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Insider Information: KZ2

The Energy/TM KZ2 outfit as tested by Martin

Over the last few issues of Karting Magazine we have started covering the various gearbox classes available for drivers to compete in either club or national championships, i was asked recently by a driver if i was going to cover the 125 classes as he did not understand the structure at all and i must admit it is a little confusing so with the help of Sue Fairless i will try to explain how to get into this fantastic class that many rate as the only pure karting class to race.

A quick drive up the motorway to Wigan Three Sisters circuit and for a change a nice day, i was to drive a kart supplied by Andy Fairless on the Saturday practice which would give me 4 or 5 sessions throughout the day, strange how all these people lend me beautifully prepared karts with instructions of “enjoy yourself” and they still look happy !! As soon as i arrived the usual and customary insults were exchanged between us and i was told to “get on with it your out now”. Suitably kitted out, no leather suits are needed for short circuit gearbox, it was down to the dummy grid and ready for the off.

I have done gearbox racing before so the procedures were not strange to me but basically a hand clutch is used just for starting so it’s clutch in select first gear a short push, release the clutch and away you go either straight out onto the circuit or once the engine fires quickly pull the clutch in and the engine will keep running on the dummy grid to warm the engine up, no electric start. Select first gear, a fistful of revs release the clutch and hang on, immediately up the gearbox, no clutch is required to change the gears, similar to a motorbike, just lift off the power change gear and power on up to 60 mph in 4 seconds or less will try to leave your helmet back in the pits with ears attached !!


The basics of gearbox karting are easily mastered but to get to it crack on every corner, every lap, every time takes practice and work, top drivers have tried to move from other classes and soon realise that they are not going to win without more effort than they have had to use in the other direct drive classes, a combination of front brakes, gears and power take some getting used to, understanding your engine revs and knowing which gear to use in and out the corners is so important, miss a gear and the engine power goes and a train of karts go straight by while you are dropping a gear and building up speed again, a race won or lost by a gear change. The power produced is awesome, obviously by using gears you are always on power, into a corner, tremendous braking and changing down 3 or 4 gears in almost 3 or 4 feet, back on the power and pull through every gear reaching 90 to 100 mph in 6th gear on the short circuits, maximum power in every gear, pure racing, no comparison to direct drive at all.

Getting started in the short circuit 125 ICC UK (KZ2 UK) class is not as complicated as you may think, any chassis fitted with front brakes which can cost you anything from £1000 upwards depending on new or used and any single cylinder 125cc, water cooled, reed valve engine homologated by the CIK for the ICC class which will cost you around £1500 for a good secondhand unit, obviously the more you spend on equipment the better but that will get you racing and competitive, i was in an Energy kart with a TMK9 B engine fitted, standard short circuit crash tested bodywork is used. KZ1 uses the same basic equipment with more restrictions to the engine and gearbox, but KZ2 is the most popular class on short circuit due to the numbers on the grid and the additional costs in the KZ1 class. The class weight is 180kg with the kart weighing around 95 to 100 kg so it is ideal for any driver who is carrying a bit of ballest !!!

If you are mechanically minded the maintenance required on a gearbox kart is not as complicated as it looks, chassis is basically the same amount of work as any other class but the brakes need more work due to the front system, they need to be well bled and balanced because believe me you will need them!! Engine is not sealed and will require a full rebuild every year at a cost of aprox. £350 including the basic replacement parts, and a new piston kit is needed every 3 races events (3 practice days and 3 race meetings) and will cost aprox £60, obviously there are other things to go wrong like in all other classes but that is the basic maintenance required, add some good fuel and oil, run the engine in well and you should run all year.

There are 2 major championships the ABkC Super 4 where you will need a national A licence and the Northern Karting Federation (NKF) which is a club championship where you can race with a national B licence, circuits include (for 2010) Forest Edge, Fulbeck, Shenington, Rowrah, Rissington, Kimbolton, Wigan and Teeside with 6 rounds in each championship, 3 of the rounds in the Super 4 championship include the Masters which is run between the NKF and the British Superkart Association who run the long circuit meetings, the masters have 3 short circuit and 3 long circuit rounds during the season to give the short circuit drivers a chance to try long circuit racing, short circuit bodywork can still be used on the long circuit meetings in the masters but a full leather race suit must be worn. If you are racing in the Super 4 you get a free registration into the masters and every year one of the rounds is at the fantastic Cadwell Park circuit for the British Grand Prix, this year held on July 17/18.


Thats about it, easy really and not as difficult as i thought to get into 125 gearbox, it is as close as you will get to single seater racing with all the speed and performance as you will need, not for the faint hearted and don’t expect to master it in a weekend but if you like a challenge and need to prove to yourself you can race karts this is the class you need. Thanks to Sue and Andy Fairless for all their help and if you need any more information contact them on 015395 62256.

