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Circuit that inspired Formula One aces celebrates 50th anniversary


Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year Chatham’s Buckmore Park offers the high-speed thrills of the track for karting fans.

The 1,000-metre international floodlit outdoor circuit, just off junction 3 of the M2, is where Formula One world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button learnt their trade.

Kids’ karting parties for ages four to 16, lasting either 30 minutes or one hour, are available for up to 12 drivers. Parties can also incorporate a celebration meal and be combined with laser-warfare games in the woods for ages eight to 16.

For more details about the range of events available, phone 01634 201562, visit or email

3 March 13 – Testing Session, Gaz, Mark and Daz



With the delivery of new karts at Buckmore Park we quickly set about a test session and managed to book the 3 of us in, a whole track to ourselves with no one to get in the way.

The new karts have a high bumper all the way around and a very smart looking chrome centre exhaust. They drove very well and handling was good. My only issue was grip on the steering wheel, I was using summer gloves and it was sliding through them, whilst my hands were still warm I could hold it to a certain extent but once my hands had frozen I just couldn’t grip hard enough.

Over the course of the session I made some changes to my lines, Hairpin 1 i was braking later and turning in later but still clipping the apex on the exit of the hairpin, hairpin 2 still proves tricky, you simply cant take the correct racing line as the tarmac after the tarmac change is very slippery and whilst fun, tends to lose you time in the form of sideways action, I’m pretty sure I was gaining a bit more speed though when I did manage to turn in as close the correct line as possible. Putting the kart sideways upon exit of Pullmans and then letting it snap to make the transmission into Paddock has always served me well, however I just kept losing grip over the steering wheel, perhaps a change of gloves will solve the issue. On Garda I could gain some time by not braking, I used to tap the brake on the tarmac change but instead I could now just lift off and balance throttle upon turning in and then back on the throttle and shift my body weight to aid acceleration.

Best lap times are as follows…

Gax 51.464

Mark 51.792

Daz 51.915

The fastest lap time s far, set on the session before ours was a 50.166 set by Andrew Hunt.

Lydden Hill 2nd Feb 2013



A great day was had back at Lydden Hill again for our second track day in the Mondeo Track Car. A fair bit of servicing and repair work had been done since the last event which payed off. The car felt so much more solid this time, slick tires offered excellent grip through both slow speed and high speed corners, however, forgetting that air expands we over inflated the tires and the front let tire bulged. So we had to change back to the road tire’s which to be fair worked very well especially in the high speed corners.


Faye, previous passenger of the car when it was used to run her to school years ago, was along for the ride. She said it was certainly a lot faster now than when she used to go to school in it and didn’t seem to even flinch when on the first session Darren put the car into a spin whilst trail braking into Pilgrims. This was by no means the scariest moment of the day, this was to come on the last session when a Toyota Supra span out into the gravel and back onto the track in front of Gareth, becoming so sure that he’d either hit the Supra or one of the many cars behind would hit, at the last moment Gareth let go of the wheel to place his hands on his torso and brace for impact, on stopping before hitting the Supra he was quickly back on the throttle and back in the race.

Darren Long – 54.459

Gareth Keeler – 54.549

Mark Holt – 56.198

See the video here…

Buckmore Park 13 Jan 2013


Mark and Darren had previously tested the water of 2013, quite literally with a practices session at Buckmore in the wet, a massive drift session but great fun. Moving on to the 2nd race of the year and Gareth along for the action. Cold but dry, and in general a good session…

Mark Holt 51.824
Gareth Keeler 52.090
Darren Long 52.798


Lydden Hill 29/09/12



The Mondeo had its first taste of track action on a track day at Lydden Hill. Mark, Darren and Gareth all setting very similar lap times as shown in the telemetry data above from the onboard gps data logger. Surprisingly the event wasnt short of Mondeo’s with a lot of people using them as track cars. The car handled very well, looking somewhat more planted than many of the other cars, however it did fall behind many of the others on the straights but done well to keep up and pass MX5’s, Saxo’s, MG’s, TT’s etc. We did however destroy one of the front suspension bushes and almost burn off the front tires 🙂



Armageddon: postponed due to EU bureaucracy


That’ll teach us to big upa government press office – it’s taken until today to find someone at the Department for Transport willing to give us any comment. But the good news is you can put down the pitchforks immediately – the EU isn’t having its wicked way with your modified car anytime soon.You can read full statement below – and it won’t take up much of your time because it isn’t very long. But there’s an excellent reason for that, too.

The EU document that’s causing all the fuss is, in point of fact, nothing more than what it says it is: a proposal. This means it isn’t even draft legislation yet. So what’s actually happening at European level in September is merely the opening of the negotiation stage, where all the member states get to chime in and have their say. This is unlikely to be a swift and easy process…

With everything still firmly up for negotiation, the DfT says it is unwilling to get into the specifics at this moment. But it is working with the UK automotive industry – something we can confirm thanks to our colleague Darren Moss at CAT Magazine, who has already been speaking to people in the aftermarket trade – in effort to better understand the impact of what the EU may or may not be proposing to make law.

