Karting in the year 1974: a history

JANUARY 1974

Gary Latham at Morecambe was on the cover. The main article was on Terry Fullerton’s equipment and preparation when he won the World Championship. We visited Dave Hockey’s premises to see the Bultaco that Reg Gange Jnr. borrowed to win the World Cup. There was great interest in our photos of an American front engined kart with front wheel drive and a rocket-powered kart. A vital step in the establishment of a British kart motor industry was the launch by Aubrey Upton of his 100cc Manx engine.Secondhand karts with motors were advertised at: 100cc – £85 to £150, Villiers machines – £100 to £250, 250cc – £200 to £500.

FEBRUARY 1974

The Montesa MX250VR motor, having suddenly acquired crinkled finning, became the subject of intense arguments as to whether the appearance still complied with the homologation. This new version was one of the most powerful 250cc motors then available. 1974 saw the Villiers class change its name to 210 National. To keep up with Parilla, Komet took the step of producing a TT version of their K88 model. Tal-Ko responded with their own-grown ‘7 porting’ and dual carbs for Komets.

MARCH 1974

Major changes took place at this time to the regulations governing the Villiers class to allow more non-standard components to be used.Despite another competitor deliberately pushing Fullerton off the track, Terry managed to rejoin the race and win the 7th Hong Kong International Prix .Zip unveiled their beautiful Le Mans model which was the result of a collaboration between Martin Hines and Australian dentist Peter Booth. Zip also announced and showed off their 100cc ZED motor.Paul Deavin, having acquired a dyno, soon became a leading expert with this technology for improving motor performance.

APRIL 1974

These were troubled times, what with a three day working week and crippling crisis affecting the steel, coal and oil industries. The RAC asked clubs to achieve a voluntary reduction of 30% in the fuel used by motorsport. With the very generous help of Bert Hesketh, Karting magazine carried a comprehensive article on tuning the Bultaco.Of great interest to the gearbox brigade was the announcement of the Amal Concentric Mark 2 carburettor. Multiple World Kart Champion Francois Goldstein won all seven rounds of the Ford Mexico Challenge.

MAY 1974

A comprehensive article covered the workings and maintenance of Tillotson carburettors. Tracks were in the news. Clay Pigeon held its first meeting following resurfacing and now, 30 years later, it has been announced that there are to be changes in the ownership that will enable a major upgrade to the facilities at this popular venue. The Nivelles circuit in Belgium was said to be bankrupt. The newly formed Norfolk & Suffolk Kart Club started using the disused airfield at Tibbenham. A reader’s letter revealed some secret mods to Villiers motors.

 

 

JUNE 1974

 

Despite a 57% increase in one year in the price of petrol, and the RAC requiring a 30% reduction in the total amount of fuel used by motor sport, kart race entries reached record numbers. A twenty-car motorcade, with police outriders, bearing placards congratulating Terry Fullerton on winning the World Champs, welcomed him at Manila airport to race in the Philippines GP. He not only won, but also supplied the motors for the four quickest in qualifying. The British teams selection took place at Little Rissington.

 

 

JULY 1974

 

Close racing between, the eventual winner Chris Doble and Reg Gange Jnr enlivened the Baldwin 250 Championship at Brands Hatch. Tal-Ko displayed a massive carburettor with 1.625 in. bore that they were importing from Tillotson. The first round of a revamped European championship was held at Wohlen in Switzerland. Fullerton was fastest but had noise penalties. The British four man team came 3rd. The ban on kart racing in Portugal, that had been imposed during the political coup, was now lifted.

 

 

AUGUST 1974

 

The Dutch just beat a British club team at Long Newnton.

 

At the first Shenington Memorial meeting for Roger Williamson, an ex-karter who died in a F1 accident, Nigel Mansell was 2nd in the 87 strong Villiers field.

 

Our team won the French round of the Euro Champs aided by others getting penalty points for not having helmets and leathers in team colours.

 

 

SEPTEMBER 1974

 

Details of karts used in Russia, Czechoslovakia, Poland and East Germany at last filtered through the Iron Curtain. In the UK, reed valve induction was being tried with the Villiers. Blow Karts introduced a wide range of new models. The last meeting was held at the popular Long Newnton track and it reverted to farmland. After many successful events at RAF Topcliffe, the Thirsk kart club lost the use of the track for security reasons and moved to Holme on Spalding Moor. Bruno Ferrari wrote up the technical changes to date of the Parilla motor. The Lancs KC were giving strong support for ‘box stock’ McCulloch powered classes. Radne in Sweden produced an electronic ignition for karts.

 

 

OCTOBER 1974

 

The World Junior Championships were run at Rye House and the winner was Felice Rovelli of Italy on a Birel Parilla. Other famous entries included the late F1 driver Elio de Angelis and Roberto Ravaglia. Lorraine Peck, Birel Komet, put up a superb performance to come 2nd.

 

Dud Moseley and Chris Doble won Class 210 Nat. and 250 respectively at the Cadwell Park British Championships.

 

The Marlboro sponsored 100cc British champs at Blackbushe resulted is some superb close racing. The Shell Gold Trophy meeting at Morecambe attracted 5000 spectators.

 

 

NOVEMBER 1974

 

The winners of a four hour race at Tilbury were Harland and Paul, Barlotti BM, with 347 laps. The final of the 100cc Marlboro RAC Champs was held at Shenington with two classes being won by Mirage karts and two by Sprints.

 

The CIK Euro Champs at Fano in Italy were chaotic and there were no trophies for the victorious Swiss team.

 

 

DECEMBER 1974

 

The World Championships staged at what was then the F1 circuit of Estoril in Portugal was one of the most spectacular in the history of the event. Winner Riccardo Patrese had to overcome the likes of Prost, Senna, Goldstein, Fullerton, Speed and Cheever. The Italian teams started monitoring tyre temperatures. Many of the drivers joined a strike against exclusion for excessive noise and penalties for helmets not in National colours. All was eventually resolved.

 

The 125cc gearbox Euro Champs were won by Aad van Daalen on a Landia Yamaha tuned by Peter de Bruijn. There was concern at the Kart Club Conference at the proposal to raise the 100 National weight limit by 5kg.