion 2016

Despite racing in Indy Lights Zach Claman De Melo continues to race in karts and was 2nd at the super competitive SKUSA Supernationals event in Las Vegas late last year. The Canadian also still keeps his hand in the Florida Winter Tour an din the process has gained a space to race at the Grand Finals for a fifth time. In his previous four visits he has taken an 11th, 10th and more impressively a 3rd at Valencia in 2014.

Oriol Dalmau Cabbellero – Rotax Winter Cup Champion 2017

Oriol Dalmau Cabbellero has featured at the last four Grand Finals and is a driver who always seems to keep himself out of trouble. His best result at the event thus far came back in 2015 at Portimao when he finished 5th place and with the event revisiting I can only see him improving. His win at the Rotax Winter Cup earned him his space and saw him beat many of his rivals he’ll be facing once again this weekend.

Xen De Ruwe – Plenty of experience, deserves a good result

Xen has been a top quality driver for a number of years now, particularly in the DD2 class. He has four Grand Finals under his belt, two of those (2013 & 2012) have been complete disasters but the other two (2014 & 2011) saw Xen take a 11th and 10th place respectively. Although missing from the Grand Finals he still has very impressive form at European Rotax events and coming back in after a two year absence may be just what the Belgian needs.

Oriol Dalmau Caballero

 

RMCGF Ones to Watch Part 2 – Senior Max

The Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals fires into life this weekend as drivers get ready for one of the biggest karting events in the World. Entered into the Senior class as ever are 72 drivers who have won tickets throughout this season and all racing on equal equipment supplied by Rotax and the relevant chassis partners gives all an equal chance at victory. In this article we will look at some ones to watch along with the driver I am predicting to win the event. We will also look at the British drivers taking part in the event.

Click here to see full Rotax Max entry list

Felix Warge – 4th at the 2016 Grand Finals – Predicted Winner

Similar to Denis Mavlanov last year I think Felix Warge is in the perfect form to go and win the Grand Finals this year. He impressed last year when he finished an impressive 4th place, he continued that form with a 2nd at the Winter Cup earlier this year with more good form in the Euro Challenge. Felix also raced at the IAME International Finals and showed good pace to eventually just miss out on a top ten finish. I have a feeling back in the more familiar Rotax that this could be his year for World glory.

Luke Selliken – Vice Champion in 2015 at Portimao

It was great to see that Luke Selliken was back for another go at the Grand Finals this year. Back in 2015 when the Grand Finals was last at Portimao the American drove a very impressive final to recover from a bad start to fight his way back through to 2nd place. From there Sellikan began to close down Alex in the lead but ran out of time to move any further forward eventually having to settle for 2nd. If he can reflect that pace once again in 2017 and keep a clean pair of heels throughout the heats there’s no doubt he’ll be fighting for victory come finals day.

Petr Bezel – Vice Champion in 2016

Petr Bezel is back for his seventh Grand Finals and has become quite the master of the event with his worst result being 11th in his last six attempts. The Czech driver always seems to keep himself in the fight and his impressive pace has taken him to a 2nd, 5th and 7th in his last three Finals. I don’t see any reason why things will be different this year with Petr having a proven track record at Portimao.

Enric Bordas Cotes – Impressive at IAME International Final

Up next is the Spaniard Enric Bordas Cotes. Another driver who was very impressive at the IAME International Finals was unlucky to end the final down in 19th considering the pace he had all weekend. Being based not too far from Portugal I imagine will mean Enric is going to be very well prepared for this event.

Zsomber Kovacs – 2nd at 2016 Finals in Junior Max

Last but by no means least is Zsomber Kovacs. The Hungarian was super impressive last year finishing 2nd at the Grand Finals behind Mark Kimber and took no time getting used to Senior Rotax as he finished on the podium at the Winter Cup just a couple of months later. Most recently Zsomber was at the BNL Rotax Golden Trophy event and showed brilliant pace in the final to comfortably take the fastest lap and finish 10th place. An impressive result considering he dropped to 24th on the opening lap of the race.

