So why did you want to start building your
“We used to be agents for the chassis CRG, Fullerton, and
TopKart. We decided to make the jump to our own chassis because
of quality control, and being able to control what you want to do
and when you want to do it. That's the main thing for us, as well
as being able to develop for the English market and the English
Starting from a blank slate where do you begin in terms
of getting a design on a piece of paper, developing that, and then
“When I was a little lad I always drew little pictures of
karts on the back of school books. All the ideas of what you want
to do are already in your head. But what you tend to do is look
at existing karts that are already out there, and what has already
been developed. Then go back through time and see who's done what,
when they've done it, and how successful they've been.
In our situation we manufacturer a lot of things in house. We also
subcontract some of the stuff out. Stuff like Cad Cam computers
we don't necessarily need. All the CNC bending we get subbed out.
Some of the stub axles are made as a CNC one piece.
You don't necessarily have to buy the equipment, you just need
a very good idea of what you want. Then you have to pick the right
people to manufacturer it for you. You look at the big 3 Italian
companies and you think they make it all in-house, but they don't,
a lot of it is subbed out to other companies due to costs of having
to buy equipment. If you had to buy a CNC welder and a robot welder
you could be into millions of pounds of machinery before you have
You have to do what you can with the budget you have”
So once you've got your idea together how did you decide
what angles, and what metals to use?
“There's a lot of trial and error especially regarding the
castor angles, and the king pin inclination. They have to be the
two biggest things you mess around with the most. We, well they
all do it, tend to look at each others (manufacturers) stuff. You
do a little bit of skulduggery to find out what tubing they are
using, and what wall thickness.
Once you've done your homework and found out who's doing what
then you try to apply it into your own application really. Because
of all the teams developing at such a fast rate all the time, you
can always pick bits from other people karts, as they (other manufacturers)
pick bits from us. It's all quite an espionage type of business.
It's a bit like Formula 1 with the Alonso/Hamilton thing, but on
a much much smaller scale.”
So you have your kart chassis ready to go. How much testing
goes into a specific design?
“When we make a decision to make a CIK kart you have to
nominate the size of the tube, number of ends, wheelbase, and everything.
So you are realistically set within those confines. But you can
develop within those confines. We do develop the chassis, probably
per race meeting. If there is something new on a certain batch of
karts, if you think the tyre isn't that good at that meeting and
you want more front end we can develop more castor into it.
With the two drivers we have got – Chris Rogers, and Ashley
Sutton - they develop the stuff in the racing as we go. We always
tend to have a new development chassis, not necessarily every meeting,
it could be every 3 meetings, every 2 meetings, it could be anytime
we think we need to do it. They'll race, they'll have a standard
version, and something a little bit different that we will develop.
If we find over 2 or 3 meetings the new version is better then
we'll move that into production.”
As an independent British manufacturer, what obstacles
do you find in the UK?
“They tend to be competing against the other people in the
market regarding cost. It's quite hard for us as a British manufacturer
due to the cost of living, fuel prices, and everything else to actually
manufacture something in the UK as cheaply as they can abroad.
I believe guys like myself, and Gillard who make a good chassis,
pay more attention to detail and quality. We need to try harder
on some things. But competing on cost is the main thing.”
You've had success in the UK, most notably winning the
2007 British Karting Championship with Chris Rogers. With moving
to Europe will you change your development process?
“We'll keep the same ethos in regards to what we are doing.
The chassis development probably won''t change. The only thing we
will need to do is push to get some European agents and up our production
side of things so they take it seriously that we are another option
to Gillard and see how it goes from there.
The tyres abroad are now very similar to what we run, so the chassis
development shouldn't change that much.”
In a hard economic climate, in a sport such as motorsport
where money is such a factor how are you being affected.
“It hasn't dropped of that much really. With the actual driver
side of the the business we are still seeing people coming in. It
seems that the type of people coming aren't the club guy anymore,
it tends to be the people with a few quid in the bank, and they
want to use karting as a hobby. Or it's their children who they
want spend their money on.
It is hard to expand at the minute with the Euro the way it is.
To import things its getting more expensive. We have never been
the ones to expand quickly, we have been doing this for 11 years
now, and not to jump in with two feet. We have just tried to get
slowly bigger and bigger.
Luckily over the last 11 years we have won 9 National championships.
So I think we haven't done too bad on the development front. It's
getting to a stage of growing as big as you want to get really We
could move to Italy and get a full unit with a robot welder in it
but we wouldn't be the British manufacturer anymore.”