Category Archives: News

Karting news from the UK and around the world. Super One, LGM, WSK, Euromax and other go karting updates

ABkC News

1The ABkC Steering Group, which is also the MSA Kart Regional Committee, held a busy meeting in mid-March. MSA Executives Cheryl Lynch and John Ryan attended as well as regular MSA member Bruce Goddard. Following a smaller meeting discussing championship formats the previous month, recommendations were accepted to have a minimum of ten race signatures before competitors can enter the major national championships. In other words, competitors need to have their five signatures plus ARKS test to move on from novice status and gain qualifications for a National A licence, plus another five race signatures. Competitors looking to enter the 2007 Super One or BRDC Stars of Tomorrow are therefore prewarned of the need to collect these signatures. Other pre-qualification ideas, such as position in club championships were discussed but put aside for the moment. Another outcome is for Super One and Stars to have guidelines on not clashing too often with any particular club’s meetings. Recommendations are being put forward to the Kart Sporting Committee to increase the upper age for Cadet classes to the end of the year of drivers’ 13th birthdays.

This is so smaller, young drivers can stay in the class if desired. Coupled with this, it is likely that the 2007 Junior class regulations will incorporate a maximum kart weight including ballast. This means small drivers will not progress into a class where they would be forced to carry too much ballast to make the class weight, which is potentially unsafe. The maximum ballast is likely to be set somewhere between 25kg and 30kg and added to an average kart weight. The current contracts for the promotion of the ABkC’s national championships come to an end in 2006 and the ABkC invites any interested parties to contact the secretary for further details. Any formal bids need to be lodged by the end of April so the Steering Group can make a decision at its June meeting. The various classes are currently promoted by Super One, Stars and the NKF. Similarly, ABkC tyre contracts are coming to an end this year. Any interested parties should contact the secretary for further details on the same timescale as above. The MSA are currently inviting tenders for the promotion of the MSA British Kart Championships for 2007 onwards and full details will be publicised shortly. Following discussion after the last AGM, it was decided to publicise the 2006 AGM widely in the hope that competitors, the trade and others would come to make their views known after the formal part of the meeting is concluded. It was noted that MSA kart licences have declined from 5419 in 2004 to 5277 in 2005, with a corresponding decrease in new ARKS licences from 900 to 720 in 2005. Everyone is concerned about the decline and putting forward ideas to boost karting at the entry level. NatSKA, the schools’ association, have joined the ABkC as an association member and their representative put forward the suggestion for clubs to have teach-ins for newcomers, maybe in a section of the paddock, especially reserved for novices.

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CIK TAG engines will not be introduced for JICA or ICA in the UK for 2007

Often it is the dads who need the help. NatSKA also asked clubs, teams and traders to give their old karts and especially 4-stroke engines to them for use in the school clubs. It was also agreed to explore setting up a formal coaching system in kart clubs. The promotional DVDs have had a good take up and sales have even contributed to the Association’s finances which remain healthy. The new ARKS Start Karting DVD is now expected for 1st January 2007. The Association has purchased the www.startkarting.co.uk domain name, to help publicise karting. The 2006 Start Karting brochure is available for clubs to help promote karting in their areas. It was pointed out that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport offer discounts on corporation tax, rates, capital gains and tax on income and interest by registering as a community amateur sports club. For further information go to: www.hmrc.gov.uk/casc/ and motorsport is eligible to apply. A circuit operator pointed out that he had been advised that VAT does not apply to circuit hire in excess of 24 hours. John Ryan expressed disappointment regarding the poor attendance by kart scrutineers at the recent seminars and urged club committees to encourage their scrutineers and indeed all officials to attend relevant MSA seminars. The Direct-Drive Sub-Group has held meetings with traders and teams regarding the introduction of the new CIK TAG engines. The Steering Group has decided that the CIK TAG engines will not be introduced for JICA and ICA in 2007 and a further meeting will be held in the summer regarding whether or not to introduce the Formula A engine in 2007. Rumours of problems and a possible later than usual homologation date were noted.

