Tag Archives: karting rules regulations

Historic Kart: RetroRacer rule changes bring Formula A into line with F100 series

Recent rule changes by Historic Kart race series promoters RetroRacer’s have brought their flagship Formula A class into line with the similar F100 Spirit of the 90’s series.

In future competitors in the RetroRacer formula A series will be able to use either the current Mojo D2 / Vega W5 rubber or with immediate effect Komet K1H and  Komet K1w tyres.

Further to this the weight limit of the RetroRacer pre 95 class will fall into line with F100 at 148kg. The weight of the 2 series pre-2000 classes already being the same.

A spokesman for RetroRacer said “We want to give everybody the chance to compete whenever and wherever suits them. It seemed a no brainer to make it easier to cross between the two series which had very similar regulations anyway. It would be great for F100 competitors to experience the atmosphere of an all historic kart meeting such as we organise and we felt that it was necessary to facilitate this.

Now competitors can cross between the two series without even having to do as much as move a block of lead.”

The remaining Dates for RetroRacer 2015 are:

  • Hooton Park May 2nd 3rd
  • Global cup Glan y Gors June 6th 7th
  • Llandow July 25th 26th
  • Red Lodge August 22nd 23rd
  • Rowrah September 19th 20th
  • Tattershall October24th 25th

A Rough Guide to the Judicial System

For many drivers, a trip through the judicial section of the Blue Book is a magical mystery tour, similar only to the workings of the human mind, or how the Birdie Song ever got to number 1. However there will be times when you’ll need a bit of knowledge, either when you’re on the receiving end of a penalty or when you wish to put your view on the driving standards of another. That’s where this rough guide comes in, although it should be said that nothing compensates for your own quick look through the relevant sections. The first time most of us find out something is wrong is during post race compliance checks. That normally kicks off with the scrutineers’ non-compliance form, which the entrant (for the under 18s) and the driver will fill in as well as the scrute and the clerk of the course. The bit the entrant fills in has a section where he or she either agrees or doesn’t that the component or kart does not comply with the regs. In most instances, drivers will fill in the ‘agree’ section, but if you are adamant the kart is OK then fill in the ‘do not agree’ bit if you plan to go to Eligibility Appeal (more on them later). At this stage it won’t make a huge difference as the eligibility scrutineer is a judge of fact who cannot exclude you, they will merely report the facts to the Clerk of the Course whose job it is to get it in the neck from competitors. The next step is for the Clerk to ask why the kart failed the eligibility checks. He or she is looking for your ‘get out of jail free’ card or some mitigation why exclusion is not an appropriate penalty. The regs now state that, upon receiving a certificate of noncompliance, the Clerk must exclude unless there are serious, mitigating circumstances. Take, for instance, a case of a TKM inlet trumpet missing as a result of the sidepod being savaged by another driver, the presence of said driver waiting to see the Clerk should see you away without a penalty being applied. This is a bit clearer than it was some years ago when you’d both have been penalised. At this juncture, it is normal to tell the driver that he or she isn’t considered to be cheating, especially if just half a kilo underweight, but that the kart doesn’t comply. It should also be said that the imposition of an exclusion or any other penalty won’t be recorded on your licence for a technical offence and you won’t get any points either. Championship coordinators have to be very careful when writing technical and sporting regs to ensure that justice can be seen to be done without overly penalising minor errors. A case in point is a well meaning paragraph in one of the ‘05 championship regulations stating any technical infringement would result in a loss of points for the whole meeting and the obligation to count a zero score. With no leeway for the Clerk to exercise judgement on the appropriate penalty, a driver who came in underweight could find himself with no points for the meeting. The full implications have been pointed out to the organisers who have promised something different for 2006.

