ABkC News February 07

ABkC AGM and MSA Kart Regional Committee Open Day

The ABkC’s AGM and the MSA Kart Regional Committee were better supported than in recent years. After criticism last year that drivers were unaware of the meeting, a concerted effort was made to widely publicise this year’s open meeting. Sixteen of the thirty-one member clubs sent representatives, and a total of 33 persons attended the meeting in Coventry. But regrettably there were none of the younger drivers or those that shout the loudest on the web forums. A welcome was given to the likes of representatives from Saxon Motorsport, John Mills Racing, the InterNations team management, F6 Association, the NKF and BRDC Stars of Tomorrow. In his address to the meeting, Chairman Russell Anderson summarised the achievements met during the year

• A licence qualification of total ten signatures before drivers can race in Stars or Super One.

• An increase in the upper age of the Cadet classes, coupled with a maximum safe weight for the Junior classes.

• Renewal of the tyre and championship contracts

• A promise of a continued dialogue with the MSA on reducing the introductory costs of karting whilst acknowledging the strong relationship with the MSA, and the welcome the ABkC gives to the new Kart Tyro class.

Although the licence numbers are down, he was adamant that the sport is not in crisis, as some publications would have us believe. However he said the MSA had a duty to promote Cadet and Junior karting, as the introductory disciplines to motor sport generally, as should clubs. He invited clubs to seek help from the ABkC in these matters and closed by thanking the steering group, especially our gearbox technical representative Derek Price who was not standing for re-election.

Graham Smith, the secretary, regretted that he had not been able to give the website a makeover as promised, but it was on his to-do list for over Christmas. It is kept very topical though. Four newsletters had been sent to clubs in the last twelve months, and he welcomed Cheshire Kart Club as our newest member. He noted that all the member kart clubs together reported a total of 5000 members. He covered some more of the challenges that faced the steering group during the year, like assisting the MSA in resolving the issues surrounding the introduction of the new WTP Cadet engine, agreeing the 2006 Motors TV format and undertaking an in-depth discussion with Tal-Ko over their 2007 regulation changes. He wanted to thank Alan Taddei for doing such a good job publicising the sport and the ABkC in particular, on his TV programmes. Entries were definitely down at clubs and the ABkC had stands at Autosport (90,000 visitors), Fairford International Air Tattoo (160,000 visitors) and the London Kart Show (8,400 very committed visitors) to publicise the sport. He thanked the David Charles Group who volunteer to set up the stands and supply the backdrops. The ABkC has just ordered another 5,000 DVD’s on top of the 7,000 already sent out to prospective karters. And he thanked the BKIA for donating vouchers to raffle at the two current shows. In closing he congratulated Cumbria Kart Club for winning the MSA Club of the Year and thanked the Chairman and steering group for their support, and stated that the challenges for 2007 had already begun.

The Treasurer Ian Rennison circulated his financial report, which has been posted on the ABkC website. Income from clubs was a little lower but the excess of income from DVD sales over printing costs was some Ł969 (excluding production costs). One extraordinary expenditure was the purchase of a tyre tester, which Super One Series is kindly insuring. He said the Association is in a very healthy financial position and recommended no change in fees.

Cumbria Kart Club put forward a formal proposal objecting to ABkC championships being taken to overseas circuits, for example BRDC Stars of Tomorrow visiting Genk, and this was seconded by Warden Law Kart Club. Malcolm Fell, for Cumbria, said: “Why is the ABkC allowing its National Championship for Super ICC to be taken overseas, when there are circuits in the UK operated by member clubs who have not been approached to run the event that the Championship runs within? These circuits and member clubs are capable of running such events, but have not been approached about their availability. ABkC Championships should not venture abroad unless and until all avenues within the UK have been exhausted.” Stars promoter Carolynn Hoy responded: “We went to Genk this year because we couldn’t find a date at a suitable British circuit. All the competitors wanted a return visit but I can drop the Super ICC in future years if that is the ABkC’s wish if indeed we go back after next year.” ABkC President Steve Chapman said it was more important to support British circuits but Peter Jones and Roger Abbey-Taylor both spoke in favour of putting driver’s interests first. After a vote it was decided on a majority that the new contracts from 2010 should have a clause inserted that all options within the UK are first explored before booking a meeting abroad.

