Knockhill Racing Circuit
| Type:|| Private|
| Founded:|| Knockhill, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, (1974)|
| Headquarters:|| Knockhill, Scotland|
Knockhill racing circuit, Fife
Knockhill Racing circuit in Fife is Scotland's national Motorsport centre. The circuit is located in the Fife countryside about 10 miles north of Dunfermline. The track, initially opened in 1974 is 1.3 miles long and 10 meters wide, created by joining service roads to a nearby disused railway.
In the 1970’s the owner of the then sheep farm known as South Lethans Farm, near Dunfermline, Fife was Tom Kinnaird, a great motorcycle racing fan who enjoyed visiting various amateur race meetings all around Scotland. These were as a rule held on loaned land for one or a few events per year and typically were on ex-wartime RAF airfields or Council-owned public parks which had service roads used as the track.
Back at Knockhill Tom sat on the hillside one sunny day and looked over his land of 200 acres and dreamed of adapting and extending the existing resources to create Scotland’s first full time motor race venue.
By linking a narrow service road to a disused railway line and returning it to the service road a demanding layout of twists and turns, drops and climbs made it a natural road circuit style of track 1.3 miles long (2 km) and 10 metres wide. Tom used an old mechanical digger and Ford Thames tipper lorry to scrape out and shape the foundations of the track, pit lane and competitors paddock.
After more than two years the first layer of tar was laid and the first motorcycle race event was held in the autumn of 1974. A record crowd turned out causing road chaos - a great sign for the future at a venue of this type!
A year of highs and lows
At the end of the first full-time operating year, a local businessman approached Tom Kinnaird with an offer. This man was was Denis Dobbie who operated a F3 car team named Dobbie Auto Racing Team or D.A.R.T for short. Dobbie saw the potential in Knockhill and had resources both in people and finance. A years lease was agreed with an option to buy. Dobbie drew up grand plans based on extending the track to 2.3 miles, adding 40 pit garages, a hotel, chalet lodges, kart track, 4 x 4 track, pony trekking and much more. The ultimate goal was to host a Scottish F1 Grand Prix.
Despite the optimism of the plans it failed by the end of the year with debts of £250,000 and Tom Kinnaird took over the keys to the premises again. Over the next seven years, he leased out the venue on a year at a time basis to local enthusiastic businessmen who kept the track open and running. However, the circuit declined due to the lack of a dedicated owner; it's on going development was in limbo and maintenance programme was done on an 'as need' basis. As all this was happening, the circuit's overall condition steadily detriorated.
Derek Butcher was an amateur racer at the time Knockhill opened. By 1983, he was also the owner of Fife Alarm Systems, a successful security company, under the banner of Honeywell Shield. It was in 1983 that Honeywell Shield were looking for commercial opportunities in Scotland to raise the exposure of their main business. Butcher persuaded Honeywell Shield management that Knockhill was the perfect way to go, and so the deal was done. Tom Kinnaird sold Knockhill to Derek Butcher.
Onward And Upward
From 1984 onwards numerous improvements have been made to track safety, buildings and services. Some several million pounds have been spent over the years of Derek Butcher’s ownership to make Knockhill Scotland’s National Motorsport Centre and a seven day week operation with over forty full time staff and up to 100 part time at peak events.
Knockhill have hosted many series over the years. Their current lineup includes:
- British Touring Car Championship
- British Superbike Championship
- Hotrod World Cup
- D1 Grand Prix
- Scottish National Championships
- British Racing Club Events
- Hot Hatch Events
As well as these events Knockhill runs daily experience sessions. There are many different experiences available from the skid control course to the offroad rally stage driving. Best sellers are the 4x4 driving and the single seater racing car driving. There are 27 different options for experiences at Knockhill. Click Knockhill gift vouchers below for more info.
- Derek Butcher still races all over the UK in his Ford Zetec
- Knockhill is 800 feet above sea level and has 200 feet variations in its topography