• Larkhall - West of Scotland Kart Club

    Kart Review Score: 8.4

    Heyhoe

    Introduction

    This is the first in a series of UK circuit reviews here at Kart Review UK.

    The idea behind these reviews is to provide racers who have not visited a circuit before the best and most accurate knowledge of the circuits. We know how much work goes into a weekends racing and the more you know about the circuit the easier your life will be. This will give you more time to concentrate on the important aspects, such as getting that lap time down to somewhere near the quick locals, or faster!

    Location & Local Amenities

    First things first, how do we get there?

    This circuit is one of the most accessible circuits we have ever been to. The M74 is the main carriageway taking you from the M6 right through to Glasgow.



    Traveling southbound, very simple.

    Once you are on the M74, you simply turn off at J7, turn right at the T junction and travel around 400 meters on this road. Keep your eye out for the kart circuit sign on the right hand side of the road. This directs you to turn left, follow a small track up a hill and you are there. Using the postcode provided on the website directed us straight to the circuit (ML9 2UL)

    It's slightly more confusing when traveling from the south however.

    J7 is only accessible from the southbound side of the carriageway, if you are traveling north, continue to J6, turn off and head back down on the southbound carriageway and then turn off at J7.

    To achieve this, take this route...



    This day and age you will usually have satellite navigation or at the very least access to Google Maps, both do a great job and don't send you down the smallest road known to man. If you are travelling from the south, these methods will take you a slightly longer route away from the M74, so don't panic if it takes a while to get to the circuit when using these.

    Once you have been to the circuit, you will appreciate just how close to the main road the circuit is.

    Being so close to the main road has more benefits than easy access to the circuit. We like to have some decent food on the Saturday night and decided Pizza Hut would provide just the ticket. We entered Pizza Hut into our good friend Google Maps and was very happy to learn that the journey would take us just 4 minutes!

    It took us to Hamilton, which is the next junction along the M74. The choice of eateries on this particular retail outlet was brilliant.



    Palace Grounds Retail Park, contains McDonalds, KFC & Pizza Hut. Link: http://commercial.btwshiells.com/shopping-centres/specific/1623/other-uk

    Across the road we found Frankie & Benny's, a VUE Cinema and a 24 hour ASDA. There was many other food places available but we simply didn’t have time to note them all down. Needless to say, you should be able to keep even the fussiest of team members happy!

    Facilities

    As circuit facilities go, Larkhall does a solid job of providing all you need. These include;

    • 24hr toilets & Showers
    • Permanent Cafeteria with toilets
    • Visitors car park


    The toilets are open 24hrs a day and are maintained throughout a race weekend. The showers are inside the toilet block so your shower may not be quite as refreshing if you happen to have “that” guy answering the call of nature in the cubicle next to you.

    We took a few pictures of the toilet block facilities half way through a weekend to give you an idea of what you can expect.



    The showers worked OK, but seemed to be held together by tie wraps, but as we all know, tie wraps enable the world to go round.

    The Cafeteria was open all day throughout the weekend (We think it shut around 5pm, sorry we can't give an exact time) It has plenty of tables and chairs available so you should not have a problem finding somewhere to enjoy the range of chips, pies, burgers and compliments such as curry sauce etc. Prices are very reasonable.

    I went for a Scotch Pie to satisfy my hunger. Initially, I commented on the texture of the pie which seemed to have quite a bit of tough gristle in it. I did however plough through, crunching away at the gristle.

    Later, it became apparent that the gristle was in fact, half of the plastic fork pictured below. I was slightly uneasy with the thought of when I may come across this plastic again, but can report that in this particular instance, there was no complications..



    The toilets inside the cafeteria were exceptionally clean and well maintained. During the day these should take preference over the 24hr toilet block.



    Parking for visitors is also provided, it's not the biggest, but is ample space for a busy club meeting.



    We were very impressed with the overall standard of the facilities at Larkhall, there is definitely a thing or two that other circuits could take on board from Larkhall. It is clear from the outside that the club is trying its hardest through investment and time to make the race meeting be as comfortable as possible for competitors and spectators.

    Paddock Area


    image courtesy of WSKC

    1: Track Entrance, Merryton Road
    2: Clubhouse
    3: Caravan & Car Parking Area
    4: Scrutineering Bay
    5: Parc Ferme
    6: Track Exit
    7: Spectator Area
    8: Dummy Grid
    9: Race Control
    10: Track
    11: Gearbox Section
    12: Paddock Area – Tarmac & Hard Standing
    13: Paddock Area – Grass
    14: Toilets & Showers

    The paddock and surrounding areas of the Larkhall circuit are also top notch. There is hard standing which is relatively easy to peg into if you have a decent sized mallet and grassed areas once these are full or you don’t have the hardware to peg into the hard standing.

    The amount of space on hard standing appeared to be ample for most club meetings but we would be interested to see just how much room there is at a S1 round.

    All paths are tarmac so all trolleys should cope well with the conditions.



    One thing that can be frustrating at a circuit is the tannoy system. It really helps to know what’s going out on track without running to get a view of the dummy grid. It's also handy when you are trying to figure out when the drivers briefing will be held. The system was clear and from our observations was consistent around the paddock areas with no black spots. This is probably down to the fact that the circuit wraps around the paddock area so nowhere is miles away from the action.

    The dummy grid is well thought out and has a lane for karts wishing to drive straight back out onto the circuit.




    Viewing at Larkhall is once again excellent. If you view from the purpose built gantry you can pretty much see all of the circuit apart from a couple of corners which hide behind the race control building. We tried to get a panoramic view of this but it didn’t work out.




    The scrutineering bay is once again well thought out with two bays enabling two karts to be inspected simultaneously. Scales are flush with the ground but we got the impression that they were showing slightly under what they should have been. This is good if you are a heavy driver, but not so much if you already have a tonne of lead on your kart.

    Circuit

    Here is an on-board video of Larkhall. Formula Blue A-Final April 2012. Full credit goes to CAMERON LOW


    As you can see the circuit is very fast with some medium speed hairpins. Many of the corners are off-camber so getting to the apex can be quite a challenge!

    Below are a few shots of the start/finish




    Summary

    Overall, Larkhall is a fantastic facility. It is Scotland's no1 circuit and is not far behind the best circuits in the UK.

    The facilities are excellent & well maintained. The Cafe is very reasonably priced and the menu has everything you would expect.

    The location of the circuit is easily accessible with some brilliant amenities close by. This makes it as enjoyable off the track as it is on.

    Pros

    • Excellent Accesibility
    • Huge choice of amenities within a 5 minute drive
    • Solid range of facilities available
    • 24 hour showers
    • Paddock area well maintained
    • Cafe


    Cons

    • No gravy available in Cafe..
    • Structural integrity of plastic cutlery in cafe needs addressing.


    In all seriousness, there were no cons that are worthy of comment. The meeting ran pretty smoothly as far as organisation goes and the only thing to slow it down was some rather dodgy starts which were more down to some sub standard driving practices than the nature of the circuit. Most Senior races required at least one re-start at this particular meeting.

    • Facilities 9/10
    • Circuit 8/10
    • Paddock 8/10
    • Accessibility 10/10
    • Meeting Management 8/10

    We would definitely recommend Larkhall as a circuit to visit.Please leave any comments if there is anything

    you would like to see in future circuit reviews.
     

     


    Scoring

    Facilities: 9
    Circuit: 8
    Paddock: 8
    Accessibility: 10
    Meeting Management: 8

    Mean average of scores equals "Kart Review Score"

    Kart Review Score: 8.4

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