The History of Clay Pigeon Raceway and Kart Club
The Clay Pigeon Kart Circuit was founded in the late 1950’s early 1960’s on a disused Second World War Military Hospital site. The original track was built by joining the hut (ward) concrete bases together with tarmac to make a 500 metre track. The Blandford Karting Club was formed and a Royal Automobile Club Permit was obtained and the first ‘official’ race took place on Sunday, 5th May 1963.
Of the 93 drivers who competed on that day 42 years ago some are still known to us today. Richard Bruce White (Charlie’s Dad), Jonathan Buncombe who became a well known saloon racer, the late Dave Hockey, John Button, Keith Jeans (Oliver’s Grandfather), Billy Graham (well known Clay bend named after him ‘Billy’s Blind’).
An advert in the programme of the day offered a ‘new’ Brise Continental Kart for £85 (less engine) and a JLO (UK) engine for £77 or Bultaco 99cc engine for £119.15. Barwell remoulds in stock at reduced prices. Hire purchase can be arranged.
Shortly after this first meeting the Bath Karting Club assumed the responsibility of organising R.A.C.M.S.A. race meetings.
In the early 1970’s the Clay Pigeon Kart Club was formed and has continued to organise and promote M.S.A. race meetings at Clay, leasing the track for 14 days a year from a long list of owners of the circuit. Neil Hann was Chairman in the early years and he and his team of volunteers extended the circuit to the 815 metres that it is today.
In the mid 80’s Ian Rennison joined the committee of Clay Pigeon Kart Club and with Neil Hann, Trevor Brown, John Donovan, Colin Clark (and later Ron Davies) were responsible for saving the circuit in 1989 when the owners of Lane Racing Ltd., went into liquidation. They formed Chelborough Ltd, who purchased the freehold of the circuit to maintain M.S.A. racing in this area.
The circuit was in a poor state and once the trade tenants of the circuit were removed in 1994 improvements to the circuit were started — new fencing, track widened and totally resurfaced, tarmac pit areas, etc, etc. The Club erected a new club house followed by a new lap scorers hut and commentary hut.
The circuit has now become a seven day a week business organising Arrive and Drive Sessions, Corporate Race Events and hosting most major championships that tour Britain.
Recently Chelborough Ltd. (the circuit owners) has come under the control of Southern Counties Leisure who now own all the leisure facilities surrounding this circuit.
The future is bright, all we need is to maintain a strong Club Committee to organise our race meetings and to encourage new blood into Karting.
If you want to assist in any way please contact any of the Club Officials.