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Kart Review UK

Olly Waind

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About Olly Waind

  • Birthday 15/01/1986

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  • Races
    Rotax Max
  • Competing at
    Grampian Kart Club, RAFMSA championship
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    Motorsports, engineering, cars, motorsports

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  1. The Blizzard KG-3 is the new entry level karting glove from Sparco. At £30 including VAT, they are well priced and will suit someone who doesn't want to spend an absolute fortune on their kit. First Impressions The KG-3 is a very lightweight, thin glove which fits nicely and offers good comfort and the protection you need at a very reasonable price. When I first put these on they felt extremely comfortable. They are a very basic design, have little to no padding apart from suede palm pads for improved grip on the wheel but not too much as to reduce feel. The main body of the gloves is made of a single material, which is nice and elastic and gives a little leeway if you end up with a slightly small size. It isn't as nice as the material you would expect of a top end glove but there is certainly nothing wrong with it. There is no securing strap on these gloves however they do have an elasticated cuff so don't worry they will stay on nice and snug. Overall they seem very well made as you would expect from the likes of Sparco and after a full weekend of racing including a 1 hour stint in an endurance race I have no issues with these gloves. Summary A good quality glove offering good comfort and feel whilst being kind on the credit card balance. Perfect for the budget karter or just someone who prefers not to spend a fortune on a pair of gloves! Pros Price Well made Comfortable Cons Less premium materials
  2. As the name suggests, the Bumper Carbon is the carbon fibre version of Bengio's benchmark Bumper range. First Impressions As with the "old" Bumper, you get some high density foam wrapped in a hard shell complete with straps. Its a really simple design but does a fantastic job at protecting your body during the extreme physical demands of karting. The carbon looks identical to the original Bumper. However, Bengio claim that the shape is slightly different and gives a better fit, I couldn't tell the difference mind you. Its slightly lighter and looks more appealing as the outer part of the shell is made of carbon and everyone loves a bit of carbon. General Use/Observations The foam used is the same "Textontm480" as used in the normal Bumper and therefore does exactly the same job as before. The carbon fibre shell is actually two layers of fibreglass like the old Bumper with a thin layer of carbon over the top. Apparently this gives extra strength and saves weight but the difference is hardly noticeable if we are totally honest. Summary As with the normal Bumper the Carbon gives you the protection you need against those horrific rib injuries that some of us have become all too familiar with. If you are on a budget then get the normal Bumper as there really is very little between them. But if your like me and you like a bit of carbon fibre then why not just spend the extra £20 and have the Bengio Bumper Carbon. There have been reports that this rib protector can actually increase the trauma to muscles around the ribs if the protector is ill fitting. Such is the nature of the hard shell, it will not flex to your chest shape so it is imperative that you make sure it fits correctly. Pros Looks excellent Lightweight Hard wearing Cons As we pointed out with the normal Bumper, make sure you get the correct size as if it doesn't fit right it will be slightly awkward. A good fit is essential for the protector to work properly.
  3. Bell's entry level karting helmet, the RS3-K is Snell K2010 approved. Like the RS7-K its overall design is based on one of Bell's popular race helmets, the RS3 Pro. First Impressions Once again Bell have done a great job with the looks of this helmet. It has a slightly more rounded shape to it than the RS7-K but in my opinion, it still has quite an aggressive style. The helmet has a "duckbill" chin spoiler which is unlikely to give any kind of aerodynamic advantage in the karting world but it's a nice touch. It's personal preference whether you like it or not. If you don't, consider the RS7-K. General Use/Observations Overall this helmet is very similar in build quality and weight as the RS7-K. The main difference I can see, is it does not come with a double screen anti-fog visor, which may cause it to be slightly more prone to steaming up. Although, after having raced in the wet with this helmet we experienced no such issues, probably due to the design at the front which sees extra air intakes at the bottom of the chin. The helmet fits very nicely as you would expect from Bell and is similar in size the RS7-K too, which is slightly smaller than the Sport series helmets. The helmet has lots of ventilation holes. not as many as the RS7-K but I'm not sure it would benefit from having any more as it would seem fogging is not a problem with this helmet once you are on the move. I did manage to steam it up by sitting here at my computer wearing it with the visor closed and a little heavy breathing but I'd say its a bit of a pointless fact since there is no air going through the ventilation holes. There is a top intake available for this helmet that fits over the top vents if you feel the need for a little extra ventilation or even if you just like the look. I personally think it adds nicely to this design as can be seen below on the CMR version of this helmet. Whilst on the subject of accessories there don't seem to be any pattern spoilers available for Bell helmets meaning you will likely have to pay top whack for a spoiler. I have been informed that you can use ones made for Arai helmets as the fit is very similar. Whether they would need any modification to make them fit properly I am not sure. Keep your eyes peeled for our review on the KC3-CMR version of this helmet in the near future for a comparison on weight, size and overall build. Summary As with the RS7-K this helmet wont break the bank and to be honest from using both helmets the choice really comes down to which one you like the look of. Sure the RS7-K has that double screen visor, which probably explains the slight price difference but you can buy a double screen visor to fit this helmet anyway if it bothers you that much. Pros Looks good Good value for money Bell build quality Cons Expensive accessories. No double screen visor
  4. First Impressions We have come to expect good things from Alto and this brake bleeding tool is no exception. It's a really nice looking, quality machined tool. It is etched with the usual Alto logo and its shiny, which always appeals to karting folk!! General Use/Observations The tool consists of an anodised aluminium body, etched with the Alto logo with a small tap on the bottom for turning on and off the fluid flow. On top of this, there is a plastic fluid reservoir and 4 threaded adaptors to fit most, if not all master cylinder thread types. 4 types of thread included There are three knurls on the body of the tool which come in handy to grip the tool whilst fixing the tool to your master cylinder. This is especially handy on a tool such as this, as brake fluid has a habit of coating everything making them super slippery! Three well machined knurls The tool is really easy to use and lets no air into the system giving a solid pedal in minutes. It is a little pricey considering that in essence it's just a screw on reservoir. However in my humble opinion it's worth it for a quality tool like this one, which I am sure will be the only one you will ever need to buy. Summary This tool is a must in every karting tool box. There are cheaper options out there if your wallet can't stretch to the £35 price tag but as this is a quality tool it should outlast your karting career. Pros Good quality. Ease of use. Will fit most if not all karts. Cons Price tag.
  5. First Impressions Sparco's KS3 race suit is their entry level model, priced at £115 plus VAT. It is a basic looking suit but first impressions are, as with most of their products, it is well made and durable. The suit is available five different colours, so you shouldn't struggle to find one that works for you. General Use/Observations The suit fits reasonably well overall, however, it doesn't have the same tailored feel that you get from more premium ranges like the Sparco x-light . This doesn't effect the performance in any way. Comfort wise, you can't really fault it, with a nice soft lining and foot loops to stop the legs from riding up when at speed, it is more than adequate. The arms are supposed to be fully floating but in my opinion they are closer to a semi floating arm....regardless, this allows good freedom of movement in and out of the kart. Most importantly, there is a vented area around the upper inside leg which provides a welcome draft to keep your crown jewels cool during a race. After a whole season racing, this suit looks to be standing up to the wear and tear well. With only one small split, which was easily fixed, and no other issues to report I will not be replacing it any time soon. As expected with a lower priced suit, the materials are not as comfortable or advanced as those used to produce the next level of race suit. This being said, for the price you pay, you really are getting value for money here. Summary As entry level equipment goes, this suit is a definite bargain. It is comfortable, durable and half the price of premium ranges. If you want the best of the best then, no, this suit is not for you but if, like most of us, you want a nice looking suit, that leaves you with money to spend on items that will actually improve your lap times, this may be exactly what you are looking for. Pros Good value for money. Comfortable. Cons Basic materials
  6. Introduction Grampian kart Club is a well established club in the north east of Scotland, offering healthy grids in both MSA and non MSA club championships for Cadets and Rotax classes with growing numbers taking part in gearbox. They hold a round of the ASKC Scottish Super Series and run two (car) sprint events each year for members of the Aberdeen District Motor Club. If you're into your bikes they also host a round of the Scottish Supermoto championship so there really is something for everyone. Location & Local Amenities The club is situated about 5 miles away from Banff on the A98 and is well sign posted from the main road. The postcode to find the track is AB45 2LS. This will take you to a junction on the A98, take this left turn. Follow this single track road for around half a mile and you will see the circuit. You can not miss the huge metal gates! Unfortunately there isn't much in the way of local amenities due to the location of this club. However there are 2 villages within 5 miles of the track which have the usual local shops and B&B's. The nearest fuel station which sells super unleaded is located in Banff so if your short of fuel you wont have to go far. Facilities Grampian Kart Club does well as a small non profit club to provide a good range of facilities available to use on a race weekend including: 24 hour toilet. Showers and changing rooms. Permanent café serving hot and cold food and drinks on race weekends. A fantastic fleet of rental karts. There is a toilet which you can access from outside the clubhouse which is open 24 hours a day on a race weekend when the clubhouse is closed. Its not very big but its kept clean and tidy throughout a race weekend. In the main clubhouse there are