Paul Fletcher and the Paul Fletcher international circuit have been receiving the silverware lately, rather than handing it out as usual.
Fletcher, retired Sheffield bakery magnate and founder of the state-of-the-art PFi karting circuit, received the Sir Malcolm Campbell Memorial Trophy (awarded for excellence within motor sport) in recognition of his services to karting from the MSA – UK motorsport’s governing body - at their Night of Champions awards.
It follows the kart club’s directors coming away with honours from the glittering CIK-FIA awards ceremony in Paris, for ‘the best organised CIK-FIA event of 2015’, much to the surprise of the Trent Valley Kart Club (TVKC) directors - the second time they have won the award in three years!
A renowned kart racer in his own right, Fletcher’s racing career lasted 25 years, until 1985, when he hung up his helmet, then sponsored various talented local kart racers in major championships.
Dreaming of creating a quality full-time kart circuit with modern facilities - Britain’s finest karting venue - unfortunately, each time he found a suitable 10 acres in God’s own county he ‘had no satisfaction from any local planning authority’.
Eventually finding some ideal land, a cornfield near Stragglethorpe, Lincolnshire, in 1995 the Paul Fletcher international circuit – organised by TVKC – was born.
Originally staging National karting championships, once Fletcher sold the family bakery business in 2000, his investments in the circuit started to attract international events.
Now truly an international circuit, over 20 years it has steadily developed, improved in stature and grown over the years to be recognised as the UK’s premier Karting facility.
2010 was the circuit’s breakthrough when it hosted the first CIK-FIA event in Britain for 45 years.
A £1.3 million extension to the circuit in 2011 made it the longest in the UK, allowing PFi to became the only UK International ‘A’ grade licensed kart circuit - one of only 9 grade ‘A’ kart circuits worldwide: the UK not even having any grade ‘B’ circuits.
The TVKC’s meeting on the first Sunday of each month regularly attract over 200 kart racers from 8 years-old onwards.
Fletcher with humility states, “I have done all I can to develop the facilities, but the awards are not so much for me but more for the hard work of the TVKC directors, along with Paul Barnicoat who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the circuit, and organises the corporate karting operation that funds the circuit’s continued existence”.