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KZ To Begin Season After Calendar Switch

Karting’s world governing body, the CIK-FIA, has been forced to bring its 2015 international season forward. The year was originally scheduled to begin with the Asia-Pacific KF Championship at Sugo in Japan on April 26. The European season was to begin with the KZ and KZ2 Championships at Sarno in Italy on May 10. But those championships will now be the season opener on April 19 with the meeting in Japan held back to April 26. The opening European KF and KF Junior meeting, scheduled  for May 24, will now take place on May 10. No other meetings are affected. The calendar is still subject to approval by the World Motor Sport Council.

“Due to circumstances unknown to us before, we have no option but to revise the dates of the first three events,” said CIK-FIA vice-president Kees van de Grint.

2015 CIK-FIA Calendar (provisional)

Date      Championship                                                         Circuit

Apr 19   European KZ/KZ2                                                Sarno, ITA

Apr 26   Asia-Pacific KF                                                       Sugo, JPN

May 10  European KF/Jr                                                    Portimao, PRT

May 24  European KZ/KZ2/Academy Trophy          Zuera, ESP

Jun 7     European Superkarts                                           Donington Park, GBR

Jun 21   European KF/Jr                                                     PFi, GBR

Jul 5      European Superkarts                                            Le Mans, FRA

Jul 12    European KZ/KZ2/Academy Trophy            Genk, BEL

Jul 26    European KF/Jr                                                     Kristianstad, SWE

Aug 2    European Superkarts                                            Assen, NLD

Sep 13  World KZ/Academy Trophy/Int’l KZ2 Supercup  Le Mans, FRA

Sep 27  World KF/Jr                                                             La Conca, ITA

Oct 11   Asia-Pacific KF/Jr/KZ                                          Macau

S1 Launch ‘Budget’ Class

The Super One Series have announced the Junior Max Academy tour in 2015, with seven weekends for £6000 including vat. The organisers claim it offers ‘an absolutely level playing field at an affordable cost’. It’s open to all National B and above licence holders who are in the year of their 13th birthday up to age 17. All you need is an engine mount, a trolley and of course a driver! The £6,000 includes an all new Rotax engine, race prepared and dyno tested for equality. The season long fee includes Rotax technical staff on hand to help. It includes all Race entry fees, Race tyres, Race test tyres, Race wet tyres, Fuel, Race oil, a new CRG kart and Junior Max engine on hire for practice and race.

New Evo Engine Causes A Stir

BRP, owners of the Rotax brand have officially announced the Rotax MAX EVO engine in Spain. The new engine is already proving a hot topic of conversation. These are the changes outlined by Rotax: New carburetor which offers a significantly improved throttle response and reduces the need to re-adjust the calibration at changing conditions, Electronic box with new ignition timing for different engine specifications results in optimized engine characteristics, Electronic timed exhaust valve ñ with exact timing. Two different switch points can be selected to allow an adaptation to individual driving preferences, New battery holder unit ñ with integrated combined switch (OFF/ON/START) ñ less complex installation at the chassis and easy to operate, New exhaust system ñ with split tuned pipe and silencer offers lower weight, reduced noise emissions and improved durability. New con rod ñ advanced hardening process allows improved lubrication, The changed profile of the piston allows a shorter break-in time and still provides a reduced wear rate.

As we go to press, the ABkC have announced that ‘At this late stage of announcement we would not see any EVO options in MSA racing for 2015 that are performance enhancing, unless for evaluation purposes, and will work closely with the MSA to determine the best way forward for the competitor.’ Watch this space.

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European KZ 2014 – Wackersdorf, Germany

Stock-FlagWackersdorf, Germany: July 13, 2014

The second of three competitions for the three categories at Wackersdorf completely fulfilled its duty of reviving the struggle for the titles.

Following the decision to approve a new front fairing attachment to fight against incidents on the track, the CIK-FIA chose to implement the fairings for the first time at Wackersdorf in the Academy Trophy.

Kakunoshi Ota, the winner of the opening Academy Trophy final in Belgium, Dutch drivers Rinus Van Kalmthout and Richard Verschoor as well as Berkay Besler were the four to contest the final, but the surprise came from French driver Alexandre Vromant, who just qualified by taking sixth position in the Second Chance Heat. It took him ten laps to reach the leading group and then escaped to victory. Verschoor took second place.

The KZ2 final started on a wet track which gradually dried. The wet tyre pressures used by all drivers played an increasingly prominent role over the laps.Simas Juodvirsis (Energy-Maxter-B’stone) stormed from his 13th place on the grid. Second from the 7th lap, he would gain 4 places in nine laps and grab the lead. While Juodvirsis crossed the finish line as the winner, Jan Midrla passed the flag 17 seconds later ahead of John Norris and Maik Siebecke. But a ten-second penalty handed to Midrla gave the second step of the podium to Norris and 3rd to Siebecke.

