51 years ago I first set eyes upon a Zip-kart. It turned up at a Rowrah race meeting in the hands of Jim Benoit. Back then the kart was designed and marketed by Alec Booms. Martin Hines and his father Mark were Zip agents, although I have a feeling that this particular one had been purchased from Motor Karts in Staffordshire. Some months afterwards Alec sold out to the Hines family and Marts Karts suddenly became simply Zipkart. Ever since, Zip has enjoyed a prominent place in UK kart sales. Over the last 25 years cadet racing, in particular, has been dominated by Zip. Until recently it usually accounted for 90% of the entry in IAME or Comer Cadet Classes at any given meeting.
A seismic shift has now taken place, largely due to Gary Bya’s Synergy kart which first appeared 12 months ago. During a club meeting at PFI in February I counted 20 Synergies amongst an IAME entry of 52. Zips still remained the most popular chassis, preferred by 25 contenders but their superiority has undoubtedly been challenged. Gary’s son Owen has now moved up to Mini-max and set the fastest lap time in an exciting final at PF. I suspect that Owen’s sterling performance might not have been the only reason why his father’s trademark grin was even wider than usual. People visiting their very first kart meeting are invariably taken aback by the skills on display from cadets. They’d be equally surprised at the way many of these young stars perform in post race interviews. At an age when most of us were nervously stumbling over our lines in the Christmas Play at school, today’s young karters seem at ease when confronted by a microphone or television camera. They can graphically describe race, how their tyres performed and what alterations were made to chassis set-up. At the end there’s usually a long list of acknowledgements to sponsors, mechanics, friends, parents, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.
Sometimes, the performance Dexter Patterson – ‘He did it all hi’sen’ can seem too polished. Dexter Patterson is a little different and Mike Mills claims that interviewing him is always a refreshing experience. We were treated to an example of Dexter’s quick-fire wit at last year’s LGM Awards Night. “Who’d you like to thank for your successful season?” Mike enquired. “Naebody!” responded the young scot. “Ah did it all mahse’en!”