history photo01The Angas Go-Kart Club was incorporated in 1963 after one of it's founding members, Mr Ken Crouch, moved to Strathalbyn and secured the use of the old Bennett & Fisher quarry at the rear of the local cemetary for the club grounds.

Mr Ken Crouch used to race bitumen karts at Loxton and Birdwood and after he moved to Strathalbyn in the early 1960's, he kept his karts on the verandah. A few of his friends asked what they were and after a bit of a discussion, they agreed that karting sounded like fun and suggested that they all go take a look at an old quarry to find out if they could use it and get some sort of club formed.

They approached Bennett & Fisher Ltd and permission was readily granted.

According to local newspaper reports, by this time, quite a bit of interest was already being taken in the project, not only in Strathalbyn but also in Milang, where races had been conducted in the past on the foreshore oval there but due to water accumulating on the flat, it hadn't proved too satisfactory.  

In June of 1963, a meeting was held in the Town Hall Reading Room with history photo02about 30 locals present. It was decided to form a dirt kart club known as "Angas Go-Kart Club" and the first officers were elected as follows:-

Patron Mr. W. Lee, President, Mr. R Eichler, Vice-President Mr. L. Goldfinch, Committee: C. Vivian, K. Crouch, J. Broadbent, R. Ross, R. Harvey, G. Bartlett, A. Stevens and C. Stacey. Secretary and Treasurer Bruce Harvey, Auditor, R.S. Henley.

At that meeting, Bennett & Fisher Ltd officially granted permission to construct a "running" track in their quarry and approval was given by the District Council for their foreman to supervise the construction of the track.

history photo03The subscription fee was fixed at 10/- for full membership, while ladies and children under 16 years of age were to be admitted to the club for a fee of 5/-.

A show of hands revealed that at least 12 karts would be ready for the opening run which was to be held as soon as the track could be prepared.

The track was marked out and graded by Lance Goldfinch after Ken Crouch drove his kart around the quarry grounds in an oval shape.

The original track was some 250m long, quite narrow, and had a dog leg through the middle.

By the end of June 1963, everything was ready and according to newspaper reports, the new club was attracting quite a lot of interest from as far away as the city and on all available opportunities, karting enthusiasts were coming to Strathalbyn for trials and driving experience. It was reported that all were impressed with the conditions and looking forward to the first Season at Angas.

Back in those early days, there was also a small practice track where the carkpark is now situated. According to Ken, this was a necessity as in those days, karts motors were mainly made from Victor and Pope lawnmower motors and they never knew if they were going to start!

On the 27th June 1963, the Southern Argus printed an article advertising the new Club's first official meeting which was to be held history photo04on Saturday, 6th July 1963. The Club was to be officially opened by the Local Mayor, Mr Keith Edwards at 1.45pm.

It was expected that at least 25 local as well as visiting karters would be competing in no less than 25 events. Official Souvenir Programs were available.

Unfortunately, the first official race meeting scheduled for Saturday, 6th July was washed out and then held on the following Saturday, 13th July 1963.

In those early days, the Club consisted of the track and one shed. There was no power to the grounds and no water. If racing finished late, it wasn't unusual for the presentations to be held under torch light.

The track was graded with a piece of reinforcing mesh and the dog leg was reserved for racing the features (known as the Butchers Picnic) only as with no water or grader, that section used to become quite cut up and the members had no way of repairing it.

Also, back in the early days of the Club there were a lot more classes than there are now - up to 65 races a day.

As the Club grew, new facilities were added. The canteen was built in around 1984, power was brought in, a toilet block was built and the club purchased it own machinery.

The track remained basically the same until the end of the 1998 Season when the Committee of the day decided to extend it to approximately 300m long and discontinue the oval racing format. This was a big move as the Club was to host the 1999 South Australian Dirt Kart Titles in May of 1999 and work had to be finished by the opening in March 1999. However, thanks to the hard work and dedication by the members of the Club, the track was ready in time and Angas went on to host a very successful State Title Meeting.

history photo05The decision to extend the track and change the racing from the oval format proved to be an excellent one with a resurgence in interest in the Club and membership grew considerably. So much so that again, at the end of the 1999 Season and into the Year 2000, the track was once again lengthened to some 380m and now incorporates several more corners and a longer straight.

The Angas Go-Kart club was instrumental in forming SAIDKA, the South Australian Independent Dirt Kart Association, the forerunner to the Australian Independent Dirt Kart Association (AIDKA). AIDKA is the current ruling body of dirt karting in Australia which was formed back in 1985 with the help of many of our members.

Thanks to the foresight of our founding members and the past and present committee, the Angas Go-Kart Club now caters for dirt kart racing enthusiasts of all ages and has one of the largest memberships in Australia. Our members represent a wide cross-section of the Community and come not only from the Adelaide Hills and southern areas, but also from the northern, eastern and western suburbs just to be a part of the race atmosphere at Angas. It is testament to the Club that we still have sons, daughters and grandchildren of some of the original founding members still racing or involved in the club.

The Angas Go-Kart Club celebrated it 45th birthday in the 2008 and goes into another big year for 2009. Improvements at the Club are ongoing.

Thanks to the strength of the Angas Go-Kart Club, members are able to enjoy excellent facilities on one of the best track surfaces around.

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