Racing tribute for a Norwich go-kart fanatic

The father of a Norwich go-kart mechanic who died last year has spoken of how honoured he feels after a race has been dedicated to his memory.

David Durance, whose son Julian took his own life last October, presented a memorial trophy to a young winner of the All Stars race at Ellough Park racing track near Beccles.

Julian, who was 40 when he died, worked at the track as a race mechanic between 2007 and 2009.

After his death, Mr Durance senior, who lives in Three Score, Bowthorpe, was approached by friends and former colleagues who wanted to race in his memory.

The memorial shield will be raced for each August at the Pro-Kart Race of the All Stars.

Mr Durance said he felt very honoured to be invited to present the prize in his son's memory after he had died in very sad circumstances.

He said Julian, who had many friends, had loved karting. 'He probably followed in my footsteps. I first started racing in 1972 in Cyprus when he was about two- years-old. He was brought up with it really.

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'Julian loved his karting and had raced karts from the age of 13.'

The former Earlham High School student came first in the 1985 national schoolboys kart championships, at Fulbeck in Lincolnshire. Steve English, who is a race mechanic at the track, came up with the idea for the trophy in memory of his friend and colleague, with track owner Richard Lock.

He said: 'Because there were not a huge number of people who worked at the circuit, we were a close-knit bunch. We did get to know each other very well. Julian was a brilliant bloke. If anyone had any problems he would be straight there. He had so much knowledge. I am now a race mechanic and I learnt so much from Julian.'

He said that they thought the big race was a fitting tribute to him. 'It is a good way for us to remember Julian,' he said.

After winning the national schoolboys championship, Julian went on to race 100cc two stroke karts in the British seniors class, on short circuits.

In later years he raced 250cc long circuits such as Snetterton, Malory Park, Brands Hatch, Cadwell Park and Oulton Park, collecting many trophies on the way.

The first memorial race was held last Saturday and was won by 18-year-old Olly Thorn. The race is held every year and the memorial trophy will be an addition to the normal trophy.