At this point the Eligibility Appeal can come into play. Having ticked the ‘do not agree’ box on the non-compliance form, you may appeal directly to the MSA via the meeting’s Stewards. The fee for this is in Appendix Z of the Blue Book. Once at the MSA, the Eligibility Appeal Panel will consider all aspects and adjudicate accordingly on the evidence presented from both sides. These appeals have operated with varying degrees of success from the drivers’ point of view in recent times, with a recent edition of Motorsports Now! giving two differing decisions on what appear to be identical problems. However, there must have been fundamental differences for the decisions to have been so different. The majority of the cases a Clerk will deal with involve driving incidents and here’s where the fun really starts. Many incidents are merely errors of judgement, ‘racing incidents’, where two drivers aiming for the same square foot of tarmac collide and go out of the race or get delayed. There are very few incidents where one driver takes out another in order to be rid of the menace in front but they do occasionally happen. Normally, there will be a report from an observer or Clerk that can be acted upon with both parties in the office. If the drivers are under 18, a signed-on parent or guardian (don’t forget the letter of authority for the guardian if a parent isn’t present) will be present in the proceedings. This is to protect the young person’s interests but if daddy has a rant, it can have quite the opposite effect. New legislation that effectively placed a contract between the parent and the MSA has stopped some of the parental craziness occurring, but, with the onset of red mist, we are often looking at damage limitation. The Clerk will outline the case from the observer and ask for comments from the drivers. The Clerk will then determine if an offence has been committed and, if so, the appropriate penalty. Some clerks look at the licence before deciding on the penalty, I don’t. I prefer the surprise! From time to time, one hears calls for greater consistency in decision making. All well and good but there are just too many variables involved for that to realistically happen. For instance, Clerks and Stewards work generally from an MSA booklet giving suggested penalties for different offences. There is what is called the datum (or set standard) penalty, followed by a list of suggested alternatives depending on mitigating or aggravating circumstances. Having heard all the evidence, the Clerk or Stewards will set off from the set penalty and determine whether any mitigating circumstances have been heard. This will reduce the penalty and mean less points on the all-important licence. On the flip side, any aggravating circumstances can end up in a fine as well as exclusion from the race or even the meeting. The Clerk’s decision will be communicated in writing and the driver will sign to receive the penalty, countersigned by an adult if the alleged offender is under 18. There will be occasions when, in the midst of a monumental six-way scrap for the lead, observers will miss an incident further back down the field. Aggrieved driver and dad are understandably miffed this has been missed. “After all, what are we paying you for?” is the general comment. Fair enough, but you can only see what you’re looking at and that’s generally the leaders as this is where most of the grief comes from. When Clerks and observers miss something, the onus is on the competitor to protest the other driver. It isn’t difficult to do and most Clerks will point you in the right direction, if you ask nicely. Start getting a bit stroppy and you’re basically on your own. The first thing you’ll need is a protest form. Contrary to popular belief, Clerks do not have a stash of these in their back pockets ready to dish out. The best person to ask will be the Competition Secretary or the MSA Steward, as both will have copies in the paperwork issued from the MSA. The Clerk will not. However, at the major national championships Clerks will probably have a supply somewhere, accrued over time.

