Earlier than usual, the international racing season stops at the classic Lonato Winter Cup. The newborn BMB hits bull's eye immediately at its first international meeting thanks to a one-two in SKF by Birel duo, Libor Toman and Sauro Cesetti. We tested Birel brand new engines, BMB KF2 and Kart Grand Prix a couple of weeks before their winning debut.
And for the second season, the South Garda event followed another major international race, the Rotax Winter Cup, attracting more and more drivers in preparation to the Rotax season.
The last resort
The 2010 racing season is now open, and it seems that there are already a lot of entries especially in the 60cc and gear-shift classes. Very few in the direct drive category, and this has made us wonder a bit…
A while ago, someone who thought a lot of himself – just think he thought he was the king - said, après moi, le déluge (after me, the deluge). Instead, now someone might well say: “Before me, the desert”. Who? Well, all the protagonists of a phenomenon (and not a trend, anything but) that several years ago we at Vroom pointed out and put to karting enthusiasts, when those who thought they “knew it all” about karting decreed that it would have lasted a couple of years at most. Now though, it seems that the transition has been accomplished. What are we on about? Well, single-make races and how they have taken on “without imprisoning anyone” within the Italian direct drive classes. Many people now say that these events have ruined the single-gear classes. But, honestly speaking, it seems that this time too, they want to transform into an accusation what is only a consequence of circumstances. Proof? You only have to see what’s happened in the 125cc gear-class: single-make events have been suggested for this class too, but none of them have had much success, or even taken off as well as to be compared with direct-drive classes.
The reason can easily be understood: kart drivers had no reason to leave classes that had been giving them satisfaction, fun, the right cost and are also very fast, educational and competitive. And, above all haven’t been massacred by those who knew “it all” that we mentioned earlier on.
But let them look at the facts, for a change. There are other reasons that have contributed to knocking down the Italian direct-drive classes.
What should a driver do?
To understand them, all that you have to do is put yourself in the shoes of any driver from 16-years of age and over. That is: which category can he enter for being in the direct-drive sector? On one hand he’d have the so-called national classes, the same that have always been the pillar of all national racing. Yes, but which ones are these in 2010? The 100 cc class has been ruined intentionally and, there’s more, to keep it from being able to pick up again, it has been divided into two with ‘Italia’ on one side and ‘Prodriver’ on the other. The result being that hardly anyone races in either of them anymore. Let’s not mention KF1, as we think that having included it in the Italian categories ought to make the person who thought about doing this resign, so that just leaves us with the KF2, besides the Open, it never races. There are the four-stroke classes. But these, although interesting, are another thing altogether. So, what’s the alternative to this agony, to this desertification? A kaleidoscopic world made up of Easykart, ROK, Rotax and now Kart Grand Prix and Iame X30. Classes where you can find lots of people having fun and racing. Need we say more?
Ok, looking at the question from this angle is a bit like shooting at a sitting duck. So let’s change our point of view, and put ourselves in the shoes of those who used to race in the old, great 100 ICA and kept their 100cc for going out on Sundays for a bit of fun, or perhaps sold it, but would like to get back into racing and feel the adrenaline in racing. Apart from other considerations, why should they want to spend from 3,000 to 3,500 Euros for a KF2 engine, when you can buy a TaG complete with accessories that doesn't create too many problems for about a thousand Euros less? Maybe this is to satisfy those who said drivers wanted international categories, when what applies is the opposite. Let’s please avoid saying that the problem had nothing to do with money. Also because, in this case, our driver goes directly to KZ…
One-make races, good, but...
Have we been too harsh? This was just to give a few home truths on the actual situation at a national level. We have written in the past that single-make classes were interesting and should be spurred along and we also wrote about Tag engines satisfying a large slice of kart drivers happy, those who had been till then ignored. However, now we’d like to clear the air and let it be known that we have never believed that single-make races have ever reached their top splendour. In fact, they too have some shortcomings despite the fact that there are more overall pros than cons. For example, when a component, imposed by regulations, has a problem, the manufacturer himself can fix it. Besides, it is up to the promoter and what he decides. Furthermore, there is also a reoccurring idea that drivers are just there to get their pocket cleaned out. You can even see this from how much some parts cost. Moreover, often drivers have to commute, travel long distances and spend a lot of money as races are rarely just round the corner. Add to this also the fact that there are already points also in the pre-finale so it means that everything has to be in order from the early phases of the race, giving the Saturday meeting even more importance. Finally, even in these sporting oases, there are still mechanics out there whose résumés are not exactly crystal clear.
What do we intend by saying all this, that single-make races are awful? Not at all, generally speaking, they are the only categories today where karting enthusiasts can really let themselves go, also because compared to a few negative aspects, there are many more, which are positive, but we won’t list them here. Rather, we would like you see that the usual Italian categories still have room for improvement before achieving the splendour of the good old days.
Will we be able to have our own ideas?
