The third annual staging of the London Kart Show at Sandown Park saw this event, now firmly established on the karting calendar, as strong and as vibrant as ever. New innovations such as opening the event on Friday for a spot of late night shopping and new names on the Karting magazine Forum billboard provided plenty of interest for in excess of 4,000 visitors who came through the doors over the weekend of the 9-11th December. Some established names were exhibiting at the show for the first time although, as with the International Kart Show at Donington Park a couple of weeks before, representation from the mighty Italian marques was thin on the ground. While Friday opening was not as well subscribed as the organisers would have liked, some traders still reported good takings on that first afternoon and most were happy to try out the concept. The 2006 London Kart Show will revert to a two-day event, taking place on the 9/10th December, although the show will say goodbye to the Sandown Park Exhibition Centre for a new home at ExCel London in the London Docklands. “We have had three excellent years at Sandown which is a super venue but we have simply outgrown the available exhibition hall” said organiser Philip Bunn. “ExCel offers us the space and facilities to promote the whole spectrum of British motorsport which is why the new London Motorsport Show will run in parallel.”
Indeed the integration of karting into ‘mainstream’ motorsport and highlighting the paths open to karters into other formulae has always been a major theme of the London Show and this year’s show was no exception with exhibitors such as Kingston University who offer automotive engineering courses and Andrew Crighton from Advent Motorsport offering advice on progressing in motorsport for budding drivers and engineers alike. Crighton was one of the ‘performers’ in the Karting magazine Master Classes over the weekend, continuing his theme of progressing from karts to cars. Also giving Master Classes were George Robinson on getting the best from the MAX engine, Alan Turney and Grahame Butterworth on the TKM classes, Steve Chapman of Protrain on advanced driving techniques and, in keeping with the latest trends, Dave Underhill gave a talk on the UKC Clubman TaG classes. Another new name to the Master Classes was the 100 PR outfit of the irrepressible Adam Jones and his partner Tracy who have combined their marketing and journalistic experience to help drivers and businesses promote themselves. In the informal setting of the Horsewalk Bar Roger Sheffield of Formula 6 also encouraged us into owner driver racing as well as hosting the presentation of the F6 trophies for 2005 while Steve Tillett gave a talk on seat fitting. Back on his stand Steve was on hand to promote the latest version of the P1 rib protector, tested at last year’s World Championships that utilises Kevlar, more usually seen in bullet-proof vests, instead of the usual glass fibre as its lining material. The company is also retailing a sticker kit for their chainguards that now include a pair of quick release latches.
The MAX-engined Vespa featured on page 64 of this magazine was promptly put on show on the JAG Engineering stand when the owner, Ian Osborne, popped in to say hello. The UK Rotax importer are currently working with the MSA to draw up regulations for the RM-1 classes as a number of manufacturers gear up to produce chassis for the chainless, two-speed engines. The MSA and the British Kart Industry Association shared a stand at the show and provided helpful advice on all manner of subjects. Membership of the BKIA has doubled since Paul Gladstone took over three years ago despite a fall in the number of UK manufacturers producing homologated equipment who are obliged to be members. Motorsport World have had a very busy year with a quarter of a million pounds currently being spent on revamping the Rye House clubhouse and paddock area as well as improving access to the circuit that will host the Cadet ‘O’ Plate and the London Cup over the August bank holiday. From the manufacturing side a new Junior/Senior MAX chassis graced the stand alongside a racing Pro-Kart frame. Interest was also strong in MSW’s range of corporate karts. As expected Dartford Karting presented an immaculate stand that this year saw a visit from the directors of the Italian component manufacturer Wild Kart who are currently homologating two chassis with the CIK and a range of brakes. A whole new company was launched at the show and they had pulled out all the stops in a very tight time scale. Maranello Kart UK headed by Steve Green is the new UK distributor for Maranello chassis and merchandise and, although Green himself may not be known to many in karting circles, the TVR car dealer has brought in Fraser Sheader as Technical Manager and announced that Jason Parrott will be their works driver.
