What’s going on at Stretton karting?

Streon Circuit in Leicestershire has been primarily focused on developing new driver talent and promoting fantastic motorsport since its inception. With fast flowing corners, wide open bends and picturesque scenery it stands out as one of the most exciting and dynamic kart circuits in the country. From the corporate junior karting experiences starting at 10 years of age which even include passenger rides in a two-seater kart, to the senior karting events from Grand Prixs to Enduros, Streon covers every angle on the corporate side of things as well as the club side. Both the Streon Kart and Bike clubs are aracting more and more competitors each year of all budgets and backgrounds, and heading into 2015 signs are that the circuit is likely to go from strength to strength.

So how is the circuit making such great strides in club level karting, and yet still ticking every box on the commercial market?
One of the key figures in the development of Streon Circuit and Team Streon is professional racing driver Jay Shepherd. Jay has been a vastly successful GT racer in the United Kingdom, winning the Britcar Endurance Championship overall in 2008 which he backed up by winning the next season’s Britcar 24 Hours in Class 3 at Silverstone, all for Hawthorns Motorsport. In 2015 he’ll be racing in the BRSCC FunCup Championship alongside his work with BRM Streon.

Having joined Streon a few months ago, he has been particularly impressed with the atmosphere at the Leicestershire venue and is very forthright about why he chose to help develop the club and its projects.

“Streon’s been running very successfully for the last 20 years,” he tells us. “We’re now at the point

of redeveloping and restructuring the circuit. I got involved because I wanted to give something back
to young drivers. I looked at several youngsters in the sport and noticed that there were many competitors with an incredible amount of talent but nowhere near the big budgets some of the other teams and drivers have. I was looking initially to set up a team myself as my daughter was racing a BRM kart, and it was something I wanted to explore. Stretton was working as an active agent for them, so I got involved in order for us to work together to promote the karts and I ended up working closer with Stretton’s development.”

“The circuit got to be a little more tired in appearance than they would have liked,” he continues. “They wanted new direction and regrowth. We wanted to create a new race team and were approached by Hasse karts which happened to come at the same time as the X30 series was becoming popular. It made total sense because the karts have great form and a high reputation thanks to John Hasse, and so with a new product line with X30s and Bambinos we have many new customers in both classes and having carried out extensive tests of the Hasse Bambino compared to other brands the drivers we’ve asked to test them find the karts very favourable.

“The Hasse kart handles really well, and some of the drivers who are in top karts with other manufacturers have actually complimented us, and have proved that they’re as quick, if not quicker, on the Hasse. Hasse are helping us to move forward with the product very rapidly, and the Bambino class is building up quicker than we assumed it would. As far as the Prokart team is going, things are very strong. Our online shop is booming, we’re winners in various championships now and as a result of that it’s encouraging as to revamp the circuit a little. We want to bring the track into the 21st century, and in doing so work closer with our customers to give them an unbeatable experience.”

The Stretton Sprint Series currently runs championships for Honda Prokart, Cadet, Bambino, Subaru, Junior 2 and Senior Open classes making it one of the most diverse circuit-based championship organisers in the UK and there is a very good reason for doing this.

“It’s quite a technical circuit,” explains Jay.
“The corners are quite natural and there’s a real classic feel to the track when driving it. It’s very picturesque as well with some really gorgeous scenery. It definitely captivates the eye. We get massive grids too, during our club meetings which run every second weekend each month. Our target is to be one of the top circuits, if not THE top circuit, for driver development in the UK. With my experience as a driver coach with PalmerSport and racing and winning in Britcar, we can use that ethic to focus on attention to detail and natural progression for young drivers to move forward.”

So who are the talented racers we should be keeping an eye on at BRM Streon in 2015? “This is not an easy arena to flourish or expand in, especially when you’re up against the big teams
and circuits,” says Jay. “But we have really excelled in the last six months, we are growing very quickly and we have some great talents on board. Charlie Bingham is my main hope for 2015. I recognise him as a great driver, but he’s never done MSA racing before. He’s classed as a novice, but he’s gained great experience here at his home circuit. He’s been on the pace throughout testing and he’s shown great promise, so we’re excited to see how he gets on with this new challenge.

“We have a couple of young stars in our Cadet team, including Blake Angliss. He’s come straight in from indoor karting and he’s very smooth and aentive
to detail. He has exceptional qualities and I really enjoy watching him race. Charlie Dillon is particularly impressive too. He’s one of those real fighters, and he has great aggression to move the car forward. He really aacks where he wants the kart to go.

“John Hogan was doing TKM and Super One a year or so ago but now he’s joined us, so we have a driver with some great credibility behind him who can give us some good feedback and put results on the board. We’re always looking for new drivers to join the team who can move the team forward, so I don’t think it’ll be long before we’re a real fighting force.”

With both team and circuit moving forward rapidly, perhaps the PF Internationals and Kimboltons of this world will need to prepare for the emergence of this incredible team, as their intuitive approach and fresh thinking could well put them on the top step of the podium from Bambino to X30 all over the country.