Sidmouth go-karting event gets the green light

A YOUTH go-karting challenge will go ahead, despite plans that it be held in The Byes, Sidmouth, being vetoed.

A YOUTH go-karting challenge will go ahead, despite plans that it be held in The Byes, Sidmouth, being vetoed.

Both town and district councils were concerned at the possible conflict between karters, pedestrians and cyclists, but on Monday, Sidmouth Town Council agreed for next Wednesday's event (August 19) to be held at The Ham after hearing of the planned safety measures.

Organised by Devon Youth Service and involving seven youth centres across East Devon, councillors were reassured it would be well stewarded and was not taking the form of a race.

A mobile first aid post will attend the event, which starts at 10am, finishing around 12.30pm.

Some councillors thought the hard-standing at Manstone Lane's youth centre would be more suitable, but organisers want a more high profile venue.

Mark Gerry, area youth worker, said: "There will be driving challenges, observational questions and teambuilding tasks."

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Only one go-kart at a time will use the track.

"All centres have built their basic kart and have decorated them in their own style.

"There will be teams of five, with everyone getting a chance to drive their kart. It is all in the aid of having some fun and meeting new people," said Mark.

About 55 young people, with 10 adults, are expected at the event, organised by Mark's team with youngsters from Sidmouth Youth Centre, which is entering two teams.

Others competing come from Ottery St Mary, Exmouth, Axminster, Budleigh Salterton, Honiton and Aylesbeare.

"It is not about speed but working as a team," an e-mail to the council explained.

Devon Youth Service said extra marshals would be posted near the play park to ensure pedestrians' safety.

Councillor Graham Liverton said: "I don't see a problem with it. It is only in the morning and it is going to be stewarded.

"The Ham is our village green and should be used by youngsters as well as adults.

I think we should let this happen. Let's see how it goes for this year.

"It is a great pity The Byes couldn't be used but I understand why."

Both Councillor Chris Gibbings and Frances Newth felt the young people should be encouraged.

Mr Gibbings added: "We spent a lot of money on that grass and I hope it doesn't get chewed up. Let's hope it works and the kids have a good day.