good quality showers and changing facilities and better toilets. All of which are kept in good order throughout the weekend. The cafeteria provides a good range of hot and cold food including scotch pies, burgers, chips and drinks the usual karting menu and its all very well priced. There is plenty of seating space and a friendly atmosphere but if you're into your Formula One and like to wait until you get home to watch the race then beware, there is a large screen TV in the café and they do have a habit of showing the race on a Sunday. So, cover your ears when you go in. The club has an excellent fleet of Sodi RX250 rental karts which are available to hire for corporate or party events throughout the year. During the clubs Non-MSA meetings they run the karts as an arrive and driver class in the usual 3 heats and a final format. This attracts all levels of driver from total beginners to full MSA license holders looking for an extra bit of cheap seat time. This makes for fierce competition and a great spectacle (especially when its wet). The price is £60, you do not require anything to compete in this class, Helmet, Gloves, Suit etc are all provided and are included in the price. This really is an excellent way to get into karting as the class runs alongside your usual grids such as Rotax Max, TKM etc so you really get the feeling of a proper meeting. Paddock area There is plenty of space in the paddock area at Boyndie. There is not much in the way of hard standing but the grass is always kept short and does not seem prone to flooding on a wet weekend. It's also nice and easy to bash your pegs into! The club has a decent tannoy system which can be heard easily and clearly from all areas of the paddock which is hugely beneficial on a race weekend and makes the meeting run very smoothly. There is plenty of access to the edge of the circuit to spectate and the club has modified the top of its storage ISO container into a grandstand from which you can see the whole circuit, which is a nice touch. The view from the ISO container With the circuit being bang in the middle of a wind farm on the Scottish coast it gets mighty windy so do bundle up!! At Boyndie they have a quad bike with a trailer which they use as a recovery vehicle to bring back stricken karts from the other end of the circuit. We thought this was a brilliant idea and saved a lot of time on race days keeping things moving smoothly. Circuit A quick few laps of Boyndie courtesy of Martin Willox. The circuit is quite fast but also offers some slow speed corners and quite technical sections which can be quite challenging for even the most experienced racers to master. Summary Overall Boyndie is a very good circuit offering a great racing experience. We would recommend a visit to anyone looking to try somewhere new who doesn't mind traveling a few extra miles. For anyone living in Scotland, the circuit is one of only a handful of MSA circuits available. It does a good job competing with the Scottish circuits and is also way above the standard of many circuits in England. Pros Great track Café Good, well maintained facilities. Cons Location. Very windy
  7. First Impressions The AWS rib protector is an entry level product at the lower end of the price range. It’s not the prettiest of things to behold. Then again neither is a Ford Transit Van but it has a sense of purpose to it and seems to be of reasonable quality. It’s a simple design with hard plastic outer shell covering a high density foam inner structure with the usual adjustable Velcro straps. General Use/Observations I bought this rib protector during my first season in Karting with what was left of my starting out budget. I wasn’t intending on buying one at all at first but after having a rather unpleasant first meeting with rib injuries I realized it was a must!! The first thing I noticed was just how much of a difference actually having a rib protector makes. I immediately felt more comfortable in the kart and was able to relax and just think about driving instead of constantly tensing up to protect my ribs. I got this in size large which is a little on the big size for me so as with any piece of clothing or safety equipment I would suggest taking the time to make sure you get the right size as it does cause a few problems with the front of the rib protector pushing forwards when you sit in the seat. Over the 18 months that I have used this protector I must say I have not experienced any problems with my ribs and it seems to be lasting quite well. There is a little deformation in the plastic shell where the seat has been digging in but it doesn’t seem to have affected the protection it provides. There is a negative to this product which could be expected for the price I paid for it, and that’s comfort. There seems to be a problem with the bottom of the back plate digging into your spine and leaving a sore, cherry sized lump half way down your back at every meeting and the straps have a habit of falling off your shoulders when you sit in the seat. This could be attributed to the fact it isn’t quite the correct size for me but I expect it to be more of an ergonomics issue with the design. Summary Overall I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised by this product over the time I have used it. It “does what is says on the tin”. However now I can afford to spend a little more, I will be looking a little further up the price range for my next rib protector. This is mainly due to the comfort issues I have experienced with this one and I expect, as with most things, you get what you pay for. So although this does the job as a budget option, I would suggest that if your wallet will allow it, look a little further up market. Pros Good protection Simple Reasonable quality Cheap Cons Back plate digs in causing painful sore on the back. Shoulder straps and basic shape cause comfort issues.
