What do we want?
When do we want it?
Chanted the protesters outside Dunkeswell kart circuit on the 30th July. Nigel Mansell, who recently took control of the west countr y track, wants to build workshops, ofﬁces and a restaurant, all under one roof for the corporate karting he’s hoping to attract. He is also aiming for the new two-storey structure to house his Formula BMW team.
But locals, unhappy with his plans, demonstrated outside the circuit brandishing placards and chanting to let Mansell know exactly what they thought.
“The track’s used occasionally but this is going to be ﬁve, six, seven days a week. It’s going to ruin the environment. Nigel Mansell’s bulldozing over ever yone just because he’s got money,” said local resident Peter Yates.
Noise and increased trafﬁc seem to be the main bones of contention.
Matthew Hayes from neighbouring Hemyock said “We don’t want Mansell building a big restaurant and causing noise seven days a week as opposed to only nine meetings a year.He’s only doing attention.”this for ﬁnancial considerations. Really the Government should be giving it some Scufﬂes almost broke out when three local pro-Mansell protesters turned up with banners and police had to keep the two sides separated.
“I don’t think people have the facts” Ross Star, who has lived in Dunkeswell for 19 years,told us.“How many people here today are going to apply for jobs when it’s all going? This is going to bring money into the community and put Dunkeswell on the map.
”Speaking to the protesters,many seemed to be caught up in the occasion without really knowing what they were protesting about, none I talked to had actually read the former World Champion’s planning application and few knew the histor y of the circuit. I asked a local woman why she was protesting.
“Because I don’t want a race track here and more noise.”
But when I pointed out that the kart circuit had been here for 40 years the woman responded “Has it?” Others have relied on horror stories told to them by their friends and neighbours, or written on the protest website www. cancelmansell.com. “He wants a race track for F3 from 9 in the morning ‘til 9
at night…so I’ve been told.”
After 30 minutes of chanting, banner waving and having their pictures taken by the local press, the group and their loudhailers marched back to the village and I caught up with Nigel Mansell’s spokesman Brian Holmes, who’d been watching from a discreet distance with a wr y smile on his face.
“I think it’s rather sad that all these people that have turned up today have been so misled by the people organising the event because all the things they are objecting to, we aren’t going to do.
I would really prefer that they actually came and took the trouble to come and talk to us
and see what we are actually doing here. They have been completely misled into thinking something is happening here and it isn’t.”
Brian says they’ve spent a “large amount” of money on sur veys to conﬁrm transport and environmental concerns are groundless and there are absolutely no plans at all to use Dunkeswell for anything but karting. He’s no idea where the claim has come from the venue’s going to be used for F3, it’s certainly not in their planning application.
“All we’ve asked to do it to put a building up, it’s as simple as that! It will mitigate the noise and be a venue for corporate karting. I think it will add quite a lot to the venue and the area as it will bring employment and social beneﬁts through us training youngsters. I think this whole area will ﬁnd that what we are tr ying to do here is extremely beneﬁcial.”
Ironically, as the protesters happily sang “Mansell, Mansell don’t you know. We don’t want you, off you go!” they appeared oblivious to the low ﬂying light aircraft continually buzzing overhead.
n the August 2006 issue of Karting magazine we reported on the Star of
the 24/25th June. In that report we stated that “The top three JICA drivers’ engines and their spares were sealed and sent back to Technical Commissioner Paul Klaassen for eligibility checks, except for Paul Marsh’s that seized on the ﬁnish line, rendering any checks useless.”
This statement was incorrect on a number of counts. Firstly, the engines were not in fact sealed and sent to Mr Klaassen. Our reporter was informed that this would happen but in the event it did not.
Secondly, Paul Marsh’s engine did not seize as it crossed the ﬁnish line. The engine did die on Paul as he exited the chicane after the ﬁnish line but this was caused by the carb losing pressure, a problem that had also occurred earlier in the meeting. Paul immediately returned to parc ferme after the race where his kart and engine and others remained until released.
The engine was in a condition that would have allowed any form of dismantling and measurement had the scrutineers chosen to do so.
We apologise for these errors and any inconvenience or upset they may have caused.
Mark Burgess, Editor
14 First in the World for 46 years KARTING Magazine