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Attention all Karters!…..Steve Tillett Warning on New Kart Seat CIK Regulations

Karting guru Steve Tillett (the man behind the famous kart seats) has dropped a bombshell on the karting community by announcing the intentions of the CIK to introduce headrests to kart seats!

And despite the fact that Steve stands to make a fortune from such a regulation he has stood firmly against the proposals and made his voice heard on the karting forum

This is what the new seat proposals will probably look like –

Steve says on the forum:

‘The FIA safety committee wants us to use a headrest on all karts, partly for whiplash but mostly for rollover protection.
After the big heavy plastic back bumpers that fall off cost a fortune and are flexible in hot weather and stiff in the cold, their next mission is to introduce headrests on all kart seats.’

‘I am trying to stop it but unless there is outcry from the masses you can see it happening. There were not many kart racers on the FIA safety committee (Myself and Russell Anderson)and some of the people that are there seem to have a need to justify their jobs by coming up with new ways to inconvenience us.’

I think it is fair to say that the karting community is sick to death of ruling bodies trying to turn karting from the rawest form of motorsports into bumper cars, and I’d say headrests is just taking the mickey! Rear plastics was a step too far already but now the CIK seems to be pushing it’s luck, so perhaps it’s time the CIK faced a flood of protests.

If we don’t put a stop to this now I think we can reasonably expect seatbelts, rollover cages, suspension and differentials to be made mandatory on karts!

So if you don’t want karting to be turned into a health and safety man’s wet dream then please make your voice heard here, and we will forward your words to the CIK. Also you can send an email to the CIK at [email protected]

35 thoughts on “Attention all Karters!…..Steve Tillett Warning on New Kart Seat CIK Regulations

  1. Tony Theodore

    This new seat must not be allowed into karting as a ‘mandatory’ measure. Apart from the fact that I believe that the seat will not assist safety on it’s own in any way, I also belive it has the possiblity to cause further injury to the driver and other competitors. I firmly believe that the headrest would act as a pivot point that could cause the karting equvalent of a ‘high side’ flip that could not be controlled.

    The extra cost involved will be enough to put people off entering our sport, and more to the point will even cause an exodus of people in MSA controlled racing. I know my son will never be using a kart with this type of seat installed.

    This may seem a hollow threat, but I assure you that my son has viewed the seat and given me a drivers point of view, and he has said “no way”. We are not big hitters in the world of karting, but we are doing extremely well on a very small budget. James is currently leading the Motors TV Ultimate Karting Challenge in the Mini Max class, as well as the MBKC Club championship at 3 Sisters near wigan. I support James myself from a very small wage packet, and this type of money spinning con is just about as much as I can take. Karting is already out of touch for most working class people, and if it wasn’t for the support of my wife and daughter allowing such a large proportion of our income going to help James, we could not carry on.

    To finish off my protest, I will just say that it is my opinion that this measure will be the straw that breaks the camels back for many people who race on very small budgets, and turn the base level of British Motor Sport into another elitist sport, only accessible to the wealthy or sponsored.

    please do all you can to put an end to this foolishness.

  2. Stefan Rzadzinski

    What are they thinking? This is just going to make costs higher! We’re a team that can hardly afford kart racing nevermind spare karts and so on. This is just foolish, if they are going to do something about whiplash, make everyone wear neck protectors! They make all the Junior drivers like me wear them, and most of the Seniors do aswell. There have been no cases of whiplash, were in most cases there would have been as I have witnessed. But not the headrest, karting is already too expensive as it is, and we can only make it because of my family’s sacrifice of time and money. We don’t have any sponsors, and again, karting is just turning into a sport for the people with money. But for now, I’m focusing on the Canadian Karting Nationals! And if I do well, see you in Portugal for the World Finals!

  3. Laury

    I agree with what Tony said about the headrest becoming a pivot point of sorts, I can see far more barrel rolls happening when a kart fitted with the head rest seat. Currently If a kart is in an accident and the driver is thrown from it, the kart will land upside down and most likely stay that way until it grinds to a halt. With a head rest seat fitted, the centre of gravity of an inverted kart is much higher. This will surely cause a kart to violently barrel roll much further than one that has the traditional seat.

