Written By: Grahame Butterworth
Well here it is…the official straight from the horse’s mouth version of what will happen with the Formula TKM regulations for 2007. We’ve touched on a lot of things over the past few months but this is the definitive version.
Firstly on homologation then as mentioned a couple of months ago that is now proceeding on the basis of karts and components being permitted from any country subject to having a UK agent who must be a British Kart Industry Association member.
I can tell you that at least two Italian manufacturers – CRG and Tecno – are developing karts for the class, while of course the usual group of UK companies are in there as well.
By relaxing this rule it allows a much easier time for the UK manufacturers who can now buy in overseas components at advantageous price and it also makes much easier (and cheaper) the whole homologation process.
But it should be stressed that the regulations themselves (barring one or two exceptions) have not been changed so that whatever comes from Italy will still have to meet exactly the same rules. Don’t expect to find new karts that go 2 secs a lap quicker!!
The main exception is on brakes where it is confirmed that new and old karts from next year will be able to use any brake system, providing it conforms to the existing Formula TKM brake rules. But don’t just go out and buy another one unless you really need to because in terms of performance it will make little difference.
However what it does do is allow much greater ease for both the kart makers and the customers. Kart manufacturers have previously had to homologate every brake change which is again costly and time consuming – and often happens just because the maker has changed a minor part. And customers with older karts have had a problem getting the right bits if something goes wrong.
The other exception is on seat stays where all the rule about the size of the stay and its mountings has been dropped. It makes life easier for everyone – and to be honest few of the TKM class karts benefit from them anyway.
As far as the class structure is concerned, while there has been great debate on what should happen and many theories discussed, the reality is that it will stay exactly where it is for 2007 – but with the proviso that there may well then be significant changes for 2008 and beyond.
Part of the complication here is that any significant change to a Junior class should then technically become a mandatory clutch class and it was felt that currently this might not be the best route. However watch this space for the future.
However Tal-Ko, the class owners, are not sitting still. There will definitely be a new noise box for next year which will be of a totally different design which will give at least the same power and will be very durable and suitable for the rigours of racing. It will be easier to fit and far sexier looking. This box will be an optional fitment so you do not have to fit it unless you want to.
And on the exhaust a lot of work is going into developing a new exhaust for 2007 which will also be an optional fit. The trick here is to reduce noise while at the same time at least matching if not improving performance. I’ll bring you more on that when I can.
Then there is the cost of everything and a real attack on bringing prices down. Tal-Ko are currently making a total review of all prices and the way in which some items are sold – for example engines.
The expectation is that new price packages will be put in place which make it easier for you the karter to see exactly what you are getting for your money, bring down the costs, and expand the options.
The same process is happening on the karts themselves which will have a higher looking price but only because it will now include many items which were previously add-ons.
Tyres are amongst the items being looked at and the promise is that overall your karting should cost less rather than more in 2007. Watch out for announcements on the new pricing before the end of the year.
One proposed rule which has been rejected was a neat little turn of phrase which would have allowed scrutineers to turn a blind eye to obvious accident damage that had happened during a race which would otherwise attract a penalty – things like a fin rubber missing or noise box trumpet missing.
To my mind this is a great shame because all too often perfectly innocent drivers end up with a disqualification through no fault of their own. What we should be trying to do is catch the cheats not penalise the innocent ones.
Oddly enough the same situation does not seem to apply with car racing where scrutineers are allowed to use more common sense on such things. So this is an issue that will not go away and I am sure that Tal-Ko will want to press this further. It is called keeping the customers happy – and that is what everyone in karting should be trying to do!
On the TKM 4-stroke front then there are no changes at all – except that the list of spark plugs approved will be updated because some of the current plugs are being revised in spec or availability. More news on that once the revisions are complete.
Switching subject, just to say that some great TV coverage of the Festival has just been on the screens on SkySport. If you missed it then a DVD compilation will be available soon. We’ll bring you the details just as soon as they are finalised.
Oh and on the subject of the Festival then next year’s date has now been confirmed as August???. Put it in your planner now.
And finally watch out before the end of the year for changes to the Tal-Ko website which will enable you to buy components much easier direct over the internet.