Tag Archives: kartmania

Frank Eglem’s innovations on test

Close-up of the CVT system

Recent visitors to KartMania 10 would have seen one of my good friends from Holland had made the journey from Europe to promote his corporate karts and especially the electric Tom kart that actually managed to make a couple of laps round his stand !!

Eglem karts have been around for many years and Frank has been involved in karting from being a young boy (many years ago!) being a mechanic for his father, to winning many national championships in karts and moving on to producing his own race and corporate karts supplying many circuits in and around Europe and the UK

The CVT saves fuel and increases engine life

I made a recent visit to Holland to visit Frank to see what was new in the corporate market as they are always trying new ideas and Frank has a good team of designers and engineers from universities all over Europe that are always pushing the design boundaries. One of his biggest projects at the moment is his Butterfly Chassis, as most of us know corporate karts are usually quiet big and heavy to withstand the constant abuse they get from drivers of all shapes and sizes throughout their racing life, this weight obviously puts a lot of stress on the moving parts and engine, Franks idea was to produce a more competitive lightweight kart to give the arrive and drive karters more of a feel for karting, but also keeping it strong enough. His team came up with the butterfly and after proving itself in extensive tests at various circuits is now in production, it is a single engine chassis which will accommodate the Honda 160/200/270 engine, with a normal drive chain or the new CVT (more later) with a sliding or fixed seat, and the new design sliding pedal system so the kart is ideal for juniors and adults and changed in seconds, the main attraction is the reduction in weight from 155kg to 125kg without loosing any strength. After driving it for many laps at an indoor circuit that has been testing the butterfly I can tell this is a far better product to drive, it is as close to the feel of a racing kart than you will ever get in an indoor circuit, it is light, manoeuvrable and strong enough to withstand my driving!! They are now working with a technical university to produce the butterfly chassis in a composite material and the first 10 karts will be ready for extensive tests in early 2011.

I mentioned earlier about the CVT, this is already used on a lot of motorbikes and cars and has proved itself as a reliable drive system, Frank has adapted a motorbike 25hp CVT system to work on a corporate kart and the results are brilliant. Basically the engine and final drive are an adjustable pulley system that constantly change while driving, to start off the rear pulley is small and the front large to allow fast acceleration and as the kart accelerates and gains speed the rear pulley gets larger and the front smaller the same as changing gear ration but it is constantly changing to give optimum performance, this gives maximum torque throughout the rev range so their are less problems with weight differences of drivers the system compensates, if you spin off then you have fast direct power to get you going again so you are less likely to get a kart hitting the back of a slow moving kart, there are no top revs required the engine runs at its best torque range of 3800 – 4200 rpm which is such a strange sound when the engine never changes revs while you are going from a standing start to full speed, it does take a bit of getting used to when you expect to hear a screaming engine next to you, this of course gives an longer life span to the engine as it is not being thrashed all day, you could also use a smaller engine and get the same performance range as everything is totally optimised. Another advantage is the vast reduction in fuel used, a Honda 270 would use only 3L of petrol per hour and a Honda 200 only 2l of fuel and there is also a vast reduction in fumes. All types of tracks would benefit from the CVT system but especially those that have a bridge within their circuit, all drivers would be at the same speed regardless of weight. It is a great system to drive and is definitely faster than the conventional petrol version with a much faster acceleration and pick up out of the corners, the first karts with this fitted are being tested to destruction at the moment, but it could take a while !!! we will keep you informed.

