Tag Archives: low budget karting

Focus On : TYRO

The ‘TYRO’ class is designed to give youngsters a crucial step into racing without breaking the (your) bank.

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There’s a relatively new class called TYRO, a low budget class designed to get more kids into karting. The series launched in March 2013 and provides those initial and important ‘first steps’ and helps to encourage the family atmosphere that karting can do so well but can also be lacking from other series. It’s a cost-effective series to compete in, with drivers between the ages of 11 and 15 getting out on track. The series is on a level-playing field, with driver skill being the key point. The class not only provdes a place to race but also a training ground for skills development. The series was founded by Father and son, Steve and Gary Chapman, along with Tim Gillard. Together they have over a century of experience within many different aspects of karting, and run the club championship-style series Rissington Kart Club.

Who better than this trio to get any budding World Champion the best of starts possible? There are nine drivers that compete at Rissington on the first weekend of every month; starting in March over ten race weekends. The MSA-recognized class is growing in numbers and recognition, as they have also been invited to race meetings at Shenington, Fulbeck and the forthcoming National Championship event of NatSKA at Whilton Mill in July. THE KART: The Gillard Junior TYRO is the uniform kart used in the series, with Tim himself being a part of the Motor Sports Association Kart Technical Working Group, having built karts in varying competitions. It conforms to international bodywork specifications, as well as being powered by a 95cc Radne Raket engine, which is a TAG (Touch And Go) unit that only needs to be routinely maintained ‘TYRO’ every 50 hours. It runs on Heidenau RDD intermediate tyres, which allow the kart to predictably slide, giving the driver vital experience of throttle and steering control. The engine and gear ratios are sealed, which prevents premature wear and ensures reliability. This also adds to that cost-effective ethos that is a key part of the concept.

The only adjustments that can be made to the kart is tyre pressures and wheel positions, which gives that emphasis on driver progression, but also helps to get the family involved all round. No further costs or upgrades can be made, as it provides a steady set of rules for all to follow. Drivers get up to two ‘taster’ sessions, costing £127 plus VAT, where equipment is provided. That way, families can get a feel for what’s involved before diving in at the deep end. One of the benefits of TYRO is that drivers don’t need to pay for the ARKS test, medical and MSA Pack that cost up to £250. Costs are further reduced as the awning and race management is provided through Protrain Racing, meaning drivers have less kit to buy and they can all club together in a communal space.

We spoke with Steve Chapman, one of the TYRO founders. Stevey believes that TYRO brings back that family aspect of karting that is missing in a lot of the lower tiers. “We encourage the family to come along and be a part of it, as it really is part and parcel of what karting is meant to be about. It is all about having fun and enjoying the racing and remaining friends throughout. The children may be fighting on track, but they are clearly friends off it. We even had a lovely BBQ last year, which makes it so worthwhile.” he said. Driver Aiden Rudge, who is leading the series, which doesn’t actually have an overall title, explained how much training actually goes on during the weekends: “The new people get taught how to drive, told about the rules, regulations and flags.

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There are always people around who know everything about the kart as well.” Olivia Holt, who also races in the series, summed up her love for the sport, having truly been bitten by the racing bug: “I can’t stop karting, as it is in my blood.” COSTS: The kart itself is £2948 plus VAT to purchase, and also comes with a TYRO membership. A kart trolley costs around £160. Tyres cost around £100 a set. Entry fees for a race weekend, including a test day are £105, but will be reduced by a further £10 per day of testing and racing if a karting club membership is purchased at £60 per year. Budget around £500 for race wear including a helmet. All in all, it would be around £1444 per year of competition per driver, which makes TYRO one of the most appealing series to start off in at around £28 per week. TYRO proves that racing isn’t just about winning. Sure, winning counts for a lot but along the way, many clubs and series may have forgotten that people kart for more than just trophies; they do it to learn new skills, make life-long friends, spend time together as a family and most of all, they do it to have fun!

