Karting in the year 1968: a history

Early-JANUARY 1968

Cover photo: R. Simmons, Barlotti Villiers. England beat Scotland in team racing at Rye House. It was announced that a 250cc class would be introduced on an experimental basis for the coming year. The devaluation of sterling raised engine prices.

Mid-JANUARY 1968

Cover photo: Buzz Ware. We featured Pepper & Haywood who had taken over manufacture of the Fastakart. The controversy continued as to whether the Merlin RV conversion should be allowed in the Villiers class with conflicting opinions as to the cost of a complete motor.

Early-FEBRUARY 1968

Cover photo: R. Warren, Fastakart Villiers. Our ‘About the Kart Traders’ article featured Aubrey Upton, famous for his Villiers tuning business and who later went on to build his own 100cc and 125cc motors. We covered the 5 speed Bultaco engines.

Mid-FEBRUARY 1968

Cover photo: S.Cass, Zip Parilla. The Petry SFK motor from Germany was reviewed. There was a review of the Griffus special with its multi-tubular frame and 4 wheel independant suspension. Piero Cavaciuti, formerly with BM, announced his 125cc PCR model 18 using Parilla parts.

Early-MARCH 1968

Cover photo: Ray Blows and his Zip Villiers. An important ex-airfield track at this time, getting large entries, was Flookburgh near Grange-over-Sands. BM introduced a 120cc rotary valve motor linked by chain to a separate gearbox for the 125cc class.

Mid-MARCH 1968

Cover photo: Glen Beer. There was bad weather at the Dunkeswell Endurance races after being postponed on the original date due to a Foot-and-Mouth epidemic. Winners were 210 – Hunt, 100cc – Webb, IV Super – Hampshire and Conduit. There was an article on tube-bending.

Early-APRIL 1968

Cover photo: H. Scarisbrick at Morecambe. We visited Ray Blows of Flowrite, the very successful Villiers tuner. A report from Natal had photos of a 250cc kart equipped with suspension. Dale launched their new Sabre model and Montala Motors moved to Dartford.

Mid-APRIL 1968

Cover photo: Brian Magee at Morecambe. As result of a selection meeting at Rye House, Allen, Ferris, Fletcher and Vandervell were chosen as the British 4 man team. Rupp in the USA announced new Dart karts with 6 in. wheels, three ear knock-off spinners and low profile tyres.

Early-MAY 1968

Cover photo: Tom MacLaren. The motor from a Bridgestone motorcycle was used by Hesketh at the British class IV team selection. Five of those chosen used Bultacos plus one each on a Suzuki and a Montesa. We track tested the Zip Californian.

Mid-MAY 1968

Cover photo: Britain versus Sweden at Flookburgh. The German round of the Euro Champs was dominated by Pernigotti and Sala, the England team coming 6th and Scotland 9th. Three drivers used karts by Ronnie Peterson who, 10 years later, would be killed in the F1 Italian GP.

Early-JUNE 1968

Cover photo: A race start for IV Super at Morecambe. Dale’s new Sabre kart for class 1 had a steering reduction unit by chain and sprockets. The 16 year old Tony Brise, who seven years later would become a Formula 1 driver, won at Blackbushe.

Mid-JUNE 1968

Cover photo: World Cup victory for Graham Liddle, Zip-Bultaco. At the first round of the World champs held at Vevey in Switzerland, Paul Fletcher was the second quickest in qualifying on his Bitsa-Komet. The winner was G.Pernigotti and best Brit. was Mickey Allen in 4th spot.

Early-JULY 1968

Cover photo: Roger Mills Invader-Saetta at Flookburgh. Despite strikes in Paris the 6 Hours race took place and was dominated by the Goldstein team with GB’s Lawrence squad 2nd. Nigel Mansell was in the British Junior team that raced against the Dutch at Dover.

Mid-JULY 1968

Cover photo: Steve Styrin in class IV at Gainsborough. McCulloch announced three new models, the 49C, 91A and 101. Morecambe put on some spectacular racing for an ABC Television programme. Two 3 hour races, for 100cc and for Villiers-powered machines, were staged at Fulbeck.

Early-AUGUST 1968

Cover photo: Appalling weather for the Finland versus Sweden team match. Mike Fullerton and D.Kemp won the 6 Hours at Shenington on a Voodoo Komet. Italy’s Pernigotti won the second round of the World Champs at Jesolo near Venice.

Mid-AUGUST 1968

Cover photo: Isle of Man GP. Nigel Mansell came 3rd in the World Junior Cup at the Pista Rossa, Milan, on a Dale after winning the first final. His elderly Parilla engine was protested because he was thought to be too quick but all was legal! The winner was A.Paccito, Tecno BM.

Early-SEPTEMBER 1968

Cover: Stephen South becoming RAC Outright Champion at Shenington. The other class winners were Allen, Fullerton, Cooper and Morrell. Three of them had won their class for at least three years running.

Mid-SEPTEMBER 1968

Pernigotti won the Kristianstad Euro Champs round when Allen was found to be 450g underweight. Keke Rosberg was 13th. Wakefield, Turner and McIndow won the Brignoles 24 hours.

Early-OCTOBER 1968

Sweden’s Thomas Nilsson clinched the World Championship by winning the British round. The event was due to be held at Blackbushe but the club pulled out at the last minute and Doug Jest ran it successfully at Rye House.

Mid-OCTOBER 1968

Merlin, Jacobs, Morey and Palmer, using a Piranha/Merlin RV, beat 119 other teams at the Karting magazine Snetterton 9 Hours. Sheppherd, Barlow and Mortara won Villiers.

Early-NOVEMBER 1968

A British 250cc team beat Sweden at Kalmar. Using a Villiers Starmaker powered kart, Brian Smith set British 250cc records: Standing 1/4 mile 64.897mph, Flying 1/4 mile 101.977mph, Standing kilometre 82.58mph.

Mid-NOVEMBER 1968

The team of Cook and Clayton won the Shenington 6 hours on a Dale Villiers. Germany won the Euro team champs with victory at the final round at Villacoubray in France.

Early-DECEMBER 1968

Ferris and Pudney won the Caen 6 Hours on a Barlotti/BM. The second place team had the winner’s tank checked to see that it wasn’t over 5 litres which it wasn’t.

Mid-DECEMBER 1968

There were over 240 entries at Silverstone with the new 250cc class not yet quicker than the 200cc Supers. The Champion of Champions race at the Hong Kong Kart Grand Prix was won by Mickey Allen on a Zip/BM x 2.