When Birel, one of the most long standing and successful chassis manufacturers in karting announced their plans to develop a new, low cost, low maintenance class, aptly titled Easykart in the mid noughties the concept raised more than a few eyebrows amongst those who felt that karting was already at breaking point in terms of the number of classes participating.
Six years on and with national series running successfully in Great Britain, Italy, USA, Colombia, Venezuela Russia, Japan Poland, Germany, Greece, Turkey and Northern Cyprus as well as the annual World Finals in Italy, those naysayers have been well and truly silenced.
Entering its third full season campaign in the UK the 2010 line-up is by far Easykart's strongest yet with the amount of new drivers into the sport (one of Easykart's key original objectives) being matched by drivers moving across from other classes and championships within the sport. The opening round of the series took place at Ellough Park in England's rural Suffolk countryside and the Easykart fraternity were greeted by an improved, updated venue that typified the series as a whole in 2010.
As more and more drivers migrate from other championships, names familiar to the wider karting community began to assert themselves, none more so than in Cadet where Tom Thickpenny, a contender in the 2009 MSA British Cadet Championship picked up where outgoing champ and fellow ex-Formula Kart Stars rival James DeHavillande left off in 2009.
Thickpenny dominated, taking both Cadet final victories as the series debuted their new timed qualifying, heat, repecharge if necessary, pre-final and main final format for the first time. Ronan McKenzie finished second in the main event, albeit more than six seconds behind the runaway winner. Kerion Wragg completed the podium ahead of Kyle Forgie and Jack Vallance with the plight of last year's runner-up William Stowell, who finished only ninth, further highlighting the increasing strength in depth.
In the Junior division DeHavillande looked set to pick up where he left off in Cadets until a bizarre incident that saw the plastic extender on his brake pedal come adrift left him quite literally unable to slow down. Still he managed to finish third behind Easykart debutant Toby Sowery, another former MSA British Cadet title contender and Thomas Grainger.
Nearly 40 drivers pitched up in the Lightweight Senior division in an entry peppered with drivers who have moved out of the Super One/Formula Kart Stars retrace searching for a more affordable, and level playing field.
A thrilling four kart scrap in the final was settled in favour of 2009 Junior champion Patrick Lay by six tenths from inaugural Junior champ Elliot Rice, Jack Sales and former Red Bull Track Attack finalist Owen Jenman while two former Super One frontrunners in TKM Four Stroke, John Langridge and Sam Dimelow could have been forgiven for being somewhat disappointed with 21st and 24th place finishes respectively.
2007 World Finals winner Barnaby Pittingale was the class of the field in the Heavy category, beating Tim Hill by more than four seconds although had pre-final runner up William Smith not thrown a chain in the main event Pittingale's margin of victory may not have been as comfortable. With no less than 36 drivers on hand the competition was always going to be tough but Pittingale used his years of top-line karting experience to steer clear of Easykart's 'heavy metal'. Gary Poynter and Mark Lawrence completed the top four although Easykart's own 'Stig', Stig Elboth could only manage a single lap in the final and proved himself to be quite a tame racing driver!
Easykart reports are compiled with the grateful assistance of Adam Jones/100cc PR