Russell Anderson and Graham Smith were then re-elected unopposed as Chairman and Secretary respectively. There was an excess of one nomination over the number of places on the 2007 steering group so by vote it was agreed to co-opt one member and the treasurer and not have a election. New members to the group are Phil Featherstone as the gearbox technical delegate, with Bob Shipman (Warden Law), Iain Blair (Cumbria) and Colin Wright (Forest Edge) also joining. It was suggested the make-up of the different parts of the steering group should be re-evaluated for the 2007 AGM, as direct drive entries at meetings are now much in excess of gearbox. The formal meeting then closed and was opened to public comment. Several people had sent emails or letters for subjects to be discussed.

The ABkC had already given notice of a proposal to limit the maximum revs of the engines in the 100 National class in 2007. Direct drive sub-group chairman Simon Goodfellow reported: “The reason we are doing this is solely to increase the life of the engines between rebuilds. We have contacted PVL, the ignition manufacturer, who have electronic limiters available and we are aiming for about 17,500 rpm maximum which gives a factor of three or four increase in life. We cannot fit these for 2007 as PVL are too busy with the new CIK TAG engines, and it will need a corresponding head volume and squish limit.” Russell Anderson said it was prudent to wait and see how the CIK coped with monitoring and policing the new rev-limits in the TAG engines. It was agreed that a maximum sprocket size could be mandated in the ABkC’s national championship in the Super One Series during 2007 as an alternative method of reducing maximum revs and increasing engine life until the rev-limiters have been tested and are available. (An amendment to the 100 National regulations has now been publicised, available on the ABkC website). A request to increase the class weight in ICA was turned down although team owner Terry Edgar said by letter there is now a 15kg discrepancy between the weight for 100 National and the weight for ICA or Formula A when the latter karts are fitted with front brakes – which is becoming the norm.

Next the English InterNations team manager Martin Capenhurst railed at the ABkC for allowing a clash of dates with BRDC Stars of Tomorrow. “Why was Stars allowed to run a meeting on September 2nd when it has been understood for years that no meeting was to be run on this date due to the InterNations,” he asked. Carolynn Hoy, the Stars promoter responded: “I have a dates meeting with Sonja Game of Super One every year, but there are very few dates left over for us. I have offered to try and move the Stars round at Three Sisters if another date can be found.” But Llandow club representative Peter Jones said the traditional date was not ideal for the Welsh team, stating: “It gives us a major problem as our members prefer to support the Midland Championships at Rissington and our committee has voted to support that meeting.” ABkC and Kart Regional Chairman Russell Anderson said: “All this can be fixed for 2008 through the establishment of a formal dates meeting, and I will work with Carolynn to try and find a solution for 2007. However the InterNations team managers must also look to see if they could use another date.” Rod Taylor, Chairman of the MSA Kart Sporting Committee said it would be a great shame if the meeting had to be cancelled as the MSA representative who came last year was greatly looking forward to a return visit.

Mike Stackhouse of Chasewater Kart Club asked about progress of the ABkC’s Karting Development Plan. Steve Chapman said he had pulled together a set of goals for the Association, which replaced the goals he has set when he started the ABkC in 1990. He has been in touch with the quasi-governmental Motosport Development Plan authors and is awaiting their comments. Mike Stackhouse said the thrust from the MSA is to seek access to Sports Council funds. Ian Rennison highlighted the work that Clay Pigeon circuit do with schools through Social Services and Youth Groups in the area. Carolynn Hoy said that the Stars truck would be used to publicise karting through visits to parks, schools and supermarket car parks.

Rod Taylor next explained the thinking behind the new Kart Tyro class, saying that the guidelines to clubs (available on MSA and ABkC websites) have been deliberately kept simple so that clubs can interpret them to their own requirements. He said that the MSA will issue an N.1.3 permission for more or less any engine under 15bhp. Competitors should be shown a relevant kart video/DVD but the exact one is not specified. It could be the circuit’s own DVD, the ARKS DVD or the ABkC Come Karting used at the briefing. Steve Chapman suggested the clubs like Whilton Mill that are prepared to run Kart Tyro should get together and advertise in the relevant publications.

Next there was a long discussion about the 2007 Motors TV series, which is having a national series but was refused a championship permit as it did not meet the MSA Championship Control Panel guidelines. Russell Anderson said any new series needs agreement from existing series before a permit could be considered. Graham Smith pointed out that the ABkC has never yet had the opportunity to discuss the matter, despite what has been reported elsewhere. An official who had originally planned to be involved said he had taken legal advice which, along with another issue, prompted him to withdraw from involvement. Rod Taylor, Chairman of the Kart Sporting Committee, said he thought this year’s series was excellent, but he does think another national series will adversely affect club racing. Apparently discussions with the MSA are still on-going.

