Karting in the year 1987: a history

JANUARY 1987

Tal-Ko were preparing to start production of a water-cooled 125cc gearbox motor to join their range of 21 different non-gearbox TKMs. Dario Franchitti won the Global Cup in Juniors at Rye House. We visited Gillard Engineering’s premises in Stansted, Essex. The company were developing a kart for the new 60cc Cadet class, had just produced a slide carb and were contemplating a first try at CIK chassis homologation.

FEBRUARY 1987

We had the story of how an little known South African Wade Nelson had become the CIK 250cc World Champion. Wade had missed the Le Mans opener but then won at Silverstone and the Nurburgring. The problems at the Jacksonville World 135cc Champs lumbered on with the European drivers having their licences suspended for six months. Better news was that a 100cc World Championship would be re-introduced.

MARCH 1987

Martin Hines won the Superkart class on Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56 mile road course having started 32nd. Sri Lanka staged their first Nationals. The new versions of the Rotax 125cc and 250cc gearbox motors were examined. Ferrari Racing unveiled the latest goodies from All-Kart and Parilla. Castrol in association with NatSKA announced their second ‘Create A Kart’ competition.

APRIL 1987

Cadet class karting using the Comer S60 engine was launched in the UK. To avoid spreading drivers too thinly, the RAC would decide which clubs could run the class on a particular weekend. Each track would also use one of two standardised gearings. We published an insight into the French RKD 100cc motor. Bill Spaude presented his views on the Jacksonville World Champs problems and driver suspensions.

MAY 1987

The BBC filmed a display of Cadet karting at Wigan Pier. TV personality Keith Chegwin had a go! The Long Circuit Champs round at Donington had to be cancelled when no track licence could be produced. Work started on a 630m circuit at Birmingham Wheels. Torrential rain forced the cancellation of the Finals at the Clay Pigeon S1 round.Bobby Game notched up a win for the new British EME 100cc motor at Blackbushe.

JUNE 1987

Alex Zanardi, Kali/Komet/V dominated the Le Mans Formula K Euro Champs round. Many of the class’ top drivers were unable to take part due to the troubles at the 1996 World Champs at Jacksonville. Parilla Jubilee conrods were banned in the Britain classes. The FIA rejected appeals by Yvan Muller and Pablo Montoya Molina against their Jacksonville licence suspensions.

JULY 1987

125cc Super National racing was very tense and close at Snetterton as Zip/Rotax and Stratos/Minarelli drivers battled for supremacy. David Coulthard was only 5th at the Kimbolton Super One round but retained the Junior Britain series lead. Jeremy Cotterill won the Benelux Cup at Genk. Kart Components announced a new hydraulic disc brake. Tim Parrott won the Hesketh Trophy at Three Sisters from Richard Dean and Ian Shaw.

AUGUST 1987

Martijn Koene, Tony/Rotax, won the Genk Intercontinental A Euro Champs Northern zone heat from Michael Schumacher, Kali/Parilla. Allesandro Zanardi, Kali/Komet, wrapped up the 135cc Formula K Euro Champs having won all four rounds. A new version of Stratos’ full bodywork was announced. Chris Stoney (125 National) and Andy Martin (210) won the RAC Short Circuit Champs at Dunkeswell.

SEPTEMBER 1987

The Junior World Champs at Laval in France included future stars David Coulthard, Dario Franchitti (the only Brit to make the Final) and Christian Fittipaldi, with the winner being Denmark’s Jan Magnussen. Stratos launched a double 125cc machine for Formula E. 125 drivers entered the 100 National RAC Champs at Clay Pigeon. Neil Hann led after the heats but the final was won by Shaun Nicholson on a Wright/Parilla.

OCTOBER 1987

The Silverstone Kart GP had 337 entries and enjoyed excellent TV coverage. Jamie Spence and Guy Smith won the RAC British Junior Championship titles at Larkhall. Alessandro Zanardi completed a clean sweep of wins in the Formula K 135cc Euro Champs and was our featured ‘European Star’. There were rumours that there would be a new ‘100 Economy’ class in 1988, limited to one make of piston-timed engine.

NOVEMBER 1987

Giampiero Simoni, PCR/PCR, won an extraordinary 135cc World Champs at Jesolo which saw Max Orsini, DAP/DAP, charge through into the lead only to retire to the pits on a signal from his crew! DAP didn’t want him to gain the Super Licence which would have stopped him racing 100cc. Claire Bogan was the first ever British Champion in Comer Cadet. Eric Gassin (Nissag/Rotax) won the Formula E World Champs.

DECEMBER 1987

A feature covered the new 125 Open class for 125cc gearbox engines including the new TKM. The top event in the world for 100cc engines, the ‘Overall Intercontinental Championship’, was held at Fenouillet in France and was won by Vincenzo Sospiri (DAP/DAP). Jeremy Cotterill was an excellent 3rd. David Coulthard’s Junior Britain Super One win at Rye House was lost after a Protest but regained on Appeal.