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Yes, so we’re fully into the current season, and with the rising temperatures, the European championship has also entered the crucial phase. The French track of Salbris hosted the first round of the 125 gearbox, while the second round of OK and OKJ took place in Great Britain. Both competitions are providing plenty of thrills, as forecast. Good. We can’t but rejoice for the great show the two championships are offering.
Not a marginal feature, nor one to take for granted, the show; one might say, races are always exciting. Not always. The promotion of karting functions in direct proportion to the captivating images transmitted by the competition on the race track. It can’t be otherwise, being an exclusively racing discipline. But the development and success of a category in terms of competition and performance do depend on the technical and sporting regulatory settings.
A race offers a great show for spectators and fans mostly because the proper pre-requisites have been created. Its promotion, its propaedeutic function and, especially, regulations whose scope is to appreciate, that is, enhance the value, of the discipline, thereby nurturing the interest and development of young talent. A condition, this, partly verified in the 80s / 90s. After a too-long parentheses, those pre-requisites have reappeared thanks to the validity of the engines. Because the 125 gearbox, the 125 “Original Karting” and the 125 TaG, with their numerous brand trophies, respond increasingly more to the demands of practitioners, including the Rental and Vintage sectors that, together, amount to an equally important following.
So after many years of racing, and after a succession of policies not always relevant to the evolution of international karting, we have again come around, let us even say in a rather fortuitous fashion, to a credible configuration. To optimize these aspects it will still take some time ... For now, though, I’d like to believe that a remedy to breach the obstacles opposing this much-coveted expansion and development will soon be reached.
Empowered by the history and experience lived in the world of kart racing it seems clear that now, after many revolutions, it is necessary to bring order and to differentiate, first of all, the movement of practitioners, between those whose aim is professional from those, instead, who simply want to try their hand and enjoy themselves.
The magazine I have been managing for 30 years has always gathered and collected the impressions, outbursts, joys, anger, in sum, a sounding board and forum for and of the sector. A world we know well, immersed and in contact as we are every single day of the year. As are those who legislate and promote this discipline, of course. Why it is difficult for me to believe that the folks on CIK’s top floors have not understood that today there are, indeed, the right conditions to improve and have this motorsport make true gains, even by leaps and bounds. It is an opportunity for the body, as the authority, to reaffirm its credibility by demonstrating its ability to operate in compliance with the sector’s needs, needs that are competitive and, importantly, industrial. This is the time for action.
I’d like to take this opportunity to make an empassioned appeal to Cik Fia Vice President, Kees van de Grint, and reiterate the importance of making several regulatory changes that could re-accredit the stature of the queen class of international karting.
We know that the KZ, belonging to Group 1, already presents some differences with the Cadets (KZ2). Starting with a free or open chassis, weight at 170 kg, 5 less than the Cadet, the servo-assisted speed variator, but it’s not enough, because these items, as we have seen, do not influence performance in a preponderant manner. The aspects that should, instead, be taken into consideration to differentiate from KZ2 rely more on the engine. And for the moment, let’s leave aside the issue of tires that, as we well know, are what condition performance most. To render the competition more interesting and transform the KZ1 into the true top-class or queen category, some regulatory changes could be made to allow for the use of experimental material, so as to permit manufacturers to verify the competitiveness of various measures and solutions to be tried and tested and, later, implemented in subsequent homologations.
Let us not forget that KZ is the result of an exciting technological challenge, and that it involves a significant financial commitment for the engine manufacturer. A challenge, theirs, aimed at measuring and exceeding the limits of the 2-stroke endothermic engine. And it is not logical that after 22 years, on the same track, the karts ran the same lap times. And the show offered by the FC in the old millennium is certainly not comparable to what we saw at this year’s KZ European Championship. Cik, taking advantage of the year’s end homologation, valid for the next three-year term, 2019-2021, should launch a provocation with several regulatory variables aimed at making KZ more interesting, to promote research and development, and at the same time, make the stage for Cik-Fia-titled races more spectacular. That’s if, of course, one wants it certified as the queen class of international karting. Because flat, unexciting, unappealing performances and races do not reflect the prerogatives of a karting top class, especially when aired on a small screen and broadcast in live stream via web.
