Karting in the year 1980: a history

JANUARY 1980

Haydock Park Motorcycles marketed the Honda CR125 in air and water-cooled forms with six speed gearbox. The Lane Aerospace kart with two bearing 30mm rear axle sold well abroad, with a large consignment going to Japan. Inter-club race meetings were in vogue, with British Kart Club beating Guernsey and Scotland in Guernsey, and the London and Borders clubs travelling to East Anglia to take on Beccles.

FEBRUARY 1980

Lars Forsman (Birel/Parilla) won the Hong Kong GP from Mickey Allen and Alan Lane. The UK won the team event with Mike Wilson and Allen. Tal-Ko showed off their new TKM L90TT 100cc rotary-valve engine. We were shown the Motoplat ignition test bench in action at Montala Motors. Sisley Karting introduced a 2-bearing version of the Cobra kart used by Johnny Herbert to win the RAC Junior Champs.

MARCH 1980

Features in this issue included the WKA Enduro Grand Nationals from Daytona Speedway in the USA and Deavin’s Double, a Sprint kart equipped with two Honda 125cc motors. At this time two future top F1 drivers were competing in their first kart races – Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Mika Hakkinen. Frentzen, age 13, made his debut at Niederkruchten in Germany while Hakkinen first raced at the age of 12 at Kemora, Finland.

APRIL 1980

An article went into the inner workings of the new reed valve Parilla TT25 and Komet K55TT motors. There was an acrimonious debate at Cadwell concerning the eligibility of the double engined 250cc Deavin. The centre photo-spread by Denis Callingham captured the excitement of Jesolo. There was a feature on exotic machinery in the USA. A kart school opened up outside Fletcher’s Bakery with tuition by Nigel Edwards.

MAY 1980

From this time on, drivers were no longer required to wear a helmet and racing suit in their National colours at CIK championships. The CIK homologation of chassis frames was introduced. Future F1 driver, Johnny Herbert, won the Rye House Winter Series. Karting magazine covered experiments on changes in hardness with temperature on tyres, the Honda CR250, and the Ferrari kart..

JUNE 1980

The Three Sisters round of the “AP & RR” had Johnny Herbert on pole in Junior Nat. but the win went to Paul South.The Mini-Monaco event in Dubai was sponsored by Marlboro and Goodyear and staged in the car park of the Grand Metropolitan hotel with the track passing through the archway of the main entrance. Zip karts won all three classes. With his two sons having just started kart racing, Champion ex-boxer Henry Cooper was at the Easter Rye House event.A very successful IKF kart race with 178 entries was staged in the car park for the liner, ‘The Queen Mary’ at Long Beach, California, as a prelude to the car grand prix.

JULY 1980

The Global Cup at Rye House was won by Martin Smart. Johnny Herbert came 2nd in the Junior class to Nigel Mitchell. The first supplies of the Rotax 250cc parallel in-line twin in air-cooled form started to arrive from Austria. In the USA, 400cc Yamaha twins were allowed to race alongside the 250cc versions. Dave Buttigieg broke the outright long circuit at Shenington with a time of 46.51 secs.After the 3rd round of the the AP Championships at Rowrah, Mickey Allen on a Sprint Sirio led class 100 International. Forty schools were represented atthe NatSKA Enduros at Hemswell

AUGUST 1980

Sweden’s Lennart Bohlin won his 4th World Cup at Morecambe with a Star Kart 250cc Yamaha. Terry Fullerton on a Fullerton kart won the Champions Cup at Jesolo. Ayrton Senna came second – both used DAP motors. The RAC Champs round at Cadwell had 262 entries with Zips winning every class except 210 Nat. Despite appalling weather and problems with the Steward, the England team won the CIK European Championship at Fulda.

SEPTEMBER 1980

Bernd Schneider, using a Birel Parilla, won the World Juniors at Le Creusot with Ivan Capelli finishing in 4th place and Johnny Herbert 18th. Goodyear tyres were discovered with fake RAC code marks and there were other eligibility problems concerning the Hewland Arrow motor and the Yamaha YZ25OF. Construction of the new track at Temple Manor at Stroud in Kent got underway but after just one event the venue was closed by the local authority.

OCTOBER 1980

A tremendous entry that included 123 drivers in the Villiers class, provided superb racing at the third Silverstone Kart GP. The class winners were Deal, Carter, Newton and Hines. The IKF Road Racing Nationals at Seattle suffered a reduced entry following a volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens. Cathy Hartman added yet another championship to her tally. Zoserl on a Birel Parilla won the European Individual Champs at Liedolsheim, AlanLane was 2nd.At the RAC Champs at Rowrah there were Appeals lodged over tyre marking in 100 National and engine eligibility in 100 Britain.

NOVEMBER 1980

The World Championships returned to Nivelles in Belgium, the scene of Terry Fullerton’s victory in 1973. This time it was Modena, Fullerton, Ayrton Senna and De Bruyn that provided the exciting racing with the last three named each winning a final. The championship was won by De Bruyn on a Hutless Parilla by the smallest of margins.Using a 250cc Star Yamaha, Lennart Bohlin won the Euro Champs at Jyllands Ringen in Denmark.The 20th 24 Hour race at Brignoles in France had 38 teams entered. The winners were Aigon, Berenguer and Chantreuil on a Tecno Parilla having covered 2700 laps, that is some 1155 miles, at an average speed of 47.89 mph.

DECEMBER 1980

The announcement of the new 100cc Dino motor with its horizontal cylinder, similar to the Saetta V11 of 20 years previously, and distinctive radial finning parallel to the bore, caused quite a stir.Mike Wilson, Birel Parilla, won the CIK Asian Championship in Hong Kong. Many of the design features of the new rotary valved 100cc Yamaha K100 AX appeared to resemble those of rival makes. Mark Allen won 125 National with a Dale Maico and 210 National with a Dale Villiers at the South West champs at Dunkeswell. Paul Elmore took the 250 Int. short circuit champs with a Hermetite Zip Yamaha.