  4. Jon Steel

    This is ridiculous. Not only will the introduction of the higher seat cause MORE injury to the karter by creating a pivot point – it is also going to encourage less safe karters to cause even larger accidents. I don’t believe that this will allow a karter to see karts approaching in their blind spots. We need to put a stop to these beaurocrats from trying to impose ridiculous mandatory standards that drive up the cost of karting – and will only result in more karters driving unsanctioned events.

  5. deemo

    THATS CRAZY! its dangerous, it looks horrible and will stop you from bracing and leaning back in youre seat when braking.

    if the fia are that worried about whiplash the answer is a neck brace!!! there a tenth of the price and protect from any angle of impact even when you fall out the kart. the only time a headrest will “protect” you is if you are sat facing forward and upright and if you are hit exacly from behind witch is pretty unlikely if youre in the middle of a crash.

    theres no way im ever using a seat like that.

  6. Aussiekarter

    Hi im an australian karter. I race a class in australia called leopard light using the IAME leopard engine. At present because of costs involved in CIK racing we no longer have CIK in australia. the closest class to cik that runs on a regular basis is the class i race. we use a controlled CIK MG FZ yellow tyre and and we are only about half a second slower than ICA karts. Because of the classes being so closley matched i would be certain accidents would be the same. Following the result of a massive accident that occured barely a week ago from today that i unforunatley had to witness while racing, a 3 kart “super’ accident occured where one frame snapped at the right front kingpin and another kart rolled to about a hieght of 5 to 6ft in the air. the driver helicoptered in the air and such the ferocity that his boot came off also. from this accident and how he departed the kart in mid air a full length seat would no doubt would have seen him either killed or serioucsly injured at best. this is because as he departed from the kart he swung back over the kart. had there been a head rest there it would have inevitably caught him up and he would too also be flung around with the kart and slamed against the spectator fence.

    This accident occur at a speed between 90-100km/h. Thankfully the only injuries suffered bad brusing and a cut. For the class i race if headrest seats were introduced i will never race while they are around. with the amount of roll overs and freak accidents we have seen in the last 12 months in our class with full fields there will be a lot more serious injuries to come.

  7. Bob Hammill

    Are these guys nuts?
    I can agree with everything that has already been said. For once the CIK should look at the big picture. I am certain the CIK has published a report stating the “benefits” of this bumper car style seat. I would like to understand their reasoning. It better not be for neck safety since they do not require neck collars.
    We the racers MUST keep OUR sport OUR sport. I’m with all the low budget race teams that are fortunate enough to have wifes and family that allow us to race. Just keep adding cost and and the real racers will slowley become extinct.
    Remember what karting was and where it is today. Thank god it is still a man (woman) and a machine pitting themselves against others. Thriving on the competition and braving the dangers through trust and respect for their fellow competitors.
    You can throw all the plastic you want into the sport but it will never make a kart as safe as one with a skilled pilot behind the wheel.
    We can allow OUR sport to become high tec bumper cars so the rich brats can go out and have a slugfest while keeping the lawyers at bay.
    We are RACERS simply said. Take the thrill away and we all might as well take up basket weaving.

  8. Moffatt brothers

    You have to be kidding me. We have been budget racers for 8 years and love the sport so much so that everything else is secondary, but this is something that would turn people like us away from this great form of motorsport. My brother and I are a low budget team that can’t afford the best engines and the likes that would require any kart to go well with such a monstrosity in the middle of it.
    This is a major step towards totally killing of the future racers.
    Please don’t kill our passion for karting.

  9. Adam

    This Is REDICULOUS.Karting is Supposed to be a thrilling, Hardcore motorsport, Not some $3.75 a race deal at Mountasia.As Bob Said Plastic will never be as safe as a well experienced driver.Karting has been around for a long time and we would like to keep it that way.This new idea with the seat will probably end up making injurys worse.