The group is also considering a rev limit in 100 National, either through a add-on rev-limiter as used in Portugal, or by setting a maximum sprocket size for each track. Comments are invited. This would be to keep engine rebuild costs down, especially when reed valve engines are permitted from 2007. Tal-Ko is having ongoing discussions with the ABkC and the trade regarding any changes in their classes for 2007. The WTP B5 TAG engine on-going situation is causing much concern. The MSA has yet to receive a fully substantiated application meeting the conditions set at the September meeting of the Kart Regional Committee and so the 2005 regulations currently apply for the WTP Cadet class until further notice (they are on the ABkC website). The ABkC is especially concerned about the suffering affecting existing and new competitors who may no longer own the older B1 engine. The Little Green Man championship will start by using the 2005 regulations and indeed may have to stay on these regulations all season. The ABkC also wants to ensure the B1 engine and the new B5 engine can race competitively together for the same trophies. It should be noted that wedge style nose fairings will not be permitted in the Cadet classes from 2007. An error has been made in the Blue Book regarding the height of the rear bumper in Cadets and this will be clarified by the MSA. The 1.8mm minimum diameter of brake secondary cables will be made mandatory in all classes from 1.1.2007. Both the London Kart Show and Autosport International are offering deals to kart clubs for their shows. Further details from the secretary but the London Show in particular is offering very good discount pricing and the thought is that in both a karting ‘village’ of the main associations and clubs could be set up. Finally, concern was expressed about a survey in a popular weekly which purported to allege that 100% of karters thought cheating was rife. This was considered very wide of the mark and has done karting a disservice. The next Steering Group meeting will be in June at which point a call will go out for invitations to hold the 2007 ABkC ‘O’ Plate meetings.

Graham Smith, ABkC Secretary

BKIA AGM

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Sixteen members attended the AGM

The British Kart Industry Association held its Annual General Meeting at Motor Sports House on the 26th January with sixteen members attending. Chairman Alan Turney reported that although there had been no significant changes during the last year it was important that the association reflected strength through a united voice. There had been a low level of formal committee meetings and he noted that safety and insurance were matters of continuing concern. He added that customer confidence in dealing with member companies was essential and that the buying public should be made aware of these benefits. Alan reported that 2005 had been particularly difficult for most trade members due to lower entries at club meetings. Paul Gladstone the BKIA Administrator, reported that 2005 finished with 63 member organisations compared with 51 for the previous year, a number that continues to build each successive year. To date twenty applications for 2006 have been received including four new members. The BKIA continues to attract enquiries via the website from overseas regarding equipment supply or for advice and from organisations looking at coming into karting.

The BKIA has strengthened links with other motorsport organisations such as the National Karting Association and the Motorsport Industry Association and as a result was included in the invitation to display at the PRI show in Orlando at the end of last year with an offer of UK Trade & Industry subsidised travel. The steady increase in membership means there are funds to support more advertising and this year the BKIA will invest in promotion together with a new brochure. There have also been discussions with a number of companies of possible insurance schemes to include indemnity cover and also competitor life/injury plus equipment cover for counter sale The BKIA committee had met in October to discuss key issues affecting karting with the main concern remaining the noticeable downturn in club event entries that is also affecting other motorsport disciplines. A forum is being held in the USA to discuss similar concerns. Ever increasing costs are often cited as the main culprit but this is not the only factor to be addressed. The industry is under pressure to cap and even lower prices but the sport also needs to look at its customer needs. Is it too narrow in its appeal? Is the sport that difficult to get into? Are circuits and facilities attractive? Are there too many championships? Do they represent the best shop window for products? What can we all do to promote our sport? Happily 2005 saw a couple of initiatives namely the new ABkC Starting in Karting DVD produced with financial support from the BKIA and the return of the MSA endurance licence to enable an easier entry point.

