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Karting in the year 1983: a history

JANUARY 1983

A feature article went into the background preparations leading to Mike Wilson’s win at the World Champs.The Championship of the Balearics was held at Palma de Mallorca with Senior being won by Steve Fox on a Sirio Parilla.Rye House staged the All-England Championships with Darron Gibbs winning Britain and Mark Tredwell taking the National class honours.The NIKA Road Race Championships final was held at Lisahally on the outskirts of Londonderry, N.Ireland, with class wins for Crossen, Allen, Morton and Elliott.

FEBRUARY 1983

Now a race driver and TV presenter on the ’DRIVEN’ programme, Jason Plato received his RAC Junior Britain trophy from John Watson. The BMS kart, seen at Silverstone, had a 125cc Rotax mounted in front of the driver. The Irish introduced a class with a 350cc reed valve water cooled Yamaha. TKM announced ten new motors. Lars Forsman won the Hong Kong GP with F1’s Modena and Herbert 6th and 7th.

MARCH 1983

There were lots of new motors from DAP such as the T75, T91, T92, T61 and T62 but also a DAP badged 125 cc water cooled parallel twin based on a superb Baroni unit for Formula C. Of particular interest to the technically minded was an article on the Hewland Arrow D type. Of great future significance was the announcement that Rotax were to produce the Rl00 model for the l00 cc classes.

APRIL 1983

The first details of the new IAME motors – the l00 cc Sirio TT45 and Parilla TT31, and the 135cc Komet K30 and K35 were released. The CIK instituted a World 250 cc Champs but the bodywork rules were not clear. Peter Rossel of Denmark won the Middle East Champs at Ahmadi in Kuwait with Roger Mills and Nigel Edwards in close contention. Now, 20 years later, Kuwait is packed with American and British troops ready for a possible war with Iraq. The New Zealand karters made Nigel Smith’s promotional and racing tour a great success.

MAY 1983

Organised by the Sydney KC at Oran Park, Australia, the Kart Prix International was won by Robert Hunter. Alongside the car track is the 833 metre kart circuit built in 1980 with government help following the construction of a freeway on the old site at Granville.Chris King, John Newton, Derek Rodgers and Reg Gange won their classes at the February Cadwell. The meeting came to a premature close due to torrential rain.The Ulster KC proudly announced that the green light had been given for a fine new circuit at Nutts Corner.

JUNE 1983

Mike Wilson celebrated the birth of his son, Alessandro, by winning the first round of the European 135cc Championships at Valence.We attempted to sort out the confusion over which tyres could be used for which classes. Zips cleaned up the majority of categories at Cadwell and Snetterton long circuit events. Team Sisley comprised Piers Hunnisett, Emily Newman and future F1 driver Johnny Herbert.

JULY 1983

The 5th Global Cup at Rye House was won by Gary Prior on a Dart kart with that make also taking the first three places in 100 Britain.Although Terry Fullerton was fastest in the time trials and on pole after the heats, it was Mike Wilson who won the Coppa dei Campioni at Jesolo. The Superkarts at the TV Times sponsored Donington televised event lapped faster than the motorcycles – winners were Reg Gange and Nigel Smith.

AUGUST 1983

A massive crowd saw Richard Dean win the John Player World Cup at Morecambe. Lennart Bohlin won all his heats and the 250 Int. final at the Silverstone GP. Karting magazine carried the first news of the Swiss made 100 cc Jeabor motor equipped with an exhaust power valve. The first round of a new CIK Formula E championship was held in Denmark at the Jyllands Ringen and was won by Martin Hines, who also won the Snetterton and Cadwell rounds of the RAC British Champs. Gary Prior, using a Dart kart, won the RAC 100 National Champs.

SEPTEMBER 1983

The RAC Short Circuit Champs were held at Fulbeck with Colin Olden winning 250 lnt. and Alan Hope 250 Nat. The first photos of the internals of the Austrian Rotax R100 were published. Brian Heerey won both races at the TV Times Challenge for 250 Int. held at Donington. The fastest lap was 95.96 mph, one second faster than the outright motorcycle record. A disappointing entry for the RAC 100 Britain Champs at Dunkeswell was blamed on tyre availability problems.The new Champion was Patrick Walsh on a JETA Arrow.It was good to see racing return to Blackbushe, the track having been closed for a long time.

OCTOBER 1983

World Champion Mike Wilson led after the heats and won the Pre-Final at the Mondercange round of the Euro Champs but had to give best to Sweden ‘s Steven Andskar. An RAC Court of Enquiry to consider a fracas at Tilbury between F1 driver Johnny Herbert and Wayne Homer, resulted in only warnings to the drivers due to lack of evidence and improper procedure. Piers Hunnisett won Junior National and Andy Buchan won 100 International at the RAC Champs at Rissington.

NOVEMBER 1983

How ironic that, at a time when success at the World Kart Champs in the 1980s often led to a career in Formula 1, Mike Wilson’s third victory in a row failed to give him that opportunity. The event was held at Le Mans and Patrick Dias caused great excitement by using Michelin tyres, said to be of radial construction. He came 5th after four Dunlop-shod drivers. Future F1 driver Johnny Herbert was 24th. Sweden’s Forsman won the final round of the European Champs at Liedolsheim, Mike Wilson winning the series.

DECEMBER 1983

The final round of the World 250cc Championships was held at Le Mans and won by Bohlin, while1993 World Champion, Grondstra, won the Pre-Final. Just like the present 2003 F1 rivalry between Michelin and Bridgestone, the French firm’s arrival at the World Champs caused consternation. Wayne Homer won Nat. Super at the Rye House All England champs. Mallory Park staged its first kart meeting on this recently re-opened circuit, World Champion Martin Hines winning 250 Int.