    Please allow us to stay in the sport by keeping ideas like this away.

  10. Gwyn Richardson

    When I saw this suggestion for a high-back seat for karts my first reaction was to look for the date to see if it had been issued on 1 Apr. But no, it’s for real and smacks of the ‘nanny state’ culture that surrounds both the EU and the country in which we live. It is very disappointing to realise that the rule-makers in the CIK are so out of touch with the classes for which they are making the rules; high-back seats are not the panacea for whiplash that the CIK seem to think. Yes, there will inevitably be some collisions – the full-on rear impact being the only one – where such a seat may prevent, or reduce whiplash, but in 4 years of running my children in Cadets/Minimax/Junior Rotax I have seen only one such accident. Even then the driver, having gone into the tyres backwards at relatively high speed, came part way out of the seat over the seat back, got up and walked off! Yet I have seen many other roll-over or side-impact accidents with drivers thrown out, or partly out, of the kart where this high-back seat would have caused injury; going into tyres forwards or front/back corner first often results in the kart rotating wildly and with a driver part way out of the seat the high-back could act as a fulcrum for the neck. With the head being so relatively heavy and the high-back seat tending to keep the body of the driver in the kart the potential for worse neck injuries would be increased. Such a pivot action would also occur if the head-rest portion of the seat back wasn’t correctly positioned for the driver’s head.
    As for roll-overs, if the high-back were made strong enough to not collapse during roll-overs then the extra weight, high above the centre of gravity of the kart would increase the risk of such a roll-over, not to mention the detrimental effect on handling. Additionally, during roll-over accidents the best place for the driver is out of the kart and not partially restrained by a high-back seat – if you watch MotoGP, and the like, the worst injuries occur when the rider doesn’t separate cleanly from his bike during an accident and the bike rolls over him.

    I am also concerned about the effect this seat would have on drivers’ attitudes to contact racing. The more enclosed the driver the safer they feel and thus the more likely they are to not care about contact with other karts; just look at the amount of contact in BTCC races compared with F1.

    If we really want karts to be as safe as possible then we restrict all the engines to give no more than 10mph, surround the whole kart with a safety barrier (as per corporate karts), introduce the high-back seat, seat belts, the F1 HANS system and a padded steering wheel! Oh, and a ‘Sumo wrestling’ padded suit!!! If the CIK want to get hot under the collar about safety issues, let’s get them to lean on MSAs to better police driver reaction to yellow flags. Slow down and be prepared to stop. What, and get overtaken by the rest of the pack?!!

    Finally, while there will be a signficant cost to this, I am not going to use that issue as a reason for disapproving of this suggestion; if there was a tangible overall safety benefit then I would be in full agreement and blow the cost; my kids safety is important. But there is no overall benefit. So let’s keep karting simple and not develop them into mini cars.

    Keep up the good work Steve!

  11. p.r.d fireball

    we didn’ t have bumping karts. I think if this seats comes a rule to all drivers and all classis many drivers stop karting.

  12. Travis Lowe

    That thing is got to be the ugliest damn thing I have ever seen on a kart. First of all it will cost a hell of alot of money and probably wont do jack. Also from how still that thing looks it wont let the kart flex at all. All I can say is that if it is made mandatory I will still race I will just not have that stupid ass seat, guess I will be DQed every race.

  13. David D

    Not only could these seats be a real danger, but think about the aerodynamic effects. What happens when you need a bigger seat widthways but not in height? That top headrest will act like a drag shute. It is clear that this is even thought to be a rotten apple by the pro’s like steve tillet that would make money out of this, because even they say it would be detrimental to the sport. The MSA are not switching to KF1 next year (nationaly) and only making silly bumpers optional so perhaps the MSA could overrule this obsceneity!

  14. simon

    A lot of what people are saying seems to be assumptions about how the seat will react in an accident. I agree with most people, its going to increase the cost of karting, and may only prevent injury in a specific type accident.

    But what it needs is testing, and tested against other saftey precautions like a neck brace etc. Just claiming this seat will be a danger by simply looking at it will not catch the eye of the CIK. but we as karters want to be assured that this has been tested in every situation, and if brought out was the only option, and cheaper alternatives did not work effectively.

