The UK is a great place to be for kart racing. Despite our modest size compared to other countries, we are spoilt for choice for fun circuits to drive – and the best news is, there will be one near you!
Globally the UK is known for its tight, technical and twisty circuits which take skill to master. In my 10 years of karting, I’ve been lucky enough to race on almost all the circuits in the UK These are some of my favourites, and here's why you should try them.
Find it: Cerrig Y Drudion, Corwen, Conwy, LL21 0RU
In the picturesque hills of North Wales lies possibly one of the best tracks in the UK, if not the world. GYG is characterised by its mixture of fast, flowing corners, a tricky final sector and massive elevation change over the lap.
The standout features of GYG are the long uphill Dragon Straight followed by the ultra-fast turn two, this compression complex consisting of three ever-tightening right-hand corners. Finally, there’s the Devil’s Elbow in the last sector where the track drops away dramatically. This 1,100m circuit is a must for any enthusiast.
Find it: Stragglethorpe Lane, Brandon, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG32 2AY
Paul Fletcher International is the pinnacle of the British karting scene; a baby F1 circuit is how I would describe it. Everything about this circuit screams professionalism, from its perfect-radius corners, to the immaculate pit building which hovers over the dummy grid, to the vast expanse of tarmac which makes up the paddock. The track also doubles back on itself in sector one with a bridge – very Suzuka!
It’s no wonder this circuit is the traditional home of the final round of the British Championship, as well as the coveted Kartmasters event. PFi will also be hosting the World Championships in 2017 on September 22-24.
3. Buckmore Park
Find it: Maidstone Rd, Chatham ME5 9QG
Buckmore Park is one of the most technical circuits around, and an action-packed lap without any time to catch your breath.
Since the late John Surtees CBE took ownership of the circuit just a few years ago, it's received a major facelift. The circuit now looks sharper than ever before, while retaining the same awesome layout.
In my opinion, Buckmore has one of the best sequences of corners in karting. Flat-out through the Esses, you then plunge quickly down the hill through Symes Sweep and into the difficult left-hander of Pullmans followed immediately by the critical Paddock corner. This right-left-right section is difficult to get right, and very rewarding for a driver thanks to the elevation change and high speed. Overtaking is easy at Buckmore, and makes for great racing.
Find it: Shenington Airfield, Shenington, Banbury OX15 6NW
A track with great history, Shenington has been in use since 1960. The circuit is a regular on the British Championship calendar and hosts the Superprix event every summer.
Its mix of fast straights and slow corners is what makes Shenington one of the best circuits for racing. It may be one of, if not the only circuits in the UK where overtaking is possible at every corner. The main places for overtaking, however, are the Stratford hairpin and Wilkins.
5. Whilton Mill
Find it: Roman Road, Whilton, Daventry NN11 2NH
Few circuits are as physically demanding as Whilton Mill, located near Daventry. Its fast corners, big kerbs and bumpy surface all make mastering a lap feel like you’ve tamed a bucking bronco.
Whilton is a circuit that requires full commitment and total faith in the kart. Turn One – the appropriately-named ‘Oblivion’ – is a flat-out downhill left-hander over a kerb followed swiftly by a fast right to set you up for long straight before Turn Three. Turn Four, or Inkermans, is a very fast, bumpy corner that has bruised its fair share of ribs over the years; remember those rib protectors when you race at Whilton Mill!
6. Clay Pigeon
Find it: Wardon Hill, Dorchester DT2 9PW
Clay Pigeon, in deepest Dorset, is a staple of the UK karting scene. While shorter than some other circuits, it lends itself to extremely close racing. The track has also remained largely unchanged for over two decades, so you’ll be racing on the same layout as the likes of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
A mixture of cambered corners, along with its flowing nature, means that this circuit is rewarding for a driver. Overtaking is usually done into the hairpin, while uniquely, Clay Pigeon’s start and finish line are in different places on the circuit.
Find it: Kirkland, Frizington CA26 3XU
In an old Cumbrian quarry, you’ll find one of the best kart circuits in the UK. Rowrah is widely loved, and its technical hairpins and frequently inclement weather mean it always throws something different at you.
Kerb-hopping and late braking are the keys to success here, and you’d better have half an eye on your opponents as overtaking can be achieved at almost every corner. Despite its distance from most other circuits in the UK, it’s well worth the journey.