Darren also points out that many aftermarket vehicle parts are the same OEM bits as those used on the vehicle at the time it was type approved, so there’s no issue there. Many others are OES, so even if they’re not branded with the original vehicle manufacturers logo, they’re the same parts, from the same factory and are of identical quality.

Best of all, the DfT is adamant it will be “pushing back” against anything that has a cost implication for the government, the industry and – vitally – car owners as well. The press office was also keen to explain that EU legislation always takes a long time to go through. If there is a threat, it is very far from being an imminent one.

Perhaps most reassuringly, the bloke on the phone this morning literally burst out laughing when we explained some well-meaning folk fear the EU is attempting to outlaw modified cars entirely. Not a suggestion that this is a laughing matter, but a reflection of how absurd the idea is from any rational perspective.

On the other hand, if you want to make your own views heard, you could always track down Siim Kallas on Twitter, EU Vice President and commissioner for transport. Not that we could possibly condone that kind of thing.

Department for Transport statement:
“This document [the tendered EU Roadworthiness Package’] is a proposal rather than final legislation. As such, all Member States will have the opportunity to negotiate the final legislation and everything within the current document may be subject to change.

The Department has sought views on the proposals from the industry. We will be analysing the proposals to find out what impact they will have on businesses and motorists. We will question rigorously any provisions that imply costs for Government, people or industry and seek to minimise these. We will be taking an active part in the Working Group meetings starting this autumn.

It is still far too early to comment on specifics of the legislation as a number of the proposals could be changed or dropped.”



Yes, new EU legislation is under proposal. No, it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the world.

As many of you are already aware, news is circulating that an EU draft regulation proposal is apparently aiming to ban all modified cars.


Stemming from an article published by the Association of Car Enthusiasts , the supposition is that any car fitted with a part that’s contrary to its original type approval would effectively be outlawed under the proposed legislation.


Aftermarket 'enhancements' could be banned
Aftermarket ‘enhancements’ could be banned

Given the implications of this you’re right to worry – but we don’t think you need to panic just yet.


For starters, nothing has been set in stone – the ruling on the law is still six weeks away – and as some of you are quite sensibly pointing out in the PH forum, the draft proposal can be interpreted in a number of ways.

Take a look at it yourself before you start stripping the car and heading for eBay; it’s been dubbed the “Roadworthiness Package” and can be viewed in PDF form here.

Its chief concern seems – and we don’t say that lightly, the proposal is rather vaguely worded – to be with safety and environmental worthiness, and how this can be tested for consistently across the EU. However, there are indeed references to vehicles meeting the specification of their original type approval – raising eyebrows and requiring further investigation.

We’ve put a call in to the Department for Transport for clarification on how this really is likely to impact the UK, and are waiting for a response.

Perhaps contrary to your expectations, the DfT is generally well up to speed on this kind of thing, and we were assured that it was already aware of the issue and looking into it.

Inspired by the Olympics? Get karting says RSF


With an unrivalled track record of producing world class racing drivers – Britain having had no fewer than 10 Formula One World Champions – there are also plenty of home-grown idols to inspire youth to get into motorsport.

So if your progeny are seduced by the idea of being the next Jenson or Lewis, where do you start? For ambitious young petrolheads, ‘arrive and drive’ karting facilities like the renowned Daytona Milton Keynes circuit are the place to begin, reckons RSF coordinator Derek Walters:

“There may not have been any motor sport to watch at the Olympics to inspire young people but there’s been a hugely exciting F1 season to follow – that will hopefully inspire another generation of British motor racing stars to check out karting.

“As motor racing goes, it doesn’t get any more competitive and is the only way to get a foot on the ladder. From that perspective circuits like Daytona are a fantastic place to get to grips with the sport and are an obvious first port of call.”

The Racing Steps Foundation was set up to support youngsters from grass-roots motorsport upwards, providing funding to help the most talented drivers rise through the ranks. Also on its books are F1 hopefuls James Calado, currently campaigning in GP2, and Jack Harvey who competes in the British F3 International series.

Karting is where young motorsport ambitions evolve from dream into reality though. Amongst the promising young drivers being mentored by the RSF is 15 year-old multiple national cadet champion and KF3 kart title holder Ben Barnicoat:

“Karting may not be an Olympic sport yet, but the training we put in to ensure we’re competitive on-track is not much different to the regimes followed by the likes of Bradley Wiggins, Jess Ennis and Victoria Pendleton when they were our age.

“The big difference that karting provides is the buzz you get from racing at 80mph with your backside no more than a couple of inches off the ground.”

Trax 2012 – Gymkhana Grid


Look who is going to be at Trax this year! TRAX 2012 will be getting the full Monster treatment with an exclusive VIP area and balcony to watch all the tyre-slaying, ball-tearing, clutch-kicking, gasoline-chugging Gymkhana GRID so keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook page for Monster giveaways, the chance to be a VIP and Gymkhana GRID updates!

Louise Cook and Rally Acropolis Update


Sticking with our Louise Cook coverage, here is he vlog from PWRC Rally Acropolis where despite issues with the car she managed to finish 6th. The Fiesta took a bit of a pounding so Louise has managed to organise hire of a rally car from a New Zealand based team for the next stage of the PWRC.