    I hate the look, and personally dont think the benefits are worth it, but im not an expert. Tomorrow im going on an open practice, and say I have an accident which Paralyses me. Imagine how gutted id feel if someone tells me id have walked away with nothing more than a bruised ego had I been sitting in the ugly seat. If this story isnt likely, then scrap the ugly seat idea.

    No amount of precautions will make motor racing safe. I just hope CIK balance the need for saftey and cost. (I would not consider racing with out a helmet, and kart suit, both I have no objections to the price. However a fire extinguisher strapped to a kart costing £200 and never used would be pethetic and waste of money)

  15. keiran

    What a joke this seat is!

    I can’t see it being anything but more dangerous to a driver. With a kart you want to be thrown out the seat in the case of a roll. This thing has a far greater chance of smacking you on your way out.

    Not to mention the fact that if you don’t have a very big transporter you’d have to remove the matrosity.

  16. David Gil

    We drivers, teams , factorys etc have to stop this! this guys are killing karting, first it was the engines 4 stroke and lots of other things like the rear bumpers now this?? i hope all of us from all the world who like karting fight againts this attitudes from the cik-fia this things have to stop!

  17. Steve king

    Brilliant idea, I think not! Very dangerous, absolutely!. I reemphasize all the points raised before mine regarding cost and HSE and ask my self several questions with regard to where it will stop. Will the FIA take into account the head height of each driver as some of us are taller than others and the seat would have to take this account. With safety at the re fore front in order for such a ridiculous seat to be safe the driver must be secured in the drive position so with that in mind lets throw in a 5 point race harness aswell, more cost. Tell you what lets just put on some doors as well in case we fall out the side.
    Taking a step back lets hope the FIA remember what starts all race drivers careers and why all F1 driver still dabble in a little karting from time to time and as Steve says turning the excite sport of karting into Noddy cars at a country show will destroy the sport irrecoverably.

  18. Antony Harper

    Best bet is probably to ditch the CIK, like the aussies, and start new kart classes anyway…..What about an open TAG class, with leopards, Rotaxs’, Fireballs all racing at 125cc without seals…..It’d have to bring the rotax engine prices down. It’d be scary if some engines were faster at certain tracks.

    The seat would look awful….Nearly as bad as that stupid ‘log’ of a rear bumper!

  19. Frank

    Excellent idea for Cadets. They have been in use for years in Germany (not mandatory but widely used), Recaro being the main supplier (they would not damage their reputation by making an unsafe product). I can see why there is resictance, as it would add development costs for producers (as there are already 2 manufacturers who could supply now) and for comopetitors, but it would dispense with foam neck braces (what a Mickey Mouse way of protecting a spinal cord – ask BMW motorcycles who have tested them).
    I am for bringing jart seats into the 1970s.

  20. Jordan

    Look, this new seat is stupid. It is not any safer! period. They said adding plastic bumpers would make the racing safer too. But did it? No! It turned professional karting into rental kart racing. The more protection a driver has, the more room for error and the less he will think about pulling off a risky maneuver in turn 1 at the start. There is no respect amongst drivers because of this. 3 life flights at the FWT in 1 day is ridiculous! That never happened 15 years ago and there were more people in karting back then as well.

    We need the go karts to be lighter and less powerful = same speed but safer.

    Karts need to be light enough for a driver to pick the back up and wheel it off the track on a single wheel. Like the old days once a driver seized.

    Stop wasting our time and money on Bull shit Cik, Fix karting and do it quick before karting is a distant memory and all that’s left is a hole in our wallets.

    Its simple, Homologate a safer kart, with a similar to original karting weight. Homologate and engine similar to the old ICA’s but with the same reliability and rev limiters as the engines now a days. – Rotax style reliability. Nikasil the liner so it does not seize. Make it cheaper. I can buy a good condition used bmw 325i for the same price as a kz engine. Think of it from a new karters prospective! You will always make more money off of volume, rather than price. Its proven. Look at any supermarkets model. Make it cheap I say. When karting has hundreds of people at a club race, you will be laughing with money and the quality of racing at the world level will surpass that of formula 1.

