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Karting in the year 1979: a history

JANUARY 1979

We reported on a day at Tilbury equipped with timing gear, tyre temperature gauge and a durometer to see the effect of various adjustments to a Lynx Sport chassis fitted with a TKM motor. An article covered basic fuel testing for scrutineers. After many months, Neil Hann was finally confirmed as having won both the 100 Britain and 100 National RAC British Champs at Clay Pigeon way back in August.

FEBRUARY 1979

Mickey Allen won the CIK Asian Champs in Hong Kong on a Deavinson/Sirio from Toni Zoserl and Peter De Bruijn. After 10 years of effort, Three Sisters at Wigan finally opened on the site of disused coal mines. Steve Styrin won the opening race. The Breezehill Schools kart powered by a 50cc Yamaha FS1E engine was examined. Reg Dormer and John Fitzpatrick won the Endurance Challenge.

MARCH 1979

Alistair Mathie gave basic preparation hints for 210 National and Doug Staplehurst provided much insider information for anyone interested in Endurance racing. Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was then known, had an 8 round championship held at the two circuits at Bulawayo and Salisbury. Britain had 4666 licence holders compared to 4298 for France and just 1677 for Italy.

APRIL 1979

IAME introduced a new make of 100cc motor, the reed valve Atlas. It appeared to have a BM cylinder head, Sirio barrel and Komet K55 bottom end. A photo feature went into USA kart road racing trends. There were hints for 210 National drivers and Johnny Herbert came 2nd in Junior National at Tilbury. Steve Styrin (Zip/Yamaha) won 250 International at the long circuit season opener at Cadwell Park.

MAY 1979

Articles included How to look after a 100cc motor, an interview with kart and car racer David Leslie, the Sirio ST51 engine, and Continental’s new tyre which weighed only 57% of the previous version. The British Island Airways Junior Cup at Morecambe was filmed by the BBC. John Gravett won 100 International at Tilbury from Ricky Grice, both went on to become successful engine tuners

JUNE 1979

Martin Homewood won 100 International at the opening round of the Little Green Man Champs at Rye House in front of 12,000 spectators. John Fitzpatrick wrote about preparing for Endurance races. There were photos of exotic 125 engines and the Danish Mk 5 250cc kart from Poul Petersen, the rear brake and fuel pump of which moved automatically with any rear end adjustments. Derek Price was profiled.

JULY 1979

The second ever meeting at Three Sisters included a 250 International team match between South Africa and Great Britain won by the hosts. We opened up a Parilla TT23 with other variants of the marque for comparison. Mickey Allen won the Global Cup at Rye House (John Gravett and Ricky Grice were quickest in qualifying) and we featured his Deavinson Sprint and that of World Cup winner Dave Buttigieg.

AUGUST 1979

There were 150 entries for the 125cc and 250cc classes at the World Cup at Morecambe. Dave Buttigieg (Deavinson/Yamaha) won from Reg Gange and Graham Roscoe. Will Hoy won 210s and Tommy Falth the 125s. With three foreign teams in the first four places, Reg Dormer and Thierry Ranchin won the 6 Hours at Rye House for France. Cathy Muller won the Euro Individual Champs at Biesheim.

SEPTEMBER 1979

The Junior Cup at Fano in Italy was won by Tom Glauser, Hutless/Parilla, of Switzerland. The best Brit was Johnny Herbert in 25th. Italy’s Luigina Guerrini, Birel/Parilla, took the Ladies event victory with Nicola Fletcher 7th. We probed the internals of the Komet K80 motor. A record 450 drivers were at the Schools Champs at Rye House. John Sellers won 250 National at the Donington British Long Circuit Champs.

OCTOBER 1979

370 entries for the Kart GP at Silverstone provided thrilling racing with Steve Styrin winning 250 International. Steve Elmore (125N), Brian Heeney (210N) and David Griffiths (250N) won the other classes. A clash in the RAC Junior Nat. British Champs at Felton between Simon Sutton and Johnny Herbert went to Appeal. Mark Bailey (Junior Britain) and Mickey Allen (100 Int.) secured the other titles.

NOVEMBER 1979

The winner of the World Champs at Estoril was Peter Koene (DAP/DAP) with Ayrton Senna a very close 2nd. Harm Schuurman was 3rd. Paul Elmore won the 250 International Commonwealth Cup at Oulton Park. We reported on the latest slide carbs. The RAC British Short Circuit Gearbox Champs at Dunkeswell were won by Mark Allen (125 & 210 Nat), Joe McBride (250 Nat) and Rob Kerkhoven (250 Int).

DECEMBER 1979

There were ninety 250cc entries at a combined car and kart meeting at Jyllands in Denmark, the winner being Lennart Bohlin on a Star/Yamaha. Lars Forsman won the first Japanese Kart GP at Sugo in torrential rain from Mike Wilson and Shigeo Sugiyama. The Green Man Champs over 7 rounds were dominated by Mickey Allen. Paul Jackson was 2nd overall from Martin Homewood 3rd and Doug Spencer 4th.