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Shenington Historic Festival

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Graham Beddall on three wheels on his Zip Shadow

As ever the BHKC marquee was a hive of activity with static karts and memorabilia in abundance. I particularly liked the framed front cover of the April 1960 issue of Karting magazine carrying a great photo of the first ever event at Shenington. Most appropriate for this 50th anniversary occasion.

Brian Malin and Pixcelero also entered into the spirit of things with a display of numerous other photos of Shenington from the 1960s and 1970s.

The most eye-catching exhibit for me was an all-white GET (a strange name) kart from 1959/1960. Apparently they always looked a bit scruffy when racing because they quickly lost their pristine gleaming white appearance, but this one was immaculately turned out by Rob Statham.

I live near Donington Park and I was pleasantly surprised to see the kart in which ex F1 driver, the late Roger Williamson, had become British Champion. It was said to be a Dale kart but with at least one view being offered that it was more like a highly modified Buckler from c1960. It had been kindly loaned by Kevin Wheatcroft and is very rarely seen outside of the Donington Museum.

Another rare find, beautifully restored by Tony Brinkworth, was a Skeeta Super 90 of 1963 which also took to the track for demo runs. Unusually, it was manufactured in 3 pieces with two swinging arms overlapping the basic frame.

It was especially pleasing once again to be graced with a visit from 4 members of the late Jack Barlow’s immediate family. They were, not surprisingly, the judges of the best turned out Barlotti award.

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Faith Timms with her 1962 Trokart

The visitor’s book was signed by Luciano Carvigglio from Novara in northern Italy. I didn’t get to meet the gentleman but I was pleased to learn of a visitor from so far away. Does anybody know of him? In particular was he a former kart racer?

BHKC Patron Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams was present all day on the Saturday. Another visitor was Terry Urlwin who I am told was a karter from the very earliest days of kart racing in this country.

As a karting journalist and commentator rather than a former racer, my attention is often drawn to reports of karting of yesteryear. I was delighted to see a Tecnokart displayed with Karting magazine opened at the page of Track Test 39/64. That very kart had been test driven for the magazine and ‘finest & fastest’, ‘superb handling’ and ‘comfortable position’ were 3 of the headings in the report.

Old karting adverts often catch my eye. One though did seem to have been well wide of the mark. ‘The only name in karting’ was the headline of an advert by Miura, based at Loughborough in Leicestershire. Does anybody recall what their contempories made of that boastful claim?

This year, the British Historic Kart Club whilst easily the biggest exhibitor in the Revival part of the event, did not have a monopoly. Opposite them in the paddock was the Karting Legends awning. They highlight the water cooled gearbox machines of their early era in our sport and, though there were fewer exhibits, there were several eye-catchers.

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Rob Statham’s immaculate GET

My attention was immediately drawn to a photo of Sir Stirling Moss driving a 1959 Keele Kart at Goodwood last year. The great man was, of course, a director of the company as well as a former racer of their machines.

Adjacent to the Karting Legends was a ‘Kart Force – Karting for injured troops’ display area. Nothing to do with the historic side of our sport, but a great initiative adopted by Karting Legends, and one which I hope will gain momentum. Having just returned from the USA I was delighted to be able to introduce the guys to Karting2live, a very similar initiative recently begun in California.

It is always fascinating to see these vintage karts even without necessarily knowing their racing pedigree. But when you do know that an exhibit is the very machine in which major success has been achieved, then so much the better. I’ve already mentioned Roger Williamson’s machine and the1969 Zip Californian Komet K77 was believed to be the kart which Stephen South drove when winning his British Championship.

On the Karting legends side of the paddock, there were karts driven to success by Martin Hines, Dave Buttigeig, Carolynn Grant-Sale and Reg Gange.

I had to smile when I saw two youngsters being towed around the paddock in a couple of the vintage machines. The kids were obviously loving it but the omp (one mum power) rather than bhp being developed on a hot day must have tested the ladies’ fitness somewhat. Not for the first time though, evidence that these old timers (that’s the karts not the guys that raced them) are full of fascination even to the youngest of visitors.

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The late Roger Williamson’s Buckler on loan from the Donington museum

I’ve said previously that the Shenington Revival at the Superprix event is an ideal karting marriage. The fact that we had a double anniversary celebration of 50 years kart racing at Shenington and 10 years of British Historic Kart Club activities, just added spice to an already mouth watering dish.

Ken Walker