Despite the impending financial doom that is reported on regularly in the UK at present, CTD correspondent Neil Tozer thought he would check out the 'health' of Kart racing, by visiting the local circuit where he raced back in the eighties and early nineties.
Clay Pigeon Raceway is one of the oldest tracks in the UK and also one of the most challenging. The circuit itself dates back to the late fifties and early sixties, which for Kart Racing is roundabout the time the sport was born! The history of the hallowed tarmac started when an old WWII Military Hospital site was converted using the foundations of the old "Wards" which were joined together to form a 500m circuit. It was on this configuration that the 1st race was held on May 5th, 1963.
The meeting itself attracted 93 entries, and back then a complete chassis and engine would set you back roughly £200. By the seventies, the circuit was lengthened to 815m and the UK MSA approved circuit became the breeding ground for many a young aspiring race driver. Famous faces that were Clay Club Members include Jenson Button, Jamie Davies and Johnathon Buncombe.
Clay has hosted numerous British Championship Rounds over the years with great memories of battles won and lost. If you were to retrieve back issues of event programmes from the Dorset venue, the list of stars is endless - Hamilton, Coulthard, Herbert, Mcnish,Wheldon and Franchitti, they have all raced there, picking up the skills and tools of their trade along the way.
Forget the artificial and often sterile "New" kart circuits, because just as in automotive racing, the oldest circuits are widely recognized as the best.
Anyone who has passed around the outside through "Billys Blind" will never forget the thrill, Forget PF International and the like, this was where UK Karting became the success that it has now become.

For a look at additional shots from Neil's visit to Clay Pigeon Raceway, click here // 03.12.2009 [comments]

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