Car Free Day
East London wins on speed and style
01 Aug 2019 I London Play
East London teams swept the board at the All London Go Kart Build and Race today.
Teams from the east of the capital picked up not only the winning trophy but also awards for teamwork, best-dressed and best-engineered karts.
Nine teams of children from adventure playgrounds and holiday playschemes across London converged at Mudchute Farm today to race – first against the clock to build go karts from scratch – and then against one another, while Leonora Surtees, daughter of the late motorsport legend, John Surtees CBE, looked on.
Many began the day not knowing a spanner from a screwdriver but following four hours’ frantic hammering and sawing, all nine teams had produced operational, even beautiful machines, ready to race. Three heats, a couple of pileups, one minor controversy and a semi-final later it was Tower Hamlets’ Roman Road and Islington’s Cornwallis teams who found themselves, neck and neck, battling it out for the winning trophy. Ultimately it was the east London team which edged their northern rivals out to claim victory.
They had clearly put plenty of thought into the design. Driver Oshae, 9 said he was happy to win and said: “The kart is small and light, like me – there is less weight to push.” Chief engineer Al-baraa, 14 added: “Everything we built had a purpose. For us, less is more.”
Best teamwork award went to Newham’s Terence Brown Arc whose kart design was inspired by the 50th anniversary of the moon landings. The Tier-X Moon Buggy didn’t break any records but their collaborative working style caught the attention of Leonora Surtees who said: “It was amazing to watch.” Team member Romello, 11 said that the group had worked together to overcome plenty of challenges, not least: “trying to put everything together using tools that we have never used before.”
Borough-mates Abbey Hub’s kart may have failed to make it far beyond the start line but their aquarium-themed vehicle, complete with inflatable shark figurehead bagged the ‘best-dressed’ kart prize. A fourth east London team, Clapton Park project, got the award for best-engineered kart earning lead designer Fern, 15 plaudits, even from her team-mate brother.
Leonora Surtees said: “The main point of this event is to have fun and it was great to see you all doing just that today!” She presented a jubilant Roman Road group with the winning ‘H’ trophy in a shower of sparkling grape juice and the first prize: a day out at Kent’s Buckmore Park Kart Circuit where Formula One stars Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button started out.
London Play’s deputy director Fiona Sutherland said: “This is what childhood should be about – having the freedom to create, experiment – test, succeed or fail – and have fun with your friends in the process. These children will remember this day forever and who knows what the experience could have sparked for them and their future."
Download the full press release below.