By: George Robinson
Iis cold and it’s wet so we know it must be about time for the International Kart Show. The second year at the new Telford venue was a great advert for the health of the British kart industry. I believe there were almost 70 exhibitors and there had been a lot of effort expended to put on a really good display by all the big movers and shakers in the trade.
It’s good to see intense rivals chatting the breeze both at the show and into the small hours in the bar. Some people’s dedication went far beyond the call of duty and recovery can be long and painful. Once again the show produced a huge variety of chassis built for the Rotax MAX with versions for Minimax, Junior, Senior, Promax and endurance racing.
I know many of the exhibitors achieved sales during the show and others, while not having taken firm orders, have good strong leads to follow up. This new business is very encouraging for the coming season because the majority of new sales will be for racing. These competitors’ used equipment will then go on into the after market at a lower price that helps to attract the newcomer or those on a tight budget.
Used equipment can be very good value and there is now enough of it around to keep the prices keen and the quality up. If you see a secondhand outfit that takes your fancy but you are perhaps unsure of the age or condition of the kart or engine it might be a good idea to contact your local MAX service agent who should be able to age the engine for you and give the whole kart a bit of a health check. As I have said before, the engine identity card does give you a guide to the service history but cannot be used as proof of its current condition.
If the engine has just been rebuilt and not run then the card will prove the date and the agent who sealed it, he should be able to confirm what parts have been fitted and why. If the identity card is not available the owner should find it or apply for a new one before you complete the transaction.
This will give you a degree of feel good factor about the engine’s provenance. From January 1st the carburettor must be in standard form and can only have 8.5 or 12.5 venturis and this is another area to be checked. The idle jet and emulsion tube must also be standard and both marked ’30’. Any carb modifications are strictly forbidden and of course they are one of the easiest things for the scrutineers to look at.
Although I do believe there are some super deals to be had on secondhand kit, it can be a real minefield so please beware that you are not doing the old classic of saving a fiver in order to spend a tenner. Spares and repairs can be expensive so try to buy something that needs little or no work. One major advantage of buying privately over a dealer is the saving on VAT. Then again with the dealer you should have some come back if things go wrong.
There are some new exciting plans for next season. Rotax have encouraged their distributors to run a Rotax Eurochallenge following the success of the Austrian distributors’ Eurofinal over the last two years. The Eurochallenge will be held over four rounds in Italy (5-7th March), Holland (29-30th May), Austria (30th July-1st August) and in Spain at the end of October. The classes will be for Senior and Junior MAX and the RM1.
The Rotax MAX Challenge rules will apply for the Eurochallenge, however an MSA National A licence would be adequate and drivers are responsible for their own expenses at these events. The prize in each class will be an all expenses paid entry into the next World Finals courtesy of Rotax. Closer to home, the new 175 Senior class has had a major boost in that it has been adopted by the Super 2 and will run within their championship meetings during the 2004 season. They have a good selection of venues across the country.
For more details contact Roger Abbey-Taylor at Ratpro (email: ratpro@btinternetcom). This is good news for the slightly better fed among the finely tuned racing drivers in the MAX ranks. Also another challenge for the Gentlemen’s Challenge boys who had such a lot of fun last season.
These guys have really got the right attitude to their racing, they are there to enjoy themselves and have a good race too. Anyone who finds the regular weight limit of 160kg a little hard to reach should seriously consider the Gentlemen’s Challenge or the National series as a whole. This must be the final column for this year so I wish you both a very happy Christmas and a successful New Year whatever class you support.
DADSON’S GENTLEMEN MAX CHALLENGE – Round 8
The last round of the 2003 Dadson’s Gentlemen MAX Challenge took place at Lydd on the 9th November, with 3 drivers up for the championship. It started to rain, which gave all the drivers something to think about. Heat one saw Kevin Gilbert on pole from Graham Fagg, Tony Cowlam and Martin Cull and it was Gilbert away with Cowlam on his bumper.
Fagg dropped back and so did Cull, but the two championship leaders were fighting their way through from the middle and the back and by half distance Melvyn Francis and Nigel Ward were up to 3rd and 4th places. Kevin Otway was up to 5th, but with a coming together with John Holmes he dropped back to 9th. At the flag it was Gilbert the easy winner from Cowlam and Ward. Heat two saw Otway on pole from Gerard to the editor
Sir, I would like to thank the CRG Team for all their help and support over our 2003 championship season. I would also like to extend my thanks to the guys at Maxter who put in many hours behind the scenes. Obviously I can’t thank everybody that lent a hand or gave me some advice during the year but they know who they are. However, there is one influential person whom I can’t
express enough thanks to. I am extremely grateful for the help and support that Terry Fullerton gave me throughout the year, his experience was invaluable and I know that this win would have been impossible without his help and support.
I hope that Terry enjoyed working with me as much as I enjoyed working with him, his knowledge within karting is exceptional and fundamental in my development over the past season. Yours in karting, Wade Cunningham, 2003 World Champion
Dray and it was Otway clean away, controlling the field, with Dray dropping back and Ward flying into 2nd by lap 4. At the rear it was Francis on the move, with Cowlam following, but as they came across Bent, who seemed to be struggling for grip, they touched and spun out, allowing the field to close up. At the flag it was Otway from Ward and John Beckenham.
The final saw polesitter Ward away and with Cowlam sticking to him like glue Gilbert could not slip in. At the second chicane Ward’s engine stopped and Cowlam had nowhere to go but into him and with that Gilbert took the lead, with Cowlam and Francis 2nd and 3rd. Francis made a move for 2nd place but did not quite make it and spun out, leaving the door open for 3rd which Otway took. Gilbert was the victor, with Cowlam 2nd and Otway 3rd. Report Tony Cowlam
Final championship positions: 1 Melvyn Francis 388 points, 2 Nigel Ward 371, 3 Winston Bent 351, 4 Kevin Otway 323, 5 John Beckenham 310, 6 Kevin Gilbert 282.