Jade Kart Memories: Lesley Allen

Lesley was an air hostess for British Caledonian in the Seventies. She met Mark (Allen) in 1979, they were married in 1980, and the very first race meeting that Lesley attended was at Shenington in 1979.

Lesley Allen - so important to Jade Karts
Lesley Allen - so important to Jade Karts

The next meeting was the Morecombe World Cup (also in 1979), which was a baptism of fire for this new recruit to the karting world. There were over 300 entries and lots of on track clashes - such was the nature of the circuit. Fortunately, Lesley quickly made friends with the other wives and girlfriends as they gathered in the Shell Bar!

After that, Lesley attended as many meetings as she could when not flying.

After getting married in 1980, Lesley stopped flying and started work as a beauty consultant at Rackhams in Leamington Spa. With the arrival of Ross, karting fast became a family pastime and a way of life.

Lesley worked Saturday mornings before Mark, Cookee, Andy Worton & Ross would turn up to collect her in the Lightning Windows sign-written 56-seater coach! It did stand out quite a bit in the middle of Leamington Spa. Ross attended his first race, Cadwell Park at 6 weeks old…

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Lesley with F1 Driver Nigel Mansell

As well as going to race meetings to support Mark, Lesley also joined the Shenington Kart Club Committee and began learning how to run a meeting, from Sue Wilkins. Lesley then went on to be a lap scorer & followed that up with a stint as competition secretary, before becoming chairperson of the club’s committee.

With a lack of championship status for gearbox karts in the early 1990s, Lesley & Andrew Wirrel put together a championship which would become to be known as The Super 4 series. These were standalone Gearbox Kart Meetings with entries regularly in excess of 160 karts.

Back then, karting was a much more social event for everybody involved.

The annual prize giving was the highlight of the year for many, with great entertainment and much after-hours partying.

On one occasion,

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Lesley, relaxing

Lesley secured the services of a friend of Mark’s, a Certain Mr Nigel Mansell (see photo above), to hand out the awards, but she managed to keep it a secret right up until the evening started.

Lesley has not only had to put up with Mark racing almost every weekend, but also with having Ross and Scott testing her nerves (they have both raced since the age of 8), as well as various mechanics and drivers sleeping on the living room floor.

Lesley does all of the book work for Jade Karts, as well as being chairperson for Shenington Kart Club. She attends every club meeting to help with signing on, lap scoring, and pretty much everything that needs doing on a race weekend.

She has also organised the Shenington Awards evening for 20 years and would have done so this year if it hadn’t been for COVID restrictions preventing the event from going forward.

Along with other committee members and volunteers, Lesley has been responsible for the club earning a commendation from Motorsport UK for organising the clubs response to the 2020 Covid pandemic.