  8. First Impresions Llandow Kart Shop is a small kart shop based at the Llandow circuit in South Wales. They deal mainly in CRG chassis and parts and offer a range of services including chassis setup and repairs. They also stock all the usual paraphernalia you would expect to find at any other kart shop. First impressions are very good. The shop is clean and well laid out with karts and components on display and the owners are very friendly and keen to help out in any way they can. One of the services available is their JAG approved engine preparation and supply service offering everything from a simple carb clean and service, to a full blown engine rebuild and race setup, which we are covering on this review. I went to the shop to discuss my options for having my Rotax Max senior engine rebuilt and set up on their dyno. The owner of the shop and engine builder Nigel invited me into the workshop and was keen to show me around and talk me through the work he carries out on the engines he services and discuss my requirements. I was impressed by the wealth of knowledge and experience they offer and felt confident they would provide me with an excellent service. Observations Shortly after having my engine dropped off I received a phone call from Nigel to let me know he had started to carry out work on my engine. By request he had run my engine on his dyno prior to carrying out the engine work following some worries I had about the engines bottom end performance, which the dyno run confirmed. Later on that day he rang to give me an update on how things were going. He was honest and to the point. He told me there was a lot of play in the crank and he feared that the main bearings had failed, therefore a possibility that they may have caused damage to the crankcase. Nigel informed me he would give me a call once he had split the crankcase and found out what the damage was. Once he had opened the crankcase it was discovered that in actual fact the case and bearings were fine and the problem was actually a worn crank. He discussed the option of me having a used crank to save money and also whether I wanted a new connecting rod fitting as the one currently in the engine was not too bad. I chose to go down the slightly more expensive route and had a whole new crank assembly (including rod) installed. I decided this was the best option for piece of mind and the fact that the parts are now covered by warranty. The following day he called to let me know the results of the post build dyno run in and to tell me that my engine would be delivered back to me by courier later that week. He also told me to keep him informed about how I get on and to call if I need any advice or assistance. When I received my engine back it looked brand new and now with the addition of the shops LKS stickers on the radiator. The stickers look nice but I don't think they are as nice as some from other engine builders (Costing at least a 1/10th of a second on the track!). The engine came back to me with the dyno report in the box showing the before and after rebuild runs. It is plain to see the difference in bottom end power and torque and also right up at the top end. The graph does show the power tail off slightly earlier than previously in the revs before picking up again but this can be expected of a newly built engine with less than an hours running on it. I was surprised to see the price on the invoice for the rebuild to only came to £735 as the new crank assembly was an added cost I had not planned on having to pay for. The bill for the labour and dyno work was a lot cheaper than I had expected and the carb clean and rebuild only cost me £20. I ran the engine on a winter test session at Grampian Kart Club and the engine felt far better. Much more power out of the slow corners and also felt and sounded cleaner (probably due to the crank not rattling about in the bearings). The engine revved well all the way up the straights even on slightly wrong gearing for the circuit. Unfortunately we weren't able to get an accurate idea in lap time of how much better the motor was due to the conditions being 2 degrees Celsius and slightly damp, however I am very happy with the results of the rebuild and can't wait to run it in anger! Summary Overall I have been very happy with the service from LKS and would recommend them. They are not as big and well know as the likes of Ogden Motorsport but they certainly know their stuff and offer their services at a very competitive price. Although they do look good, the sicker pack on the radiator isn't as nice as some others I have seen and I don't think it gives the kart the same presence as some other bigger, better known but more expensive builders I can think of. However I rest assured that the quality of service they provide and their friendly and honest approach to what they do is just as good even if the sticker kit is not as "fashionable" in the paddock. Being in South Wales LKS is a little far for some people if they wish to visit the workshop in person but ideal if you race at Llandow. Pros Price. Friendly, honest and to the point. Quick Cons (not really cons but niggles) Stickers not as nice as some others. Location
  9. Its good to see its actually kind of happening but It would have been so much more successful if the organisation had been there early on and more people knew what was going on with it!!
