Archive for March, 2010

Baby Wipes - My Go-To For Stains

DATE: March 21, 2010

baby-wipes


This may absolutely sound incredible, but I’ve found a great solution for those cases where you’ve just handled the chain and your hands are caked in grease, oil and lubricant.

Baby wipes will dissolve the mess and as a side-benefit, leave your hands smelling sweet - I kid you not!!

I discovered how effective baby-wipes was over the week when I was handling my chain which fell off the sprocket. My hands were covered in chain lubricant and I tried desperately to get them off with generic washroom soap but to no avail. I came back to the pits and was handed some baby wipes from a friend who had his wife and child on hand - next thing I know, I had wiped my hand clean using just 2 wipes.

Evidently, baby wipes are created from moistened paper with water or other liquids like isopropyl alcohol, softeners, lotions or and perfume.

It is the isopropyl alcohol which is apparently a secondary alcohol made from combining water and propene. The chemical dissolves a wide range of non-polar compounds whilst being relatively non-toxic and quick to evaporate.

Wikipedia goes on to list that it is used to clean out (DOT 3, DOt 4) brake fluid traces from hydraulic brakes, which to a layman like me implies that the stuff in baby wipes is the same stuff in my brake cleaner. Hmmm.

Sticker Kits - Create Your Own Identity

DATE:

Sticker kits (or the lack of them) gives your kart an identity on the track whilst your racing in a pack.

Surely as there are those that will argue its just a cosmetic tool and that its only proper to race battle-scarred karts, there are others who will counter-argue the merits of “hot” looking karts that personify the thrill and excitement that accompany racing.

For those looking to enhance the look of their kart, there are several ways to do so. Firstly, sticker and bodywork sets can be purchased from local dealers who usually have spare bodywork as well as sticker kits of the chassis brand they carry.

For those looking to purchase after-market sticker kits and decals, there are online sticker vendors such as http://www.godecalzone.com/ that either offer sticker kits of different designs or provide templates from which you can create your own design. Be aware that the material of sticker kits come in different  ply which affect how easy they are to work with and how resistant they are to physical damage. From my experience, the cheapest form, the 10mm ply is fine as long as the vendors ensure that their glue is sufficiently sticky. Another important point to note is that the vendor will generate the designs according to the bodywork template you specify - bodywork kits on karts can vary though it is a simple exercise to know which template to specify - there is usually a branding on the bodykits that will specify both the manufacturer brand, i.e. KG, and the bodywork model, i.e. Stilo. Should you print the wrong set for their bodywork, you will find trying to fit the stickers on the kart a futile effort as they will usually be either too long or too short. Once you find a design you like, a good quality vendor will send you your sticker kits in a cylinder, which will ensure that the stickers retain their shape and are not accidentally bent.

Upon receiving your sticker kits, via a visual inspection, ensure that you have purchased the right size for your bodywork.  Thereafter, you will need a scissors, a needle, a plastic spray containing a solution of soapy water, a hairdryer or heat-gun and I would also recommend baby wipes.

Pasting on stickers or decals is no easy task. Ask anyone who has ever given a try. A set of side bumpers, nassau panel and nosecone can take about 1-2 hours for the inexperienced.

Always plan ahead before proceeding to apply a sticker - to minimise the number of “ugly” gaps between adjoined stickers, you will need to compensate on the placement of certain stickers.

The actual application is relatively simple - having wiped down the surface of the bodywork with a baby wipe to remove any solids that would affect the flatness of the applied sticker, spray soapy water on both the section of bodywork that will be covered as well as the rear of the sticker. To get the stickers to slide easily, you should rub in the soapy solution evenly onto the bodywork. By then, you should then be able to maneuver the wet sticker across the surface. Once done, application of heat from a heat-gun or hairdryer will highlight any air pockets and make the sticker pliable for which you need patience to work on bubbles, pressing them with a pin and making sure all the film lays flat. For curved surfaces, align the sticker so that it fits the curve, then whilst holding holding a section of the curve, apply heat and work the sticker. Use baby wipes to remove the excess soap water as well as any glue that may stick to the surface of the stickers.

The example below shows a sticker kit that was recently applied to spare bodywork.

In addition, I applied a clear urethane film as a surface guard for my front bumper and sidepods, so as to minimise the scarring from light collisions.

sticker-kit

sticker-kit-5

plastic surface-guard

Educate Yourself For S$1.40 A Month

DATE: March 19, 2010

I’ve been receiving and subscribing to an online Kart magazine called TKartweb for the last 4 months. I get this online subscription in addition to the Vroom International magazines that are mailed to me every month.

