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JAP Power!


Back Up

Brief history of a Buckler Go Kart/dragster
Many thanks to Pete Huggins

Rain doesn't stop play for Pete's Buckler!

Pete Huggins making it look easy in his brand new Buckler Ultralite MKII Class IV fitted with Villiers 8e.
Later it was to go even faster !!
(Kart SK09)

Originally a Buckler class 4 chassis bought about 1964 from Crowthorne. Fitted with Villiers 8E

Raced in kart meetings mainly at Rye House, Hoddesden, Hertfordshire, Shennington, Eelmoor Plain, Camberley, Tring, Chris Bett Mendip Kart Raceway in Somerset (up on top of the Cheddar Gorge)

We (Dave Freeborn and I) went to the 1st International Drag Festival at Blackbushe in 1964 and were truly amazed by the sight and sound of these dragsters and determined that we’d "have a go" even though in only a small way.

The easiest and cheapest solution for us at that time was to convert a go kart i.e. the Buckler.
Around 1964-65 it was fitted with front suspension to qualify as a "car" for drag racing.
A new seat made from fibreglass and moulded to my shape
Fitted with a borrowed 500 cc speedway JAP engine

Anyone who knows the power of these JAP engines will realise this was quite some machine.

We never raced this one because the JAP engine had to be returned so the owner could ride speedway again
So, a Triumph Tiger 110 650 cc vertical twin was fitted

Very little extra strengthening or bracing was required in this chassis.
We each raced alternate meetings, so although I owned the Buckler, Dave’s name also appeared in race meeting programmes
This engine was later converted to run on methanol with 18:1 pistons and E3134? camshafts and twin Amal carburettors

10.98 seconds (I believe) standing start ¼ mile at Santa Pod was the best time it did (not too bad for those early days) (it might have been faster than that, I can’t remember for sure, but just bear in mind that "the older you are the better you were!")

Won its class in the 2nd International Drag Festival 1965 at Santa Pod

The traction and grip from this chassis were amazing and it was a joy to drive

It beat many dragsters that had much bigger engines fitted as I often had to race it above its class at many meetings

We were kindly allowed to use the Wimbledon Speedway Stadium car park for testing this kart and its Triumph engine for short sessions of about 1 hour each. This enabled us to set it up pretty well and ready it for racing but we had to fit silencers as the noise was too much for the neighbours there

Raced in kart meetings and drag race meetings alternately by swapping the engines from Triumph back to the Villiers as required

There’s a mention and photos of this kart in its dragster form in the "Karting" magazine for November 1965

Later the kart was fitted with a Villiers 9E and the chassis was modified to take this engine on the right hand side instead of centrally behind the seat and was no longer raced in its dragster form. This conversion was completed by Dave Freeborn in about 1967

P J Huggins.



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