Let’s start by saying one thing: the CRG FS4 powered by a Briggs&Stratton “Local Option 206” (in case you haven’t heard of it, we spoke about it at length from a technical and constructive point of view in the under review section of TKART Magazine) is a real kart. Of course, it doesn’t have a massive amount of HP, 9 to be precise, but it has all the other features that a true kart has to have: it is basic, light and the set-up can be modified.
Obviously, it’s not a kart that will cater for the needs of everyone. Also because, as is known, kart lovers are split into two groups: those able to practice the sport with the same
diligence with which a bodybuilder goes to a gym and those, like me, on the other hand, who live and breathe karts, but actually drive very little and always try to fit doing so into an agenda with a thousand other everyday (mostly work-related) commitments.
For those like me, who do not prepare themselves physically for driving and don’t have the
time to manage their own racing kart – and its related complexities: maintenance, tuning,
equipment, etc. – up until today, there was just the “rental” solution, kart hire. Let’s face it, though, they’re not real karts. Put another way: if you’ve tried a real non-shifter kart (a mono-brand kart, for example) even just once, when you then try a rental, you can’t say you achieve maximum enjoyment.
So, along comes the CRG FS4 Briggs&Stratton: a racing chassis coupled with a 4-stroke engine of disconcerting simplicity and practically does not know the meaning of the word “maintenance”.
We tested it during a demo race consisting of 15 minutes free practice, 10 minutes
qualifying and 20 race laps at the Lignano Circuit in Precenicco (Udine, Italy).
How it goes
First of all, the of tyre-brake combination is great. During the various driving sessions,
someone said “it doesn’t brake hard enough!”. In my opinion, however, with a relatively hard tyre that doesn’t have the sort of grip found in the OK world championship and a chassis with 28 mm tubes, having a brake that doesn’t brake like a Porsche with carbon-ceramic discs means that the driving balance of the entire kart is not thrown off kilter.
A less aggressive brake always means the kart doesn’t slow down much during throttle-off
and enters bends fast, perhaps braking more using the steering and the chassis, rather
than the brakes themselves.
That allows you to take bends beautifully, which helps a lot when exiting the bends
considering the little power available.
It’s a little like the opposite of a rental kart, which is heavy, slower and always on the point
All these sensations are confirmed by the stopwatch. Just to give you an idea, in
Precenicco, at the 1,200 metre Lignano Circuit, the difference in lap time between a CRG FS4 with the Briggs&Stratton “Local Option 206” 9 HP and a CRG Centurion with the 270 Honda 13 HP is 4 seconds in favour of the Briggs-engined CRG.
Sensations out on the track
Overall, as I said at the beginning, the sensation you feel is that of a real racing kart,
without the power, obviously. However, you don’t feel like you’re at the wheel of a “small
truck” – with no offence, just to give you an idea – as is the case on a standard rental kart.
The noise is great at idling speed: even just quickly pushing the accelerator pedal a few
times to make it rev a little feels like you’re listening to a motard. On the other hand, when
you’re flat out on a straight, expecting to hear a 2-stroke engine given the full-blown racing
chassis, the sound it makes is clearly not overly exciting.
Ultimately, it’s the classic kart you hope to find a whole fleet of at the track near home, so
that you can go karting on Saturday or Sunday morning and organise a full race with
friends using real karts, not lesser rental versions. All of the above without having to spare a thought about the kart. In the sense that you can buy it (it costs € 2,700), perhaps together with a friend, you fill it up with fuel, start it and use it. That’s it. No floats, axles, seizures… nothing! Alternatively, there are promotional hiring formulas that allow you to take part in a full race at € 190.
Of course, some could turn up their noses when it comes to the issue of power. It’s
obvious that if you are used to a Rotax, ROK, Iame X30, etc. Well, you will feel like there’s
no horsepower at all. However, if like me, when driving a kart from one of the classes
mentioned you already represent a danger to yourself and others after 5 laps due to poor
fitness and limited practice, the CRG FS4 is an excellent solution to experience the feeling of racing a kart without becoming physically exhausted after a few minutes.
Let’s turn our attention to competition, indeed, to the competitions in which we can take
part. Everything you need to know is here at www.briggskartchampionship.com or on the official Facebook page. As far as I am concerned and as regards the format of this “demo race”, it seems perfect. At 2 pm it was all over, ready to go back home, even though we had to share the track with the classes and the rental competitions. In Italy, other solutions are being tested, such as evening competitions (one was held at Pomposa from 6 pm to 8.30 pm, in order to affect the lives of non-professional kart drivers as little as possible).
Physically, moreover, I managed to negotiate all the turns without any problems, despite
being someone who is out of breath after a flight of stairs with 10 steps.
The only thing that needs to be looked at is the lack of an onboard stopwatch system (we didn’t have one during the race and it’s always useful to have one, even for an amateur “driver” like me).
VIDEOSTORY OF THE RACE
Engine ignition: sound
Before the race
After the race
Joking around with the mechanics