Cik should transmit a signal to the entire sector manifesting its will to aim for and share the same objectives together: to improve and broaden the appeal of karting for its very promotion and for the many who invest and work in the field, to protect and curate a business activity that is, on a global basis, unique!
Giuliano Ciucci Giuliani
FRONT FAIRING: Why?
What happened at PFI during the second continental OK and OKJ event has highlighted those doubts that by now beset pretty much the entire karting world on the issue of the front fairings. Cik’s regulations on the matter never really pleased or convinced anyone, especially as the expedient seems more in answer to the absence of safeguards of race direction, rather than safety itself, increasingly less justified seeing how accidents on the track continue to occur, some even dangerous as witnessed on the British circuit. If, instead, the intention is to educate drivers in what are the first steps of a motorsports supply chain, namely, Mini and Junior, then we cannot but share that purpose, even more so with the forthcoming and, by now, inevitable recognition of the Mini as an international category.
After two years of discussions, all the front fairing issue has, however, produced, a fairing that is meant to detach on contact (but not only), is mainly discontent among the participants of the titled competitions. Also, it has also been signalled out as being deletory to the overall show, as entertainment, for fans and audiences. An increasingly neglected aspect. A kart race is becoming increasingly more like what already happens in F1 where, to see some overtaking, fans have to wait for the car pit for a tire change.
The Travisanutto controversy at PFI has, in fact, spotlighted a problem concerning image and looking after the athletes who actually compete, race and undertake to excel by demonstrating their driving skills, seconded by their vehicles, as is logical. Why I take this opportunity to reiterate that races in the professional categories, such as OK and KZ, should not be subjected to such conditioning or influence. And if the fairing really cannot be rid of, it would be advisable to at least check and verify and find out why, at the end of the race, the driver finds it unhooked, unhinged, detached. More so when none of the drivers denounced any unsportsmanlike behavior or driving damaging to the driver(s), or rivals, to thus explain such an incident. In fact, no irregularities were ascertained, regarding Travisanutto, the winner, no less, of the final at PFI, to explain the front fairing out of kilter ... And the cameras at PFI, were they used only to discover the driver’s intentions to restore the front fairing? An inadmissible act, of course, by a professional driver, even if Travisanutto had not a few extentuating circumstances in his favor, such as, also, the penalty halved from 10 to 5”, or so rumors ran...
A mockery that does not solve the problem, one that will continue to plague and distort race results, and limit or ruin the show, what fans come to see and enjoy. For a driver, going on a track to race with the fear of finding one’s bumper unhooked is definitely not an incentive for a driver willing to risk and fight for positions or victory. The actions to be taken to resolve this problem should focus on other features, too. First, the ability of race management to guarantee the proper end, or aim, of the race, one that exalts the deeds of the drivers who have proved their ability to respect the rules and, in turn, severely punish those who instead become the protagonists of blatantly unsportsmanlike behavior.
Enough of this front fairing!
To the movement, we need to intervene and demonstrate the professionalism of the judges who operate for the good of the drivers and the image of this motorsport. Otherwise what is the difference between good and evil, between superficiality and acumen, between skill and ineptitude, between commitment and indifference, between respect and ridicule?
Giuliano Ciucci Giuliani
IN THIS NUMBER
14 Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg
60 BNL Karting Series
PERSON OF THE MONTH
70 Giovanni Corona
76 Go Pro Motorplex
20 CIK-FIA European Championship 1st rd KZ/KZ2 Salbris (FRA)
34 CIK-FIA European Championship 2ndrd OK/OKJ Grantham (GB)
46 DKM 1st rd Lonato (ITA) - 2nd rd Wackersdorf (D)
50 IAME Euro Series 2nd rd Mariembourg (B)
54 ASIA Max Challenge 1st / 2nd rd Sepang Karting Circuit (MYS)
64 Water Pumps 1
84 Jerry Solt's SAE Kart
10 ONLINE CONTENTS
12 MONDO KART