In a superb KZ Final, Jonathan Thonon (Praga-Parilla-B’stone) had to time his attack well to make a difference. Marco Ardigo retired mid-race due to a mechanical problem while holding 5th. Behind Thonon, Rick Dreezen managed to get the better of Bas Lammers five laps from the end, Flavio Camponeschi regained five positions to finish fourth from Jordon Lennox-Lamb. Paolo De Conto erased the negativity by moving up from 27th to 7th place.


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On Board Camera with Anthony Abbasse – KZ World Championship 2013 – Varennes

OK, so it doesn’t get anywhere clsoe to the fun you’d get from driving a KZ kart, but let’s be honest, you don’t have to shell out £2,000 to rebuild the engine either.

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Onboard Max Verstappen at Genk for the European Championship KZ

Want to know what it’s like to take a KZ to the limit? well jump onboard with top karter Max Verstappen at Genk in the Euro Championships. Euro mullet and mirrored glasses are a must have to fully appreciate this video.

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Successful Senior Rotax driver Edward Brand made his debut in KZ2 in the WSK Super Master Series at Sarno driving a factory Intrepid / TM. “I started running in KZ last week!” he says. “Everything is new, the class, the tyres and even the circuit that I was learning. This is a change from Rotax! The first go is of course exciting, but I still don’t know where I’ll be in the pack. If all goes well, I should be running a full KZ program in CIK-FIA and WSK races this year. In the meantime, I have work to do!”

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Gearbox News: Leijtens receives drugs ban

Lennox-Lamb wins at La Conca
Lennox-Lamb wins at La Conca

KZ2 driver Kevin Leijtens tested positive for THC (a metabolite of cannabis), which is on the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

He was taking part in the Deutsche Kart Meisterschaft (DKM) on 11th September 2011, an event registered in the CIK-FIA International Sporting Calendar,

The FIA Anti-Doping Disciplinary Committee (ADC) held a hearing on this case by telephone on 20 December 2011 and concluded that an Anti-Doping Rule Violation according to Article 2.1 of the FIA Anti-Doping Regulations – “Presence of a Prohibited Substance or its Metabolites or Markers in a Driver’s Sample” – was established.

As a consequence, the ADC has decided to impose the following sanctions:
1) A Sanction of Ineligibility for a period of one year, starting on 11 September 2011 and expiring on 11 September 2012;
2) Disqualification of the result obtained by the athlete in the event, as well as any competitive results achieved as from 11 September 2011, with all of the resulting consequences including forfeiture of any trophies, points and prizes.

Leijtens has not appealed this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within the 21 days allowed.

Headline: Euro Champ takes Margutti win
Standfirst: Fabian Federer has won the Margutti Trophy after a crushing race well ahead of Massimo Dante.

Paolo Bonetti took pole but was 18th after the heats with a win but also a crash.

Fabian Federer was 2nd in Qualifying close behind Bonetti. But he took three consecutive wins in the heats to lead the Intermediate classification ahead of Massimo Dante who won twice. Federer lost out to Dante at the start of the Prefinal but the race was slowed for five laps after a crash that put Marc Freimann out for the rest of the day. When the field was released Federer held the lead but was attacked by Dante for the rest of the race.

Jordon Lennox-Lamb was 3rd in Qualifying and stayed in that position after the heats. After the restart of the Prefinal Alberto Cavalieri attacked Lennox-Lamb for 3rd and passed after an intense battle, the Brit finishing in 6th.

The Final was a quieter affair with Federer leading all the way and Dante taking advantage of troubles for Cavalieri to take an equally unchallenged 2nd. Massimo Mazzali was 3rd initially before Lennox-Lamb attacked on lap 6 but eventually Bonetti showed that none of his early speed had gone by passing both of them for 3rd.

Headline: European Superkart grows
Standfirst: For the first time since its revival in 2002, the CIK-FIA European Superkart Championship will comprise 4 events. The last ten championships have always had three rounds – except in 2003, when only two rounds took place.

The first round, on 22nd April, will mark the return of the European Championship to the circuit of Hockenheim, which was last visited in 2006.

In July, all the drivers – except a few British drivers who raced there in April 2011 – will go to Snetterton for the first time and its new 5.2km circuit.

The more traditional events of Assen and Le Mans will be held in August and September.

The reigning Champion Emmanuel Vinualès and the runner-up Gavin Bennett, who were neck and neck until the last race of 2011, will continue their intense duel.

The first entries see some changes:

  • The Czech Adam Kout’s MS Kart chassis will be powered by a DEA engine (twice European Champion make with Vinualès and Bennett) instead of a VM.
  • The Finn Vesa Lehtinen has also opted for the Italian engine.
  • Germany’s Guido Kleinemeyer has replaced his Anderson/BRC unit with a PVP/DEA combination.
  • Amongst the other entries are Lee Harpham, who is back after two sabbatical seasons, Stefan Malm, Daniel Hentschel, Henrik Lilja, Jürgen Reinke and James O’Reilly.