Having previously subscribed to UK and Australian magazines, I originally thought Vroom was the best magazine till a friend introduced me to TKartweb which is also an Italian publication, translated into English for the international version. However, in the last two months, I became convinced that this is one of the best kart magazines in the market especially if you are looking for technical articles (and better translations).

But there is good news and there is bad news.

The bad news is that the English version of Tkartweb is only produced in an online version. The good news is that in being disseminated in this format, it costs only S$1.40 a month (or US$1.00) per copy for the annual subscription. One can subscribe for a whole year as well as elect to purchase any backdated magazines for US$2.00 a copy.


zinio


And why do I feel so enthusiastic about this magazine?

It basically boils down to having access to great content at low prices that any Singaporean can access to if they have their own or their parent’s credit card.

Talk is cheap unless one can deliver the goods - in this circumstances, please check out some of the articles that Tkartweb have produced in the last year, and hopefully this will convince you enough to subscribe to your own copy of the magazine.

rain-1 rain-2 wet-1 wet-2 wet-3 drying-1 drying-2 drying-3 bodywork-1 bodywork-2 bodywork-3 carb carb-2 carb-3 carb-4 carb-5 carb-6 lambda-1 lambda-2 lambda-3 exhaust-valve-1 exhaust-valve-2

Why Karters Need Protection

DATE: March 18, 2010

I don’t understand why some people risk it all when they kart without necessary protection.

Skills and quick reflexes are rarely enough to avoid any accident.

Rather than preach the virtues of safety, I prefer to use images - I think people get the message much quicker.

crash-1

crash-2

crash-3

Understanding Kart Frames

DATE: March 17, 2010

Have you ever tried looking up a chassis model on a kart manufacturer’s webpage and wondered why instead of product material explaining the merits of the chassis, more likely than not, what was present were technical specs and homologation documents.

Part of the problem is that its almost impossible to predict or pigeon-hole how a particular frame will perform given the variance in track, driver technique and chassis setup. Having said that, I do find that the kart manufacturers could put in a little more marketing effort to define the design philosophy and target applications of a specific chassis which would most certainly help in the purchase process for those looking around for new karts. With time, consistent monitoring of international karting developments and access to the industry’s insiders, the whole question of how each manufacturer seeks to position their company and their lines of chassis become more evident.

This brings us to our topic for today. Without going into opinion-driven questions that are frequently exemplified  by questions such as  ”Which kart is the best?”, we wanted to have our readers think about a kart’s magnetic frame and how important it is to the mechanics of how a kart works.

frame-comparison1

Kart frames are purpose built. A sprint kart chassis, for example, is designed with specific applications, engines and weight classes in mind. For example, there is a difference in torsional stiffness between a frame designed for 2 stroke engines and 4 stroke engines. It is popular thinking that a frame which is more rigid should be used with a higher horsepower application whilst lower weight/lower horsepower application can use a more flexible frame.

A kart chassis is made up of a series of tubes made from magnetic structural steel or structural steel alloy wielded together. Because the kart does not have a suspension like a car, it relies on the removal of driving load from the inside rear wheel in order to turn direction. A chassis is therefore designed to facilitate this by flexing. If a chassis did not flex, the kart would understeer and push straight instead of turning. Chassis flex works together with the front-end geometry of a kart so that the kart can pivot around the rear tires in a turn.

The biggest variable in a kart chassis is how the frame is designed to flex. The frame is essentially a collection of torsion bars which interact during cornering, i.e. the tubular sections of the frame bend and twist. How much the bars bend depends on the length of each individual tube in the frame. Longer tubes with less triangulation around them will flex more than shorter tube sections. Shorter tubes produce stiffer frames and triangulation stiffens the frame section even further.

Frame flex along with front and rear track widths will dictate weight transfer. The correct amount of frame flex helps to unload the inside rear wheel during cornering. In discussing flex, its important to realise that not all kart applications require the same amount of kart flex. Flex loads the tires differently depending on the horsepower and speed of the kart in a turn. The greater the power or speed, the more easily a frame will flex. Thus, in general, a higher horsepower kart will require a stiffer frame to balance the level of weight transfer and tire loading.

zanardi

The ability to adjust flex in a frame comes through bolt-on parts that can be added on or taken off a frame to stiffen or loosen the chassis. Example of these are nerf bars, side nerf bars, front and rear bumpers, inner rails and rear torsion bars.

