Things We Did Then#1

Around 1962 my friend Barry (Barrington Messer) and I bought a twin engined Kart and thought we could get into Kart racing. Not with those engines we couldn’t. It came with twin Clinton chainsaw engines, one red one and one yellow one, from The Trojan Company at Croydon. We arrived one sunny day in my Ford Anglia van to collect our new kart. It was in pieces and so we assembled it on the back lawn of my parents house in Old Windsor.

The second picture down shows me making final adjustments with younger brother David pulling a silly face. In those days we seemed to dress quite smartly, notice me wearing a tie. These days I only wear a tie reluctantly when I have to. kart2a.jpgAll these pictures are captured still frames from a standard 8 cine film. I was well into film making then but then I and my friends were into all sorts of harmless activities in those days as indeed I am now and always have been. Perhaps the problem with young people today is that they only seem to be into things they shouldn’t be.

First we found a small  oval circuit in Burnham Beeches near Slough so we could try it out. I have cine film of us playing around on that track. Why the track was there and how we found it can’t remember but those twin engines seemed to make us fly.

The engines were a direct chain drive to the ‘live’ axle with no clutch so the method of starting was to ‘bump’ start. This was done by two people lifting the rear wheels off the ground with the driver sat in place and then running and dropping the rear of the Kart on the ground. kart5.jpgAnd off it went. Well, most of the time anyway. If there was only one person to lift and ‘bump’ it was a case of the driver also lifting and jumping in once started. That was a very dodgy situation but eventually we came quite adept at jumping into a cramped driving position and gaining control.

We eventually joined the Maidenhead Kart Racing Club and were humiliated on our first outing on a proper circuit against proper Karts and drivers. -To Be Continued

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