There is comfort in having a strong CIK championship presence again. Congratulations went not only to the drivers but also to the teams and manufacturers. Paul reminded the meeting of the 50 years celebration in 2006. He also reminded members to include the BKIA logo in all their adverts. It was noted that new homologation activity will start during the year for Cadet and TKM chassis for the 2007 season plus new CIK engine homologations for 125cc Formula A/ICA power units. The 2006 BKIA committee will be Russell Anderson, Nick Barrow, Martin Collard, Clive Freke, Richard Jest, Steve McMahon, Grant Munro, George Robinson, Ron Shone, Steve Tillett and Alan Turney. It was agreed to continue to co-opt as required. Alan Turney was re-elected as Chairman. The subject of Formula TKM chassis homologation was addressed. Ideas for rejuvenating the class had been circulated for feedback and further meetings will take place with interested groups. In support of the proposals it was noted that there had originally been 24 or 25 chassis homologated but this now stood at 12 and with only 4 to 5 manufacturers actively supporting the class. In light of the weakening situation it was now necessary to revisit the class requirements and seek fresh ideas.

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Chairman Alan Turney and Administrator Paul Gladstone

The kart shows were discussed and some thought that there was only room for one good show and that this could perhaps alternate between north and south each year. One suggestion was for a BKIA trade display weekend that met with some enthusiasm. There was support for a proposal that a BKIA pavilion at shows might work for some members. Alan Turney reported that he had attended a meeting with the MSA to look at future strategies for karting and that this had included championships. He asked the meeting for ideas for the next few year’s series. The introduction of the new CIK 125cc classes was discussed. There were mixed views as to the 2007 introduction and the majority view seemed to indicate a preference for 2008. Paul Gladstone was asked to include a request to members to indicate their 2007 preference for 100cc or 125cc Formula A in the next BKIA newsletter.

MSA National Court Decision

Court suspended the competition licence of Junior Rotax driver Adam Christodoulou until September 2006. This means Adam will not be permitted to compete in the UK or overseas during this period. However, the court decided not to take any action against three other drivers, Lewis Reeves, Jack Harvey and Jordan Chamberlain. Separately, the court ordered Christodoulou’s father, Peter, to pay £13,000 in costs. These decisions were taken on the third and final day of a hearing that opened in December 2005 In December, the court found that the four drivers had competed at Rowrah on the 5th June 2005 using illegally-modified engines. These had been modified by Peter Christodoulou whose actions resulted in a fine of £30,000. The latest order to pay £13,000 in costs is in addition to this fine.

At the January hearing, the court did not accept Adam Christodoulou’s claim that he did not know that his engine at Rowrah had been illegally modified. However they did accept that Reeves, Harvey and Chamberlain did not know the engines they were using were illegal. In effect, said the court, these drivers had “been fooled”. The court had heard unchallenged evidence from Michael Garton, one of the MSA’s most experienced technical commissioners, who said the modifications made to the engines by Christodoulou had been “very deliberate, very sophisticated and very expensive.” Garton also said that this was “the most serious case of cheating” he had ever witnessed during his many years of investigating ineligibility in karting. In a statement, the court said “We accept that Adam (Christodoulou) has considerable ability and we do not wish to prevent him from participating in the sport for more than one season. We also accept that this matter has been hanging over his head for a considerable amount of time, not due wholly to his own fault.

We are accordingly suspending his licence until 30th September 2006 and we make an order pursuant to rule 161 of the FIA rules to give that suspension international application.” The court also heard that the four drivers, since the meeting at Rowrah, had been “victimised” by a number of clubs. In its statement, the court added: “We have been made aware of the fact that some clubs have already taken matters into their own hands so as, in effect, to mete out what might be regarded as kangaroo justice. We wholly understand why people feel very strongly about this kind of cheating. Indeed, we agree with them. We, however, have heard and tested the actual evidence to the best of our abilities and it is we who have the job of deciding where the truth lies. We have done so and we very much hope that our decision and rulings draw a firm line under this matter. We would be very concerned indeed if further reports of any kind of kangaroo justice were to come to our attention again.”