  10. First Impresions As you would expect from Sparco, these boots certainly look the part. Elegant with the usual hint of Italian passion and flair. Not as "in your face" as some offerings from the likes of Adidas, Alpinestars etc. but Sparco do seem to be a little more conservative where styling is concerned. These boots are available in 5 different colour options. Red, Blue and black suede and white or black calf skin. The calf skin being the easiest to keep clean, better in the wet and from experience I'd say harder wearing too. They appear to be nice and lightweight, certainly lighter than the Sparco k-mid boot. They also feature the now standard "wear patches" on the sides that were missing on some of Sparco's older models and are definite high wear area of any race boot. General Use/Observations As soon as you take these boots out of the box you know they are well made but you would not expect any less for the price tag. They are made of good quality leather of the "baby cow" variety. Soft and supple whilst hard wearing, very lightweight and easy to wipe clean. When I slipped my feet into these boots I was stunned at how comfortable they are. They have an extremely soft tongue and are very easy to slip in and out of due to having a large opening at the top unlike some other boots I have tried. On the back of the boot there is a neoprene bellow for enhanced comfort and flexibility which is a nice touch. At the track these boots are exactly what I would expect a kart boot to be. They have been comfortable, hard wearing and provide you with good feel through the soles of your feet when driving the kart. One of the best things about these boots over the suede boots I have used in the past is their performance in the wet. As you will all know here in the UK we are almost guaranteed to have at least a couple of wet meetings throughout the year. I was surprised and satisfied after a couple of wet sessions to find my feet had stayed relatively dry and the boots were still easy to remove and dried out quickly on the heater in our van. They are also extremely easy to clean and stop your feel getting drenched walking around in a muddy, wet paddock, whilst also not wearing out like suede does when it gets wet. Summary A top quality, good looking and comfortable boot. Easy to clean in calf skin form and I would say better for UK weather than the suede option. Not the cheapest boot on the market by any means but the quality certainly reflects the price. Pros Looks good Lightweight Comfortable Well made Keep your feet dry in less than monsoon conditions. Cons Price conservative styling
  11. First Impressions This is a fairly basic low-mid priced gauge from the well known brand "Longacre", which is available with a pressure range from either 0-30 psi or 0-60psi. I have chosen the 0-30 option as it has larger increments for adjustment (0.5 psi rather than 1) than the 0-60 option and I will never use more than 30 psi in a kart tyre anyway. This gauge is also available with a glow in the dark background. The gauge has a simple 2 inch dial with a chunky rubber surround to protect it from bumps and bangs and seems to be of quality construction. It also has a pressure release button for making precise adjustments. It has a 14 inch flexible hose with a press fit adapter on the end. General Use/Observations The gauge is lightweight and looks and feels like a quality item. The dial on this gauge is only 2 inches in diameter. However because it is the 0-30psi version it is easily big enough and has large increments for fine adjustment. It also has a pressure release button which makes it very easy to make precise adjustments. Like some others on the market this gauge does not have a locking mechanism on the air fitting however this does not cause an issue as we have pointed out in the past. We have not back to back tested this with any other gauges so cannot comment on its accuracy. However I believe with pressure gauges as long as you always use the same one you won't have any problems providing the gauge is consistent and from using this one all year I have found it to be excellent. Summary Overall I have been happy with this gauge. It looks good, its well made, easy to use and relatively cheap. I would definitely recommend this item to anyone in karting whatever their budget as it really is all you need. The only thing it lacks in my opinion is a storage box to give it some kind of protection when its not being used. However due to its size it can just be stored in the top of your tool box. Pros Relatively low price Compact and Lightweight Cons No storage box.
  12. Yea fingers crossed he makes it. They have said this morning there was a slight improvement but he's not out of danger yet.
  13. What do you think of the new Civic Tourer the Honda Yuasa Racing Team are running in the BTCC next year? I think it looks pretty cool. Its going to be the only estate in the championship and the first for a few years since the Volvo 850's in the mid nineties. Brave choice by the team some might say but its still got the same wheelbase and suspension layout so I would imagine it wont be too hard for them to find the pace pretty quickly with it.
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