The new generation of lithium batteries as used on the Tom Kart

The final product we tried out was the Electric Tom Kart, I know that electric karts have been tried many times all over Europe during the past years but the biggest problem has been the weight due to the batteries, with the recent changes in the battery construction it has allowed manufacturers to rethink the system and Frank Eglem is once again one of the first I know to start looking into the new generation of electric karts. The kart that was on show at KartMania was powered by Lithium batteries which had 40Ahour with a management system, with a maximum of about 13HP, if you used them at just over half the power the produce, 25Ah, you could drive for about 30 minutes before a recharge of only 13 minutes, there is a guarantee of 5000 recharge cycles and the expected life of the batteries is 8-12000 recharge cycles which brings the running costs down considerably, especially with very low maintenance costs. Another advantage of this type of electric kart is that you only need one kart fitted with a sliding seat and pedal system to suit every driver, on the back of the power system there is a switch to control the power so you have a cadet, junior and senior speed kart from one unit, you can even compensate if one driver in a team is a “big guy” by adjusting the power you can allow him to race on par with the other drivers. The Tom Kart is a composite construction with forward and reverse gears full body kit and ready to go in 10 minutes. Ok the down side, cost, they are more expensive at £8500 but you are getting 3 karts in one, cadet, junior, senior, with massive fuel savings especially with petrol rises all the time, great lack of maintenance costs as there is only one moving part and that is the motor which is oversized for what it is being used for and there are no emissions to keep the environmental people off your back so health and safety are greatly improved. If you are thinking of starting your own indoor circuit a big expense is the air fan system you have to install now to get rid of any fumes, imagine if you did not have to install all that system because you could used electric karts, what you save would help buy the karts and keep the local authorities happy especially if you had been refused a circuit earlier, all food for thought I think !! and but the way they are also a lightweight machine, not like the old heavy karts these are fun with neck snapping acceleration and great performance.

So that ended my visit to Eglem karts, it was good to see at the show that the new sliding foot control unit was working and we will bring you a report on that as soon as i can. Keep up the good work at Eglem and boundaries are made to be pushed !!

Eglem’s electric Tom Kart

Tickets on sale for KartMania 2014 now!

stock-joynerGrab your tickets for the UK’s leading kart show – KartMania 2014!

KartMania will be situated at the Silverstone Wing exhibition complex from  Saturday 29th November 2014 – Sunday 30th November 2014 at 9:30am through to approx. 5pm.

Whether you’re thinking about starting karting, a beginner or experienced, this is a great opportunity to gain advice and information from professionals in all aspects of the karting world.

There will be various stands including a KartBoot where you can purchase spares and parts along with official clothing supplies and other equipment, etc. which will be on sale.

Award presentations for various major UK Karting Championships will take place in the company of Karting Magazine and other experts such as ABkC, MSA and BKIA.

Adult (16+) tickets are available at £12.50 each and under 16’s (and seniors) are only £7.50. A family ticket comprising of 2 adults and 2 children under the age of 16 is £30.00. All tickets include free parking and a free event programme.

To buy, or for more information visit www.kartmania.co.uk.

Kartmania 2011

KKC's well-stocked stand
KKC’s well-stocked stand

“Motorsport generally is at its lowest ebb right now. If we can keep karting numbers at a reasonable level then things can only get better in future. I think that Kartmania has a part to play in retaining customer interest and that’s why I’m determined to carry on running it.”

The words belonged to Martin Capenhurst who has been involved in karting for 18 years and is certainly one of its most enthusiastic exponents. Organising a show like this involves a huge financial commitment. The hall itself cost around £45000 to hire once heating, lighting and security expenses had been taken into account. “Advertising also takes up a large part of our budget, but it’s essential in order to get customers through the door,” says Martin. “I freely admit that there’s no-one daft enough to take on a project like this for purely commercial reasons. My son Lee and I put ourselves through all of this every year because we both love the sport and want to see it thrive.”

As always, MSA registered Clubs and Associations had been offered free stands. Amongst those clubs taking advantage were Bayford Meadows, Buckmore, Cheshire, Clay Pigeon, Cumbria, Kimbolton, Little Rissington, Llandow and Lydd. Stalls were also occupied by various Associations including 210 Villiers, British Superkart, Covkartsports Formula 6, Historic Kart Club, Karting Legends, NKA and Northern Kart Federation. Super One and Formula Kart Stars occupied prominent places, as did Easykart, KGP and the TKM 4 Stroke Challenge. Sadly there was no input from either the MSA or ABkC.

Walking around a concrete floor for two whole days can be very hard on the feet. My first port of call, therefore, was to the Happy Feet stall manned by Chris Fitzpatrick. He offered me a “test drive” of their therapeutic massaging insoles. According to Chris, his product provided relief for hot or sore feet as well as easing pains in the back and legs. As he pointed out, mechanics and spectators at kart meetings can do a lot of standing or walking on hard surfaces and their feet often suffer as a result. After more than 13 hours of hard testing, I was happy to stump up the £30 asking price and purchase a pair for myself.