Ultimately, the lesson to be illustrated today is best summarised that by adjusting the flex, a karter can control how stiff a chassis is, therefore how much additional weight transfer is required to flex a defined value, which affects the duration of time the inside rear wheel stays hooked up during corner entry and comes off during corner exit.

We have attached several images of kart frames to provide a glimpse into the design elements that different manufacturers put into their chassis. In addition, the image below illustrates a stark comparison of what a race kart frame looks like compared to the frame from a rental kart.

tonykart-vs-rental-frame

Singapore Racing Teams Tackle The Malaysian RMC

DATE: March 15, 2010

It is race season once again …

This is not hard to tell as its all hustle and bustle in the weeks preceding the opening race of the season.

For a race team - there is much to do, so many things to organise, so little time to do so.

For team managers Jonathan Tay and Guy Ermer, life is constantly in a flux leading to race day. This year, two teams, BlackDog Racing and Drakar Racing carry the Singapore flag across the Causeway to do battle against the other teams and one another at the Sepang circuit near Kuala Lumpur. For both teams, this is the second season of team racing into Malaysia, although this will be the first year for Drakar members to race under their own team outfit.

Much is planned for 2010, which is a watershed year in which the teams will be racing for honours at events and tracks across Malaysia as well as the Team Enduro and Singapore Nationals events to be held in their host country.

With the teams planning to partake in several of the year’s events, the inaugural race for the Rotax Max Challenge Malaysia 2010 Championship held last weekend on the 13th and 14th of March is proving pivotal to the teams and drivers preparations for the rest of the year’s event. Thus far, the results of the March event for both teams has proved quite positive for drivers from both teams as several took podium honours or met their personal and team targets for the events.


We leave you with several photos from the RMC event held at Sepang as well as the PreFinal and Final results for the different events.

team-drakar-ready-to-race

new-suits-for-the-blackdogs

good-clean-racing

team-huddle

last-minute-instructions

james-jon

the-2-singapore-teams

jordan-tay-on-the-grid

jack-mcgregor

guy-ermer-giles-elliott

drakar-team-in-action

rmc-2010-mar-dd2

rmc-2010-mar-micromax

rmc-2010-mar-juniors

rmc-2010-mar-seniors

rmc-2010-mar-masters

Karting Singapore Rental Kart Championship 2010

DATE:

The 2010 Rental Kart Championships are here again!

More information will be available in the coming week but for now, feast your eyes on the prizes we have in store for the winners of the events.

maranello-gloves

maranello-shoes

maranello-polo-shirt

maranello-bomber-jacket

maranello-kart-suit

The Cost Of Karting

DATE: March 7, 2010
The first lesson to impart to those planning to take up karting - its not a cheap sport. The sooner people are educated that racing costs money, the sooner their expectations can be managed. And for those who do decide that karting is for them, hopefully this article will help them keep their costs in perspective.

Lets take a look at two fictitious characters – Mr Oliver Twist and Mr Richie Rich. Both Oliver and Richie have decided to start karting. However, both enthusiasts take drastically different paths.

Mr Oliver Twist

Mr Richie Rich

KART

Chassis

Oliver is desperate to keep costs low and searches amongst the community to find if anyone has an old spare frame to sell. He secures a 6 year old chassis for $1000.

Richie opts for a new CIKFIA homologated chassis including front brakes for $7500. Accessories that he purchases for the kart (chain guard, axle stiffeners, disc savers, etc, etc) cost him another $1000.

Engine

As Oliver is adamant on a 125cc engine, he decided to purchase a 2nd hand Rotax for $2000 although a PRD Fireball $2700 or a Yamaha KT 100 $2000 was
also considered.

He opts for a 2010 spec KF2 engine which costs him $7500.

Tires

Oliver realized that tires accounted for a large part of expenses and purchased hard compound China-made tires of which he only needed 4 sets $800 for the entire year.

Richie opted to use the MG Yellow medium soft compound tires which cost $300 per set. As he looked for peak performance, he changed to fresh tires monthly.

Data Logger

Oliver bought a cheap timer and attached it to his steering wheel so as to manually capture lap time. When he decided he wanted information on his
sessions for reference, he paid $2 to loan a transponder from his local track for which he received a timing sheet print-out each time he went out.

Richie was looking for improvements each time he went out on track, and invested in a data logging unit with additional modules and sensors to capture track performance $2500.

Miscellaneous

NA

So as to benefit from whatever track time he had, Richie opted to kart under a team which maintained and serviced his kart as an arrive-&-drive package. In addition, he also took up the one-to-one coaching packages offered by local and Malaysian track pros whilst also employing a track-side engineer to assist in telemetry interpretation.

