|All text and images Copyright © Amazon Systems 1997-2013 All Rights Reserved|
Index for this page
..... and other pages
Team Sport at Camberley (Indoor)
Telesales for event bookings (0870) 7503612
This is a track opened in early 2008, the Aldershot track having been closed. It has a more comfortable look than the Aldershot track, but the facilities for competitors and spectators are much the same. There is a modern results display system and a well-organised briefing area.
The current track layout was set down in 2011, and it is very different to the original track.
They use single-engined Biz indoor karts, which are quite nippy. The track is fast, with a variable degree of grip, and is quite demanding. It is quite wide, but the racing line is such that it limits overtaking possibilities, and there are very few places to pass a skilled driver, even if he is a second a lap slower.
From the grid, you run up a long straight to a left-hand bend which can be taken flat out. This brings you to a banked 180 degree bend, which can also be taken at full speed. Almost immediately, you turn right into a short straight with a very (very) slippery right hand hairpin, followed, before you can reach full speed again, by a similarly frictionless left hand hairpin. The pit entrance is on the exit to this bend and you may find yourself doing an involuntary pit stop. These two hairpins become easier as the kart tyres and track warm up, but they are never easy.
Then it's uninterrupted acceleration down a longish straight, round a long, slick left hand curve past the spectators, then past the grid again.
Average lap times are 25-29 seconds. Anything in the 25-26 area is good, but the lap record is a staggering 22!
Spectator facilities are a little sparse, the loos new and clean. There is a snack facility during race meetings. 50p lockers are available in the changing room. Staff and organisation are excellent. It's a very good track.
Surbiton Raceway (Outdoor)
Tel 0181 337 5550 - Outdoor
This is a fast outdoor track without sharp bends, on which high speeds can be achieved.
The karts are 200cc single-engined. They are well-maintained - their service régime is methodical, though we've occasionally had a slow kart or one inclined to lose its chain.
The circuit is 600 metres in length, the surface is good and smooth. The run-off areas are mostly grass. There are some concrete kerbs at crucial points.
It is not hard work. There are a number of sections where you can take a rest with your foot hard down.
From the grid, you climb a hill to a fast right-hander and head down a long straight which curves right relatively gently to a left/right chicane. The straight and this first bend are the best overtaking opportunities. The rest of the track has a tight racing line. After the chicane comes a fast right hander into a short straight with a difficult right/left chicane downhill. It is difficult because of the speed you are likely to be doing when you reach it. The last short straight (which accumulates puddles in wet weather) is another possible overtaking point as there are two routes into the fast right-hander over the grid and up the hill again.
Average lap times are in the 27 second area, 25.5 is a good lap. Contrast this with Daytona, at a similar track length, where average lap times are around 36 seconds. This is a fast track.
The staff are obliging and helpful. I've only ever practiced there, so I don't know what the competitions are like.
http://www.rye-house.co.uk Tel 01992 460895 - Outdoor
Rye House has been a karting track for over twenty years. Official RAC and UK Schools Events are held there, but they also operate a Hire Kart operation.
The karts to use are the twin engined pro-karts (though Rye House offer a range of karts smaller than these).
The track is tarmac, some of it rather bumpy, and in wet weather, of course, you get puddles seeping onto the track from the grass, all of which adds to the fun.
As you start, you are on a long straight, and you start to wonder how fast you dare hit the right hand bend at the end. With the right line, I believe you could get round the first bend at full throttle, but you are immediately into a set of esses on which it is all too easy to lose your grip. The track then turns right onto the main straight. In RAC events, this is the start/finish straight. It's a long straight which you can safely run at full throttle if you don't mind the sensation of sitting on a pneumatic drill with someone throwing the scenery at you. Very exciting! There's a temptation to lift as you reach the right-hander at the end of the straight, but you can at least start it at full throttle, though it tightens up, finally emerging 270 degrees later into a sharpish left-hander followed by a left hand hairpin. This is where you tend to find a damp patch even long after rain, and there may be karts parked at odd angles in your path. Finally, there's a very hard-to-negotiate right-hand hairpin onto the start/finish straight.
Lap times are in the 40 second area, and it's about 850 meters long.
