Take a step back in time where racing, karts and engines were home grown.
The below accounts and photos of the 60’s come courtesy of Paul Massie and his Mother Fay Massie.
The NKRC Executive Committee thank Fay & Paul immensely for passing on this account of there time in Karting with their much loved Husband & Father Reg Massie.
As a child I spent many hours in the workshop with my father working, listening, watching and learning. From 1969 to 1984 I worked with my father in Small Motor Sales and Service before establishing my own business. As children we spent every weekend travelling extensively to Karting events all over the state. Max Gleeson also provided me with some finer details as he spent many hours in the workshop with my father. My father left Newcastle in 1970 living in Northern NSW. He had no further involvement in Karting. In 1969 Royd Massie returned to Newcastle from Nowra. Royd maintained his interest in Karting in Newcastle racing the Massie Escort.
“A picture is worth a thousand words”.
CENTRAL COAST KART CLUB NSW 1963-1969
Fay Massie and son Paul generously donated to the Newcastle Kart Club, the following
information and many historical photos in memory of the late Reginald Thomas Massie
The photos depict their involvement in the early Karting Industry in Newcastle. They
supported the local club at Raymond Terrace and later Branxton, both heavily involved
in not only Karting but volunteering many weekends toward the Branxton hot mix track
upgrade, running the canteen, BBQ’s and regularly participating in many working bee’s.
The early Karts were powered with Victa, Villiers and Hurricane motors, which owners
could simply remove from their lawn mowers.
At Raymond Terrace, the track was originally used for racing motorbikes. The track
was closed following the accidental death of a Kart driver and a new location was found
at Branxton. The club leased the land from Perce McGuigan, who owned a winery in
the Hunter Valley area.
Reg served his time as a Fitter and Turner at BHP in Newcastle, completed Tool
Making at Technical Collage and later worked as a Leading Hand at Stewart and
Lloyds. His knowledge as a machinist and engineering allowed him not only to design
and manufacture karts from the ground up, but able to work with the very fine
tolerances required in modifying small motors to gain maximum performance.
Reg Massie, along with the support of his wife Fay designed and manufactured Karts
during the early to late 1960’s from his showroom and workshop at 114 Maitland Road
The earliest design was the Massie Dirt Kart, which he designed and manufactured
with his brother Royd Massie. As the dirt tracks were replaced by hot mix and tyres
changed from grooved to slick, a new model Massie 85 Kart was designed weighing
87lb and powered by a part reed valve and piston induction Mac10 engine.
To improve performance, the Massie 85 was completely redesigned and rebuilt by Reg
Massie and brother in law Max Gleeson to produce the Massie Escort. The Escort had
new bucket seats, improved lighter frame and steering. All components of the Massie
Karts were manufactured and machined in Reg’s workshop or locally. To reduce
weight, the disc brakes, wheels and many other parts were cast from aluminium at a
local foundry in Wickham.
Following the introduction of the American McCulloch Kart engine, Reg soon
discovered they offered a wider scope for increasing performance as they had accessible
transfer ports that allowed for easy modification by enlarging and reshaping using
fiberglass resin. The McCulloch had six transfer ports, Reg added another three
opposite the exhaust to significantly increased performance. Enlarging the ports would
deliver three times the air fuel mix. Another simple modification was free-porting the
The McCulloch engines were fitted with reed valve inlets and diaphragm carburettors
with high and low speed mixture screws allowing fine-tuning during the race. Reg also
fitted the engines with triple carburettors. At the time he used 100% alcohol fuel.
Another way Reg increased performance was to advance the timing and bypass the
ignition points with a switch giving 27 degrees advance, once the motor reached certain
rpm, known as Maverick spark.
Reg and Max improved on this by fitting a second set of ignition points, when switched
over giving 48 degrees advance peaking at 23,000 rpm. The downside was that due to
the engine firing halfway up the stroke, if the driver didn’t switch back before the revs
dropped, the con-rod would disintegrate. This was in the days prior to electronic
Reg and Fay Massie travelled extensively to all local, state and national events
promoting and selling their Karts and Spares.
The Massie Escort Karts running single or twin McCulloch engines were at the
forefront of early Karting. Fay’s brother Max Gleeson raced the Escort with twin
McCulloch’s, while brother Frank Gleeson raced the single engine Massie Escort with
dual points in A Super. Both won places at many local and state events.
During the 1967 Mattara Festival, Fay’s brother Max Gleeson clocked the fastest time
while participating in the hill climb through King Edward Park, driving a Massie Escort
with twin McCulloch engines. A record which was held for nearly 40 years.
Royd Massie was a member of the Nowra Kart Club during the 1960’s, returning to
Newcastle in 1969. In 1979 Royd Massie, racing a Massie Escort won 1st Place in the
Box Stock Light at the NSW Dirt Track Championships in Lismore.