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Karting in the year 1998: a history

JANUARY 1998

We tested the Rotax FR125 MAX engine prior to it becoming an official class. Our man raved about its combination of low noise, high speed and reliability. Also tested in this issue were the latest Biz Pro-Kart, PVP’s Formula E and the Ecomoto 250cc 4-Stroke. Mike Spencer and Paul Di Resta won the JICA and Cadet ‘O’ Plates at Rye House. They would both go on to have success in motor racing.

FEBRUARY 1998

Alex Zanardi and Max Orsini were the stars at the annual Bercy indoor extravaganza. Newly homologated 100cc and 125cc engines and Cadet and TKM chassis were on display at the International Kart Show at Trentham Gardens. We carried details of the DAP, Kilt and Parilla water-cooled engines that would now be permitted in Formula 100C. Super Prokart using a Honda 620cc 4-stroke got RAC approval.

MARCH 1998

We carried an in-depth feature on Italian giant Birel. Another six manufacturers registered liquid-cooled engines for use in Formula 100C. The Kart 2000 exhibition at Offenbach had many of the latest engines on show. Warden Law’s application to the Sports Council for funding was approved. We interviewed former Lotus F1 team manager Peter Collins about his partnership with Tim Gillard and Peter de Bruijn.

APRIL 1998

Jenson Button modelled the latest racewear for us at GPR’s premises in West London. The Super 1 awards were held at Williams F1’s factory with Juan Pablo Montoya handing out some of the trophies. HRH Prince Hamaud El Saud of Oman helped open Rowrah’s new circuit. We tested the new Biz Thunderkart powered by a sealed 390cc Honda 4-stroke. CRG showed us their impressive factory.

MAY 1998

Stefano Fabi won Juniors at the Margutti Trophy from Marco Ardigo. Kimi Raikkonen was 4th in Formula A. Qualifiers were held at Clay Pigeon, Three Sisters and Lydd to find the fortunate drivers who would progress to the main S1 series. CRG were the team of the moment and dominated at the North American Champs at Las Vegas with Danilo Rossi (Super A) and Patrick Long (Formula A).

JUNE 1998

‘Benjamini’ and Riko Fürtbauer (Formula A) and Gianluca Beggio and Davide Fore (Super A) won the opening rounds of the European Championships at South Garda. Future F1 stars Fernando Alonso (FA) and Kimi Raikkonen (FSA) made the podiums at South Garda while Lewis Hamilton, his kart in McLaren colours, won JICA at rounds of both the Super One and Stars of Tomorrow series.

JULY 1998

We track tested a Mari chassis powered by two reed-valve 125cc Ital Sistem motors. F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella had described it as “The closest thing to Formula One”. Regulations were released for the new Formula Rotax class using the FR125 MAX engine. After the Legend pace car mowed down an official, all but six drivers boycotted the second Super A Final at the Val d’Argenton Euro Champs.

AUGUST 1998

Formula Super A drivers refused to race at the Imola round of the European Champs on a track laid out on the F1 circuit citing safety concerns. Only 11 of 73 Formula As raced in the finals with Luke Hines and Fabio Simonini taking the wins. We tested the Zytek electric kart. Atrocious conditions led to the abandonment of the Formula A final at the Suzuka World Cup that was being led by Adam Jones.

SEPTEMBER 1998

César Campaniço won both Formula A Finals at the Mariembourg Euro Champs round. Alessandro Manetti and Giuseppe Palmieri took the Super A wins. We tested Biz’s two seater kart, primarily designed for training purposes. Franck Perera and Alvaro Parente came out on top at the Junior Euro Champs at Braga. Gianluca Beggio retained his Formula C Euro crown while Valerio Sapere won ICC.

OCTOBER 1998

Julien Poncelet, CRG/CRG, won the ICA Euro Champs at Valence using front brakes.Tom Ferrier and Adam Carroll impressed of the Brits but were out of luck. After some 19 years at Silverstone and one ill-fated visit to Brands Hatch, the Kart GP moved to Pembrey. Barker, Cullen, Rickards, Long, Hurst, Allen and Wilkinson were victorious. We track tested a Stratos/SGM 125 Gearbox at Shenington.

NOVEMBER 1998

Davide Fore (Super A) and Ruben Carrapataso (Formula A) won the World Champs titles at Ugento in Italy, both on Tony/Vortex/B equipment. None of the six Brits made the top 10 despite them all being winners or champions on the UK scene. Graham Barker (National 125), Peter Budd (125 Open), Don Kennedy (250 National) and Alan Bott (250 International) won the ABkC ‘O’ Plates at Three Sisters.

DECEMBER 1998

Robert Kubica (JICA), Sauro Cesetti (Formula A) and Andras Bakos (ICC) won at Monaco. Lewis Hamilton won JICA at the final Champions of Future round but lost out on the title by two points to Fraser Sheader. Adrian Estasy (Jnr Yamaha) and Adam King (Cadet) were the other two champions. King, Kirkpatrick, Litchfield, Conway, Catt, Daltrey, Ferrier and Jenkinson won the Super One championships.