Karting in the year 1976: a history

JANUARY 1976

The sport was in a furore over whether the introduction of a 250cc twin cylinder motor, the Suzuki, was detrimental to safety. Eventually the RAC decided to introduce inlet restrictors to limit performance. We ran an article on how to set up a Tillotson carb and gave details of the Rowena accelerator pump conversion for any Tillotson with a nozzle check valve. The ‘Wheels Galore’ feature tackled the enormous variety of materials, designs and dimensions in the kart wheels and rims available.

FEBRUARY 1976

A first lap pile-up at the 9th Hong Kong International Karting Prix put paid to Terry Fullerton’s chances, the winner being the Australian Howard Heath. We brought news of the Austrian KTM and Mexican Carabella 125cc and 250cc motors. An article reviewed Alan Lane’s progress as a driver, the family firm of Lane Racing situated in Wimbledon and the Taifun kart. After comparing the prices for kart components with Europe, we predicted that the U.K. VAT rate would soon go up from 8%.

MARCH 1976

Germany’s Annette Lutz won the World Ladies Champs. John Gillett Sports Cars introduced their new Lynx gearbox kart. Nigel Mansell won 100 National at Shenington after a run of success in 210 National. Paul Carr was 2nd. We brought the story of how Kelvin Hesketh converted to a twin cylinder 250cc Yamaha for modest expenditure. The Rovelli fuel testing equipment used at the 1975 World Champs was illustrated. The British and French licence statistics were compared.

APRIL 1976

A telegram caused concern at the RAC Kart Trade Conference when it announced that the price of most Italian motors had just been increased by 15%. British exhibitors had a successful Giessen Show in Germany with Aubrey Upton unveiling his new 125cc and Bill Sisley displaying the latest Kestrel kart. A very complicated looking 250cc motor turned out to be a marriage of two Sachs 125s with a single rotary valve fed by two carburettors.

MAY 1976

Yamaha-powered Martin Hines won the Cadwell Park season opener and set a new lap record. We reported on the latest Sirio Star kart, 100cc engines and tyres. Blow Karts revealed their latest chassis, the 100cc Olympian and an updated Mistral model for the gearbox classes. The top feature was the unveiling of the new Arrow 100cc motor from motor racing gearbox specialists Hewland Engineering with its distinctive built-in primary drive reduction gearbox.

JUNE 1976

There was an in-depth feature on Bruno Grana and IAME. UK statistics showed that 11% of competitors were Juniors, 46% Senior 100cc and 43% in the gearbox classes. We reported on Zip Kart’s supermarket-style unit and the Hermetite sponsored Zip Team. The British 250cc team maintained their unbeaten record with a victory over Sweden, Denmark and Norway at the Jyllands Ringen circuit in Denmark. Paul Fletcher was selling dustbin-shaped concrete kerbs for the insides of corners.

JULY 1976

There was a bitter dispute over the organisation of the South Africa v GB match at Cadwell. The CIK introduced Formula Europe with tight restrictions. Motors and chassis had to be homologated. We had a look at Mikuni carbs and Krober ignition at Baldwin’s premises. The Germans built a six-wheel kart similar to the F1 Tyrrell. Offers were invited for Nigel Mansell’s 210 kart.

AUGUST 1976

Dave Buttigieg won the  John Player World Cup at Morecambe on a Barlotti/Suzuki outfit in front of 25,000 spectators. Buttigieg had come through from the ‘C’ Final. The Brits, including JAG’s John Gravett, beat the French team at Clay Pigeon. At Jesolo the Italian team included de Angelis, Fabi and de Cesaris who all went on to Formula 1. We got our hands on the new Tillotson HL310A carb.

SEPTEMBER 1976

Andrea de Cesaris won the World Junior Champs at Wohlen in Switzerland while Paola Marchetti lifted the Ladies title. We reviewed the 98cc Carrell 75S motor from Japan. Dormer, Fitzpatrick and Ronchin won the Mulhouse 24 Hours. Paul and Harland won the Le Mans 500kms. A steam propelled kart was built at a college in Kingston upon Thames with the cooperation of the National Coal Board!

OCTOBER 1976

The 100cc British Champs were held at Clay Pigeon amid much wrangling and protest but the class wins went to Doug Spencer, Ken Knox, Steve Davis and Mickey Allen. The 210cc and 250cc British Champs took place at Knockhill which at the time was bankrupt. Ray Metcalf won 210 National while Rob Kerkhoven was victorious in 250 International.

NOVEMBER 1976

The World Champs were held at Hagen, Germany with victory at first going to Sweden’s Leif Larsson with a Sirio/Sirio. However, after an appeal the title went to Felice Rovelli, BM/BM, of Italy. Alain Prost took part in the 16th Brignoles 24 Hours but crashed out at 9pm. The British team of Malcolm Paul and Roger Moth were 2nd. Dave Buttigieg, Barlotti/Suzuki, won the first ever 250cc European Champs at a soaking wet Oulton Park.

DECEMBER 1976

Mickey Allen won the Little Green Man round at Felton. The RAC Championships at Shenington were won by Mark Crabtree (Junior Britain) and Steve Elmore (125 National). McCulloch, whose units powered most karts produced between 1956 and 1958, stopped making kart motors. Despite a terrific charge through the field by Terry Fullerton, Mike Wilson won the Champion of Champions meeting at Rye House.