Henry Surtees Foundation backs London Play Go-Kart Challenge

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Most people would be ‘pushed’ to make a Go-Kart in four hours, yet this was the challenge set by London Play and the Henry Surtees Foundation to a large number of inner city children on 5th August at Mudchute Farm. This annual Go-Kart build and race supported by the generous amount of £4359.00 from the Henry Surtees Foundation, was hailed another huge success.

Upon arrival at the farm, Teams were faced with piles of wood, wheels, tools and fixings, under the expectant gazes of the farm’s resident geese, ponies and alpacas. When the whistle blew to mark the end of four hours’ furious construction, all 16 karts were deemed fit to race. Motorsport legend John Surtees CBE talked to the contestants and waved the starting flag for the final.


Ignoring the heat and dust the teams fought it out to the end. Teams taking part included the Hackney Marsh Adventure Playground team, Croydon’s CACFO Summer School and Camden’s Three Acres Play Centre.  The final was extremely close and the victorious team in the final was The Hackney Marsh Adventure Playground team.A spokesperson from London Play commented that “We are incredibly grateful to be funded for a second year by the Henry Surtees Foundation. The funding enables us to run the 2016 London Go-Kart Build & Race that will see 200 children living in some of the capital’s poorest communities come together to build go-karts from scratch and then race them. Henry Surtees was a world champion in waiting and his spirit of adventure and dedication to his sport are values that imbue the event and all of London Play’s work.

Henry’s father John Surtees CBE honoured our event last year and took the time to give expert tips to the young people who couldn’t quite believe their handmade go-karts were getting the once-over from a motor racing legend. The memories he gave, the prestige his involvement passed on to the event and the generosity of the Henry Surtees foundation are deeply valued by London Play and to London’s 1.8 million children who deserve the freedom, enjoyment and learning opportunities that adventurous play brings.”  He again offered the special prize to the winning team of going to the famous Buckmore Park Karting Circuit where Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button honed their skills to compete amongst themselves on the simulator and with powered karts on the track.

With opportunities for inner city children, particularly in London become more limited, this event is proving to provide young people to have fun, be creative and experiment build and confidence.

London Play chair Melian Mansfield concluded that, “We are grateful to the Henry Surtees Foundation and all our corporate sponsors and volunteers for supporting this event and offering hundreds of children a challenging experience which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

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