When Iredale Edgar bought his first kart, back in 1960, it was by no means certain that the sport would last for more than a couple of years. Karting had arrived in Britain just 12 months earlier, brought to these shores by American airmen based at Burtonwood near Warrington. Iredale’s choice of equipment was a Trokart, manufactured in Croydon by Trojan Engineering who were producing Lambretta scooters under licence. Several years later they would be building Mclaren racing cars before entering F1with their own design in 1974. Trojan’s karting project was altogether more humble. In Cumberland, a small group of enthusiasts would meet up in farm fields and occasionally, perhaps, an available airfield to try out their toys.
Things took a major step forward when the group purchased a disused limestone quarry near Rowrah. Using volunteer labour, it took 12 months to drain the quarry and lay down a proper circuit which finally opened on August Monday, 1963. Iredale couldn’t possibly have known it, but the foundations were laid for an Edgar karting dynasty, involving six direct descendants, with his great grandson, Jorge being the latest addition. When Jorge picked up his “O” Plate (British Open Championship) title at PFI on September 12th, 2021, it was added to another 10 in the Edgar family’s collection. Dad, Jason, had been a three times champion with Jorge’s uncle, Justin, winning this prize four times. Cousin, Jonny, had won the title three times whilst still in cadets.
It so nearly didn’t happen for Jorge. He was born at the West Cumberland Hospital on November 7th, 2010. Four days later his dad was driving him back to hospital at record breaking speed after Jorge stopped breathing. By the time he arrived there, an ambulance was standing ready to take him on a journey of 144 miles to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital. Even on Cumbria’s notoriously twisty roads, the ambulance maintained an average speed of 104mph. It could be said that he has been addicted to speed ever since. He “died” twice on the journey when his heart stopped beating, but paramedics were able to revive him. Once in Newcastle, he was placed on an ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) life support system, of which only four can be found in Britain.
Jorge remained on life support for 10 days. He also made medical history as the world’s first baby to have suffered a pulmonary embolism that normally occurs between the ages of 60 and 70. An article about Jorge’s condition was published in the Lancet medical journal. Afterwards, the Edgar family raised £40,000 to be shared equally between both hospitals. A further £5,000 went to the Ambulance Trust. As part of their fund raising activities, a hospital bed was pushed along the 144 miles route from Whitehaven to Newcastle. It took three days, working in relay stints of four hours at a time. Jorge’s cousin, Jonny, was 7 years old at the time. He made his own contribution by driving his cadet kart for 226 laps of Rowrah’s 1020, metre circuit, equating to 144 miles. When Jorge and his sister Jessica both finished 4th in their respective 2021 LGM championship classes, they requested cash donations to an NHS ambulance charity in lieu of prizes. £2,600 was raised as a result.