  21. Bruno Cabooter

    Sory for my bad English but this is absurd. What will be next: Airbags, Rolling cages? Even the rear bumpers that protect the rear wheels are not a good idea: When i used to (street)race without them almost nothing happened because everyone keeped their distance and knew what could happen if you tried “bumping” the kart in front of you. Now with these new bumpers they just push you off track. 🙁
    The technology of the new karts is better than a while ago but it’s is also getting more expensive to go (race)karting.

    Karting is: a tube, seat, engine, wheels, steering wheel and some rolling black stuff. And thats how i like it. So let’s keep it that way please!!!

  22. Phil Gorringe

    I suspect that all these pointless regulations will see the demise of regulated racing and an increase in non-regulated events. Although there is nothing wrong with non-regulated events, it would be a great pity to see the demise of national competitions or devaluation of them through lack of entries.
    Those who are or have been actively involved are the best people to advise if new regs are required. Please don’t try to fix what isn’t broken.

  23. Rene

    Another thoroughly unnecessary rule which will only make more people leave karting. What is wrong with these people ?

  24. damon russell

    I’d rather quit…this is yet another example of moronic decision making by people with zero common sense.

  25. Ken Harris

    It will make it difficult for the driver to bump start TKM and other direct drive karts.

  26. Jerry Brown

    ABSURD – what’s Next CIK ??? Bumper rails all the way around like concession karts so our tires don’t touch? STOP THE MADNESS NOW!

  27. Terry Bridges

    Karting has been around since 1959…haven’t needed them at all and don’t need them now…just a another way into the racers pocket…who’s nitwit idea was this…it ain’t gonna do anything anyway…absolutely unbelievable….so tired of all the greed and non listening to of the racers…they are telling you what the sport needs and what will make them come more…How bout instead of requiring the new seat, you keep your mouth shut and just listen to those who are you customers and think about what it is they want…just once maybe listen to the racer for a change. ..My god..come people…wow.

  28. Scott Ripslinger

    I can understand the reason for the high back, but when there are many different angles that all kart drivers sit at, there’s no point to the high back. Next to solve the problem, mandate and enforce proper neck collars. I can’t tell how many old school driver and kids put towels in place of the foam.

  29. Nick Lockett

    This breaches all current good practice in sudden arrest closed head injuries. As has been seen with boxing and American Football, it is the repeated sudden and abrupt arrest of the moving brain that does the damage – particularly a lot of sub-clinical injuries has recently been found to be disasterous to the juvenile brain and this seat proposal is exactly designed to do that.

    There is no provision for strapping in a driver – if we did so then drivers would need fireproof suits as they’re sitting astride fuel tanks – so what we have is a seat that
    a) is more likely to injure a driver if the kart turns over as the driver is less likely to be thrown clear of the high-backed seats
    b) is more likely to injure a driver if the kart turns over as the driver is more likely to impact on this enormous structure
    c) is more likely to capture smaller drivers, as the smaller driver has lower centre of gravity and less seat escape velocity;
    d) will cause sudden and traumatic head injury

    Unlike F1, F2 and F3 accidents which tend to be linear and head on, in a typical kart Accident, there is a significant rotational effect. This has the advantage that the driver is raised by the rotational forces upwards in the seat.
    In most collisions, the driver does not exit the seat because the rotational speed is inadequate to eject the driver, but in higher speed collisions the driver easily exist the seat because of the low back height. In the high-backed seat proposed, this will no longer be the case as the seat-back will recapture the driver. This could be the cause of physical injury per se or could drag the driver along as the driver is recaptured by the seat.

