We have some terrible news for the karting community this month. A young driver from Forest Edge Kart Club in Hampshire has died in Germany. John Fleming, 22, from Hook in Hampshire, went missing during a weekend trip with friends to the Nurburgring. His body was found in a lake two days later. John was an immensely popular in the club and fellow members reflect on a man who brought cheer to the grid.
Kieron Woolgar, 177 Rotax Masters driver: “John loved his karting; he could not wait for the next race weekend. He certainly brightened up my time at the track and many others. He would be the guaranteed smile on the grid, talking to anyone that would listen! He will be sorely missed by all that ever came into contact with him.
“John loved anything to do with Motorsport. He was a big fan of old Minis and spent many hours working on his own and friends’ and families’ machines. He looked forward every year to the annual Nurburgring trip with ‘The Black Group’.
“I first met John when I started teaching him as an apprentice paint sprayer at 18. He was always hungry for knowledge and worked extremely hard, at many times carrying the rest of his group, a model student. He later joined Thatcham Academy as an Apprentice Technical Instructor and became an exemplary employee, colleague and most of all a friend to us all. John never had a bad word to say about anyone and I have never heard a bad word spoken about him. I don’t think it would be possible.
“The whole family were not only relations but good mates. Jean and Robbie, his mum and dad, Will and Robin, his brother and sister-in-law, and many more will feel a huge loss in his passing. Perhaps he will have the track ready up there when we all meet him again.”
Colin Wright, Vice Chairman, FEKC: “John was one of those people that really enlightened everyone’s life that he came in contact with, such was his easy going and super helpful nature. Nothing was ever too much for John; he will be missed by just about everyone he ever met, one of the stars in the sky definitely dimmed a little when they took John.”
Chris Partridge, 177 Rotax Masters driver: “As Kieron and Colin have said, my clearest memory of John is his smile – plus those glasses in his helmet! But I have a particular memory related to racing itself. We took our ARKS test at the same time and new drivers in a club share a great sense of camaraderie as well as competitive instinct on the track.
“I remember one race earlier this summer when I could not pass John whatever I did. We had a five lap battle which felt like an eternity for us. I tried a few “dummy” moves left and right but nothing worked.
We passed the finishing line close together and we shook hands on the slow down area just before the pits, such was the satisfaction we had from that race. His departure is a terrible loss – I hope he doesn’t get too much practice in the sky ahead of our arrival at some point in time!”