John Surtees launches Buckmore Park Karting with dedication to Jensen Button’s late father
John Surtees OBE officially launched the new Buckmore Park Karting Limited on last week with the help of Great British Bake Off star Paul Hollywood. The launch saw the unveiling of an all-new fleet of 50 2016 model Sodi RT8 390cc karts in the striking blue and yellow Team Surtees livery of the successful European Championship Winning Formula Two TS10 Car.
During the launch Hollywood demonstrated one of the new karts while Formula Ford Championship winning driver Scott Malvern took to the circuit in the Surtees TS10 Formula Two car; the car which John won the Imola Gold Cup and the Japanese Grand Prix with in 1972.
Guests were also given the opportunity to be the first to try out the new karts, or given the option to a thrilling passenger ride in a twin-seater kart driven by Scott Malvern.
Remembering John Button
John Surtees OBE also unveiled the ‘John Button’ suite in memory of Jenson Button’s late father. The walls have been painted pink, and features two photos of Jenson and John Button, which were specifically chosen by Jenson. A specially framed pink shirt also graces its wall in honour of John Button.
For many Formula 1 fans, the pink shirt is synonymous with John Button, who was also affectionately known as ‘Papa Smurf’. When John passed away, Jenson Button and his sisters Natasha, Samantha and Tanya launched the #PinkForPapa campaign encouraging fans to wear Papa Smurf pink T shirts in his memory. To support the initiative, Team McLaren worked with Jenson to create a special pink T-shirt for fans, in which proceeds were donated to the Henry Surtees Foundation.
John Surtees said: “I first created an association with John Button when he supplied Henry’s first Comer kart engines from his Rocket company. Both Jenson and my late son Henry enjoyed success in their karting careers here at Buckmore Park.
“The #PinkForPapa campaign was a lovely initiative to honour John, I’m sure he would’ve been amused by the publics enthusiastic reaction at the 2014 British Grand Prix. We are very grateful that the family chose HSF to be beneficiary of the funds raised from the T Shirt sales. The John Button Suite here at Buckmore, will serve as a lasting tribute to John Button too”.
John Surtees, the Edenbridge-based businessman, who won the Formula One World Championship in 1964 after winning seven World Motorcycle Championships, recently took control of BuckmorePark.
The venue is one of the most picturesque circuits in the UK, and is rich in karting heritage; its 52 years of karting excellence has seen the likes of champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button hone their racing skills. John would like Buckmore to continue to become a major feeder for youngsters to further their career in motorsport. His aim is to continue to improve the facilities of Buckmore Park, and to integrate some of the objectives of the Henry Surtees Foundation. The Henry Surtees Foundation aims to raise funds to support accident care, with particular emphasis on head injuries, and help educate and train young people with motorsport-related programmes in technology, engineering and road safety instruction for two and four wheels.
Buckmore Park is recognised as one of the UK's premier outdoor karting circuits presenting an exciting challenge to would be champions and the world of corporate karting. It’s undulating nature is a superb training ground for future British World Champions. It’s also the place where John’s late son Henry was first introduced to karting.
(Pic credit - Gary Hawkins)