Circuit News – Buckmore Park

Buckmore Park

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Inside the MTTC

Buckmore Park has unveiled the latest drawings for the proposed Motorsport Training and Technology Centre (MTTC) project that includes a dedicated technology building, 500m circuit extension (incorporating a training loop for students), a pedestrian bridge, a kart shop, a viewing grandstand and a new circuit reception. After lengthy consultation with local colleges, schools and statutory bodies, the centre’s design has evolved into an integrated complex featuring a core technology building that will nestle unobtrusively in the picturesque woodland and will be linked to the existing clubhouse. The new building will feature a large students’ workshop, engineering demonstration area, tutorial rooms, an IT room/library and a virtual workshop. Buckmore boss Bill Sisley said “We have been running pilot schemes with local schools and colleges. Seventy local students aged between 14 and 18 have undertaken structured, accredited vocational training at Buckmore Park using our existing facilities and this training has been a great success and has helped all parties understand the practicalities and effectiveness of motor based training at the circuit. It has also assisted us in determining the most cost effective building design.” The integrated project includes the construction of a two storey glass fronted kart shop as well as a new circuit reception area that will be linked to the MTTC core building.

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Buckmore’s proposed circuit extension and new buildings are in yellow. Existing buildings are in blue

A pedestrian bridge will connect the whole complex to the existing paddock and main car park. Additional car parking spaces will be created as well as a strategically situated viewing grandstand. To cater for student driver training, a 500 metre training loop/circuit extension will be constructed. The loop, when connected to the existing circuit, will create an extended venue which will then meet the criteria for a CIK international track licence, enabling the circuit to apply for international kart events. Sisley says “I am very excited about the whole project and the circuit extension should be sensational especially as Buckmore will effectively have two long straights as well as the existing technical twists and turns.

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Designer’s impression of the new MTTC building that will be linked to the existing clubhouse (left)
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Surbiton opened in 1962 and has been owned by Reg Gange Snr. for the past 20 years

The venue will be ideal for the Formula A and Super ICC classes as we will be able to run the circuit in various configurations. I believe that circuits should flow and co-circuit owner John Surtees and myself, after consultation with the MSA Circuit Inspector John Symes, have designed a circuit that will be exhilarating to drive and not only offer a real challenge to experienced competitors but will also be ideal for novice training. The extension, which features a 20 metre change in elevation, leaves the existing circuit at turn 1 disappearing into woodland with an initial 200 metre uphill section which incorporates a right/left dip leading into a fast 90° steeply banked right hand turn. The circuit then flows into an exhilarating downhill/uphill section followed by a hairpin and a sudden dramatic downhill left hand cambered corner. After a 150 metre level section which kinks right, the circuit plunges downhill into a dramatic S bend complex before rejoining the existing circuit at turn 2 John Surtees believes the next phase of development at Buckmore Park is essential for the future of grass roots motorsport in the UK. “The MTTC project will provide training to cover things like how a basic vehicle works, how to use tools, kart dismantling, assembly and preparation, driving skills and the use of telemetry in relation to both kart and driver.

Not only will we be training Britain’s future Formula One drivers and engineers but we will at the same time be training young technicians for local car dealerships as well as better and safer road drivers. Of course the motorsport world engages many allied trades including media, logistics and catering and we intend to offer youngsters of all backgrounds a whole range of nationally accredited courses. The whole project will raise the profile of British karting and will also create much needed employment. Although we have had assistance from the DTI backed Motorsport Development UK Board in preparing the feasibility study, there are still many hurdles to cross and we need partnerships and funding in order to realise the dream. Britain needs a world class kart circuit, all roads lead from karting and the British motorsport industry is the envy of the world, let’s keep it that way.”

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Surbiton’s Junior Cadet track for 6 to 10 year olds

SURBITON RACEWAY
Surbiton Raceway in Surrey opened in 1962 and has been owned by Reg Gange Snr. for the past twenty years. Over the last ten years the circuit has been developed to cater for all with a variety of day and night events including arrive and drive racing, Ironman and team enduros and sprints. Full floodlighting, 7 days a week use and a licensed clubhouse ensure that the circuit can cater for just about every type of event and level of competitor. The main ‘professional’ circuit is 700m long with a rise of 20ft, and its two straights allow Pro-Kart speeds of up to 68mph. In addition there is a ‘Junior Cadet’ track for those aged six and up to enjoy their karting in a safe environment. Surbiton Raceway is located at Surbiton Town Sports Club, Riverhill Estate, Worcester Park Road, Worcester Park, Surrey KT4 7QB. Telephone 020 8337 5550 or fax: 020 8330 3204 for further details.