We must turn over a new page because we can’t go on like this. Let’s start by merging the 100cc classes so, at least the few who still race can actually enter for them, even if it may be too late. A new direct-gear category should be set up and created in an intelligent way that bears in mind the needs of drivers and not of others, by living less heed to the “all-knowing” we mentioned earlier. It seems that the new KF2 classes are at last reliable and not so demanding in terms of maintenance, but how can we bank on these categories after years of disappointments? Moreover, going back to the issue at hand, why should kart drivers prefer this category over any other? What does it offer to favour participation?
In short, we see that desire and ideas are missing here, yet the timing is right. Just to give you an example, the first that comes to mind and perhaps not the best, is the world category for those under 18 that has been recently set up and is positive from a technical standpoint. So why doesn’t CSAI sponsor a similar Italian category but without age limit? This is just an example, but there are many other ideas that could be just as interesting, if only they wanted to discuss them. The alternative for these categories without gear-shifts is like a desert. And that is what we have now. But with a bit of optimism, the desire to work at it and the ability to do so, it could all be transformed into a great beach.
TRACK TEST - Kart Grand Prix & Birel-BMB KF2
BMB presents its engines, which we tested, for the second decade of the new millennium: the 125 Tag type and the KF2, the first destined for the new single make series Kart Grand Prix, the second for the international categories. They are completely different from one another, but both are packed with advanced technical features and suitable for each of their specific roles.
IN THE FOCUS... - Peter De Bruijn
Getting ready for the new season, Peter de Bruijn explains his programme and strategy to be protagonist in 2010 international races. After all, he can count on three aces up his sleeve – PDB Racing Team, Maddox, and the renewed allegiance with Iame, also in KZ – to beat the competition in all major events, gearbox included. An explicit warning to everyone!
TALKING TO - Jules Bianchi
Probably, in a couple of years, we will be running another article on Jules Bianchi, Suzuka World Cup runner-up in 2006, in the section ‘From Kart to Formula 1’, as the French talent looks set to reach the ultimate goal of every driver. And although Jules has already had a taste of a Formula 1 car, actually The Formula 1 car, the Ferrari F60, with a 48 hours test in Jerez last December, we rather feature this interview in this column, mainly for propitiatory reasons...
TALKING TO - Michelle Gatting
Michelle Gatting, 16 year old driver from Denmark, promising young talent with three top-level international karting seasons under her belt. Beautiful as a queen, fast as lighting. She set her eyes on the European KF2 Championship title for her new VDK Crg Junior team.
RACE REPORT - 15th Winter Cup
The first race of the season finally allowed the new engines to be revealed. This was the Winter Cup, where Libor and Cesetti’s BMB engines made their debut in the SuperKF category, while TM engines won in the KF2 and KF3 categories with Heche and Orudzhev
RACE REPORT – Rotax Winter Cup
131 competitors from 23 nations entered for the opening race on the RGMMC calendar. it looked as if the weekend might be a complete wash-out when the worst weather in 60 years hit the Winter Cup with a vengeance.
ON THE TECHNICAL SIDE - The flow meter
Some work on an engine in an empirical way and others in a scientific way, using specific instruments to figure out how to proceed. A flow bench is one of these instruments. Let’s have a look at its features and functions...
THESIS ANTITHESIS - Water pump
The water pump is an essential element in liquid-cooled engines, also in karts. There is just one problem, also where to put them. In front of the axle as to be driven by the axle or built into the engine? Here we look at the advantages and disadvantages of both options and the reason why this is still such a problem
VINTAGE - Walter Kaaden and 50 years of the rotating valve - part 1
History would like Walter Kaaden to be the founding father of the two-stroke rotary valve engine, but he was not the only one to give life to this revolution...
VINTAGE - Adams Motorsports Park 50 years and counting
Thursday January 28th marked a historic day for karting and Adams Motorsport Park. Adams Kart Track, now named Adams Motorsports Park celebrated what most of us will never see, a 50th anniversary.
NATIONS SPECIAL – England
2009 can be easily defined as ‘annus horribilis’ not only for karting but for the world-wide economy at large. Despite this, motorsport champions factory Great Britain continues to produce some of the best karters in the world: European KF2 champ Jordan Chamberlain, Ben Hanley - 3rd at the World Championship, Jason Parrott - 3rd in the European SKF Championship, and Jake Dennis - runner-up at the World Cup for KF3. Top-level karting cannot tell the whole story, so we take a look at the situation of the national karting scene in the homeland of motorsport...
US national season could not wait to kick off. After a very short off-season, Championship Karting International officially opened its 2010 season at the Homestead in Florida.
COLUMNS – Mondokart & April national and international calendar
The Margutti and the Italian Open Masters still prove strong, attracting many entries both from national and international drivers. We take an in-depth look at Rotax engine warranty and its brand new XPS synthetic blend oil, developed specifically for Max engine family. We feature some very hot topics from the Chicago Kart Expo International Kart Industry Roundtable. And we hit on a preview of the Baltic Rok Cup, the PanAmerican Rotax Challenge, and the 1st Kart Grand Prix for 100cc engines in Germany.
Last but not least, our usual national and international racing calendar featuring April events. 47 national events from 23 countries across the world, plus 4 major international races.