A new karting facility could be up and running by early December in Douglas.
Duke Marketing, which has operated a kart track at Jurby for 10 years, has unveiled plans to open a temporary track behind the TT Grandstand.
The company says it will be a ‘pay-to-drive’ track suitable for ages eight and over, with all equipment provided on site.
The scheme has the approval of landowner Douglas Corporation and a change of use planning application has been submitted.
The intention is to operate the track seven days a week throughout the winter months, vacating the site in time for the 2013 TT.
If approved, Duke will turn the tarmac paddock behind the Grandstand into a karting facility. The facility would require security fencing to be erected, similar to that used during the TT and Manx Grand Prix, and a course made using water-filled plastic barriers.
Low level mobile lighting poles, which shine light directly onto the track while leaving areas outside the course in darkness, would also be brought in to allow karting during the winter evenings. The existing shower block would be used for changing, and a mobile reception unit would be brought in.
Duke managing director Peter Duke said: ‘We have been running karting sessions in Jurby for the past decade and are often asked why we cannot operate closer to Douglas. We have been looking for a suitable site, including indoor venues, and believe we have found the perfect position behind the Grandstand.
‘It is close to central Douglas, has a good quality new surface, drains well and is away from houses, minimising any inconvenience. Visually it will have almost no impact as we believe it cannot be seen by neighbouring houses, possibly apart from a single dormer window some quarter of a mile away.’
He added: ‘We have been very conscious about potential inconvenience to residents, so we have carried out noise testing both at Jurby and at the Douglas site and we are confident the karts will not be audible from neighbouring houses. The karts we use are designed so they can also be driven indoors, so they have silencers to minimise the noise. In addition, the Grandstand buildings, nearby trees and earth banks, and the water-filled barriers will all help absorb any noise.
‘Our tests show any noise will be below the levels of background traffic and are comparable to the average lawn mower.’
Mr Duke said the kart track would provide a new amenity for Douglas and would lead to new jobs during the winter months. ‘This area is used for most of the year for events like the TT, MGP and rallies, but throughout winter it is barely utilised,’ Mr Duke said. ‘It is perfect for this proposal.
‘Our experience at Jurby shows us there is demand for this facility, and I know some people actually go off-island, especially groups, to enjoy karting. We have already had interest from some corporate and private party organisers inquiring about group bookings for the festive season.
‘We provide all safety equipment, full briefings and marshals at the site, and can cater for everyone aged eight and over. People will be able to just “arrive and drive”, or make group bookings for parties, whether it is a staff Christmas party of a kid’s birthday celebration.’
Asked whether this meant the end of karting in Jurby, a spokesman said: ‘No, we remain committed to Jurby. It’ll be Douglas in winter, back up to Jurby ahead of the TT for the summer season.
‘We’re also planning a schedule of probably 10 car and bike track days on the airfield circuit in 2013 alongside the karting operating during the summer,
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Weather for Isle of Man
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: South