MSA launches Lets Go Karting

John Surtees OBE (seated left), Gary Paffett (seated right), Colin Hilton (centre), David Brabham (back left) and Rod Taylor (back right) join children at Buckmore Park to celebrate the launch of Let's Go Karting 

Stars from the world of Formula One and motor sport were at Buckmore Park on Monday (23 June) to give the green light to the Motor Sports Association`s (MSA) Let`s Go Karting campaign, which will enable children to experience the thrill of Karting for just £5.

The action packed launch saw a host of famous names, including John Surtees OBE, who remains the only man to win both four and two wheeled World Championships, Ross Brawn - Team Principal of the Honda Racing F1 Team and former Technical Director for Michael Schumacher, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver Gary Paffett, and recent Le Mans GT1 winner David Brabham adding their support to Let`s Go Karting.

The Let`s Go Karting scheme, which will be spread across 16 clubs and tracks throughout Britain, will allow children between the ages of 8 and 16 to get behind the wheel of a Kart for a specially subsidised rate. Organised by the sport`s governing body the MSA, the scheme will ensure all the children are provided with full safety training by qualified instructors along with special safety kit and equipment, before having the chance to take to the track and test their skills. The initiative is part of the MSA`s Go Motorsport programme, which was launched last week by Lewis Hamilton, and is the first centrally co-ordinated marketing campaign for UK motorsport.

Ross Brawn, Team Principal of the Honda Racing F1 Team, who was on hand to see local children try Karting for the first time said, "This is a fantastic scheme which will help introduce a whole new audience to the sport and allow children to get a taste for Karting without their parents having to make a big financial commitment.

"Karting is the traditional entry point into motor sport and can act as the launch pad for children learning a whole range of skills other than just driving. The motorsport industry is made up of a huge diversity of jobs such as mechanics, technicians, and designers and it`s essential that we ensure that as many children as possible are given a taste of this wonderful sport."

John Surtees OBE, whose own son Henry learnt his racing skills through Karting said, "Lewis Hamilton`s success has caused a huge surge of interest in the sport and this brilliant initiative will no doubt open up the thrill and joy of Karting to thousands more youngsters. With the summer holidays coming up it`s the ideal chance for parents to take their children along to their local participating track and give the sport a go."

Children get to grips with Karting at Monday's Let's Go Karting launch  Gary Paffett, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver said, "It was through Karting that I got into Formula One and it`s the best way for any kids to get involved in motorsport. The thrill and excitement of Karting is definitely comparable to F1 as the speeds and downforce a Kart generates relative to its size make it really exciting. Karting gave me great opportunities as a kid and I still love doing it when I get a chance. I would definitely recommend children give the Lets` Go Karting scheme a go over the summer."

The action packed day saw experienced Karting children providing a series of demonstrations which were followed with local school children taking to Buckmore`s famous track for the first time to highlight how Let`s Go Karting will introduce thousands of news faces to the sport.

Jessica Hawkins who races in Honda Cadets and is 13 years-old, said, "Karting is brilliant fun. You get a huge thrill from the speed but it`s not just the racing which is so good. It`s the friends you get to make while doing Karting. Watching Lewis Hamilton has made me want to be involved in motor racing even more when I grow up and Karting is easily the best way for me to achieve this. I think all kids should give it a go."