Karting in the year 1994: a history

JANUARY 1994

Stefan Hodgetts won the Cadet ‘O’ Plate event at the Birmingham Wheels event. Nicolas Kiesa, who has now made it into F1, won ICA at Copenhagen. In excess of 250 entries raced at the Three Sisters track with more than 100 being for the gearbox classes. Paul Fletcher asked for support from karters in his planning application for a new kart track at Calder near Wakefield. Eventually he succeeded with the splendid P.F. International venue near Newark.

FEBRUARY 1994

The spectacular indoor kart races at Bercy, Paris attracted most of the top F1 drivers including Prost and Senna.The Yamaha FK-9 powered by an 82cc two-stroke was demonstrated at Buckmore Park. This ultra-quiet entry level kart with radical bodywork, a clutch and battery start had similar performance to Honda powered Pro-Karts.During the World Championships at Laval in France, an event for historic karts was held to mark the 30th anniversary of the CIK.

MARCH 1994

Colin Brown was the winner of an invitational Cadet race at the Autosport show at the NEC, Birmingham.The large number of entries for the Super One Series was such that pre-qualifying was necessary for all but two classes. The WKA attracted a staggering 725 entries at Daytona for enduro races on the famous banked oval and a similar number for the Briggs & Stratton dirt track events at the Municipal Stadium.The combination of the driving ability of Jenson Button and the race preparation skill of John, his father, resulted in a whole raft of prestige titles and directly led to Jenson’s current career in Formula 1.

APRIL 1994

The CIK chassis homologation resulted in the creation of some of the most sophisticated and attractive karts ever produced.The second Salon du Karting was held in a vast marquee near Paris with the Fullerton kart chassis on display at the Digital Racing stand. Briggs & Stratton, the American industrial engine giant, had always had a modest involvement with 4-stroke kart racing, but the recent creation of a Motorsports Division indicated their intention to raise their profile and to develop beyond industrial motors into racing products.

MAY 1994

A new 24 Hour indoor World Record of 882.61 miles was set at the old Clapham Bus Garage. There were 200 entries for a packed Trofeo Margutti held at Parma including future F1 drivers Giorgio Pantano, Jenson Button and winner of Formula A – Giancarlo Fisichella. The Whisper karts using 125cc water-cooled motors raced at Rye House, the winner being Peter Budd. At the Irish Karting Club’s event at Mondello Park the Cadet, Pro-Kart and Junior classes used a shorter circuit by means of the Rallycross gap.

JUNE 1994

The first round of the Euro Champs for Formula and Super A was held at Valence, with uproar at the noise penalties, until the CIK President intervened. Future F1 drivers, Trulli and Fisichella,  were 1st and 2nd in Super A. New UK tracks or tracks with major changes  included Blackbushe, Buckmore Park, Forest Edge, P.F. International, Spalding Raceway and Warden Law. A Wombwell meeting was a special tribute to the late Brian Wilson, father of Mike, the multiple World Champion. The Cheshire Schools event at the Three Sisters track attracted over 160 entries.

JULY 1994

As I was writing in 1994 the notes that make up the 40-30-20-10 article, the tragic loss of Ayrton Senna at Imola dominated everyone’s thoughts. Ten years later the mood of radio and TV news programmes is totally different due to the exciting racing at the Monaco GP thanks to the efforts of former karters with Jarno Trulli just beating Jenson Button by a handful of seconds.Birel introduced a battery powered kart and motor with cogged belt drive to answer complaints as to noise and exhaust gas pollution from petrol-fuelled two and four stroke power units.Shenington attracted an entry of 250.

AUGUST 1994

Renault F1 star Jarno Trulli took a 2nd place and a win in the two Formula Super A races at the Mariembourg round of the Euro Champs. Daniele Parrilla, son of Ital Sistem’s Achille, put up some brilliant performances against formidable opposition. The RACMSA commenced the setting-up of formal training for karting via the Association of Kart Racing Schools (ARKS). At the CIK Juniors races at Braga in Portugal, the Cadet class was won by Lukas Luhr, CRG, and Juniors by Philip Cloostermans, Birel. Both used Parilla engines.

SEPTEMBER 1994

The Five Continents Cup, better known in the past as the World Junior Kart Championship, was held at Ugento in Italy. As always the competition was very fierce as success in it can be a passport all the way to Formula 1.Because the superb Monaco kart had a carbon fibre chassis with kevlar and glassfibre body it could not take part in CIK events which ban exotic materials. Two girls, Fanny Duchateau and Sophie Kumpen, put up a splendid performance in Formula A in the Belgium Championships held at Mariembourg. Jarno Trulli (FSA) and Davide Forè (FA) were crowned European Champions at Berghem.

OCTOBER 1994

Buckmore Park hosted a most successful Renault Superprix. Those selected for the final interview to choose who should get the £20,000 Scholarship prize were Tommy Field, Darren Rayfield, Matthew Davies and Jamie Hunter. The Birmingham Wheels venue was near to bursting, with over 30 schools and 170 drivers present for the NatSKA Sprint Championships. Privateer Narcis Callens won the Intercontinental A European Championship at Gothenburg, Sweden. The first event to carry the title British 100cc Kart GP was held at Three Sisters, with Nick Jest winning Formula A .

NOVEMBER 1994

The Falklands war created no problems for the Brits at the World Champs at Cordoba in Argentina. In the Formula A final Sarrazin slid off when he had a clear lead so Barindelli got the title. In 100cc Formula Super A, Alessandro Manetti became World Champion.Permanent Planning Permission was granted for Blackbushe after many hassles. The CIK 125cc World Championships were held at Bydgoszez in Poland. Jarno Trulli won the title on a Tony Pavesi. The Whisper class championship was held at Rowrah and was won by Colin Peacock.

DECEMBER 1994

An increasing number of front runners were now using sophisticated and expensive data logging systems at practice sessions to extract the last drop of performance.CIK homologation for 1995/96/97 was for 100cc motors in groups for rotary valve, reed valve and piston port. Carbs and ignition systems went through a similar process as did 125cc motors and 125cc SUDAM motors for South America. Appalling weather with torrential rain forced the abandonment of the last round of the UK Cup at Pembrey. Dunkeswell staged round 6 of the Super 4 Series and in the 250 Nat. final there were equal numbers using slicks as wets resulting in many spins, the eventual winner, James Woollhead, included.