Storage

Oliver decided to kart in Malaysia where monthly storage cost $42 at the local track.

Richie parks his kart at Kartright for a monthly $150.

ACCESSORIES

Helmet

Oliver purchased a full-face Snell M rated helmet $200 initially but
subsequently upgraded to a HJC AR11 with Snell SA2005 rating for $600.

Richie picks up a Snell SA rated helmet for $2500.

Shoes

Whilst Oliver initial started karting using a pair of track shoes, he
eventually found that he could purchase Sparco factory 2
nd’s at a significant discount on eBay.

A branded set of karting shoes cost Richie another $200.

Gloves

Oliver bought a pair of good quality motorcycle gloves.

A good set of karting gloves cost Richie $80.

Suit

In order to reduce costs, Oliver looked on eBay UK for 2nd hand suits where he eventually found a Level 2 Sparco suit that fit him for
$100.

Richie is sold on the comfort and fit of a custom tailored suit. An Italian made suit costs him $750.

Rib Protector

Found a 2nd hand FreeM rib protector on KartingAsia’s classads.

Richie decided his ribs needed additional protection and purchased a FreeM rib protector and a Ribtect carbon fiber seat.

PERIODIC COSTS

Tools, Oils & Sprays

Oliver thought of another way of cutting costs; to share a common set of tools and sprays with a fellow karter, Charles Dickens. Whilst Oliver kept no chassis/engine spares, he had ensured that the track he patronized did maintain a supply of common parts and offered workmanship at reasonably low rates.

Covered under the arrive-&-drive servicing deal.

Replacement Parts

Service Charges

Track Fee

The track fee Oliver paid in Malaysia was about $35 for a full day of track time.

Richie pays $60 for a 3 hour block hour during the weekends at Kartright.

Cost Of Traveling

Oliver didn’t have a car and so each trip to Johor was spread across a duration of 6am-5pm. Oliver took a bus in-and-out of Johor and got in and out of the track by taxi $30.

NA

RACING

Racing Events

Oliver’s budget (and equipment) didn’t allow him to take part in any sanctioned or homologated event; but nevertheless, he enjoyed himself racing in club and mini races that were organized from time-to-time.

The cost for Richie to take part in the Rotax Max Challenge in Malaysia is $1200-$1500 per race. Richie also plans to race the Singapore Nationals. Either event will require Richie to apply for a SMSA license and the required insurance policy.

Reading Material To Broaden Your Horizons

DATE: March 4, 2010

karting-guides-pt1


And so, although seat-time plays a fundamental part of the inculcation process of using regular practice to improve one’s skill, perfection comes not through just any form of practice – rather, it is the product of perfect practice. One way to improve one’s practice habits is to take coaching at periodic progression levels so that one’s technique can be analysed, critiqued and improved through expert guidance. However, what other options are available for consideration apart from expert or peer guidance?

Access to reading material is what I consider an important part of an enthusiast’s education into the mechanics of the sport. During the last two years, I have purchased several videos, books and magazines in a bid to improve my knowledge (and therefore my practice time at the circuit) at a pace I was comfortable with. Some of these materials are rubbish and a waste of money and others were just mediocre. A handful of these were genuinely useful and what I’d consider my 5 star reference notes.

There are three must-have books that I would recommend an enthusiast purchase if they take up kart racing.

Bob Bondurant on Race Kart Driving By Bob Bondurant & Ross Bently
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I bought this book sometime after I had been karting. I liked the style of writing. It was very simple and concise and would be a great way to introduce technical concepts such as camber and castor to a beginner. I also liked the attention to detail on even the smallest of things – the book touches on how to enter a kart which the other beginner books I read never actually covered. You can peruse several pages of the book on Google Books via the URL

Secrets of Speed For Two-Cycle Kart Racing By Memo Gidley
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I bought this book before I purchased my first kart. If you do so, then you might find a lot of the material too technical and certain elements of the book may seem confusing. A few months of race karting later, I picked up the booked and everything began to fall into place. Its not a book that someone completely fresh to karting would appreciate but thereafter once you begin karting, there are many little insights in the book that you may have overlooked, and which will prove useful to furthering your understanding about the nuances of the chassis and more specifically the engine – there is a great write-up on carburetion and setting up of the powervalve that is covered in detail in Memo’s books which I encourage people to read. Memo has several other guides dedicated to Four Stroke racing or Shifter racing – I also purchased the guide on Shifter racing which comprises of at least 70% similar reading material with the only differences peculiar to the type of engine being written on.