Mike Mills of John Mills Racing said the WTP Cadet class will have an exhaust restrictor fitted for 2007, designed to keep the class compatible with the Comer Cadets. He claimed: “The WTP Cadet will be the cleanest Cadet engine ever!” Later the MSA gave permission for the new restrictor to be used from February 2007.

Finally Colin Wright from Forest Edge Kart Club asked what measures the MSA and ABkC were taking to control costs of second-hand Comer engines and carburettors. Graham Smith said the MSA and Zip were investigating a possible solution to one of the problem areas which would be publicised in due course. Carolynn Hoy sought support from Super One for them and Stars to use pooled engines, drawn on the day for competitor use.

Regulation Amendments and Approvals

Amendments have been issued for the TKM classes, the 100 National class and it should also be noted that the wrong restrictors sizes were published for Formula Blue in the Gold Book and an errata issued. The 2007 ABkC World Formula regulations have been approved by the MSA and are available on the website, the weight is now 165kg. The MSA have approved the senior Easykart class for use in its own club championship only in conjunction with the Club 100 organisation. This class is not permitted to be raced at other clubs. It is a Birel commercial class with a 125cc aircooled engine. It is encouraging to note that around thirty new drivers are taking their ARKS test to race in Easykart but the MSA has asked for improvements in the noise. There is a junior 100cc and a 125cc gearbox class waiting in the wings. The MSA have similarly approved Junior ROK to race in Stars, and senior ROK to race in Super One. These are commercial classes from Tonykart, jointly promoted by Paul Spencer of Strawberry Racing and John Hoyle of JKH. Presumably they will only take place if there is enough interest at this late stage but innovative fixed price costs with pooled engines are proposed. The TKM Junior Intermediate class is unlikely to take place in the Super One this year, a fate which also looks likely for 100 National, both due to lack of sufficient registrations. Rotax have agreed that the nominations for the Rotax Grand Finals in Dubai may be chosen from the top drivers in Super One Junior Max, Senior Max and DD2 if it runs. A drafting error has been found in the SuperKart Division 2 regs in the Gold Book, so an amendment stating that in the MSA Kart Race Yearbook D.3.9.2 Section (i) in SuperKart Division 2 should read the same as D.3.4 (i) in the 250 National regulations above.

Calendar, Websites, Brochures and DVDs

All the known dates for the season are available on the ABkC website calendar section. The ABkC has launched a new website, www.startkarting.co.uk . Please refer to this when introducing or publicising karting in any way. The 2007 Start Karting ABkC/ARKS brochure has had a re-design and is available from the secretary. Due to the weight of the leaflets it is better to arrange to collect e.g. from a circuit. Remember that the ‘Come Karting’ DVD’s can be purchased from the ABkC for Ł50 for 100 copies. There are currently plenty in stock. The MSA have at last embarked on a re-make of the ARKS Start Karting DVD, and a new questionnaire will be announced to accompany it. More emphasis will be on a total knowledge of the flag signals. There are some anomalies in the Blue Book bodywork regulations for the Cadet classes which are being addressed by the MSA Kart Technical Working Group. Some Italian made front fairings for the Cadet classes are being given temporary approval despite not complying with the rules on the front near vertical surface area. The MSA and Volunteers in Motorsport have launched a new marshals grading scheme, more details on MSA and www.volunteersinmotorsport.co.uk websites. The next Steering Group / Kart Regional Meeting will be held in early March.

The Steering Group for 2007 comprises:

Chairman: Russell Anderson

Secretary: Graham Smith

Treasurer (co-opted): Ian Rennison

Cadet Technical: Paul Klaassen

Technical Direct Drive: Neil Hann

Technical Gearbox: Phil Featherstone

Direct Drive Group: Simon Goodfellow (Chair), Nigel Edwards, Bob Shipman, Colin Wright, Iain Blair.

Gearbox Group: Mike Coombs (Chair), Malcolm Fell, Steve Clayton

Non-elected representatives:

President: Steve Chapman (also chair of the ‘Club’ group).

MSA: Cheryl Lynch, John Ryan

BKIA: Paul Gladstone

Kart Sporting: Rod Taylor

NKF: Sue Fairless

Wessex: Alan Cleal

NKRA: Bruce Taylor

NATSKA: Andy Porter

NIKA: Percy Jordan

Scottish Association: Ian Hart

Super One: Sonja Game

Stars: Carolynn Hoy

210 Challenge: Kate Bateman

Formula 6 Assoc: Roger Sheffield

Super Two: Roger Abbey-Taylor

British Superkart Assoc.: Ian Rushforth

Note: Not all the above attend regularly


(Editor Graham Smith, email secretary@abkc.org.uk)

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