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Karting in the year 1970: a history

Early-JANUARY 1970

The winner of our Special Kart of the Year – the Ardmore T69, was on the cover. Mickey Allen (Deavinson/Parillas) won the Hong Kong Karting Prix.

Mid-JANUARY 1979

A noise level meter became a RAC mandatory item of track equipment. A neat twin carb manifold for the Bultaco was produced by Ken Norton.D.Groves raced a Delkart with a Suzuki motor mounted in front of the driver in the Snetterton 9 Hours.

Early-FEBRUARY 1970

GB team manager Paul Fletcher reported that the hotel, travel, fuel and tyres costs for a typical International event could cost a team driver £50. Ken Hyder’s superb Endurol Special was powered by a water-cooled Vega.

Mid-FEBRUARY 1970

Mike Goodwin was on the cover. The Zip Concorde with BM FC was track tested. Important tuning data on the Villiers Starmaker was contained in an anonymous article.

Early-MARCH 1970

To mark Karting magazine’s 10th anniversary, this issue had a gold cover with a photo of a spectacular first corner incident that had occurred at the 1968 World Kart Championships at Rye House. We published an article on tuning the Villiers 9E that, at the insistence of the author, had to be anonymous to avoid him spending all of his time on the phone answering technical questions. The strain on many of our top organisers from dealing with rude and aggressive competitors was beginning to exert a toll on their health and it was proving difficult to find voluntary marshals and officials.

APRIL 1970

Our coverage of one-off karts built by readers proved to all be gearbox class machines. Two of them were equipped with neat four wheel independent suspension. There were many complaints about the new RAC regulation requiring a box-stock TR8 silencer to be added to the end of the exhaust system. An optimistic reader from Leicester thought that his group of forty Civil Servants, each paying £2, should be able to buy and race a team of karts out of the fund.

MAY 1970

During a period in which the most successful kart tyres were made in the USA, both Avon and Dunlop announced they were ceasing production of their racing versions. Since then Avon have on several occassions flirted with the idea of making a come-back. Dunlop went on to import tyres from a Japanese offshoot and later were themselves taken over by the Japanese Sumitomo company.

JUNE 1970

The new British Sprite K250 motor with four speed gearbox, was not a success. Controversy raged over the use of a twin plug head for the Bultaco motor. Kelvin Hesketh, Victor Bultaco, won the 250cc enduro at Blyton and the Colin Holmes Memorial meeting at Morecambe.

JULY 1970

11,000 spectators watched the closely fought World Cup at Morecambe. The winner was Kelvin Hesketh on a Victor-Bultaco. At the first round of the European Championship at Vevey, The Swiss and British teams were 1st and 2nd. Novice karter P.Marlow won the Villiers class at Cadwell. The Bristol-Gazelle kart club announced their new circuit at Long Newnton. Driving a Deavin Sprint Komet, Mickey Allen and Bobby Day won the Paris 6 Hours.

AUGUST 1970

The first team to retire at the Shenington 6 Hours was that of Nigel Mansell and John Cook with a big end bearing failure. The winners were Allen and Ermelli using a Sprint Komet.

A Karting magazine survey of the strength of the UK classes recorded Juniors as 10% of the total, 100 National – 13%, 100 International – 12%, Villiers – 48%, 200cc+250cc – 16%. The British 100cc Starr motor was said to be going into production but nothing more was heard of it in karting circles. At the Kalmar Britain v Sweden match, the hosts won the Seniors and the Brits the Juniors.

SEPTEMBER 1970

Dave Parrott of the Oxford Kart Racing Centre, developed the 250cc Sprite motor with a four speed gearbox for kart use. Based on the Swedish Husqvarna, it promised to be a very rugged unit. A team from Malta flew to Cyprus and raced at the Akrotiri and Episkopi tracks. The new track at Longridge had 150 entries and 8000 spectators at its first event. A 15 mile race was held for 250s at Silverstone on the GP circuit during the interval at the Tourist Trophy race. The winner was Chris Merlin on a Zip Merlin.

Round two of the European Champs was held at Ljubljana in Yugoslavia. The GB team were 7th. The next round was in Rome at the superb Pista d’Oro track with the Brits finishing in 5th place.

OCTOBER 1970

A change in RAC championship format resulted in Little Rissington running an event for just the 100cc classes, the gearbox division having its own meeting. The class winners all used different motors – BM in Juniors, Parilla in National, and Komet in International.

On the Cadwell full circuit John Bacon, with a 250cc Ossa, set the fastest lap of the day at 1min 41secs, easily beating the unlimited capacity motorcycle record of 1min 42.9sec. Derrick Brunt, after winning both heats, was on pole for the 250cc final but broke down giving the win to Tony Brise. 170 entries crammed into the paddock for theBlackpool & Fylde KC event at the new Longridge Quarry circuit. The third Isle of Man Kart week was held on closed public roads. It included an 880 yard hill climb at Port Soderick, one section having a 1 in 6 gradient, and street races at Bilown and Douglas.

NOVEMBER 1970

P.Carter and M.Beaumont took overall victory in the Karting magazine 9 Hours race at Snetterton with their Zip Bultaco. They averaged a record breaking 71.06 mph for 236 laps while K.Blincow and P.Clarke won the Villiers class using a Sprint kart, having covered just one lap less than the previous best irrespective of class. The CIK Junior Cup, the equivalent of the world title but for youngsters, was won by Alan Lane at Copenhagen, Denmark. The highly successful RAC short circuit gearbox championships at Morecambe resulted in class wins for Cooper, Goodwin and Liddle.

DECEMBER 1970

Although future F1 driver Keke Rosberg was on pole for the first of the two finals at the World Championships at Thiverval, France, it was Francois Goldstein of Belgium who won using a Robardie Parilla. British driver Dave Ferris, Barlotti Parilla, was a close 2nd and Gorini, Zip BM, 3rd so British karts did well. The competitive Brazilian drivers used well presented enduro-style Mini Karts made in Sao Paulo.

Tim Brise won 250 Int. at the Crystal Palace race meeting which was part of a London Karting Weekend and culminated with the Karting magazine ‘World of Karting Gala’.