Leave the M20 at junction 6 and head up the A229 towards the M2. The circuit is signposted towards the top of the hill and you leave the A229 to go up the slip road before turning left into the Buckmore Park complex. Follow the signs to the circuit once inside the complex. If approaching from the M2, leave this motorway at junction 3 and go straight on at the roundabout to cross over the A229. On the next roundabout, turn left into the circuit following the signs for the Buckmore Park complex/Kart track.
The circuit is both demanding and exciting and the changes of gradient make a refreshing change from the other circuits visited during the year.
Will Alderson has thorough knowledge of the Buckmore Park circuit having raced here many times in C-100 and at MSA club meetings.
“Heading along Sisley straight (this is the start/finish straight), move to the left of the circuit ready for Conways, a double apex right hand bend. A slight dab on the brakes is required before turning in just before the marshals post on the left. Aim to take the first apex at the surface change, running close to the kerb, then getting back on the power and letting the kart run to the middle of the track being sure to stay within the patched tarmac that covers the inside of this bend. As you approach the second apex, bring the kart back close to the inside kerb before using the full width of the track on the exit.
The exit from Conways sets you up perfectly for Hairpin One. Start to brake very hard between the end of the kerb on the left, and the surface change, then aim to turn in just before the next surface change. An early apex can be taken here as the bend opens out on the exit. Reapply the power at the apex and use the full width of the track, being careful not to run too wide over the geo blocking as this will cost you time.
From the exit of Hairpin One, drive a diagonal line from the left to the right of the short straight, then brake before turning into Hairpin Two, just before the surface change. This corner is one of the most important corners on the track, as it leads into the fastest part of the circuit. Any extra speed that can be found here will be carried all the way to the bottom of the hill and will shave vital tenths off the laptime. The corner has a very square apex, and you should aim to miss the first part, and run close to or just over the second ‘corner’ of the square. Get on the power as early as possible to maximise the exit speed, but be careful not to run wide on the exit as this can cost time.
Stay on the right of the short straight as you approach The Esses. This S bend requires very smooth driving to carry as much speed as possible through the corner. Turn into a fairly early apex on the first kerb, this kerb is flat and can be used without damage to the kart. Next, drive a straight line to the next kerb, which is again flat and can be used in moderation. The exit of the corner will take you to the extreme left of the track, ready for Symes Sweep.
Symes Sweep is a very fast, down hill right hand corner. In good conditions it can be taken flat, although a small lift may be required to keep the kart on the correct line for Pullmans(the next corner). Turn in just as you crest the hill, and aim to run close to, or just on the inside kerb. Be careful not to use too much of this vicious kerb as it will damage the kart and throw you off line for Pullmans, and consequently Paddock. Aim to exit this bend 1 to 2 kart widths away from the left of the track as this will set you up perfectly for Pullmans. Run wide and you will mess up the next two corners.
Pullmans follows on closely from Symes Sweep, and requires a small dab on the brakes. This is a very tricky part of the track as you have to brake whilst turning the kart. Be careful not to brake too hard, as you will be liable to lock the brakes, and spin into the tyres – not a good idea at this speed! Aim to apex towards the end of the kerb, running the left-hand wheels just on the kerb, using as much power as possible without running wide. It is very important to keep the kart on a tight line, as you must be on the left hand side of the track to get a good line through Paddock.
The entry to Paddock bend requires heavy braking – you will often see drivers locking up here. Turn in and run close to or on the flat inside kerb, but beware of the small drain in the middle of the corner. Get back on the power as early as possible, often before the apex to ensure that you carry good speed up Damon Hill.
Garda is another very important corner, as the exit starts a long run to the top of the circuit. It is also a corner where the ideal line will leave you open to being overtaken. The ideal line is to turn in very late, getting back on the power just before a late apex, 3 to 4 blocks from the end of the kerb. Keep the kart tight to the right hand side of the track, ideally running the right wheels over the geo blocking on the right of the track giving you the best line for the Senna Chicane. If you are being followed closely and especially if you have made a mistake through the preceding corners, it is better to take a tighter line in, although you must ensure that you do not run wide past the apex as this will allow following driver to pass you on the exit of this corner.
The Senna Chicane is, in reality, a very simple flat out left hand corner. Turn in to run your left hand wheels over the flat inside kerb, then let the kart run to the extreme right of the track. Stay on the right as you ascend Herbet Rise ready for Café Curve, one of the best corners on the track.
Café is a blind, left hand corner that can usually be taken flat. Turn in just at the start of the small kerb on the right, being as smooth with the steering as possible. Aim to apex 2/3 of the way along the inside kerb, then let the kart run to the extreme right of the track. Finally drive through the final right hander onto Sisley Straight and over the start/finish line to start another lap.”
Thanks to Will for a very detailed and accurate account of a lap around the superb Buckmore Park circuit.