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International Historic Motorsport Show

The third International Historic Motorsport Show at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry at the end of February was the ideal venue to 2launch the UK’s outdoor celebrations of the 50th anniversary of our sport. The enormously popular show pulled in more than 20,000 visitors as well as 449 exhibitors and the National Agricultural Centre venue is superb. On the Friday the karts were confined to static displays, both in the hall and in the awning adjacent to the rally stage circuit. Even so, Vincent Caro, the Executive Secretary of CIK-FIA was among the interested visitors. Saturday and Sunday both saw a morning and afternoon session on the circuit for the vintage machines. There was a huge crowd for each of the four sessions that preceded the rally car demo drives. No doubt it was the cars that drew the numbers, but I heard nothing but praise for the efforts of the Historic and Classic Kart Club for GB (Weblink 1). The first outfit to catch my eye was Tony Keele’s Matador Bultaco K200. It was a Speedcraft C Type Class 4 machine built in 1963 and originally raced by John Brock. Another driver of this particular kart was Tony’s brother Roger Keele and there is a photo of that pairing on the front cover of the February 1966 edition of Karting magazine (Weblink 2). The restored machine was tracktested by George Robinson in the October 2001 edition (Weblink 3). Even more eye-catching was the front engined Suzuki T200 in a Del kart dating from 1966 and built for the 9 hour endurance race at Snetterton. It was driven by Club Chairman Wyatt Stanley who had bought it recently from the Donington Collection.

The Saturday drive was the first time it had been started up in 30 years! There was a lovely story attached to Steve Greaves’ 1960 Fastakart with a Villiers 1979E engine. It had been purchased by his dad, Bob Greaves, who raced it from 1959 to 1963. It was then stored in a garage where it remained there for 42 years until Steve took an interest. He’s restored it to racing condition and is set to contest the Retro Racer Series (Weblink 4), the Historic Kart Racing Championship to be raced at eight circuits this year. Martin Gilbert is also preparing for that championship with his rare Zip 981/Zip 48 motor. The kart was bought new in 1981. Martin discovered it 25 years later advertised on Ebay and promptly bought it again for the princely sum of £300. It’s still on it’s original tyres! Talking of latter day bargains, Wyatt Stanley had a 1978 Zip Honda Mugen purchased for £60 from Cardiff University eighteen months previously. How had they got hold of it? Club President Tony Wilkins drove the 1964 Buckler Ultralite Mk2A Villiers 197cc (9E) with its classic 4 speed gearbox. Owned by Peter Silverthorne it was found in a Yorkshire kart shop in the 1970s. Returned to running condition in 2004 the kart is a regular on the historic kart scene. Bob Phair meanwhile drove a 1978 Deavinsons Sprint kart with 1977 Bultaco engine, although he told me a fascinating statistic about his other kart back home. That’s a 1976 Lynx Kart (Weblink 5) under restoration. Its serial number is 001, being the first ever sold. Among the static exhibits was my favourite, the 701 Biagi (Weblink 6) from 1962, so named, or rather numbered, because that was the total number of hours Paul Biagi spent on its construction.

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Demonstrations by historic karts were held for the first time

A lovely story of a static kart in the indoor halls was the one relating to Ian Pittaway’s 1959 Trokart with its Clinton A400 engine. It’s long been out of racing use and on no fewer than three occasions has been destined for the scrap heap. But each time Ian couldn’t bring himself to do it. So the kart survives as one of the very earliest examples of a UK kart at very nearly half a century old. The Historic Motorsport Show is a superb event. Anybody with even just a passing interest in motorsport cannot fail to enjoy themselves. Appearances by living legends such as Stirling Moss from the car racing scene, Giacomo Agostini of two-wheel fame and Bjorn Waldegaard from the world of rallying were just some examples of the who’s who of motorsport greats. We have cause to be grateful to the show organisers and promoters for the invitation to the Historic and Classic Kart Club for GB to be a part of the scene. Club motor racing often struggles to draw respectable numbers of spectators. However the Historic Motorsport Show has certainly hit the right formula as the thousands of fans voting with their feet illustrated. A large number of them were treated to a fine display of the roots of our sport as well.

