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England In the Headlines – Preview Of December Issue

England In the Headlines – Preview Of December Issue

Early 2007, we published a report on the situation of karting in the UK and there were some quite significant problems among those involved.
A year later, after the break out of the sports phenomenon, mainly thanks to Hamilton and the media’s interest, we are once again looking into the situation of British karting.

Early 2007, we published a report on the situation of karting in the UK and there were some quite significant problems among those involved.
The first thing was the drop in licences, more than 5% registered over the past 5 years, but the investigation went further into the matter. It revealed that there was uneasiness for associations such as the (AbkC) Association of British karting Clubs that ought to have been the fulcrum for promoting the sport thoroughly, instead it appeared that, from different parts of the country, it was thought to be too conservative both in strategy and aims.
A year later, after the break out of the sports phenomenon, mainly thanks to Hamilton and the media’s interest, we are once again looking into the situation of British karting.

This is what some of the people that we have talked to have to say about the situation:

ABKC secretary Graham Smith
“First of all, the structure of the classes has been changed (he had said that there were too many classes) as a consequence of the new KZ engines, which will be used for the British Championship as from the next season. This means that the old 100cc will gradually completely disappear from the national scene, and not only, eventually from local events too. This gives a much more linear structure wherever, now you have two classes that will act as a route for newcomers – Cadet and MiniMax – and KF3 which is going to be the first important step for youngsters who look to higher levels of professional driving.”

It’s natural that the Hamilton phenomenon has drawn much attention and increased the public’s and the media’s interest, and in turn these have drawn more attention to Hamilton’s past experience in karting. “We must say that Lewis does promote karting whenever he can – says Graham – he enters for events and various promotions that are connected to his early karting days, his picture increases sales of magazines and newspapers, he monopolises the attention of television and spectators and thus increasing the interest in Formula 1, and also for karting especially in the two amateur classes.”

Hamilton aside, there are many initiatives that are now rewarding the efforts of the people involved who work hard to promote the sport among young people and newcomers to karting. The British federation, (MSA) Motorsport Association is counting on two important initiatives for the forthcoming season. New drivers under the age of 16 will get a free licence and £125.000 (180.000 euro) for the company who gets the tender for promoting karting for very young drivers.
       
Another plan, which is worthy of note, is Paul Fletcher’s initiative of making karts available for schools once a week at his circuit PF International. The project called “Racing for Buttons” first started at Rowrah in 2001 and Paul has recently taken it up. “It’s a very important project that is being carried out with MSA; it brings 50 young lads to the track every Monday. They can race in karts and match their skill for £2 (3 euro). I believe it’s very important for the lads to race; it helps to improve not only their driving skill but also technically.”

What can we say about the Brits’ monopolising the international scene in 2007? British karting is known for producing young talents that put their rivals in awe. There are many, which go to prove how important the English championships is for forming new drivers. 
Gary Catt, in force with Tonykart, is KF1 winner at the Open Masters, speaks clearly:
“At home, it’s imperative never to give in, this is an important characteristic, an advantage when competing. But then again, it’s also true that it’s not enough to succeed. You have to race with winning teams and race against top drivers if you want to be a winner. It’s very hard for a young, talented driver today to race for long in the UK because the level of national karting doesn’t give drivers the opportunity of growing professionally. Even today, Italy is the ideal place for making the most of your potential, there is stimulation to improve continuously, a mix of British determination and Italian technique makes of me and my fellow countrymen winning drivers.”

This though, isn’t very promising for national karting... “they all want to compete against the best on the scene, so many do the same thing I did, just like Will and Jack, they come to Italy. Unfortunately, this doesn’t do national karting any good, if it doesn’t change there will be less drivers and poorer resources”...

IN THE DECEMBER ISSUE, YOU CAN READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE WITH ALL THAT GRAHAM SMITH, PAUL FLETCHER AND GARY CATT HAVE TO SAY, PLUS VIEWS FROM TIM PARROT, MICHAEL RYALL, CAROLYNN HOY AND CHRIS PULLMAN

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