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Karting in the year 1971: a history

JANUARY 1971

Predictions that the Villiers class was about to fade away were clearly unduly pessimistic. It was thanks to specialist firms such as Upton, which introduced a superb replacement crankshaft at this time, that the elderly motor continued to survive. The British team beat Sweden in a 250cc match held at Jonkoping. Zip introduced a range of three piece wheels consisting of a cast alloy hub and two bolt-on rims. There were entries from 16 countries for the Hong Kong Kart Prix and Mickey Allen won with a Sprint powered by two BMs.

FEBRUARY 1971

In the UK the Suzuki 250s were causing problems for scrutineers as they had to check that one of the six gears had been blanked off to comply with the rule limiting them to five speeds. Apart from continuing with their range of conventional karts, J.J. Blow did pioneering work on a kart for children powered by a Honda industrial engine via reduction gearing. A 12 lap race at Brands Hatch was won by Peter Burgess on a special powered by a Sheene Bultaco.

MARCH 1971

Kart racing in South Africa had been predominately for 100cc but now there was an upsurge in interest in the gearbox classes with class 3 with a maximum of 155cc, class 4 for 201cc and class 5 for 250cc. Campagnolo – the famous manufacturer of high quality and expensive brakes for racing bicycles, introduced a disc brake unit for karts but it never became really established. Apart from the Karting magazine stand, kart trade support for the Racing Car Show was limited to Blow Karts.

APRIL 1971

A long drawn out postal strike in Britain came close to bringing the sport to its knees just as it was getting excellent publicity at shows and in magazines. Adding to the gloom was the suspicion that Flookburgh and Burtonwood circuits were under threat of closure. These rumours were soon to be proved accurate. Although made by DAP, the new T70 100cc engine was branded as a Corsair. Paul Fletcher told us how to prepare Italian rotary valve engines for reliability.

MAY 1971

At the Team Selection at Rye House, Paul Deavin, Roger Mills, Alan Turney and Terry Fullerton, did particularly well. All would go on to very successful kart industry careers. The superb Panther kart was launched but was short-lived. Details of a secret project by Paul Fletcher and John Mills to make a 100cc motor known as the Famrel FMl were released. It had a 48 mm bore and 54 mm stroke. The sprocket and external flywheel were on the right while the intake stub and ignition points were on the left and so clear of the chain.

JUNE 1971

A British Kart Racing Drivers Association run by Cadwell Park supremo, Sydney Taylor, was short lived. A new Deavinsons kart – the ‘Triple A’, had a two-section chassis with stiffness adjustable by clamps. The Motoplat electronic ignition became standard for kart motors and went on to enjoy a monopoly for many years until the firm eventually folded. England beat Scotland at a special race meeting at Boyndie sponsored by Harp Lager.

JULY 1971

There was tremendous uproar at the European Championships at Vevey in Switzerland when noise penalties were imposed for levels over 90dB with the British team drivers suffering more than most. Out of this furore developed the CIK noise rules and the introduction of the classic “Vevey” exhaust box. Germany won the round with the GB boys 9th. An attempt to introduce the 250cc Greeves Griffon engine into karting came to nothing.

AUGUST 1971

The World Cup at Morecambe attracted 12000 spectators and was won for the third time by Graham Liddle.

The Clay Pigeon kart hire business, including five karts and 50% ownership of the track, was advertised as a package for £1500. The European Championships round at Utrecht was won by Goldstein. The weather for the Crystal Palace kart race was absolutely dreadful with many shunts due to aquaplaning.

SEPTEMBER 1971

The ‘King of Karting’ meeting at Thruxton had 238 entries with swords for trophies. The Motus of Keith Moseley caused comment with its mono-coque chassis that also acted as bodywork. The decision on its eligibility was referred to the RAC. During the GB, Sweden, Denmark Junior and Senior teams match at Copenhagen, the Swedes were withdrawn due to safety concerns. The Brits went on to win both events.

Mark Steeds and Owen Jones dominated the Shenington 6 Hours with their Barlotti Monza/Komet K77, winning by 13 laps. The first news on the Komet K89 revealed it to have a belt driven rotary valve situated at the front of the crankcase.

OCTOBER 1971

The entry list for the Cadwell Gearbox Champs included 180 in the Villiers class and 120 in 250cc Internationals. Peter Burgess put up the fastest lap at 77.74 mph. At the RAC 100cc Champs held at Rye House, all the three Champions, Terry Fullerton, John Benton and Stephen May, used Zip karts and Komet motors.

A poor showing by the British team at the European Team Championship round at Copenhagen resulted in 5th place overall with victory going to Germany. After a disastrous round at Vevey, Italy were 8th.

NOVEMBER 1971

There were 120 karts in the rolling start for the 6th annual Karting magazine Snetterton 9 Hours. The 250 International class win and outright victory went to Austin and the Nicholsons on an Aero Bultaco at an average of 71.96 mph. Blows and Clark won the Villiers class at 69.85 mph and those taking part covered a staggering total of 42159 miles or twice around the World! The Isle of Man Kart Week consisted of the Southern 100 race, the Manx Kart Grand Prix race and the Port Soderick Hill Climb, all on closed public roads.

DECEMBER 1971

Francois Goldstein of Belgium, on a Taifun Parilla, won his third consecutive World Championship at Cerrina in Italy. The demon tyres to have at that event were Goodyear Blue Streaks slicks. The British drivers Mickey Allen and Terry Fullerton were 3rd and 4th. The RAC Kart Club Conference featured discussions on noise reduction, raising the capacity limit of the Villiers 9E from 197 cc to 210 cc to increase the number of rebores possible and for the RAC to freeze licence fees for two years. The second kart meeting at the Crystal Palace motor racing track had entries from 100cc and the gearbox classes with Peter Burgess putting up a new 250cc record at 80.97 mph with a Bultaco powered special.