A Beginner’s Diary: Part 4 – Into the Fray

Leaving the pits for my first race heat seemed a pretty comfortable experience. After the practice of the previous day, there was a familiar routine to getting the kart round on cold tyres while keeping up the pace with the drivers ahead. The “Esses” at Forest Edge in Hampshire were no longer the obstacles of dread. So as the karts in front weaved left-right to get heat into the tyres, I followed the herd on this Sunday morning. This weekend I came armed with 8 fewer kilos at the scales after a crash diet, so could enjoy the luxury of adding weight to the kart to get to 177kg, as well as a better fitting suit.

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One thing I hadn’t tried before was the rolling start and it was uppermost in my mind through the decent into the “Wingers Dip” and the long rise through the back of the circuit. To get things moving, half the track was cut off for the rolling start which meant short-circuiting the Bus Stop chicane along this back straight. As the pack turned right, I caught sight of the lights over the start-finish line and realised that now it was racing — For Real ™. Except that it wasn’t as the pack wasn’t properly formed up so another lap we did. Good news for me as it always takes three laps to get any decent heat into my tyres.

 

So back through the Esses, Wingers and Up Hill the karts flowed once again. As we reached the chicane, the pack was properly assembled and after the turn right, this time it was going to happen. A second later, 125cc engines roared like the Charge of the Light Brigade. My 28-odd horses were in full flight past the start-finish line, but quite a distance back from the kart ahead. I didn’t care too much as crashing at Haynes Loop was something to be avoided like the plague. Starting at the back was probably a good idea as the pack soon peeled off into the distance.

 

The first few laps were conservative even by my standards, but I stayed on track and passed a couple of drivers who’d ended up in the dirt. By lap three I was in full flight, caning chicanes with wild abandon and hammering through Haynes with all the grip my CRG machine could muster. This was awesome fun. It wasn’t long before the inevitable blue flag was waved in front to signal the fastest karts were behind me and needed to pass. I moved offline to allow them to keep their fast lines and race pace. Then — as if from nowhere — the chequered flag appeared – just as I was getting going.

 

As we peeled off the track I was relieved I had finished in one piece. Soon I was back at the Wright Technology Centre, where my Race Engineer, David, assessed the performance. “A bad start …” he rightly concluded. Rather than keep close to the back end of the machine in front, I was so far back Cornwall was in sight. I knew to be really competitive you needed to literally push the kart in front over the start but I’ll try that when I get more experienced. Analysis of my lap times on the Mychron 4 revealed consistent 47s laps which was brilliant for me. On the weekend session beforehand 49s felt to be on the ragged edge so “seat time” was really paying dividends. David’s father, Colin, asked how the kart felt and to me it was great … lots of preparation the previous day had delivered a really good set up.

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Saturday’s work was invaluable and I strongly advise all newly-approved ARKS racers to do as much as possible. I’d reached the stage where I was no longer fighting the kart, instead easing it through the twists and turns of the track. I was still a few seconds off race pace but I’m confident this will fall with more driving. Another experienced 177 driver at Forest Edge is Chris Hartridge, whose son also races with Wright Racing. First thing that day, he and David took me on a track walk and talked through each corner for grip, entry point, throttle and braking position. It was an excellent lesson in preparation. For example, going into the Bus Stop, I should blip the throttle to pump fuel into the carburettor and that should make it much more throttle responsive out of the corner. On the exit, I should also take some kerb as the slight unloading of the kart will allow the engine to build revs more quickly in time for the straight. It made a difference.

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Another tip is to gauge performance with another competitor. There are six 177 ARKS newbies, and my chosen “shadow” is Rob Ruddy. He’s a bit faster than me and a bit more fluent around the track. By using him as a benchmark I’ll hopefully improve at a realistic rate. I put that into effect during Saturday practice and examined where he was strong and less strong on track. I’d discovered I could catch him through the corners but lost him in the straights. Haynes gave me good traction and exit speed and by the time of the Esses I could get close to Rob. Another opportunity was into Wingers – and it was here I tried an overtaking move. As we accelerated through Down Hill, Rob left the door open through Ansons turn, so I dived into the gap. We were wheel-to-wheel as both karts emerged from the corner on full throttle. Forces were pushing my kart towards the outer edge of the track and this, of course, was where Rob was positioned. He ended up with two wheels on the dirt as I pushed through the corner, but thankfully nothing more dramatic than that. It felt like a good move, albeit perhaps a bit too ambitious on my part.

