Briggs and Stratton Animal
3 years ago the Northland Tour Dirt Series started to convert the series from the standard five h.p. Briggs and Stratton flathead to the Animal overhead valve engine. Kart racing is converting from 1950’s flathead engine to the 1960’s overhead valve engine only 50 years later. The change is overdue.
Why we made the change
We try to keep the racer’s budget in mind whenever we make changes to the series. With that said we made the conversion to the Animal engines over three years. The first year we added one Animal class to each of the age groups, then in year two, two classes and now we are 100% Animal across all classes. We allowed the race teams to down size their flathead program slowly over the past three years.
The Animal engine
Over the past three years the Animal engine has been refined and improved, the rules have been tweaked and are now are very stable. The animal engine is a great performer. It has proven to be a durable engine easily running twice as long between rebuilds. It’s design is superior to the flathead engine. From top to bottom the Animal is a better performing engine for racing. Here is my list of advantages of running an Animal engine.
- The Flywheel are aluminum and all the same, far better the cast iron version on the flathead
- The valves, seat and guides keep a good seal race after race
- The ignition produces a strong spark with minimal retarding at high RPM
- The sparkplug does not require indexing
- The block is strong and true and lasts easily 2 times longer than the flathead block
- The rod and piston are stronger than the standard piston and stock rod in a flathead. Rod failures are far less than the flathead engine.
- The rebuild parts are cheaper
I seen Animal engines pulled apart after 10 weekends of racing and only have 2 thousands of wear in the compression ring. It’s a testimony for using good oil, maintaining the air cleaner and the design of the engine. The Animal engine will save race team money. The cost of spare parts for the flatheads keeps increasing and some parts are no longer available. Maintaining a flathead simply just costs more than an Animal engine.
Northland Tour Dirt Series will be 100 percent Animal Engines in 2010. I will miss the sound of 15 to 20 flatheads engine racing down the back straight away. See you in 2010.