2019 Regulations Final
The 2019 regulations are now on this site. You can download the complete file or view individual items. The regs, which will come into force on January 1st 2019, are broadly the same, with new or amended sections highlighted in grey. There are a couple of additional dimensions and a clarification on clutch types.
The 2017 regulations are in the final stages of preparation, and will be available on this site shortly. They are currently being ratified by the MSA/ABkC. They are a complete re-write, are several pages shorter than the 2016 regulations, and hopefully easier to understand and navigate around. Don't forget that, although they will be on this site shortly, they won't come into force until January 1st 2017. There are two big changes. Firstly, the regulations will relate specifically to the T2 engine, you will have to refer back to the 2016 regulations for previous engine types, all of which remain legal for use. Secondly, a small amount of machining will be permitted to the cylinder head, but be aware that all of the check tools will still apply!
The exhaust that DEP supplied and that was introduced in March, greatly levelled the playing field with regard to performance. It is now subject to a free upgrade, and all units should be returned to DEP for this work to be carried out. This must be completed by the 29th July, any exhaust not so modified after that date will be deemed non-compliant.
Tools and regs
Well, it took way longer than I imagined, nearly a year from start to finish, but the scrutineering tool sets are finally available! Clubs will get a discount to support their scrutineers, otherwise tools sets are available form Dartford Karting. At the time I wrote the regs, I didn't have too much info about the new exhaust, and then we had the problem with new part numbers for the jets. So I've taken this opportunity to update the regs to version 11A, and incorporate a couple of new photos. A new coil mounting came from Honda recently too, and that necessitated a new template tool which is now available. The new coil offers absolutely no advantage over the existing one, Honda are just changing their supplier and that required a slightly different design of mounting. The regulations will be completely re-designed for next year, and should be many pages shorter!
Jets and things!
You might have heard some stories about carb jets recently. This looks like a case of Honda changing part numbers without notifying anybody, but that is their standard way of doing things. Once I have clarified the situation there will be an updated set of regulations issued. At the same time, Honda have changed the mounting of the ignition coil. It offers no performance advantage, but does mean that until we design a new scrutineering tool, scroots can't check the ignition timing but also engine preparers can't set the ignition timing! Obviously busy getting these designed and manufactured, and a drawing of this will also be in the updated regs.
New exhaust available
The new exhaust unit, mandatory for use in MSA Honda cadet classes from March 2016, is now available. The manufacturer is convinced that it is robust and is offering a form of warranty; he is also working with scrutineers to make substitute units available under certain circumstances, and an inspection service should there be any doubts about a unit. The ABkC are confident that it fits into the required noise structure; essentially, it should sound little different to the unit you are currently using. From a technical point of view it offers no performance advantage over the current unit, should not degrade with use, cannot be tampered with and will be very consistent due to the production processes used by this very experience manufacturer. Units available from Dartford Karting or major engine suppliers.
Engine regulations 2016
Honda engine regulations, Version 11, January 2016 are now available to read on this site. They represent quite a considerable increase in document size, but this is an interim year for the regulations. The version for the following year will refer only to the Honda T2 engine and will allow the regulations to be considerably altered and down-sized once again. In the meantime, have a look for yourself. Two major changes are the exhaust, (if you are racing to MSA-spec) and the possibility that you can now machine one surface of the engine, to bring it up to a known good standard. These two items together should mean that the fastest karts at the front of the pack, (which are most likely to have the best exhausts and the engines nearest to tolerance), will go no faster. However, those a little down the order, with the new exhaust and engine block machined, should be able to move towards the front of the grid. Time will tell how this actually pans out, but at least that's the theory!
A new exhaust for the new year?
With only some final testing to go, it looks as though the Honda GX160 is going to have a new exhaust for next year. Obviously we can't reveal details of the final choice while there are still outstanding checks to be made, but it is very likely now to become a reality.
Why do we need a new exhaust you say? Wasn't the original sealed unit ok?
Well, in a word, no. The two approved sealing agents have done a great job of preparing the standard exhaust into a more robust one. But over time, it has still proved to cause problems. First and foremost, it gradually degrades inside, and this affects the performance of the engine. And, sad to say, some folk tamper with it internally, which again can have an effect on performance. Therefore, the search has been on for a more effective unit, and as of now it looks like that unit has been identified.
So, what happens next?
Assuming all goes well in final testing, the approved manufacturer will set about making enough units to satisfy initial demand. These will become available by January 1st 2016, when the new regulations, which reflect the change of exhaust, will come into force. However, there will be a grace period to allow everyone to obtain and fit the new unit, as it does not become mandatory until the 1st of March 2016.
The Honda GX160 technical regulations are currently undergoing their most comprehensive update for some considerable time. This is following on from a year of extensive consultation with users, scrutineers and engine preparers.
The fundamental engine, of course, remains unchanged, as do practically all of the dimensions. The performance generally will be unaffected, and indeed, the Honda's performance is governed by edict of the ABkC/MSA. What will change is the application of some simple tools, soon to be available to all, that will make the checking of the unit much simpler. There are one or two quite significant changes, but their aim is simply to equalise, as much as possible, the performance of the engines. Whereas the fastest (and most expensive) engines will see no improvement, it is to be hoped that the changes in the regulations will improve the performance of engines further down the order.
Once the full set of checking tools is completed, they will be made available to anyone who wishes to purchase a set. Clubs will be able to purchase a set for their scrutineers at a rate subsidised by the ABkC and MSA.