Whilton Mill Karting

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Whilton Mill Karting's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Whilton Mill Karting is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Roger Ashby, founder and
managing director
Aerial view on a day when
we entertained over 2,000
people from Barclaycard
Whilton Mill began providing kart racing and corporate
hospitality in 1991 as during the 1980s the rural
scene was beginning to change. Pressure on
commodity prices meant new income streams had to be found
and a totally different approach to farming businesses was
emerging. Agricultural assets were viewed from an alternative
angle and numerous possibilities were unearthed depending
on potential facilities and location. Roger Ashby, the founder
and managing director of Whilton Mill, explains how his initial
investment in karting was small as without a background in
motor racing it was to be a tentative start. It was, however, a
wise investment and the track continues to flourish in 2018.
When the M1 sliced through the farm in the late 1950s it would have been difficult
to foresee the farm’s proximity to the motorway as an asset. Concerns over noise
levels were raised when planning was sought for a motor-sport-based business
in the countryside. But with higher levels of ambient noise from the motorway
masking the sound of kart engines, further non-agricultural development in the
locality and support from the area planning authority, the seeds were set.
Whilton Mill’s origins
Whilton Mill takes its name from the village and the watermill that has stood on the
site for centuries and which even provided hospitality in the same building at “The
Mill” public house in the 19th century. The corporate market was the initial target
»Founder and managing
director: Roger Ashby
»Established in 1991
»Based in Northamptonshire
»Services: Kart racing, corporate
hospitality and venue hire
»No. of employees: 14
ȣ1 million investment
Whilton Mill Karting
with a central position in the country.
Close to the major road networks,
the site was very accessible and an
hour’s driving would give a radius
from Nottingham to north London
and Birmingham to Peterborough.
With west coast mainline stations 20
minutes away and equidistant from
three international airports, a large
business sector was within easy reach.
Sales grew through the 1990s and
to keep up with client expectations
and to make the most of the space
on the farm, a wider range of
activities were launched. Clay pigeon
shooting, archery and a variety
of off-road disciplines all proved
popular attractions and these were
accompanied with team building and
family fun days. The most successful
is a day for locally based Barclaycard
where we entertain and feed over
2,000 people every summer and it’s
now in its 12th year.
The millennium was another milestone
in Whilton Mill’s progress. When
owner drivers asked if the 450 metre
“Mill” circuit could be used for testing,
it soon became apparent that a larger
circuit was needed to realise the full
potential of this new emergingmarket.
The year 2000 saw the construction
of the “National” circuit extending to
960 metres and it soon attracted more
professional drivers. They could race
with the newly formed Whilton Mill
Kart Club, which is affiliated to the MSA
(Motor Sports Association). The MSA is
the governing body of all motor sport
in the UK, which in turn comes under
the umbrella of the FIA (Fédération
Internationale de l’Automobile), the
world’s governing body. Increasing
demand dictated an extension of
the track and in 2007, 300 metres
were added to form the 1,100 metre
“International” circuit, comprising
three different configurations.
As the popularity of owner driver
racing grew, it became evident that
the expanding Whilton Mill business
needed more space and any farming
on the site had to give way to the
increasing expansion. In 2007 a
programme of converting farm
buildings into industrial lets began.
Grain stores became kart shops, Dutch
barns became workshops and with the
continual interest from karting teams
wanting to be based at the race circuit,
more conversions are planned.
Situated in the southeast Midlands
within the motor racing triangle, where
internationally recognised brands
such as Mercedes, Jaguar Land Rover,
AstonMartin, Red Bull, Cosworth and
Clay pigeon shooting,
one of the many other
activities that can be
enjoyed at Whilton Mill
A busy karting race with
drivers of tomorrow
Every event is
around our
clients’ needs
Highlighting best practice
many more are based, Whilton Mill
is perfectly positioned to capture the
country’s motor sport enthusiasm.
Racing in karts can now start at the age
of five and as with all sports, to compete
at the highest level, dedication from a
young age is essential to future success.
MSA licences are issued at eight years
and nearly all top-level racing drivers
begin their careers inkarting.
Changing markets
In the nearly 20 years that we have
been involved in competitive kart
racing, the market has changed
considerably and a greater
professionalism is evident. In the early
days competitors would arrive with
karts in vans, on small trailers or even
on roof racks and mechanics were
friends or family members. Nowadays,
specific businesses or “teams” will
prepare the kart and provide tuition
and advice, from driving techniques
to nutrition, and they can put a kart
on a grid anywhere in the world.
This approach has increased the cost
and the expectation of race circuits’
facilities. The challenge for the UK
karting industry is to replicate the top-
level racing facilities in Europe. Whilton
Mill strives to match their success and
lead the UK karting industry in this
Motor racing cannot be considered
particularly “green” and to offset
our carbon footprint, investment in
renewable energy has become company
policy. Six years ago, a 50kWh photo
voltaic array (solar panels) was fitted to
the roof of one of the race buildings
followed by the installation of a wood
pellet fired biomass system that heats
the entiresite.
What of the future?
To stay at the forefront of the industry,
continual improvements must be
made. This year, 2018, will see the
opening of a purpose-built trackside
facility, providing new offices, a
100-seater restaurant with balcony
viewing, conference and meeting
rooms and changing facilities. With
the Whilton Mill venue having a range
of facilities the growth area will be
the corporate market, from product
launches and site hire to high-quality
participation hospitality, striving to
meet the ever-increasing expectations
of our clients.
programme of
will keep
Whilton Mill
at the
forefront of
karting in the
A view of the nearly
completed club house
and restaurant


This article was sponsored by Whilton Mill Karting. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister