ABkC News December 1999

ABkC Annual General Meeting

Over fifty kart club representatives, traders and drivers attended the annual general meeting of the ABkC this year, held at a splendid new venue.  Since its inception the AGM has been held at Fletchers Bakeries in Sheffield, but now Paul Fletcher has made his stunning new Panorama conference room at the PFI circuit available.  Circuit Managers Kartsport were on hand to lay on a lunch, its splendour barely less than previously enjoyed at Sheffield.  Chairman Steve Chapman welcomed the delegates, thanked Paul for his hospitality, and stated it had been another quite difficult year, his seventh at the helm.  Regrettably the noise issue had been the main subject, especially when it became apparent that at some tracks like Three Sisters anomalous readings were being obtained.  This had led to exclusions in a class that should not be over the limit.  However the ABkC, BKIA and MSA have agreed a set of guidelines, thanks to the work of Grahame Butterworth of the BKIA.  Judicial problems still gave Steve cause for concern, and he will be pressing for modifications so that almost nothing ever needs to come beyond the meeting.  The class structure is a nightmare, in his opinion, as too many new classes are coming along. He could see clubs only running TKM, 100 Libre and Rotax Max with maybe gearbox at some tracks.  Unlicenced events will cause us a huge problem if there is a serious accident. Some of these are circumventing proper licencing and ARKS tests, which is a further issue for our future.  He went on to thank the organisers of the Inter Nations Challenge, held at Rowrah and looked forward to it next year at Nutts Corner.  Steve ended by asking for a stimulating discussion on the future of the classes over the coming months.  Comments from the floor were against the MSA licencing of a British Endurance Championship without the need for MSA licenced drivers.  It was pointed out the title winner will be a team, not any particular driver, whilst the series is run very professionally and could be for the good of karting.  Another discussion was about noise, and whether the manufacturers were doing enough to sell kit that met the 2000 regulations.  The traders were urged to publish their recommendations.  Tal-Ko announced they would be selling a noise quietening kit.  They found that sealing the exhaust flex properly may actually make the kart faster.  Eventually the international classes will go water-cooled and this will greatly help.

Some matters arising from 1998 included a request for provision of a novice licence, to distinguish it from the National B licence.  The MSA said this had not been possible as they were upgrading their computer system for Y2K compliance.  The new 250E drivers group reported that they were allowing a Yamaha TZ twin cylinder engine for 2000.  A new ABkC rule book was agreed.  This amends the ABkC rules to allow the BKIA membership, removes restrictions on trader members of the steering group and permits the steering group to set the annual subscription.

Secretary Graham Smith thanked the clubs who had run the O Plate meetings, and especially for their contribution to ABkC funds.  Hunts Kart Club had started this trend and had again been generous this year, along with Shenington.  This has made the finances much healthier.  Regrettably the Gearbox O plate had to be cancelled due to lack of entries.  The ABkC have twenty-eight members at the moment, including the welcome addition of a number of predominantly four stroke clubs.  The Treasurer and Auditor have resigned, so a new Auditor was elected.  Membership fee increases of 2.5% were agreed, although some members would like the smaller clubs to have free membership or have a per capita fee.  Neither of these options was agreed at present but the committee promised to look again at the funding issues.  Next Barclays Bank gave a presentation on an innovative group banking system for kart clubs, which would save quite a lot of money.  Free business account transfers were offered, with introductory discounts and all clubs will have received information packs.  Paul Gladstone of the MSA informed the delegates that a Junior Rotax Max class had been approved.  The engines had a different and less powerful barrel than the senior class and it would be an Intercontinental class, raced across Europe and other countries.  Transponder lap-scoring regulations would be introduced in the 2000 Gold Book and a kart time-keeper post introduced.  Paul expressed surprise that so few clubs had applied for grants to help purchase their noise meters.  He also reported that the FMK was no more, its replacement the CIK was now based at the FIA headquarters in Geneva, with Ernest Buser still President until October.  Russell Anderson will represent karting on the MSA Safety Panel.  On technical issues the 250 International class will be having an amendment to allow the status quo on ignitions until a new PVL type is sourced for the engine.  Currently the Gold Book only allows the SEM ignition for 2000.  All clubs voted in favour of making Rotax Max a full ABkC class for the future.   Proposals to enforce ABkC recognition of the seeded numbers for Junior Yamaha were withdrawn, because the class is commercial and it is not within the ABkC's remit to offer this.  Steve Chapman said it was up to the event series organisers to publicise the 'numbers'.  A proposal to make it mandatory for all competitors to carry approved fire extinguishers met with much approval.  Some clubs said they would be putting a rule into their Supplementary Regulations in any case.  Steve promised to push for a regulation through the MSA, and if this was not possible to consider an ABkC regulation for 2001.  The MSA representative pointed out there was relevant advice in the Blue Book and clubs should make use of them.  A club was particularly concerned about the current entry cost barriers to new entrants, and this led to a discussion on the ARKS tests, which everyone agreed with albeit with reservations about some of the restrictions on Examiners.  An ARKS representative stated that some major proposals would be made during next year.  Clubs thought it was too easy for people to race at non-licenced tracks.  A few new faces were elected to the 2000 Steering Group, and the Chairman thanked the retiring Alan Dell and Alan Kilbey for their dedication and hard work during their time on the committee.  The new Steering Group comprises Steve Chapman (Chairman), Graham Smith (Secretary), Neil Hann (100cc Technical), Anne Laws, Steve Clayton and Roy Trethewey (100cc reps), Paul Klaassen (Cadet rep), Derek Price (Gearbox Technical), Mike Coombs, Russell Anderson and Alan Bryant (Gearbox reps).  The usual representatives of the championship series and regional karting associations continue with the addition of Trevor Cryer for the 250E drivers group.  Ian Rennison has been co-opted to the Steering Group and has been elected Treasurer.

More on Junior Rotax

The regulations for this new Zip/JAG class in the Champions of the Future have been published.  Called "Junior Max" it will have a class weight of 140kg, fluorescent green number plates with black numbers and use Bridgestone YEQ slicks and YEJ wets.  Chassis registrations to the MSA are invited between 1.1.2000 and 1.3.2000.  Registration will be valid for nine years, and the registration period is three years.

And Junior Gearbox

Junior Gearbox will use a TM engine for 2000.  The deal with Honda has fallen through.  Regs from Highlight Karting.

O Plate Meetings 2000

Applications from clubs are invited for the 2000 ABkC O Plate Meetings.  Rowrah will hold the Formula A meeting and anyone interested in the Gearbox meeting should discuss it with Lesley Allen of Highlight.  That leaves all the remaining 60cc and 100cc classes to be bid for.  It is now customary to offer a financial contribution to the ABkC for the licence to hold the meeting, although the 'highest bidder' will not necessarily win the day.  All aspects will be taken into account.

Membership Renewals

Following the AGM decision on 2000 membership fees, renewals are now due and membership forms are enclosed.  Please return these as soon as possible.  Clubs are reminded they must run the classes to the ABkC regulations, this will be a topic for discussion at the next steering group.  If you have any changes of officials, especially secretaries, not yet notified to the Secretary, please let me know immediately as the annual Start Karting brochure is being printed for the Autosport Show.

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