Baz Scott informed me that Racing Drivers Inc was started in 2008, serving as a social club for competitors in all forms of motorsport. Members, of whom there are now more than 2,800, pay an annual fee of £50. In return they receive help with PR and sponsorship. A free web site is available and members can make use of discounts that have been negotiated with various companies. Baz has painstakingly built up good relationships with many motor racing teams and more experienced members like Tom Ingram can offer sound advice to young karters.

Kevin Nuttall was attending Kartmania for the fifth time exhibiting Iztech Seats which he named after his daughter Izzie. The seats come in soft, medium and rigid forms at a basic price of £55 + VAT. The Ultralite versions are more expensive and cost £220. Kevin believed that attending the show had been worthwhile and reported lots of interest in his kart scaling service. At a cost of £25 per hour the chassis is balanced using a portable flatbed. Iztech relies heavily on the export market for its seats which are all UK-sourced. It also supplies floor trays, chain guards and body protectors.

PKP Motorsport, run by Sean Girdler and Leon Cole, began importing Dino karts in April 2011. After serving an apprenticeship with Bournemouth Kart Centre (BKC), Sean became a freelance mechanic working for teams in Formula Ford and the BTCC. PKP is running the Dino works team in Europe with top drivers Jessica Hawkins and Jack Mitchell already signed up. Jessica was manning the stand along with Sean and expressed lots of confidence especially in the flagship chassis produced for them by CRG. The TKM model, jointly designed by PKP and Dino, is made in Denmark along with a Clubman kart that could prove popular with Rotax drivers. Dino karts have a long history stretching back to the early sixties and it was good to see them exhibited at Kartmania.

Ian Rushforth explained to me that 182 different drivers had contested the Superkart Series in 2011. A new class for 450cc 4 stroke engines had been incorporated in 2011 attracting half a dozen entries or more. Average entries for Division 1 Superkarts worked out at around 20 per round with the 250cc class always able to attract a full grid of 40. Competitors in the 125 cc Open category can compete for as little as £5,000 per season while a full year in Division One Superkarts could work out at £30,000. Resplendent in full bodywork, Superkarts can usually attract lots of interest from the public and this show was clearly no exception. It was interesting to visit the Karting Legends Stand where the modern version was compared against a 1970’s Zip kart bearing the famous BP bodywork as raced by Martin Hines. To the unpractised eye there seemed little difference.

Dr Mark Green of Motor Racing Medics has occupied a stand at every Kartmania show since its first appearance in 2007. He also attends the Autosport and Race Retro shows. His assistant Jane Dungate explained that many drivers booked medical examinations in advance or some merely turned up on spec. The fee was £75 + Vat whereas many GPs charged as much as £200 for this service. Despite such a significant saving, Jane confessed that business had been slower than in previous years and this perhaps suggest further reductions in MSA licence holders for 2012.

Benjy Russell had replaced JKH as the UK distributor for Intrepid karts. Despite adopting a lower profile, Benjy reported that business had been brisk. John Hoyle, meanwhile, was free to concentrate all his attentions on the Super One stand where a steady stream of drivers could be seen signing up for 2012. As usual, Dartford Karting, Zip and Tal-ko occupied prominent positions. Strawberry had booked a stall in the kart boot section but didn’t appear in the main hall. However, the OTK range was well displayed by KKC and their stand attracted lots of customers. There was great interest too, in the Virgin F1 car exhibited by Andy Cox Racing as part of a very large Birel stand. Possibly as a direct result, Paul Deavin was kept busy fielding questions about the KGP class while Easykart also attracted lots of potential customers.

