The 1983 CIK Asia Pacific Championships

by Sean Phillips 10 December 2013

Tiger Kart Club Media and Promotions Officer Sean Phillips was at the 1983 CIK Asia Pacific Championships. Below are his recollections of the event and some photos. Scans of the full official program (38 pages, plus cover) can be found HERE.

Not many of today’s karters would know about what was - and probably to this day still is - one of the most iconic karting events ever held in Australia.

I was lucky enough to be involved with karting way back in 1983 and although only an 11 year old racing a “Victa” in Rookies, I still remember this event like it was yesterday.

I thought I’d share it here for the sake of those having not been in karting as long as I have and for those who were, to fondly remember a great period in karting. Imagine today a karting event on our shores featuring 20 international drivers from 10 different countries including the world’s most elite karters from the period such as Mike Wilson, Lars Forsman, Jorn Haase and the driver Senna famously described as the best driver he ever raced, Terry Fullerton...

Above: The International 100cc field line up, Mike Wilson (#1) and Lars Forsman (#2) on the front row aboard their Birel/IAMEs. That's Anthony Bartolo in #20 (Tecno/Parilla), Pat Bennett (#27, Swiss Hutless/Parilla), Ross Zampatti (#32, Kali/PCR) and Graham Powles with his hand in the air.
photo supplied by Steve Bamford

A few other drivers in the program that were not famous back then but whom you might recognize these days were Heinz-Harald Frentzen and in juniors a young Michael Schumacher (spelt “Mike Schumaker” in the program!).

I gathered what I could in so far as pictures (thanks Steve Bamford) and sourced a mint condition race program (thanks to the Tiger Kart Club’s historian’s Dianne and Les Verco) to properly document the event. Things like the cool adverts from the period give a really interesting insight into our karting past. This was a time when the venerable Yamaha J was just hitting the ground and replacing the iconic McCulloch in the “new” National 100 class. The adverts featuring Yamaha’s complete kart and J engine packages for $1585.00 was something totally new to karting and still unique to this day.

Some background to how the event came about was a direct relation to a group of dedicated members headed by the late Frank Swan who only three years prior to this meeting, almost by hand, built one of the world’s best karting venues (and still recognized to this day as one of Australia’s finest kart tracks). Even more amazing was this venue, being located in Perth WA, was able to entice the world’s best drivers to come and race there. When you think back to this achievement just on 30 years ago, it dawns on us that this really was a special time for karting in WA and Australia.

Above: Simple. Pure. Fast. The 135cc Kali/Komet of Jorn Haase
photo supplied by Steve Bamford

Some of the things I vividly remember were just the scale of equipment and investment the top European teams went to. Full sea containers with Bridgestone, Dunlop and Vega tyres supplied direct from the factories with tyre technicians on site (the Bridgestone guy gave me some stickers!!!) to work with their sponsored teams.

Full chassis built up over night fresh for the next day’s racing and a range of slide carbies with different pop off pressures to get the tuning spot on for the atmospheric conditions was just out of this world. Every time the factory teams hit the track brand new rubber went on, even for practice sessions! These were also the days when tyres used real rubber and the track had what looked like melted liquid rubber piled up on the driving line and could be peeled up by hand from the bitumen, it was something you had to see to believe. 

The 100cc International class was the feature event and Mike Wilson and Lars Forsman just walked away with it using the iconic black T12 Birel karts and IAME Parilla TT27 rotaries that for the early 80s was the combo to have.

Above: Sweden's Lars Forsman
photo supplied by Steve Bamford

Ray Hart from New Zealand put on an awesome display against the world’s best drivers along with WA’s own karting legend Mike Sully and the cream of Australian karting at the time - Pizarro, Powles, Hunter, Price, Baxter and Bartolo to name a few.

Australia’s first CIK meeting was the ice breaker for the following mid 80s Oran Park events that are also part of Australian karting folk law, but for sure this one event was the coming of age for karting in Australia and well worthy of recognition today, some 30 years later.

On the 24th & 25th of May next year (the weekend after WAs V8 supercar round), the Tiger Kart Club holds its annual “Carnival of Karts” event on this very track. If this bit of history has you all revved up, come and tick this track off your bucket list!

Last year we welcomed many east coast drivers such as Joey Hanssen, Pierce Lehane and the legendary Remo Luciani. With 250+ karts competing for over $20,000 cash and prizes, it should not be missed..

Above: It was a small 135cc Formula K field, Jorn Haase leading
photo supplied by Steve Bamford

Above: Junior driver Giovanni Bonano from Italy (entered on Kali/PCR, but that doesn't look like a Kali, maybe DAP?). One of his rivals was a kid from NSW called Mark Skaife.
photo supplied by Steve Bamford

Above: Legendary karter and 6-time World Champion, Mike Wilson
photo supplied by Steve Bamford

Above: Cover of the official race program. Click the cover to see all the other pages    







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