Despite what you may think, Clerks prefer to watch racing than doing paperwork

This reminds me of a tale of one entrant who would persistently ask for protest forms which always came to nothing. Rumour has it the driver was asked to give some of the protest forms back as the championship had run out! Once you have your form, you’ll need to know the fee as no pay, no play. Again, a schedule of fees can be found in Appendix Z of the Blue Book. With most national championships the meeting has National A status and the fee is clearly marked. For the rest the fee will be that for a meeting below National A but with an MSA Steward. On some very odd occasions, a split permit meeting is run, so it is as well to ask the status of the class you are running in. The wrong fee can see your protest rejected. Once you have your protest filled in, the fee sorted and some witnesses lined up, you can submit your protest. Read this next bit very carefully. You can submit the protest or appeal to the Secretary of the Meeting as well as the Clerk of the Course. You don’t have to disturb the Clerk from his work. Once the Clerk has been informed of the protest, a suitable time and venue for the hearing will be arranged with both parties and they will have the chance to call witnesses. The hearing is a little like an informal magistrates court, but the realisation has to be that getting information out of all the witnesses is vital, sometimes a gentle touch is required for younger competitors. Juniors who have been coached beforehand are instantly recognisable, purely from the language used and the phrasing of their evidence. One parent a couple of years ago rolled his eyes to the heavens when number one sprog recited chapter and verse what daddy had schooled him in but obviously forgot the bit about putting it in his own words. In the end it didn’t matter as more conventional evidence backed up the, “I was proceeding in a westerly direction” spiel and the protest succeeded. The general rule of thumb is that if you win the protest, you get the fee returned, lose and you don’t. If you win the protest but have been stroppy throughout the proceedings, don’t expect to see the money again. Incidentally, don’t put in protests just for the fun of it. I had occasion a few years ago to threaten reporting a parent to the Stewards for putting in protests in bad faith after about the third one against the same driver in the same meeting! Timescales are important and also subtly different. If you want to protest against another driver, you have 30 minutes after the race in question finishes. If you are unsure about the results, you have 30 minutes after the results are posted. The latter timescale also applies to grids. If you wish to protest another kart on technical grounds, make that intention known before the kart leaves parc ferme and the investigation can commence straight away. If you wait until the kart is released, you risk losing on the grounds that the alleged dodgy component may have been changed after scrutineering and the kart may not be ‘as raced’. Video evidence. The Clerk may use it if he sees fit and if the video is under the control of the organising club. If it comes from someone’s handheld video camcorder, the Clerk can opt not to use it. I agreed to view video evidence once, with the protestor convinced it would make their case. It didn’t and upset them mightily when the protest was rejected. Once the Clerk has made his decision, it will be communicated in writing to the protestor. This just means that the penalty has been received, not that the driver accepts that penalty and the time set down for the decision becomes important. The clock starts ticking for any appeal when the decision is set down and any arguing the aggrieved party might do just eats into that time.

The Clerk doesn’t want to start discussing his decision as he may have to justify the thought processes to the Stewards later in an appeal. Appeals can only be made by a person directly affected by the Clerk’s original decision and should be lodged within 30 minutes of that decision, third party protests and appeals are no longer permitted. These can be quite good fun or very frustrating, or sometimes even both depending on the circumstances. Some years ago I had a decision appealed to the Stewards of the Meeting and was allowed to sit in after giving my evidence. What I heard and what the Stewards heard were two completely different things. I was asked by the Stewards if I would have convicted based on the evidence of the appeal and I was bound to say no, so the appeal succeeded. However the original evidence was considerably different to the appeal evidence. A quick word on Stewards’ meetings etiquette. Don’t swear in front of the Stewards. Some of these venerable gentlemen are magistrates and won’t allow it in court, even if they’ve heard it all before, so you won’t get away with it at the track either. They also have the power to remove your licence for up to 30 days there and then and your involvement in the meeting ceases. You can forget about racing under appeal. Your money will be accepted for a shot at a tribunal but you still won’t turn a wheel again for a month. Tribunals are an entirely different animal and generally take place in the boardroom at Colnbrook, home of the MSA. I’ve only been to one tribunal, an appeal against the Stewards of the Meeting upholding my original decision. Opening arguments were heard from both MSA and competitor before I was invited to give my evidence as Clerk. After we’d finished, the deliberations took an age before the verdict was read out from the written statement (obviously where the time had gone). A fairly straightforward case took about three hours. That’s how thorough it is. One final point. The perception is that most Clerks get a kick out of doing paperwork and penalising people. I’ve worked with quite a few up and down the country who don’t have that view at all. In fact, we’d much prefer to stay out of the office and watch some decent racing and people enjoying their competition. However, if those same people step over the line, then we will take action as we see fit. At club level, I see our role as educating as much as legislating but, if the education isn’t working, then other tactics need to be employed. At championship level, a certain level of skill and knowledge from the driver is assumed, so the emphasis will be less on education and more on legislation. There it is, a quick walk through of the judicial system. Please take the time to read Section ‘O’ of the Blue Book, it can be your friend as much as your enemy and it’s always best to know your enemy.

