Dropped by at the ZipKart factory in Hoddesdon last week where the boss, multiple kart championship winner Martin Hines reminded me just how his sport has developed from a self-contained pastime in its own right into the most crucial lower rung on the motorsporting ladder.
"When I started competing as a boy in 1962 it was all pretty unsophisticated compared with how things have developed today,” he reckons, “the karts we were racing were, I suppose, little more than bedsteads fitted with lawnmower engines. And we had no great plans to make it into Formula One.”
Yet Hines's close friendship with McLaren boss Ron Dennis also brought him a handful of rare test outings in a McLaren-Mercedes F1 car back in the mid-1990s. He was invited to try one of the '96 MP4-11s at the Idi-Ada test facility in Spain. Unfortunately this outing went rather less well than expected with Martin rolling it into a hidden ditch.