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Karting in the year 1991: a history

JANUARY 1991

The RAC conducted track tests of intake and exhaust silencers at the Three Sisters track prior to announcing which makes and models would be compulsory. Corporate racing on ice at Billingham, Durham and Sunderland was introduced by a subsidary of Langbaurgh Kart School.The J-Kart, powered by two 12 volt batteries, was launched at the NEC ‘Drives and Motors’ exhibition. Karting magazine published a report on the illegal mods found in a Comer engine, bought secondhand for the Cadet class.

FEBRUARY 1991

The Swiss firm of R & E Folghera announced their REFO D5 100cc motor with five transfer passages and an awe-inspiring specification. It was a fine example of top quality precision engineering and a peak power of 24.35 bhp at 11,000 rpm was claimed.After a collision at the Le Mans round of the 250cc World championship, a fight broke out and as a result Glencross and Gassin were each fined 1000 Swiss francs with the latter also having 12 months suspension.

MARCH 1991

Karting magazine had a stand at the first Autosports Show held at the NEC. The Sosnovy Bor GP in the USSR was run for teams from Finland, USA and USSR using 250cc karts running on snow and ice using rain tyres. Finland was the winner. Two youthful RACMSA champions, Daniel Wheldon – Cadet, and Ralph Firman – Junior Britain, went on to successful motor racing careers.

APRIL 1991

The WKA Kart Week at Daytona was again a great success with entries measured in thousands for the enduro, dirt track and indoor racing. A compulsory inspection by the RAC of Comer Cadet class motors got under way. Buckmore Park got its long awaited club house and the improvements just keep on coming. The ABkC were proposing that the association be the vehicle for kart clubs to work with the RACMSA to formulate and apply the kart regulations.

MAY 1991

There was uproar as to the security of the attachment to the muffler box when the trade and competitors saw production examples of the hefty Bowden exhaust outlet which the RAC MSA had made compulsory for all the 100cc classes. Subsequently the fitment of the Bowden was suspended and the contract awarded to Titan who had produced a much smaller silencer. Tom Johnson of Tee Jay Racing expanded to a new purpose built unit equipped with a quality dyno.

JUNE 1991

Bill Sisley announced plans to further develop Buckmore Park. At the Valence Euro Champs opener, Alessandro Manetti (Tony/Rotax) won Formula A and Gianluca Beggio (CRG/Rotax) Formula K. RAC kart licence numbers for 1990 were up by 7.2% compared with 1989 but the International grade were down by 25%. A successful innovation for the karts at the Silverstone Easter meeting was the fitting of timing transponders. The CIK announced a new 100cc piston-port class for Juniors – JICA.

JULY 1991

The first round of the CIK 250cc championships provided very close racing for the Formula Es at Assen in Holland. Perry Grondstra, Ninja-Rotax, beat Hines and Buttigieg. In Inter.E, Andy Martin, GB F1 Honda, was the winner after most of the field retired. Close attention was being paid to the definition as to what was legal “pump petrol” and whether special racing petrol, marketed by the major oil companies, was allowed in kart racing. Despite doubts due to the Gulf War, racing was continuing at Little Rissington. Guy Smith, Formula A, swept all before him at the Jesolo round of the European Championships, only to be excluded for being 0.5 kg underweight. Danilo Rossi won Formula K from future F1 Stars Trulli and Fisichella. One year after the inauguration of the Association of British Kart Clubs, it was declared that: “The ABkC is to represent and promote all classes in Kart Racing in the UK, and to liaise between the Kart Clubs and the RAC MSA.” A hint of the future came with Jenson Button winning three heats and the final of the Cadet class at the first round of the Super One Champs.

AUGUST 1991

Nutts Corner in N. Ireland held round 3 of the Short Circuit Gearbox Champs and in 210 Nat. John Brennan, the only Irish contender in the class, took the win. Playscape staged a 24 hour race for twin engined Pro-Karts at Rye House for 34 teams. Winner of the £3000 1st prize was ATB Racing. Scotland’s Nick Fleming won Juniors at the Grand Prix of Denmark with World Junior Champion, Jeremy Dufour, in 2nd position. Magnussen won Int. A. The RAC Long Circuit Champs at Cadwell was won by Simon Cullen in Formula E with an Anderson Rotax. The CIK 100cc Euro Champs round at Mariembourg in Belgium saw Guy Smith come home 2nd to Manetti in Formula A. In Formula K Orsini was the winner followed by Trulli, Magnussen and Verstappen with Fisichella 10th. There was an early start for the Shenington to cope with a entry of 270. The 250cc Euro Formula E Champs round at Croix en Ternois, France was won by Dave Buttigieg.

SEPTEMBER 1991

The fine circuit of Laval in France hosted the Junior World Cup. The winner was Philippe Sebastien on a Sodikart with Dino motor. The best British driver was Michael Simpson in 6th place. At the June Shenington meeting the entries for Senior Britain, Junior Britain and Cadet far exceeded those for the other classes. Dartford Karting introduced the Solo SR45 reed valve motor with a 50 mm bore and 50.5 mm stroke. The Cadet class at the third round of the Super One series at Wombwell was won by Jenson Button. Knockhill in Scotland hosted a round of the 250cc World Championship but received a very poor entry. The winner was Perry Grondstra from the Netherlands on a Ninja Rotax. The team of Penaguin, Benabent, Breteau and Tessier, using a Mach 1/KZH, won the Le Mans 24 hour race. The final round of the European Championships was held at South Garda in Italy with Alessandro Manetti winning the Formula A round and title. In Formula K, Fisichella won the round but the title went to Orsini.

OCTOBER 1991

Simon Cullen won Formula E at the Coca-Cola Kart GP at Silverstone. There was a reduction in the number of foreign drivers due to the event losing its World Championship status. In the Cadet class at the Dunkeswell Super 1 Series, Jenson Button was a second per lap faster than anyone else in practice and went on to take the win. Formula E at the CIK 250cc Championship round at Three Sisters was won by Stephen Coward with Dave Buttigieg holding the overall lead on points. Playscape staged an excellent 24 hour race for Prokarts with dual Honda four-strokes at Le Mans. The 37 teams had drivers from Portugal, France, England, Wales, Scotland and Belgium. The winning 6UP team covered1227 laps.

NOVEMBER 1991

Jarno Trulli took an important step towards becoming a F1 driver when he won the Formula K 100 cc World Championship with his Dunlop equipped Allkart Parilla at Le Mans. Others competing who would also make it to F1 stardom were the rapid Verstappen, Magnussen and Fisichella.Winner of the 100 cc Formula A World title was Alessandro Manetti on a Tony Rotax and Bridgestones.Perry Grondstra and Martin Hines had equal points after the last round of the CIK 250 cc Formula E World Championships so were jointly awarded the title.

DECEMBER 1991

The World 125cc Championships were held at the Parma track in Italy. Pietro Sassi on a Birel Pavesi set the fastest lap in the time trials but victory for the second time went to Piccini, also on a Birel Pavesi. There was very poor attendance by members of the Kart Committee at the RAC MSA Open Day to such an extent that the Kart Committee meeting scheduled to discuss the matters raised at the Open Day had to be cancelled. Anthony Davidson who is now, ten years later, a test driver for the F1 BAR Grand Prix team, was racing in the Cadet class of the RAC SuperOne Series. The last round of the 250 cc European Championships was held at the ultra-quick Osterreichring in Austria. Dave Buttigieg won the event with laps at over 118 mph. The Belgian firm of Kilt launched their range of new 100cc motors designed by J-P Tilkin and Pierre Dumont.