Paul did find time to visit the impressive British Historic Racing Club display where he could view two wonderfully restored versions of his Deavinson Sprint karts. As he himself admitted, they looked even better than the new models that had been turned out from his premises at Rye House 30 years beforehand. Alan Turney could also be seen admiring the immaculate 1962 Italkart with twin Komet K12C motors. Half a century earlier, Alan’s father Bernie had begun importing these machines and thus the Tal-Ko name was conceived. This particular example had been painstakingly restored by Tony Brinkworth. It had cost him around £1200 and 400 hours labour to achieve the final result. “The chassis wasn’t too much of a problem, but it took an awful lot of time and money restoring both Komet engines,” Tony claimed.

It was Tony’s brother Peter who got him interested in restoring old karts and he was exhibiting his own Foxkart with twin McCullochs that’s now become a regular at these shows. Peter is an enthusiastic member of the Club and reports that membership is growing at startling rates. “Although we had a fair amount of interest at last year’s show, there were still long periods with no visitors at all. This time around there’s hardly been a minute when we haven’t had someone talking to us,” he emphasised.

Historic karting offers relatively cheap racing and this probably explains why it’s now so successful. There were clear signs that, while more expensive classes were obviously suffering, karting at the cheaper end was actually thriving. Gerard Cox reported that sales of his Project One Honda Cadet Karts had broken all records in 2011. Ann-Marie Lepine confirmed that entries in the F6 Championships had averaged 65 at each round, an increase which she attributed to their presence at the 2010 show. “We’re a family orientated concern and most of our competitors transport their karts on roof racks or in small trailers,” she maintained.

This theme was repeated when I visited the Covkartsports stand. This non-profit making organisation has been running for 16 years and all the officials live in or around Coventry. They organise an Arrive & Drive championship series consisting of seven rounds. Each round costs £50 and the karts used are Honda-powered rental types. The club retains £5 from each entry, spending £4 on trophies and donating the remaining £1 to local charities “2011 was our most successful season to date,” said their chairman Nick Stanley. “We have 120 members and more than 90 drivers turned up at each round. We’re not MSA-registered but run our meetings as close to MSA rules as possible. We see ourselves as a feeder club for MSA racing and actually aim to lose 30% of our members each year.”

It’s always nice to see international personalities attending the show and on this occasion we had two of them. Angelo Parrilla started to produce DAP engines in 1970, guiding such notable stars as Ayrton Senna, Terry Fullerton, Peter Koene, Vincenzo Sospiri, Stefano Modena, Harm Schuurman and Alessandro Piccini to an incredible string of victories at world and European Championship levels. My memories of Dutch star Harm Schuurman date back to 1972 when he took 2nd place in the Junior World Cup in Denmark, splitting Britain’s Derek Bliss and Mark Hewetson. After that, he claimed many victories at international level but didn’t quite manage to become World Champion.

Schuurman and Parrilla were on hand to promote the extremely well thought out Kartsport 4 All concept. Harm views the current karting scene as a pyramid divided into four sections. The peak consists of drivers competing at national and international championship level. Below is a larger section made up of club racing for Rotax and TKM classes. At the very base lies Arrive & Drive karting which enjoys a lot of support. In between is a gap that offers great potential but, as yet, has been largely unfilled.

Harm’s solution marries a specially produced DAP chassis with a 150cc 4 stroke scooter engine. This kart is aimed at people who don’t possess any great mechanical skills and can’t afford the high costs associated with MSA type karting. It has many interesting features including three rear sprockets to use on a variety of circuits. The motor will run for over 500 hours and, for those with no mechanical competence, can be serviced at any normal motorcycle centre. The total package costs just under £3,000 including VAT and can be used for leisure purposes as well as sprint or endurance racing.

Without doubt, the Kart Boot Section attracted more visitors than any other. It offered customers an opportunity to purchase used equipment at knock down prices while vendors could convert their obsolete equipment for ready cash. Almost everyone appeared to leave feeling satisfied. Happiest of all, however, was the competition winner Mrs Beverley Lawler from Barnsley who left with a brand new Senior Rotax motor valued at £2,250 donated by JAG Engineering. It was a nice note on which to end yet another successful show.

The Max Column


In recent columns I have been featuring the merits of buying used equipment and highlighting the need to be sure that you the customer knows what you are getting.