    Most importantly the seat that is more likely to cause sudden arrest closed head injuries – At present, a kart driver involved in a mid speed collision, whether with tyre barriers or another vehicle, will be thrown forwards onto the Steering wheel, the momentum effect will then result in the driver travelling backwards at significant speed, coming to rest against the seat. (Anyone who has driven a kart or who has watched their children learn to kart will have seen this or experienced it many times).
    – At present, the driver’s back is allowed to flex over the back of the low seat, this means that the head in its rearward pendular motion is gradually slowed down to the point of maximum extension of the back, before again coming gently forwards.Although uncomfortable to watch, the effect on the brain is minimalised. There is no significant and sudden arrest of the head’s motion. The result of this is that the brain inside the skull does not suffer significant SABI (Sudden Arrest Brain Injury).

    The proposed seat design flies in the face of the exemplary work done in relation to the reduction of brain injury by Dr Sid Watkins and Dr Robert Hubbard. Their work immediately following the death of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger and the development of the HANS device had one purpose – to stop the head from whipping forward in a crash (or from whipping forwards and then backwards) so that the brain suffered Sudden Arrest Brain Injury deceleration injuries.

    The hands device works because the driver is strapped in and cannot come forwards, the elasticated straps slow down the head motion such that theere is no material sudden deceleration.

    Under the proposed seat design, Reverse Sudden Impact Deceleration will occur as the driver ricochets back in the seat, and where the driver comes to an abrupt stop against the seat. If the seat is flexible enough to move, it won’t do its stated job of protecting the driver during an overturn (if indeed this is even achieveable).

    Arrested by the back of the seat, sub-clinical SABI (Sudden Arrest Brain Injury) will occur every time the driver crashes and this will be far more common than a kart overturning.There will be no gradual deceleration as is currently provided for by a low seat. The situation will get even worse where a kart spins rearwards into the tyres as the unrestrained driver will be removed from the seat by the rotation forces, only to crash back into the seat when he hits the tyres travelling rearwards. In such circumstances, the head is free to roll about and the back is free to rotate around the seat edge. under the new designs, the head will suddenly stop agaisnt the headrest causing SABI trauma or the higher back of the seat will risk spinal injuries as the back tries in vain to rotate around the much higher seatback.

    Since the exemplary work by Dr Robert Hubbard and Doc Watkin, we now know more about the bio-mechanical impact of brain deceleration. Recent work in the USA in relation to the (American) football has established that low intensity impacts repeatedly sustained by braiun decelerations, causes repeated sub-clinical concussions and if regularly repeated, these can be exceedingly damaging.

    The incidences where a cart turns over and injures a driver severely or moderately are exceedingly rare, fortunately, but what the CIK proposal does, in creating a higher back to the seat, is to create a device to provide regular sub-clinical significant head decelerations as the head hits the back of the seat, comparable with the sort of speed of impact seen in an American football tackle.


  30. Mike Strotmann

    If these roll-hub-seats shall bring any effect, they have to be so high, that, like in car-racing, you can draw a line between the top of the seat and the front bumper and the helmet of the driver must then still be under this line in all cercumstances. I have the feeling, that hight of the seat would have to be appr. 2meters to fulfil this.
    On the other hand, this seat would have to be built very very strong, which means, that it becomes very heavy and very expensive. If the seat breaks, the driver will most likely be injured be the broken seat.
    Even if the seat is high enough and strong enough, it has no advantage, if the driver is not fixed in the kart. This is only possible with a seat-belt.
    In the end, we have to see, how many major injuries occured worldwide in the last 10 years in karting due to flipping karts. Bruses and scratches on the skin are no major injuries, not even a broken wishbone. Major injuries are paraplegias and fatalities. If this numbre is below 20, the effort is not worth it.

  31. Iron Cleo

    Please, CIK FIA, think of what you’re doing! These seats have nothing in common with dynamics! Have you thought of the bend in turns? Rollover? C’mon, we’ve been coping with it for so many years, just leave it where it is!

  32. simon

    my 1st thoughts are i will need a bigger trailer never mind the cost of a new seat
    2nd thoughts are look how many whiplash claims there are with low speed road car collisions don’t cars have head rests, air bags, seat belts and a number of other safety devices so proof that a head rest doesn’t solve the problem.

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