Others who could challenge…

Bradley Jenner

Bradley Jenner’s last visit to the Grand Finals was back in 2015 when he rocked up to Portimao to represent Australia. Having driven well throughout the week a podium looked possible from 7th on the grid but Jenner had a tricky race and finished 17th. Expecting better things this time.

Arnaud Sarrazin – Top 10 in 2015

Arnaud Sarrazin could be one to watch this year. Finishing 10th in the Grand Finals back in 2015 he’s got a huge amount of experience in the sport dating all the way back to 1993. He’s raced F1 drivers along the way but the French men is yet to get his hands of a Grand Finals title.

Charlie Anderson – BNL Rotax Golden Trophy Winner

The 72nd and final ticket this year went to Swedish driver Charlie Anderson. Racing with World Champions KR Sport Charlie will be in good hands at the Grand Finals and that win at the BNL Rotax Golden Trophy will have given him some confidence heading to Portimao.

Brits

James Johnson

James Johnson qualified for this years Finals via the Rotax Festival at Clay Pigeon with an impressive victory in very diffcukt conditions. James has very much been a top ten runner in the Senior Max class at national level for the last few years and seeing a new opportunity to qualify this year he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. James’ European experience is fairly limited but this is a great opportunity for him to prove himself on a World stage. As long as he doesn’t put himself under too much pressure then I see no reason why he can’t be competitive.

Charlie Turner

Charlie has done just two races in karting this year having made the jump up to cars so when finding out he had a ticket to the Grand Finals he was surprised just as much as we were. Charlie did, like James Johnson, see the Rotax Festival as an opportunity to qualify to a race he had come so close to doing on so many occasions. Similar to Ravesncroft in Junior Max Charlie just missed out on a ticket and had totally forgotten about it all until a phone call told him he had qualified through after all. A last minute entry to the BNL Rotax Golden Trophy event gave Charlie his chance to prepare for the event but he is still going to be down on a recent experience compared to his competitors and I fear that will make his ride at the Grand Finals very tough indeed.

Bradley Barrett

Brad Barrett is one of the rising stars in British karting at the moment especially on the European scene. A strong performance in this years Super One season saw him pick up a ticket after he finished 2nd in the championship to Tyler Chesterton. Barrett picked up victory at Kartmasters which certainly has given him a lot of confidence and on the European scene he put in some very impressive performances in the BNL Karting Series in the Senior Max class. He has the experience to do well, I think it’ll just be a case of staying of trouble in the heats.

Bradley Barrett

Rhys Hunter

Despite being a Rookie Rhys has been an outstanding performer in Super One this year finishing an impressive 3rd in the Junior Max class. He also had strong performances with two 3rd place finishes at Ostricourt. Jumping up to the Senior class Rhys has a tough task on his hands as he will be racing older and more experienced drivers than him. For that reason I’m struggling to predict a finishing space for him but sometimes not knowing or having any particular goals can work in your favour at the Grand Finals.

Brett Ward

We all remember Brett’s heartbreak back in 2013 which saw him lose the win in Junior Max at the last lap last corner to Juan Manuel-Correa in New Orleans (USA). Even three years later when I properly met Brett for the first time he did not want to talk about it and you can’t blame him I guess. It’s great to see Brett back three years later for another crack at the event. He once told me if he’d win the Grand Finals he’d be happy to retire from Karting there and then. It would be an awesome way to bow out although he would be sorely missed from the sport. I can’t imagine they’ll be many drivers more determined to win than Brett he wears his heart on his sleeve and deserves to win an event of this magnitude. As a journalist it’s bad to say but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really routing for him to win this weekend deep down.

Brett at the 2013 Rotax World Finals

Jordan Brown-Nutley

On paper Jordan is our most likely chance at a win this weekend. He won the Rotax Winter Cup and Rotax Max Euro Challenge and was the BNL Karting Series Vice Champion for a second year running. He’s also been strong in the X30 class and it’s hard to believe this is his first trip to the Grand Finals. However, I feel he’s timed his first ticket to perfection and is going to be a tough one to beat this weekend!