This is not to say that there is nothing but sharks out there. There are indeed many a good bargain to be had, but with the long life expectancy of the Rotax Max range of engines, it is quite possible that the glossy looking advertisement is in fact hiding a less than desirable purchase!

A bit like buying a used sports car from “one careful owner”, the other three gave a right ragging! The Max engines are extremely reliable as a rule and we as a service centre are constantly amazed by the age and or hours that have been put on some units without any maintenance whatsoever.

Bare and Short Engines
BRP Rotax have introduced the sale of “short engines” as a factory option. We need to be very clear what you are getting. Basically when buying a new engine complete it arrives in two boxes, one containing the engine unit and ignition coil, the other carton contains all the other accessories including carburettor, airbox, exhaust, battery, electrical wiring loom, switches, battery mounting kit etc. The complete engine is a very comprehensive package, all you are lacking is engine mount, chain and exhaust mounts.

The short engine from Rotax is the complete engine unit with clutch assembly, reed assembly, starter motor, exhaust knuckle, balance gears complete and in the case of the senior engine the exhaust valve assembly. In the box as well is the ignition coil as stated above, Identity Card, instruction book, registration document and a pack of stickers.

Some of the larger retailers have been offering these short engines for some time now, be sure that you receive all the above on purchase. This should not be confused with a bare engine. Brand new bare engines have recently been offered bare for sale on Ebay. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and it does make a new engine available at a reasonable price. This is the sort of deal that helped a customer of ours recently who had a perfectly good engine that ingested some cement dust. The result of this was a total write off of all the moving parts in the engine plus the cylinder. A very hefty rebuild was on the cards. A bare engine without all the parts listed above was his preferred option.

The downside of this is when the customer is not aware of the difference between “short” and “bare” and really through his own lack of knowledge is disappointed when his super bargain proves not be what he expected.

The secret is to buy from a reputable company where you will have recourse if things do not work out as planned. Incidentally the firm offering bare engines on Ebay are reputable, they are VAT registered and have been trading for some years.

Piston Rings
BRP Rotax have recently introduced a new piston ring. The new ring is a direct replacement and is not designed to improve performance or alter in any way that the engine may run. The new ring will feed into the market as production comes on stream and existing stock diminishes. There is no advantage to going out to have the new ring fitted the moment they become available. The new part will be installed when you have your next service as the current piston ring will no longer be available.

Super One
On the racing front there is some very good competition at all levels the Super One series have retained a high number of entries late into the season. All classes are still anyone’s guess as to who will be standing on the podium at the dinner scheduled for the Saturday night of the Autosport Show in January.

The Autosport Show will see an improved Karting presence this time with a bespoke Karting pavilion neat to Super 1 and Formula Kart Stars. Both of these Championships will feature their prize presentations. The Karting pavilion is planned to host 16 exhibitors and is being managed by the BKIA with John Hoyle. JAG Engineering will definitely be there so please come along and say hello.

Kartmania, karting’s stand-alone show is scheduled for the first weekend in December, this has become a regular feature of the calendar and continues to improve year on year. One again at the Ricoh Centre in Coventry a very good and centrally located venue. See you all there. Rotax Seminars will be on my timetable, so please come along and ask those awkward questions!

TALK-OVER: Alan Turney talks Tal-Ko

KartmaniaKarting magazine had sent me to Coventry for 2011 Kartmania show, but at least one person was talking to me. Alan Turney spent some time chatting about the past, present and future of Tal-Ko. Hed changed a little bit since those days when Id observed him as one of Britains most promising junior stars. There was the facial hair for one thing and his wisp-like frame had thickened somewhat. One aspect that hadnt altered was his enthusiasm for karting and a definite pride in the firm founded by his father more than half a century earlier.

It began 51 years ago with a stock car meeting at Northampton. Bernie Tucker Turney had been a successful racer before turning his hand to promoting meetings on various tracks in Essex, Middlesex, East Anglia and Northants. At one of these meetings Aubrey Leighton gave a demonstration of his Villiers powered kart known as the Yellow Peril. Currently owned by Bill Sisley, this historic machine is generally acknowledged as the first kart ever built in this country. It certainly caught Bernies attention at the time and he promptly decided to produce his own version.