 

Attaching yourself to a team is a must for the new driver. The experience of those in the know vastly outweighs the costs. On one of my practice laps, I lost all power though Haynes and coasted into the pits. God knows what had gone wrong. Back at the WTC, David and Colin set about the fault finding process with careful examination of the carburettor, fuel pump etc… The fault was traced back to a dead spark plug, something which also drastically curtailed the success of Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull in Bahrain a couple of weeks later.

 

While they don’t all cost of the earth, replacing parts does mount up. During one of the Sunday heats, while negotiating Haynes, I was whacked up the rear and the front of the CRG ended up tangled in the steering mechanism of Rob’s kart. The pile up was caused by another newbie barrelling in further back on cold brakes and tyres. My first reaction to this first racing accident was to throw my hands in the air and swear into the helmet. Once I had engaged brain, I realised I needed to get going. Un-mating the CRG from Rob’s chassis got me moving once again – with no apparent damage. The kart felt good through the Esses and into Wingers. It was only on my return to the pits that I discovered the right hand-steering track rod was bent like a banana. A quick repair job got me out on track for the 177 Final. Race completed, we waited for the results and it wasn’t a huge surprise to learn I was last – even though I finished. But the differences with the winner, Nick Maton, were stark. His average speed was 52.10mph, mine was 46.22mph; his best lap was 43.19s, mine was 47.31s. Also, the fastest guys were quickest around lap three; the novices mostly lap 6 to 8. More homework needed on where I’m losing time and more seat time for sure (I already have a few ideas).

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Even though karting is seen my many outside the sport as a bit of recreational fun on a Saturday, it’s interesting to see current F1 drivers using karting as a serious training tool. Last year it was no surprise that Michael Schumacher trained on KZ-class machinery to see how his neck – and general fitness – were coping. The lack of power steering and considerable forces on the body make it a discipline to keep establish racers “honest”. Felipe Massa at the Bahrain Grand Prix also referred to karting during his rehabilitation. And it was heartening of all to learn that Mark Webber had got out in a Rotax machine a week before this year’s Australian Grand Prix – albeit for fun more than anything. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see him at Forest Edge. I’d even bring a few tinnies for that Saturday evening.

 

Next time: Forest Edge track gets an overhaul – with awesome results

 

 

 

 

PICTURE CAPTION TEXT:

 

Kart_1: 8 kilos lighter meant a new suit

Picture: Stephen Rees

 

Kart_2: Charging through “Haynes” – great grip out of this corner

Picture: Stephen Rees

 

Kart_3: On the brakes into the tight “Bus Stop” chicane

Picture: Stephen Rees

 

Combat_1: Battling with Rob Roddy into “Wingers Dip”

Picture: Edward Partridge

 

Combat_3: Closing in for the pass on my fellow ARKS novice

Picture: Edward Partridge

 

Combat_4: “…I have you now young Skywalker….”

Picture: Edward Partridge

 

Chris_H: Chris Hartridge’s invaluable track walk and tips saved at least a second during practice

[note to Mark: his name is spelt correctly] No picture credit needed

 

Pack: The kart in front is – whatever you like apart from mine

Picture: Edward Partridge

 

Spark_plug: Race engineer David isolating the cause of engine failure: a dead spark plug

No picture credit needed

 

Wheels: Colin Wright using lasers to adjust toe-in

No picture credit needed

 

Wheels_2: Colin Wright using lasers to adjust toe-in

No picture credit needed

 

Gearbox: Gearbox boys waiting for the green flag for practice

Picture: Edward Partridge

Cadet Column – Big-money teams ruin the spirit of karting?

When big-money teams fill grids at a local club meeting, is it a chance for local drivers to pick up tips or does it ruin the spirit of the meeting?