There are a few unusual things about the track. The pits are entered near the end of the right-hander after the main straight, and you return to the track on the start/finish straight. Any lap on which you enter the pits is not counted on the lap counter. They have a rule that if you spin the kart or leave the track, you must enter the pits for a driver change at the next opportunity.
The result of this is that you are strongly motivated to have long driver sessions, and to drive carefully, as a pit stop costs two laps at least.
Rye House have a friendly, helpful staff. The customer displays are PC screens.
On their web site you will find views of the new building and facilities which are much better than when I was last there. This upgrade cost more than £500k so they should be good. Toilets now include showers and also a disabled toilet.
They now offer the chance to hire the very lively Rotax Max karts. This is included in their day time Mon-Fri hires. Groups of up to 20 people get to have a race for 40 min on the GT1's (13hp) and then progress to 100cc and finally to the Rotax Max.
http://www.buckmore.co.uk Tel 01634 201562 - Outdoor
A fine track, this, with nice rental karts, and well-organised. They do a range of karts but I've only sampled the Pro karts - see their web page for the full range.
This circuit report is for the 900 metre track, the only one I've driven. From the pits, which, for rental karts, are on the start/finish straight (owner-driver pits are at the bottom of the track - you can just see the entrance on the diagram) you accelerate to the long right hander at the top end of the track. I take this as all one 180 degree curve, and getting the inside track on someone just before this bend is an excellent passing opportunity. You emerge onto a short straight where you accelerate as hard as possible, though there's no hope of taking the right-handed hairpin without slowing down. Again, you can get the drop on someone by taking an inside line here, but watch out! At this first hairpin, there are often karts littered around, victims of overconfidence and bravado, so your chosen line may not be clear. A tight line avoids most of the casualties, I find, but it's not as quick as the best line.
This first hairpin is followed by a second, this time to the left, another overtaking zone cum accident blackspot, then you have a couple of hundred yards to sort yourself out through a gentle left / right with right foot floored. It's particularly useful to come out of the second hairpin fast, as you may be able to overhaul someone in the long run to the bottom of the circuit. The track goes downhill, and there are two lines through the sweeping right-hander into the bottom. Most people take the bend tight, lifting the throttle a little. It's also possible to get the drop on someone by going deeper into the bend, turning late. In either event, you brake hard into the bottom corner. The wide line at the previous corner can give you the opportunity to brake on a tighter line at the bottom hairpin, and get in the way of someone you are overtaking.
This is the bend round the little triangle at the bottom end of the track. There's a tree on the triangle, and some very hostile kerbs, and it's accident blackspot numero uno. I think the camber's unhelpful, there's a strong tendency to lock brakes when you see someone pirouetting in front of you and it's hard enough to get round without distractions.
After this bend, move over to the right in preparation for the next left hander. It looks easy to take on a tight line, but that sets you up wrong for the important bend onto the start/stop straight, and if you hit the kerb here you may lose your fillings. Then you're thumping down the start/stop straight again past the pits.
38.5 seconds for a lap of this 900 metre track is a good time in the rental pro-karts. At that, you're averaging over 50mph on a half mile track with three hairpins on it! I noticed on a recent visit that the little owner-driver 100cc two-strokes were lapping at around 33 seconds - an average of nearly 60 - awesome!
Under floodlights, there are a couple of areas of the track - notably the first hairpin and the long back section - which are not well illuminated, and lots of people who drive OK in the daylight seem to overcook the first hairpin under lights.
The brakes on the pro karts are fiercely effective, and the track is smooth. It's easy to lock up and slide under braking, which can be a problem till you get used to how good the brakes are.
This is an excellent circuit, and, frankly, if you enjoy karting, it's a must. There's a shop for karting gear, instruction facilities and all sorts. It's also a nice looking track in a nice location, with trees all around. Canteen and toilets are very good by karting track standards, and, let's face it, us gourmets are in the minority in the karting fraternity.
Daytona International at Milton Keynes
http://www.daytona.co.uk H4 Dansteed Way, Milton Keynes, MK13 8NP (tel Freecall 0500 145 155)
This long (1350 metre) outdoor track is excellent, and a set of twin-engined pro-karts are provided. When I was last there, there was talk of even bigger karts to come. The karts I have found to be somewhat variable in quality. In three trips to Milton Keynes, I have had what I would call an "excellent" kart only once, and that in exchange for a really bad one issued on the grid. To be fair, I may have been unlucky. Three is not a big sample. The karts have a clever read-out on the dash which tells you the lap time of your last lap, your position in the race and how long the race has to run. All races here tend to be in Enduro format.