The new company were hard at work all weekend talking to show visitors and explaining their fresh approach which includes free test days for purchasers of the new RS7 chassis and inviting club drivers to watch the team at work at their nearest Super 1 round. It was all smiles on the APS-Subarukart stand with the news that the MSA had given approval for the Subaru Robin 170cc EX17 and 210cc EX21 4-stroke engines to run in the Pro-Kart classes. Cadets will use one EX17, Juniors two EX17s and Seniors two EX21s. The engines come sealed and with log books and can only be sealed by SRT of Leicester and APS of Cheadle. Comparisons suggest that the Subarus’ good low-end torque will make them quicker than Honda engined machines on tight, twisty circuits with similar performance on longer circuits. Two new Noram clutches were also on display on their stand, both with swappable sprockets, the Cheetah and the GEL Ultimate which is an improved version of the GE model .
Russell Dell on the RPM Motorsport stand was eager to show us the new paddle gearshift he has developed for the 125 Europa class and which has been well received by the drivers. The hand operated clutch has been moved to the top of the steering wheel as it is only required for starts, and now you pull on the lever on one side of the wheel to change up the six gears and pull on the lever on the other side of the wheel to downchange. Saxon Motorsport as at Donington were promoting the Biland Super Series with its amazing cash prizes, how does £1,000 per round for 1st place grab you? Perhaps wary of the effect that the lure of such sums may have, Saxon have arranged for SportDevices to bring along one of their rolling road test beds to each round to make sure everyone is playing by the rules. Chrono-Sport and the irrepressible Ludovic Foezon were displaying the simplified and updated Alfano Pro-Plus lap timer system that will eventually replace the Pro. They even had one model working under water! Bayford Meadows and RK Components shared a stand to promote the new TaG class that will run in the Kent circuit’s summer club series. Bayford are optimistic they can run the TaGs as a stand alone class especially as their Rotax enduro series has been so well subscribed, even for a winter series.
Club 100 have teamed up with Vtec Engineering to design and build a new fleet of chassis this year for their popular 2-stroke arrive and drive series which will now also include a Super Heavy category for those weighing in at 90kg and over. Also featured on their stand was an example of the new Easykart track tested in this issue. KKC Kart Components obtained the agency for the inexpensive Tyre Tongs tyre mounter/dismounter at the International Kart Show that we showed you last month. Sharing KKC’s usual Aladdin’s cave of a stand were Sue Hart and her team from the Club 125 owner driver endurance series, CV Racing and their constantly variable transmission and Paul Machek of Sniper who was keen to point out that the last three Formula A World Champions and all the major manufacturers use their laser chassis alignment systems The David Charles Group were once again rushed off their feet with sales of Gatellie and Alpinestars racewear and brought news that Alpinestars will have a new karting glove out early this year. ARC Motorsport are an outfit going from strength to strength and, along with the karts, they were promoting the Magura range of brakes, including the new 908.1 for the ‘06 CIK homologation, aided by Roland Forster from Magura and Trevor Howell from Venhill Engineering. In a survey conducted by Venhill at the show, a large majority of drivers using a wide range of other brands had complained how ‘insecure’ they felt with the reliability and effectiveness of their braking system.
The Magura will be fitted to ARC’s TKM and Cadet chassis before going onto the whole range. ARC will also be launching a new ICC frame around the time you read these words with a corporate kart and a Pro-Kart to come later this year. Conquest Technologies, the UK importers for the KnK range of karts from India, were on hand to promote the chassis which they say are as good as anything from a European maker. As well as highlighting the benefits of their race team packages, Conquest were also gauging public reaction to a range of arrive and drive event ideas with one concept allowing drivers to compete on Pro-Karts before moving on to a range of other classes such a Rotax MAX as their skills develop. The Kart Shop at Buckmore Park were one outfit happy with their takings on the Friday of the show and, aided by the crew from Grand Prix Racewear, they had plenty of special deals on Sparco and Arai racewear. While the venue may be changing you can be fairly sure that the variety and innovation on offer from the London Kart Show will continue for many years to come.