TKM Insight – Illegally modified engines

stock-tkmTal-Ko have foiled an engine builder’s plan to sneak in. Grahame Butterworth tells the story.

If there’s one thing we pride ourselves on, it’s close attention to regulations and ensuring that as far as possible everyone is racing on a level playing field. It’s the only way that is fair.

And 99 per cent of the time the system works well, catching nothing more sinister than the occasional accidental under-weight or perhaps gummed up piston ring.

But very recently we have had two pistons come into our possession which show clear signs of being modified. One to the crown and the other to the skirt. In both cases modifications to gain an advantage on port timing.

These were true cheats. Even the piston size had been re-stamped to make it look OK. But actually it was not very well done and soon picked up by ourselves. We are on the trail of the culprits and will not hesitate to apply full litigation against them.

The class regulations and fiche make it very clear that the piston must be neither modified or machined. There is no grey area here and no excuse for doing anything to a piston other than removing carbon without damaging or modifying the surface. What has been done to these pistons is simply cheating – and that is something we will not tolerate.

So over the past week or two we have issued drawings which set out very clearly the way to identify the cheat pistons. And we have had the Scrutineers at all TKM events throughout the country to carry out careful checks on pistons so we can ensure a rapid closure to the potential problem. And of course a special effort at the TKM Festival at Kimbolton.

The check method which anyone can use is:

Remove the four nuts and two cap head bolts holding on the cylinder head which should then be removed.

Next lift off the cylinder barrel carefully holding the con-rod and piston steady to avoid damage to the piston assembly.

With the piston now fully exposed, wipe the top of the piston with a rag to remove any oil mixture.

First look at the top surface (piston crown) of the piston close to the edge next to the top ring. It should go from a shallow approx 10 degree angle into a small 45 degree bevel on the edge. If it is square edged then the crown has been machined making it illegal.

Run your finger (or straight edge) over the edge of the piston to the top piston ring. If the ring is level with or above the edge of the piston crown, it is illegal.

If the top ring is below the top of the piston crown edge then check the thickness of the top piston ring. It should be 2mm on 100cc Junior and 2.2mm on the bigger 115cc Extreme pistons. If it is thinner, then it has been modified and is illegal.

As a final test if you have a new piston then simply insert a gudgeon between the two and place on a flat surface. Both pistons should have the same height at top and bottom – though bear in mind the carbon on the top of the piston might make it seem slightly higher.

So if you think you might have an illegal engine then contact us now on info@tal-ko.com. We will keep your identity secure.

Colin Wright: MSA vs. IKR

The MSA versus IKR debate continues. You’re a valuable part of karting, so what do you suggest we do right now to improve karting for everyone?

Following on from last month’s piece about alignment between Non MSA (IKR) and MSA I was lucky enough to get an hour at Buckmore on track for a company briefing. Great track, well prepared “corporate” karts, first place, rain came after 30 minutes, could it have got any better?

Well yes, facilities such as Buckmore are a great feeder for MSA racing and the “alignment” between the NKA and MSA racing cannot come quick enough to see numbers grow. Besides being a little older than “race prime” the sheer thrill and adrenalin of racing was/ is still there and this started me thinking as to why we keep this sport a secret! After an hour, 21 people were physically drained, excited and the conversations in the bar afterwards centred around “how good it was”, “can we do more”, “are there faster karts”, “how is Colin so quick”! OK maybe not the last one! But for every one of us that gets in a kart for fun to race MSA or non MSA why can we not tell five separate people about the sport, bring them along, let them see that it’s not quite Paultons Park?

We are complacent, we take our sport for granted, if we want more people then we ALL need to tell more, the Governing bodies and Associations can only do so much but if we have 4000 license holders get 20000 along to watch, how many race at IKR, same thing lets tell 5 friends and get them along, then they can decide whether to go MSA or IKR, the pool grows bigger, everyone benefits?

Next year, with Nigel Edwards great efforts within the MSA we could possibly see the barriers to entry dropped massively, align this to more interested parties and we should be able to halt/ stabilise license number decline and then work to increase those license holders over the coming years. Let’s dispel a little of the apathy and get people along, stop the web forum “my class is better than yours” debates. Decide at your local track what you want to do, two choices, regulated MSA or less regulated IKR, that should not be too tough should it?