After leaving school Bernie had started off in the family run grocery business before working as a vehicle maintenance technician. His entrepreneurial instincts had been honed by running his own garage as well as a cafand grocery shop at one time. He was quick to recognise that there would be a market for ready built karts and immediately started producing them in the cellar of his shop on Grangewood Street, East Ham. He adopted the trade name of Get Karts and the first commercially produced model was called a Cheetah. Around about 100 of these were sold before he came out with a differently designed kart called the Long John. This also sold very well with around 60 customers placing orders.

You could say that my dad was one of the original karting pioneers in this country, claims Alan Turney. He was certainly amongst the first to start manufacturing karts on a commercial basis. Like just about everyone else at that time, he relied on the 197cc Villiers engine for his first karts but soon switched over to Class 1 (100cc) models. He bought a large batch of American Clinton engines from Trojan and had his fingers burned when these became uncompetitive against the German JLO. This little set-back didnt deter him, though. He adopted old fashioned business principles. He always paid cash upfront for all of his stock and expected the same from customers. He was scrupulously honest in his dealings with customers or suppliers and I like to think that weve continued with those business ethics.

As American built karts began to appear on the market, Bernie acknowledged their superiority over home produced models. The most successful of these appeared to be the Go Kart 800 produced by Duffy Livingstone and Roy Desbrow in Azusa, California. Using their basic design, Bernie introduced the VooDoo kart which soon started winning races throughout Britain. The Americans turned out in large numbers at Shenington for a round of the 1961 world championships. John Brise won the Class 1 event using a Spanish Montesa engine but the Italian produced rotary valve Saetta V11 motors looked very quick indeed and Bernie decided to become an importer for them.

After encountering various problems with Saetta motors he went out to Italy for a meeting with the sales manager Bruno Grana. When Bruno left Saetta to set up his own Komet engine factory shortly afterwards, Bernie became their UK importer. He also began an association with Ital- karts and adopted the change of company name to Tal-ko. This was made up from the tal in Ital and the ko in Komet engines. Within a couple of years, Ital-karts had ceased production but another Italian chassis had caught Bernies eye. This was the ground breaking Tecno, first campaigned in Britain by Bruno Ferrari. Tal-Ko became the UK importer for these karts. At the same time, a young karter called Keke Rosberg was securing the Tecno rights for Finland.

Tecno soon became a dominant force at home and abroad but Bernie wasnt completely happy. Distribution was haphazard and he believed the kart itself could be improved, Alan recalls. This led to a new VooDoo being produced in 1965. Like virtually all of the 100cc karts coming out at that time, it was heavily influenced by Tecno design but certainly wasnt a direct copy. They were built to last longer than the Tecno with a far superior T45 tubing and actually had better handling characteristics. Within a few months just about every top 100cc driver in the country, including Mickey Allen, Paul Fletcher, Bobby Day and Dave Ferris had bought one.

After winning the 1966 world championships on a Tecno chassis, Suzy Raganelli started to show interest in the British built VooDoo kart. Her father approached Bernie and said theyd like to try one out, clearly believing that this would be made available free of charge. He was very quickly put straight on this score. However, his daughter still remained keen and so Mr Raganelli made enquiries about what sort of discount would be made available to the world champion. Bernie told him that he didnt believe in offering discounts and if they wanted one then the price would be £120, just the same as for any other customer. It says quite a lot about the quality and reputation of Bernies product that he actually received the full amount in cash. I cant remember hearing that particular story, but I have to admit that it does sound exactly like my dad, Alan concedes.

Bernie told him that he didnt believe in offering discounts and if they wanted one then the price would be £120, just the same as for any other customer.

Just as Bernie started to market his VooDoo karts, so the Komet K77 was introduced into Britain and this motor had a remarkable impact. It definitely set new standards both in design and the quality of build, Alan maintains. By 1966 all of Britains top senior drivers were using them, with the exception of Roger Mills and Bruno Ferrari who remained tied to Saetta and Parilla motors respectively. The junior ranks were different. That year the RAC introduced a rule prohibiting rotary valve motors for juniors. Choice in this class was restricted to Spanish Montesa or German Stihl engines. Most drivers opted for Montesas, but they were very difficult to buy. Id started racing by then and my dad used his contacts to get hold of a Montesa which was just as well for me. The only Juniors I knew who had any real success with a Stihl were Chris Hodgetts and Nigel Mansell.

