Written By: Dave Bewley
“Never put oﬀ until tomorrow that which you can do the day after tomorrow” (Mark Twain)
I’m pleased that Karting magazine’s staﬀ had ignored this little snippet of advice from the distinguished American author, as my latest copy arrived three days earlier than expected.
Elsewhere, the Twain dictum may be more prevalent. Three years ago Gary Walker and I attended a meeting of the MSA, held ostensibly to discuss proposals aimed at getting more young people into karting. During this meeting, we asked about the MSA’s attitude towards Bambinos. The reply we received was that this decision ought not to be rushed. Bambinos wouldn’t be introduced until 2009 at the earliest and so there was plenty of time to make a considered judgement.
As it happened, the Bambino class wasn’t oﬃcially introduced until 2010. Having beneﬁted from an extra 12 months thinking time, you might expect that the proposals would, indeed, have been carefully considered. What we got bore all the hallmarks of a hastily cobbled together botch-up, as just about everyone with any experience of Bambinos can conﬁrm. It’s caused much frustration amongst parents and led to quite a few bowing out altogether. Scott Parker, who has dedicated countless unpaid hours towards making Bambinos a success must be feeling particularly aggrieved.
The apparent power diﬀerentials between motors have led to many complaints. Sometimes these are exaggerated because, in this age group, there will obviously be considerable diﬀerences in driver ability. One kart can appear to be much quicker down the straight simply because its pilot is carrying more speed out of corners.
Nevertheless, the seeds of suspicion have already been sown. To counteract accusations of unfair practices, Scott has drawn up some proposals which include having sealed motors and carburettors. There would be a ﬁxed range of jets from 56 to 58 and no one could use more than two motors throughout the year.
Scott’s rules seem reasonable, although, as you might expect, not everyone is in complete agreement. I think the whole problem has arisen largely because there is no clear guidance as to what Bambinos should be all about. Some regard it as a full blown racing class with its own national championships even. In that case comprehensive regulations and adequate policing arrangements need to be in place. Others see Bambinos as an enjoyable leisure activity that can also provide training. It doesn’t matter if someone is using outrageously fast equipment because, ultimately, they are cheating themselves. I confess to being inclined towards the latter school of thought. Instead of awarding prizes based on lap-times, I’d hand out, in random order, trophies of equal value to all participants.
Quite a few of last year’s Bambinos are moving into Cadets in 2011 and a couple have actually signed up for Super One. Unless you’re exceptionally talented with lots of spare cash, I think this is a step too far. Those who particularly want to compete in a national series might consider the WTP Little Green Man Championships, for which 36 competitors have already signed up.
Jordan Falding entered the 2009 competition as a raw novice but showed almost immediately that he had lots of potential. He is the only child of Peter and Lisette. Peter was the youngest ever driver to become a world champion in F1 Stock Cars and he repeated this success on three further occasions before retiring in 2009 to concentrate on Jordan’s karting interests.
It was during a stock car meeting at Skegness more than 25 years ago that Peter ﬁrst met Lisette who had come over to Britain with the Dutch team. “We’ve been together ever since and both still follow the stock car scene,” she points out. “Of course, I like watching karting too. I think the last round of the little Green Man Championships was Jordan’s best race. I was disappointed when someone knocked him oﬀ the circuit because, otherwise, I think he could have won. He still ﬁnished with a smile on his face though, and that’s what I always like to see.”
Jordan’s ﬁrst kart was a BRM/WTP before switching to the Zip chassis. His Little Green Man campaign got oﬀ to a solid start last year when he ﬁnished 4th at Fulbeck close behind Cory Stevens, Sam Priest and Alex Stott. Other rounds weren’t quite so promising and he dropped down the points table. Then came that barnstorming performance at PF which gave him his ﬁrst podium ﬁnish in a Little Green Man event. After being knocked out of contention earlier in this race, his determined drive up to 3rd spot showed true championship potential and earned him 6th place in the ﬁnal standings.
“I’ve really enjoyed taking part in these championships and it’s allowed me to experience racing on lots of circuits that we’d probably never have visited otherwise,” Jordan insists. “I had my ﬁrst run out in Super Cadet during the Super 1 round at PF. It’s obviously a lot quicker than WTP and I enjoyed the experience. Apart from karting, I enjoy playing rugby and we travel all over Britain following the stock cars. Andrew Smith seems to be winning most of the races but my favourite driver is Dan Johnson. I like watching F1 on television and Lewis Hamilton always impresses me. My favourite team is Virgin Racing, mainly because it’s based in Sheﬃeld not far from my home.”
This year, Jordan is competing in Minimax and will doubtless be a driver worth watching out for.