Driving standards. I have watched with interest into what we can do to enhance better driving standards, remove “loading” or more rightly termed shoving, pushing, cheating? “It’s the officials fault, they do not punish the guilty” I hear that often. Well having been an observer and a Clerk it’s a damn hard job trying to identify exactly who is pushing in a grid full of adrenalin, I’d love to see EVERY driver and PG holder have to stand with a marshal on post and try to identify the culprit, it’s much harder just watching your own driver.

Are standing starts the answer? Possibly, but the side effects such as clutch failure and second corner incidents perhaps suggest otherwise?

CIK droppable nosecones, perhaps? This one has split the opinion 50/50, but we as a sport are sometimes way too pessimistic, “that will never work, its rubbish” How about we change tact, let’s welcome new ideas, let’s look at trials and see the results instead of knee jerk uninformed reactions, I for one welcome anything that is self-policing, one that perhaps allows Officials to deal with key issues instead of a queue of loading incidents making their way to the office.

Clubs struggle to get officials and I’m not seeing many new Clerks coming through. If we had a self-policing solution allowing Clerks and Observers to focus elsewhere we may have a solution? I’m prepared to see it in action before I condemn it out of hand. Just imagine that it works, that it changes driving mentality, that overtakes are clean and without contact, that nosecones last a year. Now is that not something we should at least consider rather than dismiss it out of hand? Work with us, suggest ideas, contact us, give ideas a chance…

MSA Plans Club Meeting Shakeup

stock-msaBosses of the Little Green Man series have criticised the Motor Sports Association for proposing regulations which would alter the structure of kart championships held within standard club meetings.

The successful IAME Cadet-based series, which ran 56 drivers at its last meeting at Kimbolton in July, races on the same bill as club meetings. Many drivers use the series as experience to prepare for an upcoming national Super One round at the circuit. Other club-based invitational championships which would be affected include the Northern Karting Federation and the Formula TKM InterClub Championship.

The proposed regulation, states: “Championship drivers will fully integrate with the Club meeting and will compete alongside the club racer. No separate races are to be run for classes already run by the host club.”

A host club would therefore have to invite a championship such as Little Green Man to compete on the same grid as its own IAME Cadet class.

Having consulted with the MSA, Little Green Man chief Mike Mills said: “Nobody taking part in the sport understands what the point of this regulation is. The LGM has been run without a problem for 13 years and has been successful due to its format. People want these type of championships, and the success of LGM is proof of that. If the MSA puts obstacles in front of people, they’re going to move to non-MSA racing which isn’t what anyone wants.”

Mills added that the MSA had wanted to implement the change this year: “We have been able to win that case and continue for 2014 and have formally objected to the change for 2015.”

An MSA statement read: “The proposed regulation – [which was] open to consultation until June 13 – is intended to clarify how UK kart championships may run within standard club meetings, in accordance with the simplified structure for UK karting announced in March 2013 and implemented from January 1, 2014.”


MSA Meet With Leading Kart Figures To Map Out Future

stock-msaLeading figures from kart racing have met up with the Motor Sports Association in unique meetings aimed at thrashing out the future of karting in the UK.

Manufacturers, teams, organisers, clubs and circuit owners were all invited to Motor Sports House to hear a presentation from the MSA on their suggested view of the future with a major change of classes and structure planned for 2017.

New MSA Kart Committee Chairman Nigel Edwards together with MSA Technical Manager John Ryan laid out their ideas after an introduction from new Chief Executive Rob Jones, himself an ex karting Dad.

In lengthy and constructive discussions there was full support for the MSA working to achieve lower cost entry and club karting, hopefully reducing starter pack costs, medical fees etc.

But there was a definite feeling against a proposed change of classes and ages which would see creation of a new ‘youth’ class with new size kart and a new engine. The suggestion from those present is that UK karting is strong with the current structure of Cadet, TKM and Rotax and that such a move would de-stabilise.