It didnt take long for Alan to start making his mark as a leading junior driver. By 1968 the ban on rotary valve motors had been lifted and he could race with a Komet K33. There was a British Junior Team selected that year and our first match was against the Dutch at Dover, he recalls. Taking part was a great thrill for me. I dont remember all of my team-mates on that occasion, but Terry Fullerton and Nigel Mansell were definitely two of them. I think that Chris Hodgetts, Tim Brise and Johnny May were also on the team that year. I was still racing the VooDoo but by this time my dad had ceased producing them commercially. Reg Deavin asked if he could copy some of the unique items on the VooDoo kart such as the front stub axle fixation to chassis via large rod ends etc. Permission was given and it formed the basis for a long line of Deavinson Sprint karts.

Bernie had actually toyed with the idea of making a Class 1V model and also turned out a prototype Formula 1V car but virtually every hour in the day was taken up with engine preparation. Fortunately for him Alan was taking a huge interest in this side of the business. Despite his elevation to the Senior British team, racing soon had to take a back seat. Turney tuned Komets continued to dominate 100cc racing in Britain, but more often than not it was Alan rather than Bernie who had carried out the tuning handiwork. Alans tuned Komet engines were being used by almost everyone in the British team, including Derek Bliss, the 1972 Junior World Champion. One or two other tuners such as Paul Deavin and Mick Fullerton were starting to become successful but they were invariably using Komet motors supplied by Tal-Ko.

Paul Burgess won the 1974 British Championships at Shenington using a Ferrari prepared Parilla, thus providing the first hint that Komet supremacy might be about to end. There was no shortage of work at Tal-Ko, however, and Alan was kept busier than ever preparing motors. The firm had already outgrown its premises in East London and there were plans to move outside the Metropolis. These plans came to fruition in 1976 when a purpose built factory was opened at Sandy in Bedfordshire. By this stage the firm was tuning Parilla motors as well as Komets. That same year the famous gearbox company Hewland had produced a 100cc motor specifically for karting, enlisting Guy Tipping and Ricky Grice as works drivers. Earlier British efforts included Aubrey Uptons Manx, Colin Walkers Swift and the Zip Zed from Martin Hines. Alan Turney took a look at the Hewland and decided that Tal-Ko could do even better.

The first TKM (Tal-Ko Motor) was produced in 1978 and immediately proved that it could compete favourably with the Parilla, BM, Sirio or any other 100cc engine. As orders for TKMs poured in, Alan began the next project to build an equally successful chassis. Paul Carr completed his stint at university and he helped to source tubing for the new kart which made its debut in 1980. Alan Gates had enjoyed a brief spell with Zip but switched to TKM as their works driver for 1981. After splitting with Paul Deavin, Mickey Allen also joined the team. Gates, in particular, proved to be a sensation on this kart and it was no surprise when he dominated the British Championships at Little Rissington. Partnering Terry Fullerton he also took 1st place for Britain in the European Championships that year.

Alan Gates lived quite nearby in Stevenage and we developed a good relationship. I still see quite a lot of him today, Turney points out. By winning the British Championships in 1981, he broke the Allen/Fullerton monopoly which had seen this pair claim nine out of the previous ten titles in Class 100 International, so you can see that it was quite an achievement. It was also the first time an all British outfit had won kartings premier class so we were well pleased. Alans success in the European Championships was another feather in our cap. That year there had been a big development in international karting. Bruno Grana had been making 135cc Komet engines for the American market and he persuaded the CIK to adopt this engine size for world championship events. The move hurt a lot of rival manufacturers but it didnt do us any harm. We made three different 135cc models and they helped us establish a market over in America. Later on, we developed a150cc motor specifically for this market.