The first bend at the end of the start/finish line can be taken flat out in normal conditions, but the left/right at the end of the first straight often tricks the unwary driver, and many off-road excursions and embarrassing spins take place here. This kink is quickly followed by a left-hand hairpin and a "spoon" curve that makes a 180 degree turn to the right again. There are some adverse cambers here, so be alert. At the end of this straight, the track turns right again (Point X). This section can be taken at nearly full throttle until the sharp left-hander that follows, then there's a rough bit that's badly illuminated at night to another left-hand hairpin, followed by a l-o-o-o-o-n-g straight. At the end of this straight, there's a left-hand curve that can be taken at or near full throttle (don't try it on a damp evening), followed by a sharp and unfriendly right-hand hairpin with a funny camber on the exit. You are unlikely to actually come to grief here, but you can lose ages if you don't get it right. Finally, there's a tight, but fast, left-hander onto the home straight and across the start/finish again. A lap of the main track should take 1 minute 15 seconds or so. It's possible to get below 1:10, but I've never managed it. This is a challenging track, but lots of fun.
Sometimes, they don't use the whole International track, but go from where I said "Point X", above, directly to near the beginning of the main straight, missing the right curve, the left hairpin and the rough section.
There are a number of local rules here. The Pits area is huge, but there's a strict speed limit enforced by making a spare driver walk alongside any kart in the pits. If you don't run alongside a walker, you are penalised. If you get all four wheels off the track in some incident, you are allowed to rescue the kart by getting out and pulling it around, but you MUST return to the pits immediately for a safety check.
I have only ever competed there, so I don't know what the practice facilities are like. The staff are friendly and efficient. The marshals are not unduly oppressive. The restaurant, changing and toilet facilities are good.
Probably one of the top two or three outdoor rental circuits in the UK. Don't miss it!
Mijas Karting, Fuengirola, Andalusia, Spain
If you are in the South of Spain, do not miss this delightful track. It's heavily signposted from the main Malaga to Cadiz road, near the centre of Fuengirola, and it's on the road that leads to Mijas Golf. I believe there is also a courtesy bus that commutes from some point in the town centre.
They do practice sessions 10:00 - 20:00 (21:00 at the weekend). The track is also used by owner-drivers. They have various kart classes for hire, including kiddies, which use a separate track. Choose the fastest, as even these are not particularly swift.
I have only used the track in a practice session, and the map here is somewhat approximate, though true to the feel of the circuit.
From the start/finish line, the first, right-handed hairpin is hardish to negotiate if you've arrived at the end of the straight at full speed, but possible with some tyre squeal. A more measured approach does not seem to improve your time, however. The next two bends, left and right, can be taken quickly. At the next one, right again, prepare for a long left-hander at the end of which is a very critical double right-hander. The top straight terminates in another double right, and the subsequent long, long left should be finished with a view to negotiating a clean right-hand hairpin onto the main straight again.
I found myself driving more and more smoothly. Except for the first and last hairpins, the circuit can be driven at full throttle in the rental karts. The track is wide, but the racing line is quite critical. I found it possible, even in inferior rental machinery, to hold off two owner- driver karts - one a 2-stroke 100cc, the other a 320cc pro kart - except on the two straights, where their superior acceleration left me in the dust. I timed one of the sessions with my own stop watch, and every lap I timed was 59 seconds and change.
The karts are variable in quality. In five sessions, I had four good karts and one with awful loose steering and no brakes. ("Who needs brakes? They only slow you down." Juan Fangio)
The cafe seems OK and the toilets are good. The cafe has a high viewing platform from which you can see the whole circuit.
Richly recommended, especially for the circuit layout.
F1 Raceway, Monks Cross, York
F1 Raceway, Monks Cross, York (tel 01904 673555)
Reviewed by Matthew Gagan.