It began 50 years ago this month with an exchange of letters in the “Smethwick Telephone”, a local Staffordshire newspaper that is now defunct. What followed was a series of racist leaflets and playground chants that led to a long serving MP losing his seat six months later. Smethwick is a small town near Birmingham but, to members of my generation, its name will be forever associated with arguably the most disgraceful campaign in British electoral history. Patrick Gordon-Walker had held the safe Labour seat for 19 years. His Conservative opponent, Peter Grffiths, accused him of being soft on immigration and leaflets were published with the slogan “If you want a nigger neighbour, vote Labour.” Patrick Gordon- Walker’s political career was destroyed but Griffiths remained a Tory MP until 1997.

None of today’s politicians would dare to use such intemperate language but quite a number have played the “race card”. I find all forms of racism repugnant, but I do have some sympathy with those communities who feel their lifestyles are threatened by a mass influx of people from different cultural backgrounds. Similarly, I felt sorry for a handful of local cadet drivers last month when they suddenly found themselves up against 20 top ranked stars as the big teams arrived at Rowrah. They were there to try out the circuit prior to forthcoming Super 1 and Little Green Man Rounds. In order to get through a heavy programme, entries in IAME cadet had been capped at 30 and two or three late applications were refused. I don’t know whether or not any of these were locals, but there would be some understandable resentment if that was the case. One of the attractions in staging a major championship round is that entries at preceding meetings will inevitably rise. That has always been the case, but such increases used to occur in manageable proportions. Top drivers were always welcomed at venues that normally didn’t attract such star quality and regulars relished an opportunity to test their skills against recognised opposition. However, the decision of where or when leading drivers race in club events has now become largely a corporate one.

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Instead of several individuals deciding to take part in a particular meeting, we have large teams consulting with each other and virtually taking over a meeting. Imagine that you are operating as a lad and dad outfit, or even perhaps racing in a small local team. Your racing budget is, say £6,000 per year and doesn’t extend to more than a couple of meetings away from home. You could be enjoying regular podium positions with good prospects for the club championships. One or two top contenders arriving from far afield won’t overly disrupt your day’s racing and might well spice things up so that you actually benefit from the experience. Your attitude might change if, instead of contesting a top three place, you are fighting over 21st position. Members of Fusion, Next Gen, AIM, Eclipse and several other high ranking outfits might ostensibly be competing on the same make of equipment as you, but their budgets are at least ten times bigger. Money talks, but in motor racing circles it positively screams.

These days there’s a strong tendency for team members to remain cocooned in their own communities. In between races, they’ll play with their own team-mates and, on occasion, perhaps one or two from rival outfits will be included. Only rarely, however, will such invitations be extended to those outside the main teams. It’s good to talk and, in previous years, many locals have picked up some useful tips simply by chatting with drivers from afar It would be a nice gesture by the team managers if they could foster this kind of dialogue once more. As yet there are no tangible signs of a major rift developing, certainly not on Smethwick proportions anyway. However, the ingredients have been assembled and we should be aware, at least, that something is simmering in the pot

Watching The Pennies

Gaby Weyer 2

“Nothing became him in this life so much as the leaving of it!” I can’t remember who first uttered these words, or at whom they were actually aimed, but they could easily apply to the WTP class which, by all accounts, is currently in its death throes. Attending this year’s Little Green Man rounds, you’d never guess that the patient is terminally ill. Despite a slightly reduced entry list, the quality of racing has been very high indeed, reminiscent of those earlier days when over 60 drivers were registered and quite a few others had to be turned away. Six years ago, it looked as though WTP was about to take off big time, but the anticipated lift off never quite happened. It’s unfortunate because a healthy WTP class with reasonably priced motors and low maintenance costs would have brought tremendous benefits to karting in general and cadet racing in particular.  Many former participants have come forward to express their dismay that the engines are no longer being produced. Everyone, it seems, has fond memories of this class and it’s rather like attending a funeral service where no-one wants to speak ill of the dead. It’s nice to be remembered with affection, although personally I’d prefer being intensely disliked but still very much alive.

