It’s not just about the BHP
Catherines Dad David explains how his kids managed to successfully win multiple championships on a minimal budget.
Reducing rolling resistance is the key.
Thomas started karting in the Bambino class. He ran a standard 50cc 2 stroke coma engine with a Top speed around 45mph, running 2.7bhp. We thought they were all the same!!!
Unfortunately for Thomas some of his competitors had there engines finched (artificially aged) this process is quite expensive and only performed by experienced engine builders. The process releases extra power by removing materials from components, followed by hours of testing on a dyno. There is nothing illegal about this providing it’s within the guidelines. This can result in what started life as a £500 £600 engine to exchange hands for well over £2 to 4K. Thomas’s ran with a second hand standard motor. We paid £250 for it!
How can we stay competitive?
Let it roll
We would always replace a bearing before bodywork. Bearings are relativity inexpensive so religiously replaced the first sign of wear.
Bodywork just looks nice for photos.
I would run what’s known as open bearings. We found even the slight resistance of the seal would slow his rear axle this could cost tenths of a second. The downside was the shortened lifespan due to dirt ingress and grease leakage however we found this more economical than upgrading the engine.
We ran with thin grease knowing most would escape but all we were looking for was short fast sprint race work.
This must be perfectly aligned with minimal tension as we could get away with.
Using a high a quality fully synthetic chain spray such as https://www.morrislubricants.co.uk/products/auto/aerosols/workshop-pro-fully-synthetic-chain-lubricant.html
with a touch MD4 allowed his Chain to spin round with absolute minimal resistance. We are still using this technique in his Honda cadet.
To be fast in Bambino is about been able to drive with minimal grip!! New sticky tyres are great for corners and confidence. Unfortunately in a straight line when you have less than 3bhp it grips and slows down the kart. We needed to find a way around this.
Catherine loaned Thomas her lap timer Thst was set up to show the track in 3 sectors. This was set to display plus or minus for each lap.
Thomas would practice in bald tyres even in the wet. He quickly learned how to deal with lack of traction. He would come in to give big sister a hug with I got all minus!!!
Even at such a young age he started to use his body to help move the kart around. Basically he would race himself.
This allowed Thomas stay competitive with the higher power engines.
Thomas actually ended up having a section of the track named after him. The commentator calls it the Thomas potter line! He later Won the championship.
Keep the water out
Preparing an engine for the rain is key to success. If water gets on the electrics it can kill the spark. We are currently using Morris surface conditioner. We found that some other well known sprays could cause the rubbers to swell and allow water ingress. This product is safe to use. Catherines also likes to use it when cleaning her plastics, brings them back to new again.