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KF Junior Scrapped

This season’s revamped MSA British KF Junior Championship was axed after a lack of entries, Super One co-ordinator John Hoyle confirmed.

In order to cut running costs, the KF Junior class had been set to use a pooled system of Vortex engines supplied by British Rotax champion team Strawberry Racing. The engine is commonly used in the KF category throughout Europe. The Comer Cadet class was also scrapped, with drivers and teams favouring the burgeoning MSA British IAME Cadet Championship. Ahead of the opening Super One MSA round at Shenington though, Hoyle said KF Junior entry numbers were only in single figures.

“There were only seven or eight entries,” Hoyle said. “But there are only five Brits competing in the class on the WSK calendar. I don’t think it’s the financial climate that is a main factor, the KF engine has just not worked. The CIK-FIA and manufacturers have tried to copy the Rotax formula but similar budgets are being spent now in Rotax. At the World KF Championship round at PFi last year, there were only 25 entries in the supporting KF Junior International Super Cup. That’s from around the world. The CIK has to learn from its mistakes and has to get the new KF engine right when it is released in 2016. We won’t replace KF Junior with another class on the weekend timetable.”

Hoyle said the MSA British Senior Championship, the KZ1 class, has received positive reaction in its second year of running this season.

“With drivers such as Scott Allen and Dennis Gorman moving into KZ1 this year, I’m happy with the gearbox class. The MSA series has never had massive entry numbers. Even the Formula A class many years ago only attracted 15 to 20 drivers when the economy was good.”

New KF Engines

The second test of prototype engines which will potentially replace the KF specification in 2016 have been tested at Lonato in Italy.

At the first test the engines from IAME, Vortex, TM and HHC, had both electric starters and direct drive. However the power needed to both start the engine and move the kart at the same time was putting too much strain on batteries and starter motors. This also caused weight issues.

At the second test the engines were much simpler, without any sort of clutch or starter motor. But with a decompression valve to make push starting much easier – the rear wheels don’t need to be lifted up. The engines do still have power valves and some have countershafts and internal water pumps.

Tom Joyner, the reigning World KF champion, and one of the drivers participating in the test, is not convinced.

“It wasn’t too bad, but I don’t think it’s the solution,” he said. “It was nice to see 1000RPM more as we could have a much larger sprocket and therefore more bottom end.

“But I think the Dellorto carb would be the worst idea as it would make it even more expensive as you require one person just to set up carb as it’s not adjustable. Plus that would kill off a lot of competition from Ibea, Tillotson etc.

“Something like Sudam or a new concept without a valve would be most appealing. I think we need a new concept where you have so much engine power that it comes more down to driver skill and chassis to put the power to the ground for KF. I think the KFJ is very good as it as but the jump from Junior to Senior is too small at the moment.”

Follow To Take Year Out

Scottish racer Kyle Fowlie says he will return to the sport stronger after taking the decision to take a break away from karting competition.

The 18-year-old was outstanding in his first year of Senior Rotax racing with the Strawberry Racing squad, finishing third in the Super One standings. He also finished second in EuroMax, losing out to champion Charlie Eastwood by only four points.

Fowlie said he needed a brake from the sport: “I didn’t want to turn 19 years old without any money. I live 30 miles north of Aberdeen so I’ve got sick of the travelling. Last year was great in Seniors and I wanted to move up to European DD2 with Strawberry but they could only offer me a drive in Seniors again.

“I’ll take another look next season and it would be good to switch to DD2. It’s an exciting class.”