Last month’s very informative round-up in this magazine on the various Cadet and Junior classes available to younger age drivers could leave the uninitiated with the view that TKM classes only exist at club level. And actually that is far from the reality.
At national championship level, while some MSA classes have actually had to be cancelled through lack of entries, on the Junior TKM front the numbers are actually up this year on last. A healthy sign indeed.
Meanwhile just looking around at Shenington a few weeks ago there seemed to be so many TKM karts racing that it was one grid after another and some great racing too! Lots of them there testing ready for the next S1 round.
Shenington has always been a staunch supporter of the TKM classes over the past 20 years and that support has also been matched by local kart manufacturer Jade, whose Mark Allen has nurtured many a race winner at top level.
That club enthusiasm for the TKM class has this year produced a sub-class of the Senior TKM Extremes with a set of regulations that specifically helps those who are wanting to race on a very tight budget and it seems to be working.
Their TKM Clubman class is aimed at making racing as low cost as possible, yet still retaining the essence of highly competitive close racing. The special regs allow only TKM-type karts with no torsion bars, 30mm rear axle, fixed rear sprocket and no data logging or rev counters.
For tyres they use the normal latest type Maxxis tyres but they are second-hand ones given by Super One racers and available at just £30 a set from the club.
Throw in with that a special deal on Saturday afternoon testing and you end up with a budget for racing at £100 for the weekend all in, including entry fee, testing and the rest. The second-hand tyres last at least two events and what a contrast that is to some classes where new tyres barely last a day!
Now of course not everyone wants to be restricted on things like set-up and they enjoy the complexity of studying data logging and trying to find those extra fractions of a second.
But in these tough financial times it is a very practical way of helping keeping people racing who might otherwise not be able to. The Clubman class has a healthy grid, and one that is growing with novices joining month by month.
And interestingly if you compare lap times then the front of the Clubman grid is only a few tenths off the absolute cream of national drivers running full spec karts.
So hats off to Shenny for following through a good idea and maybe a good point for other clubs around the country to ponder as they start to think about 2012 events.
At which point I hear you cry “next year!” as if it was a mile off. Well, of course it is still more than six months away, but in reality the time for any changes to the rules is now, so that means if any of you out there have bright ideas or think existing regulations need some review then now is the time to do it. TKM have their special drivers email address – ideas@TKMdriversclub.com.
Next let’s move a few miles across from Shenington to Kimbolton – soon to be the scene of this year’s Maxxis TKM Festival. Those of you with some years in the sport will know this always was the home of the Festival and only moved away due to a planning complication.
Those returning to the circuit for the first time since the last TKM Festival will find some significant changes. Aside from the paddock layout, the real changes are out there on the circuit itself.
First and foremost the whole track has been resurfaced at a very considerable cost, and in doing so the club and contractors have done a very good job at getting rid of a few lumps and bumps on the track. A nice smooth surface will hopefully avoid the rib injuries that occurred at last year’s event at Whilton Mill.
But on top of that the club have also smoothed out the radius of its bus stops and tidied up some kerbs so the whole track flows better now which should doubly make for the superbly close racing Kim and the Festival have always enjoyed.
It is an event not to be missed with full details on how to enter on the event ad in this month’s Karting Mag.
And talking of Maxxis, a quick reminder on how to get the best from them. The latest Maxxis green label tyres give an incredible combination of performance allied to long life. While brand new tyres will be a shade quicker, the drop off on used tyres is quite remarkably low.
And you can make their life even longer and more consistent by following one rule: when you put on a new set of slicks then do it during testing when you can just do two or three gentle laps before coming in and letting them cool off.
That bedding in and acclimatisation run will maximise their life by preventing the initial wear which can be caused if they are instantly given maximum stress.