F1 Raceway is a short, fairly slow track. As the map shows, it's hairpin city... in this case, good for overtaking: lots of possible lines between the two hairpins, and no optimum line. start/finish line is one of the fastest parts of the track, carrying speed out of the nearly flat out last two corners. Hard brake and a slide around the 1st hairpin, then gently round the 2nd hairpin, late apexing for acceleration. These two hairpins are close together enough to prevent full use of the track width in-between, hence no obvious racing line. Flat out round the 90 degree left hander, then up a small ramp to the right hairpin. Accurate braking and line up to then a wide line around this corner wins you the fastest lap times. Flat out round the 90 degree right hander. The back straight is very slippery - you need to turn in early, lifting off slightly, then get back onto the power as you clip the 1st apex for a 4 wheel drift to the start/finish line. Frustratingly, the lap record quoted seems to change daily - it might be 17.43 or 17.83. 18.5 is very quick, 19.5 respectable.
Electronic timing. Lap by lap printouts available. 180cc Karts generally in good order, though braking characteristics vary wildly. Electronic engine controllers used to stop/slow karts during stoppages. If you spin here and they stop the race to get you going you get a lap deducted! Helmets clean, but scratched visors (don't need them down anyway, here). No gloves. Suits are lightweight Kwik-Fit overall type, for over the top of jeans etc. Well organised.
Chersonissos Karting (Outdoor)
Hersonissos Karting, Star Beach, Limenas Chersonisou, Crete. Reviewed by Gil Williamson.
In the popular resort of Hersonissos (various spellings) and quite near equally popular Malia, this is essentially a holiday karting venue. Nevertheless, the track is excellent, the karts in good order and there's an elevated viewing platform with cafe.
Quite a lot of the track can be driven at full throttle, particularly between C and F.
F is a tricky hairpin, particularly with cold tyres. From F to C it's hard work.
There are useful kerbs at all the main bends, and room to overtake in lots of places. Really an entertaining track, particularly if you are sent out with a few newbie holiday-makers as mobile chicanes.
Badger Karting Raceway (Outdoor), Mosta, Malta
Badger Karting Raceway, Mosta, Malta Tel:21-421838
http://www.badger.com.mt/ Reviewed by Edwin Gauci.
Located centrally on the Island of Malta, this karting track is easily accessible and if you are ever on a visit there, do not miss this challenging track. They open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 17.00hrs till 23.00 on weekdays and from 12.00 till 23.00 on weekends. Owner-drivers also use the track.
They have two different fleet of Karts for hire, one being the commercial fleet equipped with a 4 stroke 270cc Honda engine mounted on a heavy-duty chassis capable of reaching speeds of up to 55kph. The Pro fleet are also equipped with the same 270cc Honda engine but have a high performance centrifugal clutch which is mounted on a lightweight pro chassis capable of reaching 70kph and are normally reserved for the more experienced drivers and are only available for race events and not for practice sessions.
The track is well maintained and has a variety of 17 different track layouts, including both directions. The layout is changed every fortnight, but for this review we shall go through just one of them.
Exiting the pits you are faced with a long straight which finishes off with a fast left bend, then comes a tricky S part with a tight left and hard right. If you overshoot the straight it is easy to end up on the grass area. Once this is manoeuvered, a short straight leads you to a right turn and up towards a left hairpin and onto a right-handed fast downhill and onto a sharp right U-turn which is also hard to negotiate if you come in too fast. Next up is a wider right-hander but surprisingly the part where most newcomers find themselves off the track. This leads to a wide long right bend, which leads to a narrow right bend and onto the start finish.
The karts are generally well maintained and compare well with each other; the staff are quite friendly and will quickly change a kart that you are unhappy with. The club house has a fully stocked bar and restaurant, big screen TV showing live events on satellite, billiards, games room and an internet cafe. On the roof terrace an excellent view of the track may be enjoyed.
Throughout the summer weekly tourist races are organized, pitting total strangers from different countries against each other. These may be booked at hotels or at the various booking offices available all over the Island.
Thruxton (Outdoor), England
Thruxton Karting Centre, nr. Andover, England 01264 882222
http://www.thruxtonracing.co.uk/ Reviewed by Craig McAllister.