This American connection would eventually have a major impact on British karting as it led eventually to the BT82 being developed a few years later. Yamaha had established a foothold in the United States and there was a specific class for these motors. This class was then opened up to other manufacturers and DAP took an interest. I was asked if TKM could provide a suitable motor and we designed a piston ported engine that offered high performance and more reliability than our rivals. I chose my dads initials BT. Hed passed away a couple of years earlier in 1982 so we added the number 82. Our BT82 engine dominated the USA class, winning many top titles. We did a similar thing with our new TKM KA100 engine which dominated UK karting in the early 90s taking top honours again. British karting had entered a period of decline and it was crying out for a class aimed at those competing on smaller budgets. The BT82 was ideal and so Formula TKM karting in Britain was born.

Im pleased that my father lived long enough to see Tal-Ko reach kartings pinnacle and very proud that his name still lives on with the BT82. Alan Turney

There arent many kart motors that stay around for 25 years, but Alan confidently expects the BT82 will be here for a good while longer. The KF classes were over-complicated and too expensive so its no great surprise that support has drained away, he insists. The BT82 offers traditional, cheap and simple racing with a level playing field which is something that we need more than ever today. That doesnt mean existing in a time warp exactly. We had to provide the option of a clutch many years ago and recently a TAG system has been provided for those who want it. Weve done a lot of work developing our clutched and TAG versions from the original direct drive model. A direct drive motor will always be marginally quicker but weve reduced the time differential down to a tenth of a second on most circuits. It then boils down to a question of personal choice. Some drivers opt for that little bit of extra speed offered by direct drive whilst others prefer to sacrifice such a small advantage knowing they can restart immediately following an accident or spin. That is invaluable looking at the bigger picture!

After a relatively quiet period on the chassis front, Tal-Ko have once again come up with a race winning design in 2010. Our karts have won for the last few years in 4 strokes but this season weve had very good results in the 2 stroke category also, says Alan. Ryan Cole and Joe Forsdyke have performed particularly well on the new Tal-Ko Veloce karts in the Super 1 Series. This exciting new model kart was developed taking full advantage of the new rules allowing 50mm Axles and the use of the New Age green label Maxxis tyres introduced into TKM for 2010.

13 years ago Tal-Ko embarked upon an ambitious project to develop a four stroke engine. I believed that was the direction international karting would be moving in, says Alan. I dont agree with those who claim that it was a mistake on our part. Sales have been reasonably buoyant at home and in Japan and were now establishing a significant market in Canada. We have sold around 500 units worldwide so this is another success story for TKM. We wanted to involve Cosworth in the design project from the start and I put forward an idea that allowed us to work with their apprentices as part of there training programme. The idea was well received at the planning stage, but this scheme was scrapped before it got started due to Cosworths change of ownership during a difficult stage at that time for them. Fortunately, one of their former head design employees was willing to complete the job. The design was carried out in house at Tal-Ko using both his expertise and my own understanding of what was required for karting. The end result turned out to be a high performance engine that is extremely durable. The initial price compares favourably with Rotax and maintenance costs are much lower, of course. Originally we used a remote outboard starter but will soon offer TAG as an option.

Having spent virtually the whole of his life in karting, Alan has clear ideas about its future development. Its become extremely diluted in recent years with a diminishing number of drivers spread over far too many classes. Now the MSA is introducing a Super Cadet class which will certainly impact upon Junior TKM and Mini-Max entries. I believe its a mistake to make this an open category because there will inevitably be a war between various manufacturers as they compete to produce the quickest engine. Prices will go through the roof. We proposed a one make category based upon the BT82 down-rated to produce 9 or 10 bhp and electronically controlled maximum revs of 14,000rpm. I still believe that to be a sensible way forward.

Alan and his wife Michele have two children. David, aged 25, is a solicitor whilst 26 year old Louise works as a buyer for Tesco. As yet, there are no plans for Tal-Ko products to appear on the shelves of Tesco. Neither David nor Louise chose to take up karting. Part of me would have liked to see them follow their old man but in the end Im quite happy that theyve chosen their own paths in life, Alan confesses. Ive had many good years in the sport and some of them have been outstanding. Im pleased that my father lived long enough to see Tal-Ko reach kartings pinnacle and very proud that his name still lives on with the BT82.