Previous Senior Max World Champions

2016 – Denis Mavlanov (RUS)

2015 – Alex (ITA)

2014 – Carlos Gil (ESP)

2013 – Oliver Hodgson (GBR)

2012 – Charlie Eastwood (IRL)

2011 – Ben Cooper (GBR)

2010 – Caleb Williams (RSA)

2009 – Luke Varley (GBR)

2008 – Ben Cooper (GBR)

2007 – Benjy Russell (GBR)

2006 – Ricardo Romkema (NED)

2005 – Luuk Glansdorp (NED)

2004 – San Ghalleb (FRA)

2003 – Christiano Morgado (RSA)

2002 – Mark Cronje (RSA)

2001 – Claudio Piazza-Musso (RSA)

2000 – Gavin Cronje (RSA)

2013 Podium

RMCGF Ones to Watch Part 1 – Junior Max

The Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals fires into life this weekend as drivers get ready for one of the biggest karting events in the World. Entered into the Junior class as ever are 72 drivers who have won tickets throughout this season and all racing on equal equipment supplied by Rotax and the relevant chassis partners gives all an equal chance at victory. In this article we will look at some ones to watch along with the driver I am predicting to win the event. We will also look at the British drivers taking part in the event.

Click here to see full Junior Max entry list

Tijmen van der Helm – Rotax Max Euro Challenge Champion – Prediction to win!

Tijmen van der Helm has had a fantastic 2017 season and is in a strong position to finish off with a win at one of the biggest events in the World. Coming into the Grand Finals, Tijmen is the reigning Rotax Max Euro Challenge Champion in the Junior Max class following a 4th at the Winter Cup earlier in the year. Representing the Netherlands he also finished 2nd in the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy with two podiums in three rounds. At the IAME International Final the Dutch driver was unlucky to finish 6th place and I think the experience from that event should help him on his Grand Finals debut.

© KSP Reportages

Tyler Gonzales – Florida Winter Tour Champion

Tyler Gonzales has to be a strong favourite for this event after wins at both the Florida Winter Tour and SKUSA Supernationals late last year. He blitzed the Winter Tour beating Dylan Gennaro to the crown by over 200 points in both the Junior Max and Junior ROK classes. His Supernationals win came in a grid of over 60 drivers and will give him a lot of confidence heading into the all-important Grand Finals. Other than three wins in the Mini and Micro Max classes the states have won the RMCGF just the once back in 2013 when Juan Manuel-Correra dramatically beat Brett Ward at the last lap last corner to win on home soil. There’s no doubt Tyler will looking to increase that list this year and bring a Junior Max trophy back home.

Mike van Vugt – 4th CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy

Along with Tijemn, Mike was another driver selected to race in the CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy this season competing for the Netherlands. After a perfect start to the season bad luck eventually saw Mike finish 4th in the championship, that added to his Winter Cup podium and strong performances in the Rotax Max Euro Challenge make him a strong bet for this year. Mike had his first taste of the Grand Finals at Sarno last year in the Mini Max class but unfortunate luck in the final saw him finish down in 34th place. He would have learnt a lot of lessons in that first year and will be keen for a good result this time around.

© KSP Reportages

Luca Leistra – BNL Rotax Golden Trophy Champ, BNL Vice Champion

Winning the last ticket to the Grand Finals via the BNL Rotax Golden Trophy event was Belgium’s Luca Leistra as he breezed to victory despite tricky conditions. He may have been new to the Junior class this year but Luca has looked like a seasoned veteran as he ran Clayton Ravenscroft all the way to the final race in the BNL Karting Series taking two wins and four second place finishes. Having commentated on plenty of his races one thing I particularly like about Luca is his ability to deal with pressure and I don’t think he’ll be at all phased by the magnitude of the event next week.