Speed Secrets – Professional Race Driving Techniques By Ross Bently
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This is one of Ross Bently first books on driving technique and the mental part of driving and race preparation. This is just a great book to read that educates anyone and everyone in driving and race technique. The material is always current and Ross has shared that he has been told that even experienced racers carry this compact handbook to the track for a brief read to remind themselves on the fundamentals of finding more speed on the track. A must buy!

So these were my three most recommended books for karters. In writing this article I felt torn about the fact that Memo Gidley’s book might be too much-too soon for some karters, especially those who were still in the rental kart racing phase. In addition, I can’t help but notice how few karters actually use their data loggers for anything more than to read their timings. And having read, Ross Bently’s Speed Secrets, I felt that some people might benefit from the insight of other “educators”, albeit the material not being specific to karting.

karting-guides-pt2


So having said this, here are a couple more books that may be useful depending on what you are looking for.

Going Faster By Skip Barber
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Anyone searching for workshops or race driving experiences in the US should have come across mention of the Skip Barber training schools and courses that are run in centres across the US. Although much of the material may not be specific to karting, there are several useful concepts applicable to all form of Motorsports that are explained in detail. In addition, the book holds numerous opinions and tips from their various experienced instructors that can be life-changing to your driving technique if you mull over them hard enough. I liked them so much, when I started Karting Singapore, I created the “Talking Karts” to share several of these personal insights.

The Karting Manual By Joao Sanches & Jenson Button
¬¬
Now why would I give two stars to a book co-written by Jenson Button. I purchased it about a month back – bear in mind I have already been karting coming to two years. When I had a quick browse through the contents of the book I actually fell asleep. So why am I including it as a possible recommended reading – I do so because this hardcover book has been written with the beginner in mind and does a decent job of explaining in simple language on a broad range of topics related to karting. In addition, as compared to the many other books written in the context of US karting, this book is written in the context of UK and European karting.

The Competition Car Data Logging Manual By Graham Templeman
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Data analytics is an important part of Motorsport. The higher the formula you go, the more analytics play a part of making sense of whats happening in and outside of your vehicle. Graham’s book is my first purchase on data analytic information and whilst it doesn’t actually teach you specific techniques to study data (who would give away their trade secrets anyway?), it does highlight all the different possibilities of how you can utilize sensors and the data analysis software’s to help you understand what you and the car are doing. Buy it only after you’ve done at least a year of race karting. Fortunately, some parts of it are on Google Books via the URL:

karting-guides-pt3


Speed Secrets 2 – More Professional Race Driving Techniques By Ross Bently
¬¬¬¬¬
Buy it! This is a great book. Be informed that this is not for fresh enthusiast to racing. Rather, it would be helpful for enthusiasts who have been driving for some time and have reached their own plateau which they have not been able to progress further. If personal coaching is not something within your budget, I would recommend a serious read of this book to help you break past your current limit. A preview at Google Books is via the URL

What I have touched on so far, are books which either provide an introduction to karting, or teach driving and mental technique. For those who wish to keep current with what is happening in the karting world, there are the following alternatives.

tkartweb


vroom


Vroom Magazine / Tkart Magazine: Both of these magazines are Italy-based publications in which an English language international version has been launched. Vroom magazines can be purchased for EUR 2.00 in an online PDF format which is released every month or via 12 month subscription to the hardcopy version which is great for enthusiasts that prefer a physical magazine that they can flip through as well as those that appreciate the beautifully taken photos in colour print. Tkart is likewise available in an online format which can be downloaded as a PDF – however, they do not publish a physical version of the magazine. I feel that although Vroom seems to have better coverage of news on all the karting activities in the world, I personally prefer Tkart because I enjoy the better quality of their technical articles and the Italian to English translation of articles is effected more accurately as well.

jet-tech
ekartingnews-1024x7271


eKartingNews Forum: This is a US-based karting forum but do not feel out of place as you will see many forum posts from around the globe. I treat this as a one-stop location for all forms of news and discussions on karting. There are many sub-forums, several of which are dedicated to discussions on specific engine type – this has proved very useful especially if you are searching for specific information on TAG, 2 stroke or 4 stroke racing. As with any forum, there are idiots, sturborn mules and assholes. If you can sift through the “noise” you can find some very interesting information on the sport.

And finally I cannot complete my article on reading material without encouraging everyone to download the Preparation Of The Delorto Carb that is available via the URL:


I included this as a must-have download on the KartingSingapore site as few people realize how much the reason a karter is beating another karter on the same engine make, is all down to who understands and sets their carburetion better.