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Sams first TKM kart

Formula TKM

Formula TKM has been around for 20 years and much of that time has been the UK’s most popular format and the starting point for many drivers including those now household names. In recent years the interest in TKM has actually grown as competitors become more cost conscious. The Formula TKM concept is focused around regulated karts and low costs to ensure driver talent and not cheque book racing determined the result.

Developed in the UK by Tal-ko, engines used within the class are identical apart from a capacity change between Junior 128/136/142 (100cc) and the Senior Extreme (115cc) classes. Virtually no modifications are allowed and tight rules ensure a level playing field for everyone. The karts must be built and TKM homologated by approved manufacturers and meet with certain criteria which help hold down costs. Race day scrutineering ensures compliance.

The TKM formula karts reach speeds of up to 75 mph using a BT-82 piston-port 2-stroke engine to a strict non-tuning regime. The junior engines have a restrictor between the carburettor and the engine to limit the power and regulate the varying weights of the drivers.

  • Juniors 128 with a min 128 Kg race finish weight use a 20.5mm GOLD anodised carb restrictor.
  • Juniors 136 with a min 136 Kg race finish weight use a 22.0mm BLUE anodised carb restrictor.
  • Juniors 142 with a min 142 Kg race finish weight use a 24.0mm PURPLE anodised carb restrictor.

Sams kart is running a 100cc, BT82 clutched engine in the lowest weight category (gold restrictor) resulting in 14.5hp (almost 2 hp less than the heavier drivers). Despite the category we still have to bolt masses of lead to get him up to the 128kg!!

Junior 100cc engines come either in direct drive form or with a clutch. If clutched then an off-board lightweight electric starter is required. To make for fairer, safer and closer racing suiting all sizes and weights of the Junior drivers whose ages in theory can vary from 10 – 17yrs the simple power to weight rules has been introduced.

These little 100cc air cooled engines run up to 16,000rpm and require servicing between 8-20 hours use according to the manufacturer, though in reality it would seem that a 8-12 hour life cycle is more likely.


Maxxis green slick tyre for TKM

Maxxis green slick tyre for TKM

Tyres are similarly controlled with only one manufacturer and one compound available for both slick and wet tyres. Compounds are such to control the degradation effect of the rubber though it is inevitable that new tyres enhance grip levels. Compared to other karting formulae, grip levels are lower to maximise tyre replacement intervals.

*sources for this page include Tal-ko web site


My Kart

My Kart is a Jade Elite 1 chassis made in 2006 which was recently re-powder coated in a dark purple colour before we purchased it. The body work is silver (which unfortunately shows up all the dirt and any other marks). Although it is not a new kart, everything on it is new except the engine and the seat. So with a pristine kart we turned up to our first practice day event and got our first tyre mark on the front bumper (cheers Matt), I was gutted!!! But event after event it happened again and again so now it just goes over my head.


Sams kart complete with battle scars

Sams kart complete with battle scars

Event after event we learnt more and more about the kart on how to clean certain parts, change certain things and fix bit’s and bob’s, and we are still constantly learning more and more about the maintenance of the kart.

The engine is a 100cc Tal-Ko BT82 – 2 stroke. It comes in two options, direct drive or clutched. Ours is clutched because dad’s back isn’t any good for starting a direct drive kart. However at our second race we had some engine problems and therefore had to borrow another kart (with thanks to Dave Paveley) which happened to be direct drive. There was a noticeable difference in the two engines; the direct drive engine seemed to engine brake, whereas my clutched engine doesn’t. Also, I found that the throttle was a lot more responsive.

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