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Karting in the year 1984: a history

JANUARY 1984

The cover photo was of junior racer Emily Newman. The Asian-Pacific Championships were held in Perth, Australia. The winner of the International Seniors was Sweden’s Lars Forsman with Mike Wilson second. Stefano Modena, now a Formula 1 jockey was handicapped by delays in clearing his equipment through customs. Current Grand Prix star, Michael Schumacher, was in the Juniors but the class was initially won by Giovanni Bonano who was then excluded for illegal tyres.Secondhand karts with motors were advertised at: 100cc – £250 to £800, 210cc – £275, 250 Nat – £550 to £1495, Int – £2100.

FEBRUARY 1984

Current Formula 1 Williams driver, David Coulthard, won Junior Britain at Rowrah.An important step in providing alternative motors for the 125cc classes was the introduction of the rotary valve and P&R versions of the Minarelli in the U.K. There was growing enthusiasm in the U.S. for dirt track karting at venues such as Ascot in California.With Bahrain due to stage a F1 race in a few months time on their new International track, twenty years ago nearby Dubai held an international kart event that was won by Harm Schuurman.Toleman F1 drivers Derek Warwick and Bruno Giacomelli wore Dartford Karting stickers on their racing suits.

MARCH 1984

The large number of RAC Kart Champions swamped the RAC Prize Presentation, made by Alan Watson, and prompted the decision that was to eventually cut down the number of RAC kart class champions. Among the winners that became successful car racers were McNish, Hunnisett and Luby.Clay Pigeon reported a large entry for 100 Britain. DAP were enjoying a particularly fruitful period of successes, some being scored by F1 drivers Senna and Modena.The Motor Sports Show in London included karts by ART, Phoenix and TKM.This was a very happy and important time for the Burgess family as my son, Mark, now took over from me as editor of Karting magazine.

APRIL 1984

Alan Turney of Tal-Ko revealed that work was well advanced on new TKM 100cc and 135cc motors as well as 125cc and 250cc units with a gearbox.After much pleading, Paul Molloy finally let us watch and take photos of the making of his superb and shapely PMP exhaust expansion boxes.The first ever CIK recognised World Kart Championship to be held outside Europe was round one of the 250cc event held at Zwartkop, South Africa and it was won by Brian Heerey. Martin Bott won Intercontinental A in the CIK All Africa Championship.

MAY 1984

The long circuit season opener at Cadwell suffered as usual from snow and harsh weather conditions. Steve Styrin won the Superkart class. A visit to Kartpro in Stevenage had us impressed by their large stocks and export order book. The multi-part construction of Minilite kart wheels ensured that they would be too expensive to catch on. After the loss of Plymouth Hoe, Plymouth KC relocated to the Riverside Kartway in the Toshiba car park. David Coulthard and Dario Franchitti came 1st and 2nd in Junior Britain at Summerlee.

JUNE 1984

Hewland announced that they were in the process of selling the manufacturing rights of their kart motor. Eventually, the successful bidder was revealed as Tal-Ko. Mallory Park provided evidence of a boom for the 125cc class. A new Gillard kart was launched with a lower centre of gravity than before.  Patron introduced their “Knight” kart. Rowrah had a visit from the RAC’s noise meter team and F1 driver David Coulthard won Junior Britain.

JULY 1984

The first round of the European 135cc Championship took place at Le Mans and was won by Mike Wilson using a Birel Komet. Martin Hines won both races at the TV Times Challenge at Donington. The Global Cup at Rye House was again sponsored by Philishave, the winner being Ricky Grice. Steve Styrin made it three in a row by winning 250 International at Mallory Park. Two new versions of Motoplat ignition were announced, one with automatic advance, the other with a smaller stator.

AUGUST 1984

Mike Wilson was fastest in the time trials at Jesolo but future F3000 driver Giuseppe Bugatti won the final after Mike’s brake pedal failed. Dunlop released hard-to-come-by technical info. For the first time the World Cup was held at other than at its traditional Morecambe venue by going to Donington. The 250 International winner was Brian Heerey.Sospiri beat future F1 driver Modena at the European Championships at Fano in Italy. 500 drivers raced in the Schools enduro champs.

SEPTEMBER 1984

The Three Sisters track attracted135 entries for the RAC Short Circuit Gearbox Champs. Roger Goff won both 125 Nat. and 250 Int. The latest multi-adjustable Deavin Sprint was announced.210 National was won yet again at Cadwell Park by Bill Longden.Watched by a large crowd, the Silverstone Kart GP had spectacular close racing. Martin Hines won 250cc Formula E with a Zip/Rotax.Difficulty in getting Yamaha YZ motors for 250 National led to water-cooling being adopted for 1985 and the KTM K543 applied to be homologated.Reg Gange won the 250cc World Champs round in the wet at the Nurburgring and the Euro Champs title.

OCTOBER 1984

F1 driver Stefano Modena won the European 100cc CIK title while, in 3rd place, Gert Munkholm, would become World Kart Champion five years later.Stratos produced a beautiful new body for long circuit use.Mike Wilson continued his winning ways at the Luxembourg and Dahlem rounds of the Formula K G.P. series. The World Junior Championships sounded like a Formula 1 or F3000 grid with the likes of Schumacher, Hakkinen and Morbidelli, the title going to Andrea Gilardi on a Birel PCR.

NOVEMBER 1984

The steady decline in the entries and countries since the move from 100cc to 135cc continued at the World Champs at Liedolsheim, Germany. Mike Wilson led the final until a piston circlip broke. The winner was Jorn Haase on a Kali. The John Mills kart firm celebrated their Silver Jubilee of trading and, after 45 years, they are still going strong! The new TKM BT82 piston-timed motor was announced which would result in the very popular TKM mono-make classes.

DECEMBER 1984

Lennart Bohlin of Sweden won the CIK 250cc Formula E World Champs after winning the final round at Le Mans on a Zip Rotax. Brian Heerey had won in South Africa, Martin Hines at Silverstone and Reg Gange at the Nurburgring. Richard Dean won 250 Int. at the Snetterton round of the RAC Long Circuit Champs in pouring rain that reduced the finishers to just eight. Rowrah staged a Bank Holiday Mega-Meeting, with Junior Britain being won by David Coulthard.