With three rounds completed four likely candidates for the Little Green Man title have now emerged. Fate dealt a very unkind blow to Alex Stott in Round 2 when his track rod sheared, but he bounced back at Wigan to record an excellent victory. Provided that he doesn’t suffer any further misfortunes Alex should be in with a strong shout at the end. In pole position at this moment is Cory Stevens, but his margin over Sam Priest, the 2nd place contender, can literally be measured in thousandths of a second. At each round, two bonus points are awarded to whoever sets the fastest lap time. At Wigan, Cory’s fastest lap was recorded as 47.862 seconds. Sean Gee, another strongly fancied title contender, set a time of 47.865 seconds. That differential of 0.003 seconds was sufficient for Cory to collect the two extra points and he now leads the championships by just one point. If there’s a closer championship battle anywhere else in karting, I’ve yet to be made aware of it.

Pippa Coleman, Louise Richardson and Hannah Pym are young ladies who have all done very well in previous Little Green Man Championships. Of particular note was Pym’s achievement last year in finishing as the runner up to Matthew Graham. This year another young female has been impressing onlookers with her obvious speed. Less than 12 months after first entering the sport, Gaby Weyer turned quite a few heads at Kimbolton where she finished amongst the top six prize-winners. She comes from a motor racing family and her dad, Mark, used to compete regularly in Radical Sports-car events. However, Liverpool fan Gaby confesses that she used to be more interested in football than motor sport.

“I play soccer for the White Woman Lane U12 team in Norwich,” she says. “I’m also involved in running and particularly like taking part in Cross Country races. My best subject at school is obviously PE. I like watching F1 on television and my favourite driver is Jenson Button. I would never have thought about karting until my younger brother Tom entered the sport. After Tom started, I wanted to have a go myself and we bought an ARC/Comer kart. I swapped it for a Tonykart before my first race. Tom initially ran on a Zip but he’s now on a Tonykart, too. Apart from the Little Green Man, we both run in the Formula Kart Stars Championships. I prefer racing in WTP because it’s less intense and a lot more fun. There’s a lot less contact out on the circuit and I think that people are generally friendlier.”

Up until very recently Gaby ran with RL Racing whereas Tom could be found in Neil Berryman’s Energy Corse team. Last month, however, Mark Weyer decided to set up his own team which, apart from Tom and Gaby, now includes Thomas Day. “Fortunately Jamie Croxford is still acting as my mechanic. He’s very good at setting up my kart and has got lots of karting knowledge,” Gaby points out. “Although we are now racing in the same team I think there’ll still be rivalry between Tom and myself. We raced together in Round 2 of the Formula Kart stars Championships at Whilton Mill where Tom actually beat me. It’s the first time he’s finished ahead of me in a race and I wasn’t very happy about it. I think beating me has improved his confidence but I’ll still be working hard to make sure it doesn’t happen again for a long time.”

Whilst racing himself, Jamie Croxford established an enviable reputation both at home and abroad, frequently outshining Europe’s top drivers. “I wouldn’t say that working on karts is quite as good as actually racing them,” he concedes. “Nevertheless, it’s very satisfying to watch Gaby and Tom improving their skills, knowing that I’ve played some part.” Mark also claims that he’s deriving a lot of satisfaction from running his own outfit. Gaby’s mother Andrea confesses that she doesn’t quite share the family passion for motor racing. “If they decided to pack it all in right now, I wouldn’t be at all unhappy, but it doesn’t look as though that’s likely to happen,” she admits. “With a firm shake of the head, Gaby insists “I’m going to be around for quite a while yet!.”.

Off Track

Sissons

Call out the Instigators, Because there’s something in the air, We’ve got to get together sooner or later, Because the Revolution’s here. Thunderclap Newman (“Something in the Air” 1969)

By Dave Bewley
Down at Motorsports House radical changes are afoot and many knickers have been getting in a twist. Team bosses mutter about moving their operations abroad, while some of the richer clubs complain that they’ll be forced into liquidation. There’s a whiff of revolution in the air as conspirators whisper darkly about setting up a rival governing body even though such attempts have always met with abject failure on previous occasions.

Much, if not all of the discontent is focused on an idea to run the British Championships over three rounds with regional qualifiers. As this plan also involves dispensing with the various national championships now running, there is widespread consternation amongst teams, organisers and participating clubs that their income will be radically reduced.

