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Focus On : TYRO

The ‘TYRO’ class is designed to give youngsters a crucial step into racing without breaking the (your) bank.

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There’s a relatively new class called TYRO, a low budget class designed to get more kids into karting. The series launched in March 2013 and provides those initial and important ‘first steps’ and helps to encourage the family atmosphere that karting can do so well but can also be lacking from other series. It’s a cost-effective series to compete in, with drivers between the ages of 11 and 15 getting out on track. The series is on a level-playing field, with driver skill being the key point. The class not only provdes a place to race but also a training ground for skills development. The series was founded by Father and son, Steve and Gary Chapman, along with Tim Gillard. Together they have over a century of experience within many different aspects of karting, and run the club championship-style series Rissington Kart Club.

Who better than this trio to get any budding World Champion the best of starts possible? There are nine drivers that compete at Rissington on the first weekend of every month; starting in March over ten race weekends. The MSA-recognized class is growing in numbers and recognition, as they have also been invited to race meetings at Shenington, Fulbeck and the forthcoming National Championship event of NatSKA at Whilton Mill in July. THE KART: The Gillard Junior TYRO is the uniform kart used in the series, with Tim himself being a part of the Motor Sports Association Kart Technical Working Group, having built karts in varying competitions. It conforms to international bodywork specifications, as well as being powered by a 95cc Radne Raket engine, which is a TAG (Touch And Go) unit that only needs to be routinely maintained ‘TYRO’ every 50 hours. It runs on Heidenau RDD intermediate tyres, which allow the kart to predictably slide, giving the driver vital experience of throttle and steering control. The engine and gear ratios are sealed, which prevents premature wear and ensures reliability. This also adds to that cost-effective ethos that is a key part of the concept.

The only adjustments that can be made to the kart is tyre pressures and wheel positions, which gives that emphasis on driver progression, but also helps to get the family involved all round. No further costs or upgrades can be made, as it provides a steady set of rules for all to follow. Drivers get up to two ‘taster’ sessions, costing £127 plus VAT, where equipment is provided. That way, families can get a feel for what’s involved before diving in at the deep end. One of the benefits of TYRO is that drivers don’t need to pay for the ARKS test, medical and MSA Pack that cost up to £250. Costs are further reduced as the awning and race management is provided through Protrain Racing, meaning drivers have less kit to buy and they can all club together in a communal space.

We spoke with Steve Chapman, one of the TYRO founders. Stevey believes that TYRO brings back that family aspect of karting that is missing in a lot of the lower tiers. “We encourage the family to come along and be a part of it, as it really is part and parcel of what karting is meant to be about. It is all about having fun and enjoying the racing and remaining friends throughout. The children may be fighting on track, but they are clearly friends off it. We even had a lovely BBQ last year, which makes it so worthwhile.” he said. Driver Aiden Rudge, who is leading the series, which doesn’t actually have an overall title, explained how much training actually goes on during the weekends: “The new people get taught how to drive, told about the rules, regulations and flags.

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There are always people around who know everything about the kart as well.” Olivia Holt, who also races in the series, summed up her love for the sport, having truly been bitten by the racing bug: “I can’t stop karting, as it is in my blood.” COSTS: The kart itself is £2948 plus VAT to purchase, and also comes with a TYRO membership. A kart trolley costs around £160. Tyres cost around £100 a set. Entry fees for a race weekend, including a test day are £105, but will be reduced by a further £10 per day of testing and racing if a karting club membership is purchased at £60 per year. Budget around £500 for race wear including a helmet. All in all, it would be around £1444 per year of competition per driver, which makes TYRO one of the most appealing series to start off in at around £28 per week. TYRO proves that racing isn’t just about winning. Sure, winning counts for a lot but along the way, many clubs and series may have forgotten that people kart for more than just trophies; they do it to learn new skills, make life-long friends, spend time together as a family and most of all, they do it to have fun!