Six hundred issues! That’s the latest milestone Karting magazine has reached with this the March 2006 edition. Every month and, for a while, every fortnight, Karting has been reporting on all aspects of the wonderful world of kart racing ever since the first issue was published way back in February 1960. So, excuse us if we indulge just briefly in an explanation of how and why Karting magazine first came about and how it fits into the sport’s history before we get started on issue 601! Although the first kart was built in August 1956 in America and the first organised kart race took place in December 1957, it wasn’t until September 1958 that the first karts arrived in the UK courtesy of Mickey Flynn of the American Air Force who had ordered five karts from GoKart in America. British karts began to be constructed in early 1959 and in the August a demonstration of karting was given at a Silverstone car meeting in front of the pits.
Silverstone was the one thing that really made karting get under way in the UK, not that it was a very impressive demonstration. Through it, however, sufficient people interested enough in motor racing to go and watch or read about it now knew that karts existed. In September 1959 a small classified advertisement appeared in Autosport to the effect that the British manufacturer Azum was hiring Brands Hatch and everyone was welcome to come along and see what karting was all about. Literally thousands of people poured into Brands and mobbed the various manufacturers that had brought along their prototypes. A crude track was laid out on the main straight and all and sundry had a go. The whole thing was chaotic but very exciting because the numbers attending and the variety of machinery proved that karting was here to stay.
There was only one marshal at the event, Alan Burgess, who would go on to found Karting magazine. An announcement over the P.A. told everyone that the first ever British race meeting would be the Lakenheath Grand Prix in November, run by Mickey Flynn. The first club to be RAC recognised, the Kent Kart Club with Alan Burgess at the helm, agreed to find the marshals and eventually the great day dawned. It was a good opener and when the last chequered flag was given it was almost pitch dark. The Kent Kart Club published its first club magazine called ‘The Go-Karter’ in January 1960 and, after a copy had found its way to ‘Motor’ magazine and they had praised its contents and layout, the club was inundated with requests for copies. Because of this demand, Alan and Jan Burgess decided to produce a national magazine to be called ‘Karting’, the first issue going on sale in February 1960 and the rest as they say is history.