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Written By: Grahame Butterworth
Well at the time of writing there are all sorts of things floating in the air about the MSA’s proposed new Super Cadet class and the effects it will have on other Junior classes like TKM.
Since there now seems to be a buddying up by the MSA with the German authorities and joint agreement on class rules etc it all seems the more… well odd. And it has not won many friends in the UK.
But the most important point for those in and looking to join TKM juniors is the effect of the new class on entry age into Junior TKM. Various meetings have been taking place and my ear to the ground hope – and I stress hope – is that at least for next year there will be no change.
Personally I think a lot more is going to come out in the wash about all this over the next few months. So be forewarned – staying quiet will do no good. We must all make suitable loud noises to ensure a sensible resolution to the situation. Maybe we should picket the MSA Kart committee meeting on August 10 discussing the issues – but maybe that would be politically incorrect of me to suggest!
One thing that has been decided and implemented is a tweak to the weight/restrictor size regs for both Juniors and Seniors in the TKM 2-stroke classes. In both cases a tweak taking effect from July 1 under rule B.3.2 which allows for adjustments to take place to correct any unfair advantage
In Juniors 3kg has been added to the lightest 120kg black restrictor group and in the Seniors, 2kg have been added to the lighter end sector running with a blue restrictor now at 146kg.
In both cases what has been noted here is a small but important advantage for those two groups over the other weights/restrictors. It is an advantage that has become more apparent once the weather has got hotter and partly relates to tyre performance.
The important thing here is that the classes want to ensure that larger drivers are not at the general disadvantage they have been for so many years in karting.
The weight change will not make a massive difference but it will just take away that very slight extra edge of speed on the exit from a corner.
The decision to make these changes was taken after considerable studying of data, track tests and dyno tests. The other categories remain unchanged and certainly from the racing I have been watching lately they are so well matched in terms of speed that it has been a good overall job.
One side effect of the Junior research situation is that it has thrown up sheafs of figures on weight of karts, drivers, restrictor sizes etc. And the interesting fact from the last S1 round at Shenington was that the largest amount of lead any driver was carrying in Juniors was just 4kg.
The significance of that is that Junior TKM can prove that it has substantially reduced the weight of karts for smaller drivers and in doing so reduced the argument that the karts are unsafe for younger/smaller drivers. Let’s hope the MSA agree!
With the warmer weather it is interesting to look at the new age green label Maxxis slicks and see just what a good job they are doing. Despite the rubber hardness sure reading being similar to the older tyres, they give better grip and get to their optimum working temperature faster.
It is very clear from looking at the tyres after use that they are really gripping the track and working rather than sliding and graining which could happen with the previous era. The net result is more grip and longer life, the perfect result.
The squarer modern looking shape of the latest tyres gives less movement in the sidewalls and in particular at the front has increased the effective grip patch area on the track. That helps to get the kart into a corner all the more crisply, while the rears now also give better braking.
As a result of the success of these new tyres one planned change for the TKM 4-stroke seniors next year is a switch to these Green label new age tyres. It will provide very similar performance but with longer life and at a saving of about £19 per set after VAT. Can’t be bad.
Although it may seem like the year has only just started, it is the time when regulation amendments have to be drawn up for the next season. Having had a major upgrade of regs for this year, all of which have gone down well with competitors, the indications are that for next year there will be virtually no changes.
There is no doubt that the changes made have boosted the classes, and numbers – especially in the Juniors – are significantly up on last year. Long may it be.
One expected addition for the TKM 4-strokes is the likely availability of a TAG version of the engine, hopefully due to go on sale at the beginning of next year.
Now let’s end with a thought…how would you as a parent like to see your budding F1 driver offspring do a season’s S1 championship with a kart and engine available on a pure rental basis and with a special deal on all the other associated costs?
A chance to do the S1 series in a special category in which all karts are provided on a rental basis and every engine prepped by Tal-Ko and brought to the events to be given out on a random draw basis.
It’s an idea currently being considered by S1 and Tal-Ko as a way of making it easier for youngsters to ease their way into top level karting. It would also be a guaranteed way of keeping the racing clear of any cheque-book advantages.
It is by no means a certainty but it will be if enough people are interested. So…if it appeals to you then get in touch by emailing the special TKM address – firstname.lastname@example.org