Xavier Handsaeme – CIK Academy Champion

My last one to watch is Xavier Handsaeme. The Belgian has had a brilliant season winning both the Rotax Winter Cup and CIK-FIA Karting Academy Trophy. Xavier won the CIK-FIA Academy Championship so convincingly that many saw him as a favourite for the IAME International Final two weeks ago. Not the smoothest run through the heats meant the Belgian eventually recovered to finish a solid 5th place, but back in Rotax I think he’ll be even stronger. Xavier was 15th at last years Grand Finals and having already had a good season he shouldn’t be putting himself under immense pressure. Should he win he would become just the second Belgian to win a Grand Finals along with two times Champion Christophe Adams who won back in 2007 (Al Ain Raceway) and 2009 (Sharm El Sheikh).

© KSP Reportages

Others who could challenge…

Sami Megeutounif – 5th CIK Academy

The French driver has had a strong season and looked quick at the IAME International Final albeit emding his weekend with a DNF. He’ll be looking for a much stronger result at the Grand Finals.

Ryan Wood – Rotax New Zealand Champion

The Kiwi’s have always gone very well at the Grand Finals particularly in the Masters class with two wins in the last two years. Ryan Wood seems to have won almost everything there is to win in New Zealand and I think will be one to watch.

Lachlan Robinson – UAE Champ

After qualifying pole at the IAME International Final it’s hard to rule out Lachlan Robinson. Eventually finishing an impressive 7th he’ll be a threat to the likes of Van der Helm and Handsaeme.

Sami Megeutounif © KSP Reportages

Brits

Clayton Ravenscroft

Clayton Ravenscroft kept the BNL Karting Series title in the KR Sport awning this year after beating Luca Leistra and Ilian Bruynseels in convincing style to follow in footsteps of fellow Brit Joe Turney. With most of the Junior’s in Super One having to move up to Seniors Clayton was able to deservedly get himself a ticket to Portugal and I think could be a huge player at the event. He’s been one of the quickest drivers in Europe this year and is a driver that has never had the chance to prove himself on the World stage. This will be Clayton’s biggest race by far and he looked blisteringly quick at the BNL Rotax Golden Trophy event two weeks ago on the Praga chassis. Great Britain have won the Junior title twice thanks to Mark Kimber and Harry Webb and I honestly think Clayton is capable of following in their footsteps if he is able have a good set of heats. He’s a well respected driver around the paddock and a good person off track, a good result would definitely be very well received.

Clayton Ravenscroft

Tommy Foster

Tommy Foster won his place at the Grand Finals via the Rotax Festival held at Clay Pigeon in the summer. It was a last lap move on Ravenscroft that saw him do it in a dramatic finish to the race. That said the move itself was perfect and it caught out the KR Sport driver and now they’re both through I’m sure they’ll both look back at it as a great race. Foster won the British Open title this year and finished 5th in Super One with some impressive drives. The Arden Young Racing Driver Academy member has never stepped foot out of the UK in racing terms and that will put him in the back foot going into the event. However, the privateer is in a fully level playing field event and is what the RMCGF are all about. I think his first priority will be to make the final and from there look towards a top ten finish. Either way it’ll be an experience he’ll never forget.

Previous Junior Max World Champions

2016 – Mark Kimber (GBR)

2015 – Florian Venturi (FRA)

2014 – Juri Vips (EST)

2013 – Juan Manuel Correra (USA)

2012 – Harry Webb (GBR)

2011 – Ukyo Sasahara (JPN)

2010 – Martin Rump (EST)

2009 –  Ukyo Sasahara (JPN)

2008 – Facundo Chapur (ARG)

2007 – Kevin Korjus (EST)

2006 – Jorrit Pex (NED)

2005 – Kenneth Hildebrand (EST)

2004 – Benjamin Salvatore (FRA)

2003 – Martin Omar (ESP)

2015 Junior Champion, Florian Venturi

Circuit Guide: Rye House

 

rye-house-track-guide

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

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

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

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Stadium has a very long and late apex

Turn 1 (Stadium)

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

Turn 2

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

Turn 3 (Hairpin 1)

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

Tom Sibley
Tom Sibley

Turn 4 (Hairpin 2)

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

Turn 5 (Pylon)

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

Turn 6

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

Piers Prior
Piers Prior

Turn 7 & 8 (last complex)

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

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

Words By Piers Prior

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