Ken Walker

The third International Historic Motorsport Show at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry at the end of February was the ideal venue to launch the UK’s outdoor celebrations of the 50th anniversary of our sport. The enormously popular show pulled in more than 20,000 visitors as well as 449 exhibitors and the National Agricultural Centre venue is superb. On the Friday the karts were confined to static displays, both in the hall and in the awning adjacent to the rally stage circuit. Even so, Vincent Caro, the Executive Secretary of CIK-FIA was among the interested visitors. Saturday and Sunday both saw a morning and afternoon session on the circuit for the vintage machines. There was a huge crowd for each of the four sessions that preceded the rally car demo drives. No doubt it was the cars that drew the numbers, but I heard nothing but praise for the efforts of the Historic and Classic Kart Club for GB (Weblink 1). The first outfit to catch my eye was Tony Keele’s Matador Bultaco K200. It was a Speedcraft C Type Class 4 machine built in 1963 and originally raced by John Brock. Another driver of this particular kart was Tony’s brother Roger Keele and there is a photo of that pairing on the front cover of the February 1966 edition of Karting magazine (Weblink 2). The restored machine was tracktested by George Robinson in the October 2001 edition (Weblink 3). Even more eye-catching was the front engined Suzuki T200 in a Del kart dating from 1966 and built for the 9 hour endurance race at Snetterton. It was driven by Club Chairman Wyatt Stanley who had bought it recently from the Donington Collection. The Saturday drive was the first time it had been started up in 30 years! There was a lovely story attached to Steve Greaves’ 1960 Fastakart with a Villiers 1979E engine. It had been purchased by his dad, Bob Greaves, who raced it from 1959 to 1963. It was then stored in a garage where it remained there for 42 years until Steve took an interest. He’s restored it to racing condition and is set to contest the Retro Racer Series (Weblink 4), the Historic Kart Racing Championship to be raced at eight circuits this year. Martin Gilbert is also preparing for that championship with his rare Zip 981/Zip 48 motor. The kart was bought new in 1981. Martin discovered it 25 years later advertised on Ebay and promptly bought it again for the princely sum of £300. It’s still on it’s original tyres! Talking of latter day bargains, Wyatt Stanley had a 1978 Zip Honda Mugen purchased for £60 from Cardiff University eighteen months previously. How had they got hold of it? Club President Tony Wilkins drove the 1964 Buckler Ultralite Mk2A Villiers 197cc (9E) with its classic 4 speed gearbox. Owned by Peter Silverthorne it was found in a Yorkshire kart shop in the 1970s. Returned to running condition in 2004 the kart is a regular on the historic kart scene. Bob Phair meanwhile drove a 1978 Deavinsons Sprint kart with 1977 Bultaco engine, although he told me a fascinating statistic about his other kart back home. That’s a 1976 Lynx Kart (Weblink 5) under restoration. Its serial number is 001, being the first ever sold. Among the static exhibits was my favourite, the 701 Biagi (Weblink 6) from 1962, so named, or rather numbered, because that was the total number of hours Paul Biagi spent on its construction. A lovely story of a static kart in the indoor halls was the one relating to Ian Pittaway’s 1959 Trokart with its Clinton A400 engine. It’s long been out of racing use and on no fewer than three occasions has been destined for the scrap heap. But each time Ian couldn’t bring himself to do it. So the kart survives as one of the very earliest examples of a UK kart at very nearly half a century old. The Historic Motorsport Show is a superb event. Anybody with even just a passing interest in motorsport cannot fail to enjoy themselves. Appearances by living legends such as Stirling Moss from the car racing scene, Giacomo Agostini of two-wheel fame and Bjorn Waldegaard from the world of rallying were just some examples of the who’s who of motorsport greats. We have cause to be grateful to the show organisers and promoters for the invitation to the Historic and Classic Kart Club for GB to be a part of the scene. Club motor racing often struggles to draw respectable numbers of spectators. However the Historic Motorsport Show has certainly hit the right formula as the thousands of fans voting with their feet illustrated. A large number of them were treated to a fine display of the roots of our sport as well. Ken Walker