My own club will be particularly affected. This year, Rowrah has already benefitted from lucrative FKS and S1 Rotax rounds, together with a very successful ABkC O Plate meeting. In addition, another S1 round is scheduled for September, this time taking in MSA and TKM classes. Club meetings in the months leading up to these events attract greatly enhanced entries so losing them will certainly have an impact upon the Balance Sheet.

The first British Kart Championships in 1961 were held over a single meeting at Brands Hatch. By all accounts it wasn’t particularly well organised and several competitors complained about wrecking their karts after hitting the wooden sleepers which marked the circuit. Tony Sisson was happy enough as he became the first of eight outright British Champions.

For the next two years, the championships were contested over eight rounds. Bobby Alderdice, the 16 year old son of an American airman, won in 1962 and George Bloom, almost 40 years his senior, claimed victory 12 months later. Some competitors complained about travelling to eight different circuits, claiming that many talented drivers were being excluded because of the costs involved.

This led to a different arrangement in 1964 when regional qualifying rounds were held with a final taking place at Shenington where more than 200 drivers turned out. So keen was the competition for places in this prestigious event that many qualifiers had reputedly sold their entries to less fortunate drivers. Amazingly Bruno Ferrari won three of the six class titles on offer, but it was Chris Lambert who emerged as the outright British Champion.

The same formula was repeated in 1965 when Chris Merlin came away from Debden as the outright champion. In 1966 the championships were held over three rounds at Fulbeck, Flookburgh and Brand Hatch. Mickey Allen claimed the outright title after a tense battle with Paul Fletcher. It was back to a single round formula in 1967 when Dave Ferris won the number 1 plate at Little Rissington. Stephen South was successful the following year at Shenington.

“The British Championships could be decided over a single weekend with S1 winners allocated “O” Plate titles.”

By 1969, the championships had grown too big for a single event and they were split into two groups. Flookburgh played host to the gearbox classes and Fulbeck was chosen for all of the 100cc categories. It was decided to dispense with the title of outright British Champion. Instead of a single driver being allowed to sport the number 1 plate, we suddenly had six. With hindsight, I feel that this was a mistake and has led to widespread confusion with literally dozens of drivers now claiming that they are British karting champions.

The British Championships in various classes continued to be contested over a single meeting right up until 1991. Before then the popular Super One Series was allocated national O Plate status. There’s a very persuasive argument that titles won over several rounds ought to carry more weight than any of those decided at a single meeting. However, it’s also true that, with only a couple of exceptions, the World Championships have been held at a single venue each year.

The argument almost 50 years ago that multi-round championships excluded competitors on low budgets is even more valid today. In 1962 many competitors were travelling to each round and returning back home in a single day with no hotel bills involved. In 2011 drivers tend to allocate five days for each meeting. Whereas ten years ago Super One contenders were recognised chiefly for their ability, the main distinguishing feature now is that they’ve all got sizeable budgets.

I sympathise with the view at Motor Sports House that British Championships need to become more inclusive. You can achieve this without necessarily causing a major upheaval. For one year, purely as an experiment, the roles could be switched back to how they were before 1991. That means MSA British Championships being decided in one weekend, with S1 winners allocated O Plate titles. It probably wouldn’t succeed in keeping everyone happy but at least there would be no need to “call out the Instigators”.

YOUNG ‘UNS

Little Green Man WTP Karting ChampionshipLast month I had a flutter on the Grand National. It wasn’t much to write home about, just a couple of quid in the annual sweepstake at work. If the local bookmaker was relying on my custom, he’d have gone bankrupt a long time ago.

 Unfortunately, I drew a rank outsider and lost my £2 but, in karting today, you can find many parents who are staking obscene amounts of cash on what will remain, for the vast majority, nothing more than a pipedream. It isn’t just money that they stand to lose, either. In some cases they’re gambling with their children’s self confidence and future happiness. Just as the aristocracy once purchased parliamentary seats for favoured sons, these people are attempting to buy their way into F1.

40 years ago, after winning his first British title at senior level, Terry Fullerton let it slip that his ultimate aim was to become the world champion. We believed it to be a rather precocious ambition, but Terry proved us wrong, Now we have many kids as young as six or seven expressing the same desire, except that they aren’t referring to karting’s world crown, but rather Formula One’s top prize.

