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Karting in the year 1973: a history

JANUARY 1973

Victory went to Arnoux, Birel Komet K88, at the Trophy of Latin Countries at Estoril when the Italian teams were delayed at the Spanish Customs.The RAC homologation included the Montesa MX250VR, the Bultaco 250cc D5 and the McCulloch MC91B. There was an ugly rumour circulating at the time that 1 million lire would be available to anyone who eliminated Goldstein from the World Championships. Ken Tomsett, of Kaltec fame, seemed to win every race at the Brunei Kart Prix with a Bug Stinger Komet K88. Drivers from the Royal Brunei Motor Club also raced in Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines and Kuching.

FEBRUARY 1973

Normally we try to avoid publishing photos of accidents but made an exception in this issue for an article on how safe is the sport.Under the heading of “The World’s Most Successful 250” we examined in detail the Zip Silverstone with Merlin tuned Montesa of Graham Liddle. “South African Saga” told the story of the highly successful and enjoyable visit by a team from Britain.

MARCH 1973.

Our stand at the Racing Car Show was visited by the cast of the musical ‘Hair’. The British Team had an excellent tour of South Africa. The world’s first purpose-built kart track, at Irwindale California, was re-opened after 10 years of neglect for a Championship by the So-Cal Sprinters Club. An informal race for the founders of the sport was won by Faye “Lady Bug” Pierson.

APRIL 1973

After visiting his family home and workshop six months prior to the World Championships, we correctly predicted in Karting magazine that Terry Fullerton would win the title.After concentrating on four stroke motors, the announcement of the two-stroke Honda CR250M aroused karting interest..The new and potent 100 cc BM FK96 adopted an over-square bore/stroke ratio rather than their more usual long stroke dimensions.All those associated with the Clay Pigeon kart track agreed to the construction of a 300 yard extension.

MAY 1973

Many will have envied Paul Fletcher having a Heenan and Froude DPXO dynamometer neatly installed at his home so that he could run-in and modify engines whenever the mood took him.Terry Fullerton’s Barlotti Monzette Komet K88 was considered by some to be the fastest 100cc machine racing at that time in the UK.A tyre war was now well under way, bringing about a dramatic improvement in performance and a substantial increase in cost.

JUNE 1973

Few could have suspected that the modest East London premises of Tal-Ko, owned by Bernie and Alan Turney, would grow into a superb new factory at Sandy.We got a peek behind the Iron Curtain with some details of racing in Poland on a circuit made up of suburban streets.Our survey of global karting activity at this time calculated that there were a total of 30,053 karters in the World.

JULY 1973

The World Cup at Morecambe was again very popular with an over-subscribed entry list, the winner being Reg Gange. Karting magazine featured the superbly shaped Motus Mk 7. Unlike the earlier versions which had the monocoque made from plywood, the Mk 7 was constructed from GRP.

AUGUST 1973

Britain beat Holland in a team match at Long Newnton.In the 100 cc Shenington 6 Hours the Dutch team of Lavew and Gindt, were the winners while victory in the gearbox event went to Howe and Wooten.After 7 years of existence the final event was held at Flookburgh.The RAC announced that 210 National were now allowed to use transistorised ignition.Zip revealed their intention to produce the ZED 100 cc motor.

SEPTEMBER 1973

Terry Fullerton beat World champion Goldstein at the exciting first round of the Euro Champs at Rye House.With its innovative design and powered by a four stroke engine, the Dale Karts fun kart was in great demand.Deavins were then based in what appeared, from the outside at least, to be a normal house in a quiet residential area at Buckhurst Hill. However, once inside, you soon found that they could only keep up with demand by the workshop spreading form room to roomThe second Coppa dei Campioni at Jesolo was won by Gorini with Fullerton in 2nd place.Future F1 driver, Patrese, was 10th.

OCTOBER 1973

Future F1 World Champion Alain Prost won the World Junior Championship at Oldenzaal in Holland, winning both finals with De Bruyn and Koene also showing great form. Mike Wilson was racing on a very tight budget but, thanks to the great support of his parents, his time would come. The 250 International Isle of Man race was won by David Leslie who continues to have a successful motor racing career. At the BP Gold Cup Leslie won the Villiers ‘C’ final, won the ‘B’ final, was 2nd in the ‘A’ final then came 2nd in the 250s! The Brits enjoyed marvellous hospitality and a win at a team race at Sables d’Orlonne, France.

NOVEMBER 1973

This was a contentious time for kart racing what with allegations of unsportsmanlike behaviour in a GB versus Germany match at Tilbury and a blazing row that marred the RAC Gearbox Championships at Oulton Park.There were also tremendous arguments and protests at the European Championship final at Munich whilst the anti-social behaviour of a few competitors brought the highly successful series of Karting magazine Snetterton 9 Hours races to an end.

DECEMBER 1973

The Nivelles track in Belgium, close to the historic battlefield of Waterloo, was the site of Terry Fullerton’s World Champs victory. His prime opposition was four times World Champion Francois Goldstein who, being a Belgian, had everything stacked in his favour. The performance of future F1 drivers Patrese, Cheever and Prost (a F1 World Champion) almost went unnoticed compared with that of Terry.