Formula TKM News

Well let’s kick off this month by just making mention of a new ‘intermediate’ class dreamed up by the MSA – ironically the very people who keep complaining that there are too many kart classes!

All of a rush an announcement has been made of a new class to come in for 2011 bridging the gap between Cadets and the Junior TKM age bracket. OK, but as it stands at the moment there are no technical rules for the class and no plans to run it other than a test class in 2011. Mmmm.

It seems to have got a whole raft of people complaining, yet actually not too many people seeing a need for such a class, especially since the most common complaint is of too many classes. Ah well I am sure the MSA know best…or do they???

Anyway the good news is that if you are in Junior TKM at the moment then that’s exactly where you can stay. The new class will not upset any current drivers.

Moving swiftly on…the introduction of the uprated TAG BT82 engine has encouraged a whole need breed of competitors into the class at both Junior and Senior level which is great. And it has also proved a very competitive engine with plenty of races being won by TAG engines and some lap records as well.

That’s great news for all concerned. But, inevitably and predictably with something electronic, it has also highlighted the need for very careful preparation of your kart to ensure that the wiring is not put under strain.

Now I’ve got to say that while some people are truly immaculate in their preparation of all matters to do with their kart, there are others who don’t quite make the grade. With the good old push and drop direct drive engine, electrically there was virtually nothing to go wrong other than bad fitment of the coil without it’s rubber mounts or the wires connecting to the coil terminals breaking.

But while the TAG engine has the beauty of easy starting, it does also have the downside of needing some good sensible extra housekeeping to keep it running sweet. And by the way you might as well learn now because virtually all kart engines now need the same care.

A great deal of information is included in the TKM Regulations and Tech Guide that comes with every new engine. But sometimes maybe not quite enough care is used and that’s when the problems can set in.

For example, wherever a connecter clips into a component it needs to be fed onto the connection with the wires in a nice unstrained natural position. They should meet at 180 degrees – a straight line – and with no tug on the wires.

The wiring loom that comes with the engine is a standard one used for virtually every KF engine etc.  It allows some spare length on the wire to ensure that everything runs easily and without pulling. Your job is to fit the loom neatly around the chassis rails, absorbing extra spare length if there is any.

As you can see from the photo, the loom must be neatly secured to the chassis with cable ties which should be tight enough to keep the wires in place, but not so tight that they create the potential of a wire being damaged internally.

And I know it should be obvious….but it is essential that the wires can not drop down below the chassis tube where they become in danger of being rubbed on a kerb. Equally they must not chafe against a seat or anything else.

So while fitting the loom you must then also make sure that the connectors run to each terminal in a nice easy straight line with a cable tie providing enough support to keep them in the right place but not so tight that they put strain on the connection point.

One of the most important connections is that onto the CDI box within the battery case, the little black box that is the brain of the ignition system. There are a number of pin connectors inside the block and if these are stretched or left flapping it can in time spoil their efficiency.

You are fully able to carry out any mod you like to help reduce such vibration. This could include putting some tank tape around the connectors to stop them rattling, it could be a blob of clear silicon or whatever. This is perfectly legal and sensible. But let’s stress that in the first place good wire location will get rid of most of the problem.

When it comes to the steering wheel mounted ignition switch system, of course you must allow sufficient wire free so that the wheel can be moved from lock to lock without any strain. But at the same time don’t have so much wire that you catch your feet or something in it when jumping in. Once again nice neat housekeeping please.

One area worth talking about is the battery. The engine comes as standard with a perfectly adequate battery which does the job very nicely. But as with many batteries it is a little on the heavy side.

You are fully able to make use of a special Lithium Polymer battery which is more powerful AND most importantly 2kg lighter. You can see the green battery in the second photo and note how much room it leaves in the battery compartment. In fact so much that you can mount the CDI box inside the battery mount with a rubber bushing to reduce vibration still further.

This battery is of a modern ultra hi-tech formulation which gives greater power to start. You can also buy a simple digital readout meter which can be plugged in to it between events to check your battery level.

It also has a special charger which plugs into the same point. This charges each of the four battery cells in turn. A real pro job – though the battery and charger will set you back about £169 plus VAT.

Finally let’s just clarify, the battery is charged while in use just as it would be in a car. But that doesn’t mean you should go to a race meeting without making sure that the battery is well charged and ready to go. And of course when not in use, disconnect the battery and keep it warm and occasionally charged over the winter.

Sidney Sprocket