Whereas Fullerton achieved his stated goal within two years, today’s Bambinos with exceptional talent, enormous amounts of cash and extraordinary good fortune must wait ten times as long before they’ll be setting the Formula One world alight. It’s entirely natural that young drivers want to emulate the top stars in motor racing, but they shouldn’t be taught by over ambitious parents that F1 success is of supreme importance. Ex F1 driver and current TV presenter Tiff Needell advises, “If you’re racing a kart, enjoy it, because you may never get any further.”

Operating under such intense pressure, it’s difficult to see how anyone can actually be enjoying the experience.

Because Button, Hamilton, Di Resta and almost every other top F1 star were cadet champions, making an immediate impact upon the karting scene has assumed paramount importance. There’s no time to learn the sport properly by doing a couple of seasons in club racing. Everything must be done at record breaking pace and the absolute priority is to get into a top team that can produce race winning performances almost straight away. Operating under such intense pressure, it’s difficult to see how anyone can actually be enjoying the experience and that applies especially to mum and dad.

 

Carolynn Hoy suggests that Formula Kart Stars entrants should have experienced racing at club level for one or two seasons. That’s sound advice from someone who has enjoyed a very successful association with motor racing for almost 35 years. Recently I attended the opening FKS rounds at Rowrah where there was no shortage of ambition or money. The huge transporters, luxurious motor-homes and expansive awnings have now become integral parts of every major championship event. They certainly make an impressive picture, although whether potential new starters are encouraged or positively deterred by such opulence is a matter for debate.

There was certainly no sign of any FKS competitors turning up at Rowrah with their karts on roof-racks, although I remember Aidan Charity competing in Little Green Man rounds with all his equipment jammed inside a tiny Ford Fiesta. Since moving into TKM, Aidan sold his WTP motors to Walker Racing and they’ve now been acquired by Daniel Milner, a twelve year old novice driver who astounded everyone at the PFI Little Green Man meeting by taking 6th spot. It perhaps shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise that Daniel and his dad Dave arrived with their kart in a Peugeot 405 estate car.

“It’s a bit inconvenient because, even though she’d love to come with us, we haven’t got room for Mandy, Daniel’s mum,” admitted Dave. “Daniel has been obsessed with karting and 18 months ago we bought him an old 1996 Kosmic chassis with a Comer S60 motor. We switched to a second-hand BRM/W60 shortly afterwards and did some non MSA races at Tattershall. Daniel was attracted to the idea of competing in a national championship but I quickly realised that Super 1 and Stars would be beyond our budget and we decided upon the Little Green Man instead”.

 

To maximise Daniel’s chances of success, a new Arrow chassis was purchased from Neil Walker, along withy the ex Aidan Charity motors. “The opening Little Green Man round at PFI was Daniel’s first race at an MSA meeting,” Dave revealed. “I’ll be the first to admit that he was lucky to finish 6th after a few top drivers dropped out. Even so, I was surprised at how well he performed and we were both delighted with the result.”

Dave has an engineering background and currently restores classic cars. He’s been quick to pick up on the nuances of karting and intends to continue running Daniel by himself. “No doubt Daniel will single out certain drivers as role models, but the person I’d like to emulate is Dave Charity,” he insists. “He didn’t have large amounts of cash to throw around but devoted lots of time and patience instead. Aidan eventually became one of the top drivers in WTP and I’d love to see Daniel achieve the same success.”

Neil Walker remains very optimistic about Daniel’s prospects. “I wasn’t able to attend the PFI meeting but gave Dave some basic settings for the Arrow. He’s very methodical in preparing the kart and his efforts were repaid by a very impressive result. I’m very pleased for both father and son. Daniel is a capable young driver who will quickly develop the necessary race-craft to succeed.”

The Milner household isn’t getting carried away by this result. “I know that 2011 will be very much a learning year for him, but our target is a top 15 spot which might just be achievable” Dave speculates. “His friend Harry Whittaker achieved 15th place in last year’s championships and so Daniel has his eyes fixed firmly on that particular target. I’m hoping that the WTP class can survive for another year afterwards and we’ll set our sights on a few podium finishes in 2012.”