By: George Robinson
Standfirst: The season is all but over with the conclusion to the National Championships successfully completed and only their prize presentations left to attend. At club level the battles are set to continue up until mid-December in some cases.
In the mean time it’s showtime! Kartmania is due to happen any minute now. This year’s event is due to be bigger and better than before with some new and returnee exhibitors as well as a swanky new venue at Silverstone.
JAG Engineering is delighted to be headline sponsors of the event. Martin Capenhurst has been working exceptionally hard to make a success of the show, so please come along and see the latest and the best in our sport on the 17th and 18th November.
Immediately after the show there is the Rotax World Finals, which is being held in Portimao, Portugal over the last weekend in November. Once again we have a strong contingent of drivers, our numbers swollen by the success of the Brits at the Euro Max Challenge. Lets hope that we can carry this success through to bring home the World titles as well.
We have been visiting as many Club race meetings as time permits and can report that despite rumour to the contrary numbers are holding up well. Constant media coverage of double dip recession and economic gloom do nothing to help. Accentuate the positive and minimize the negative is an old adage but more perhaps appropriate today than ever before.
At Dunkswell’s final round there were just about 100 entries, 48 of which were Rotax but more importantly 34 were Cadets. The vast majority of these were Hondas. This is a common trend we must all make the effort to keep these young drivers interest in the sport alive. They are our future.
From a Rotax Max standpoint the market in this country is enjoying great stability. There are no major changes in the pipeline with the possible exception of the much-reported new crankcases. Yes there will be new cases coming out but there is no release date as yet and there is no official test data available either, everything that you may have heard is nothing more than rumour.
It is the time of year when a few people get caught out by an early frost and a cracked cylinder due to plain water being left in the engine. In the UK the use of coolant is allowed, that is why the radiator catch bottle is mandatory here and not in other countries. There are now coolants on the market that actually run cooler in hot conditions than water, so there should be no real need to have just plain water in the engine. Because engines are usually kept indoors even a low level of anti-frost protection should suffice. It is often the case that an engine in a van at a circuit is the most susceptible to damage.
If you are one of the sensible ones that lays your kart up for the winter months it is a good idea to take it off the kart clean it until it sparkles and then spray it with a WD type product that is a light lubricant but more importantly a moisture inhibitor. Also leave clean coolant in the radiator. This will protect the engine’s aluminium on the inside. All modern coolants are alloy friendly. If possible keep the engine in a relatively warm but definitely dry environment. The same goes for the Carburettor. A Carb. can never be too clean! If in doubt give it to your local friendly service centre to service, a liberal spray with WD and then put it in a self-seal plastic bag. It will be ready and waiting for you if and when the sun comes out in March!
Another good end of season check is the wiring loom. Often overlooked and occasionally the source of anguish! The loom can easily become damaged if it is allowed to chafe or indeed make contact with the ground. An intermittent misfire is the most likely product of a damaged loom. More serious is a dead short that could burn out the wiring, ignition coil or battery. The loom is not a hugely expensive item but why need a new one when a bit of care would stop the problem before it happens. A bit of a health check for the rest of the electrical components ids not a bad idea at the same time. The battery should be kept charged to avoid a low voltage cell failure. It is vitally important that the correct charger is used for the job. The standard battery is a sealed lead acid type and this is the type of charger that should be used. The Rotax supplied charger does a very good job without jeopardising the battery. It is also suitable for the new lightweight battery supplied by Rotax, which is Lithium Phosphate. Any Lithium battery must be charged with an appropriate charger. There are many proprietary brands of charger on the market just be sure that yours is compatible with the battery. The lithium batteries are reliable if correctly treated but they are more susceptible to damage from incorrect charging.
Exhaust systems; both types, welded silencer and the latest “springs over” types are to remain legal for next year at least. Eventually it may be necessary to outlaw the old type, but only when it has been out of production for many years. From January it will be permitted to install the extra steel isolation mat. This comes with very specific instructions and must be used in conjunction with the full sheet of the existing wadding. The steel mat definitely improves the life of the wadding and probably the baffle tube as well. There is no performance loss and improved exhaust reliability. A win-win situation for very little outlay. When refitting the baffle tube always use high tensile bolts with “Nyloc” nuts. Most service centres will stock these, little button head M4 bolts are the neatest, but you may need to go to M5 if the holes in the silencer are too big. The original rivets are steel and last a long time. Most pop rivets are alloy and will fail in no time at all.
Kartmania is the next thing on the agenda. Please come along to see us, or for a bit of sport you could heckle at one of the Rotax seminars.