British karter Joe Turney was hospitalized after being struck by another kart while he attempted to re-start his machine in the Final of the OK World Championship at Franciacorta on the weekend.
Turney (Kart Republic/IAME) was in an intense battle with Gabriel Gomez (CRG/IAME) for the lead when the two came together, spinning out of the race.
Turney decided to re-start his kart, pushing it back onto the circuit and into the race line. Unfortunately, another kart was coming, DPK driver Nacho Tuñon hitting Turney, breaking Joe’s lower-right leg.
The race was red-flagged and Turney sent to hospital where he has undergone surgery to correct a compound fracture to his right fibula.
We wish him a full and fast recovery (Turney has confirmed via social media the surgery went well).
The incident gained mainstream media attention, with headlines including “shocking incident” and “horrific injury” flashed around the world.
But this type of accident is not new to karting. It’s just that we haven’t seen it played out to a live worldwide audience that has the ability to share it around.
Plus, here in Australia, the regulations (at least for KA, KNSW and some others) do not allow push re-starting, and pretty much all classes these days are TaG-based (Touch the start button And Go, no pushing required).
However, both OK and OK-Junior (plus the OK-N categories the FIA/CIK is pushing its ASNs to run) are not TaG. OK is direct drive, push start. The karts do have a de-compression valve in the head to allow easier push starting, but they still need a push.
The idea was to make the karts lighter (no battery, no starter motor, no clutch) and bring them closer to the origins of karting (in fact, that’s what OK in the class name stands for, Original Karting).
It will be interesting to see if the governing body takes any action or adjusts regulations (sporting or technical) to prevent the possibility of this from happening again.
What do you think? Should there be a blanket ban on re-starting in karting? Or should things be left as they are?