I don’t know how much can be attributed to fatality. As it’s easy in
such circumstances to put forward such reasons. But why has Thomas
Knopper, a 19 year-old kart driver died in 2009?
Twenty years from Andrea Margutti’s death, he was then 14, nothing
has changed. Pardon, it has changed a lot, but unfortunately, for the
And, I wish to underline that Andrea, although he crashed along the straight on the track in Parma after having taken off from the rear tyre of the kart that he suddenly found racing in front of him, the depth was due to a heart problem. However, it’s the same. From then on, you became aware that in karting you could really die. “Motorsport is dangerous” is what we reporters wrote in our columns, meaning that if we died on a track, the organiser and the Cik were not to be held responsible.
Instead, who's to blame of the death of a Dutch driver who dies in 2009? Why after all the changes in regulations that have made the vehicle more than 50 kg heavier, a solution has not yet been found to prevent a kart from taking off after crashing against another kart. Instead of justifying a theoretical action that has first of all made the kart heavier and uglier, we now have a vehicle that overturns more than before but with an extra 100 kg that hit you. The speed reached by today’s 125 gear class mustn’t be underestimated. However, we are talking about a racing vehicle aren’t we? Exclusively racing. So, it is right to go fast, especially at a certain level. But if a kart is powerful (neither changed nor improved) how should the circuit where a kart races be defined? The track in Liedolsheim, in Germany, at least from the pictures and from the various opinions heard, certainly cannot be taken as an example as a model of tracks for the new millennium.
However, it belongs to a family, a company or an association that should comply with all the norms to guarantee safety. And, who should check to see that all the work to enable karters to race with safety has been done? Here in Italy it’s the Csai, however the Karting Association in each country where the events are organised. So, if Thomas’ death has been due to the lack of escape routes at the German circuit, it’s right that also those who gave the permission to hold the race pay the consequences (Karting Association responsible).
However, before digging into the fact that the structure which was not suitable for hosting today’s kart race (and yet there have been lots of races hosted here) how many tracks are there that haven’t got the right requirement and can’t afford have immunity when we talk about the aspect of safety? Perhaps there are more than can be counted on the fingers of both hands. Because if we want to criticise positively, without any pointless accuses, just to dampen the pleasure of any circuit, thoughts start from the new given norms, these too aren’t perfectly suitable to the requirements that a modern karting circuit has to meet. A good circuit is also one that underlines the characteristics of the karts. What I mean is that, apart from the probability of fatal accidents there is also an awareness that karting today does not fit in with some rules that set abnormal running of kart. Speed is not the prerogative of karting: the excitement of karting was in the sharp breathtaking corners and counter-turns that made racing along the track at the Pista D’Oro in Rome outstanding, but even driving round average and slower corners was exciting too.
This last comment may not please some, those who are now used to racing along straight for tens of seconds with gas pedal fully pressed before having to use the brake; or it may be unusual for the incompetent, that is those who think that the higher the speed the better qualified one is. Nothing could be wronger in karting, though. As a slow average speed, first of all means more safety (and we know that there is a great need for this), then more value should be given to driver and skill instead of giving more importance to chassis and engine and last but not least more performance. A contradiction? Not necessarily: when you drive a car, do you feel more seat pressure when driving in second or in fifth? Why those who love super-cars prefer a still start instead of pressing hard along the motorway?
Well, the same happens in karting: track without straights allow you to use short ratios, which especially with the direct drive allow for immediate accelerations and a very nervy drive, also teaching how to use the gas pedal. Once on a track, like the one in Parma it was thought incredible as to the speed possible; on the contrary, it was a bit too much and for this reason it was served for the more experienced (hence also a finishing point, a sort of university for karting). Ever since decisions have been taken by incompetent people, that is, those who talk about karting without actually knowing it properly, I wonder why the tendency has changed, and Parma now seems an average-slow circuit; still remaining one of the most formative.
Vroom breaks up for the summer holidays on Thursday 13th. We’ll be back at the end of the month on the 31st. More than a period of required rest, it’s important for everyone to think and take their standing. Because not enough has been done. If it is a known fact that the authorities are unable to resolve the problems concerning karting, the karters must decide which strategy to use to show their disapproval with determination. Silence is a sign of approval of the present situation, the same that dirties the image of karting, the same for which Thomas Knopper, a 19-year-old kart driver has lost his life.
N.B. The on-site images have been published by the Dutch website www.telegraaf.nl