Karts:The adult karts are 390cc 4-stroke honda powered Biz Thunderkarts and they have ROC dashboard displays with lap time readouts and lap counters. 390cc is quite big for a single-cylinder engine, and this results in a pretty grunty (torquey) kart engine. Power is 13bhp, and top speed at thruxton is about 60mph (which is actually achievable). The brakes on the karts are very good - not quite real race style, but miles better than anything I've tried indoors, or at daytona. Most of the karts share the same feel, though one I tried (out of 6) had very heavy steering. I put that one down as an anomaly, as overall the different karts are very consistent. The timing system produces a useful printed output with a graph of laptimes, trend line and so on - you won't be looking at the dash much while you're driving due to vibrations and having to steer, so having this afterwards is good if you're working on your technique.
Circuit:Thruxton is an outdoor circuit and to my knowledge, as of today (May 2006) it's the only outdoor track with a crossover in the UK. Although Thruxton advertise the circuit as 1100m long, the circuit is most commonly configured missing out a loop between the hairpin after you go under the crossover and the chichane leading to the back straight. It's easier to marshal this way, and they never use it at night because that's a part of the circuit without any floodlights. I've never had the chance to try it! In the shorter "club" configuration, which is just under 900m long, the circuit is still challenging. The track starts with a short run uphill out of the pits, straight onto the racing line for people already on track (for this reason, there are marshal controlled red/green pit exit lights). Anyone ignoring a red light here will be hit up the back by a kart travelling at a closing speed of what I'd estimate is about 40mph, and that would be no small accident. Be aware!
Track notes:Once on the main track, the first corner is a lefthander which is tricky to judge as it's slightly offcamber (slightly downhill) on the exit, and there is a lot of green plastic rumble strip on the exit. It's really worn down - lots of people come in here too fast and end up with 4 wheels off the track. If you get it right round here on a hot lap, it's *nearly* but not quite flat out. Letting the back of the kart drift a little at the exit requires good control and judgement of speed on the way in. You should let the kart get quite sideways for what follows. If it's done correctly, the kart will be pointing direcly at the next (gentle) left with no extra corrections on the steering. There are a couple of different lines through the right-left hairpin that follows. I consider this the most tricky corner on the circuit. The entry can either be on a flat surface or if the marshals aren't looking, across the kerb. The kerbs unsettle the karts a lot, but do gain you quite a lot of time here (perhaps a couple or three tenths). The braking is as heavy as possible, and if at all possible you should ensure the kart is more-a-less straight for it (trail-braking doesn't gain much here). On the entry try to make the track as short (tight) as possible - lots of people waste time running the kart round on the outside and it loses them time. The exit of the hairpin seems to take ages to appear - it's important to get the power down as early as possible, but not to run wide. With that over, we head towards another chicane before going under the crossover. This chichane is a left-right. For this one it's best to compromise the initial left in order that the horrible, heavily off-camber right that follows is easier for the kart to go through flat out. It's important not to run too far out to the outside on the exit of the righthander as the tarmac surface is higher than the few inches of grass, and if you drop a left wheel down off the track here you're taking a trip straight to the scene of the accident. Under the bridge, I tend to run out over to the left of the track, then cut back across to the right on the heavily positive camber available. As I come out the other side, this gives a wide entry to the left-hander hairpin at the bottom of a small hill. The karts will want to oversteer here, and it will slow them down in the most important accelleration zone on the circuit. It's flat out from here for a long time, and if you get it wrong people will blas past you on the long straight that follows. There's a really easy srtaight-line through the chichane before the sweeping back straight, it's absolutely flat in the dry. The straight is actually a gentle left-handed curve. Running down the inside seems intuitively to be the shorter path but there's really not that much in it, having tried running two karts down the straight side by side with a friend a few times (we used different karts and there really isn't that much of a difference). As you approach the left-right-left high speed complex at the end if it, you should run your kart out to the outside of the track, to straightline the entry to the first part of the complex as much as possible. Try to ignore what would happen if you spin off - it's quick here! It's actually quite feasible to go through here flat out in the dry, but you may find a small lift on the entry helps get the kart better prepared for the right-left. On the exit of the lefthander, hug the inside f the track like it's your favourite granny (again, flat out). Ignore the yellow-lined pit entry, but be careful not to drift wide and into someone!. Go through the chichane flat out too. Just straightline it - there's no problems with that in the dry. The lefthander leading onto the pit straight can also be taken flat, though depending on the kart's handling characteristics it might be quicker to lift on the entry if the kart is understeering or oversteering badly. Flat out straight up to the first corner again, and start another lap!