Karting's Forgotten History

I thought I’d start a thread on some of karting’s most interesting stories, they really demonstrate its rich and varied history before it all gets lost. The more places its posted, the more chance it’ll be found when people look back.

So here’s a one to start which I fell across. Most of the others are credit of BHKC. . Please add your own if you have any interesting historical stories.

The Windmill Girls.

Sheila Van Damm, a well-known and respected female rally driver in the 50s and owner of London’s Windmill Theatre had an all-female kart team. This is right at karting’s genesis in the early 60s in the UK. They drove around London in road registered karts.

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and if you don’t believe me they drove around London… well they really did!

and here’s them racing

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The Italian Job.

The van in the Italian Job was David Salamone’s, who starred in the film, karting van

Buckler Karts - The road-registered kart

crowthornebuckler-08

From Chris Smyth, Scottish Historic and Classic Kart Group

…so I thought I’d post it as it was 60 years ago (1961) that Paul Biagi set FTD there. On his photos, he remarked that he’d set a time of around 63 secs, and was tickled to have beaten a 3.8 litre Jaguar in his Buckler Bultaco, - which was road registered, and was also driven from Prestwick to Fordoun, near Forfar, for a kart race there.

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Isle of Man Karting.

While the Superkarts going around Peel GP is known about, karting’s history on the island goes back a lot further with events at the Douglas (Manx GP) and the Southern 100, as well as potentially others. It was a real karting island once upon a time.

(1968)

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Epic stuff with great photos!

Always regret not going over in the 80’s to race in the streets.

Did they run the full TT track?

I can’t fathom why they’d stop, motorcycling is hardly less dangerous.

No full course stuff as far as I am aware. Bikes brings in tourism, and I assume thats what has maintained its presence on the island conpared to karting, which despite notable examples, isn’t bringing in the spectators.

In the UK velodromes provided a smooth surface to race on.

This is Welwyn Garden City 1960

This next one was one off event at Gypsy Green in South Shields. Was as sketchy as it looks by all accounts

The Plymouth Mayflower, another one off event, around a park in the UK. Was very dangerous and news stories tell the story, and had some insane jumps. Awesome though.

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Kart on car parks is nothing new, karting on the top of multi storey car parks is somethihng a bit different.

It was an event where British juniors went up against French juniors on top of a Boulogne car park.

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When Superkarts ruled the world

Surfer’s Paradise Indy Support event

F1 support Adelaide

SuperKart GP at Silverstone standalone event. Yes, those are spectators. They had bus tours the lot.

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Snetterton 9-hour 1960s. Almost impossible to imagine being able to hold a endurance kart race at a long circuit nowadays given the prices, but alas it was possible back int he day

A lot of the aero innovation and lay down stuff came from these types of events

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Perhaps of interest, in the 1991 Australian F1 video clip, Qualifier 1, Barbara Hepworth, female, was there on merit. She was simply the fastest/best in a vehicle that allowed her talent to shine. As an aside, F2 and F3 with females, I just don’t see it. As for F1, I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. I don’t know Barbara well, but I’ve certainly met her a few times. She still helps out in the Australian Superkarting scene. Qualifier 2, Peter Woodgate, built my Superkart and I’m racing with him this weekend at Calder Park. Once it’s in your blood, it’s very hard to get it out. They are both great examples of lifers.

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Stirling Moss was a relatively keen karter. he raced at the first world championship at Nassau in 1960 (if we’re counting non-FIA stuff). He didn’t place well, his kart wasn’t fast. Here he is outside his house sometime in the 60s in Mayfair London.

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Micky Dolenz of The Monkeys with his kart

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I raced at the 1982 British kart GP and every other year in the 80’s.
Went to the Snetterton 9hr as a little boy in the late 60’s with my dad.

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I have got a fair few programs from the GP. When Daily Express dropped out as sponsor a lot of fizz went out of it.

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Found a result sheet in the garage from the 83 Silverstone GP when I was racing in 210 National. Fourth place, so


close to being on the podium😄

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