There was also very general agreement that the CIK have seriously damaged top level international karting with the disastrous decisions over the KF engine range and must make urgent good decisions to rescue the situation.

One of those attending said: “We very much welcome the initiative the MSA have taken, it is to be applauded. But it is critical that they now listen to what we have said and revise their ideas accordingly otherwise things could go pear shape in a couple of years. None of us want that and I think we all need to recognise that other countries around the world think we are doing a great job in the UK.

Let’s encourage more in at the club racing level because it is from there that we eventually get our top line champions.”

Ken’s Komments: The Front Bumper Rule

It’s fair to say that not everybody agrees with the new ‘Front Bumper Rule’ whereby any forward contact causes the bumper to drop a few inches…

When that happens, the driver is shown the technical flag and must go to the pit to ‘click’ it back in place – it takes just a couple of seconds – before returning to the track.

I first saw it in operation at the CIK Academy Trophy round 2 at Wackersdorf, Germany, and one of the drivers to fall foul of it was England’s Oliver York. He was shown the technical flag but did not come in and so was subsequently excluded from the result of that Heat. Others complained that they were innocent victims of inadvertent contact.

But, and it is a Big But, at the Winners Press Conference, the karting journos wanted to know what the podium drivers thought of the new rule. All 3 were 100% clear that they thought it was a good rule and 2 of them volunteered that it will make drivers more careful in future and that will produce cleaner racing. Interesting views from lads of just 14 or 15 years of age!

CIK Vice President Cees van der Grint and CIK Technical delegate, Englishman Dan Carter pointed out that the first 8 drivers in the Final all went through the whole of Saturday’s Heats and Sunday’s Pre-Final and Final without falling foul of the rule, notwithstanding some very close racing. So it can be made to work;the view is that ‘cleaner’ kart racing is around the corner.

Race Director, UK’s Nigel Edwards was eager to witness the equipment in action, and afterwards fully endorsed the initiative ‘if aligned to some small adjustments’. ‘It’s not just about the nose cones, it’s about drivers and teams mental attitude to contact driving! It’s a mega change after many years of routine contact driving and will at last eliminate the Start and First Corner loading, pushing and contact driving Lottery. We need to stress that it is the driver’s responsibility to respond should the nose cone drop and, without waiting for the inevitable flag or post-race exclusion, drive in, reset, and go back racing’ he said.

Partly due to his exclusion from one Heat, Oliver York found himself in the Last Chance Saloon repechage, but safely negotiated it. The other Brit, Scotland’s Ross Martin was mightily unlucky when, running in the top ten in the Pre-Final, he was clattered into on the last lap, dropping to the back. So against that backdrop it was an excellent result for both York in 9th place and Martin, starting in 27th place, coming through to 10th.

It often rains hard at Wackersdorf and this Event was no exception. Drivers were lucky. The rain twice came just at the end of racing and once during the lunch break. But the local marshalls who traditionally camp at the bottom end of the track, found their belongings washed away and had to be accommodated in a nearby Community Hall.

As a PS to that Wackersdorf event, congratulations to John Norris of Ireland who came 2nd in KZ2. It was great to witness major Irish karting success on an international stage. England’s Jordan Lennox-Lamb and Ben Hanley were 5th and 6th respectively in the KZ Final.

I am always interested in ‘Something New’ in karting. Completely different to the new Front Bumper rule, I was fascinated to learn of the ‘2 Days 2 Ways’ Event at Oklahoma, USA, a track where I had previously commentated at the US Grand Nationals. The ‘Something New’ is that drivers in all classes race in a clockwise direction on Saturday, then anti-clockwise on Sunday with the aggregated points from both days determining the winners.

I know of 2 other American tracks that stage ‘other way round’ racing: Centennial, Denver, Colorado and Homestead Miami Speedway, Florida. But the meetings where I commentated were just ‘one way’ on those weekends and not a ‘2 Days 2 Ways’ Single Event. Have you raced on bi-directional tracks? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.