THE sentencing of a paedophile who was able to operate unchecked in karting for more than 20 years has prompted fresh questions about the safeguarding of children in the sport.

Andrew Fairley, who founded Lanarkshire's Clan Kart Racing, was described as being like "an uncle" to the families who trusted him to care for their children on overnight trips to races across Scotland and England.

But behind this jocular facade Fairley was a predator, using racing as a front to access young boys who he would travel with to motorsports events for the purpose of exploiting them.

It was only thanks to the determination of the sister of one of his victims that the coach's actions came to light – and this week at the High Court in Aberdeen he was given an extended sentence of five years and six months in prison, with a further three years on licence once he is released.

This follows an eight year sentence handed down at Carlisle Crown Court, which he will serve consecutively to the Scottish disposal.

READ MORE: Scots karting boss jailed for sexual abuse of young boys

While "delighted" that the 58-year-old will finally face punishment for his crimes, the woman who fought to put him behind bars believes karting's governing body, Motorport UK (MUK), could do more to try to protect other children.

It was revealed in 2019 that Fairley had a criminal conviction for child sexual assault from 1996 when he admitted indecently assaulting a boy aged between ten and 14 in Edinburgh, where he then worked.


Andrew Fairley

Andrew Fairley


Yet gaps in safeguarding provision meant he was able to continue in the sport, setting up Clan Kart Racing in Larkhall.

The woman, who the Herald on Sunday is not naming to protect her brother's identity, said: "How was a paedophile allowed to work under the banner of MUK totally unchecked?

"That's an absolutely disgraceful scandal. If somebody had checked on Andrew Fairley early on this could have been avoided.

"Despite all of this, the response from MUK has been completely inadequate.

"Today in 2022, what Andrew Fairley has done to my brother could absolutely happen again."

While MUK is the governing body of karting clubs across the UK, the sport is not fully regulated by the organisation; only motorsports competitions that operate under its permits are controlled by it.

Clan Kart Racing was an unregulated club, which meant it, like other unregulated clubs, did not have to follow MUK's safeguarding procedures.

The politician Russell Findlay, while working as a journalist, was instrumental in having the case re-looked at.

Fairley's victim had disclosed the abuse to his family, who went to police in 2017 but were initially turned away due to lack of evidence.

Media coverage in 2019 encouraged other witnesses to come forward, prompting detectives to pursue Fairley. He finally pleaded guilty at Hamilton Sheriff Court in July this year to a number of offences committed between 2005 and 2018 across Scotland.

Due to the suspension of political activity during the national period of mourning, Mr Findlay was unable to comment but the Herald on Sunday has seen an exchange of letters between MUK and the MSP.


Andrew Fairley

Andrew Fairley


In response to questions around safeguarding, the body explains that Fairley's team was not registers with MUK but "it is possible" that Clan Kart Racing attended "events permitted by MUK."

In a statement to the Herald on Sunday, MUK said safety and welfare is a "key pillar" of the organisations strategy and its spokesman said there is "dynamic and continuous development of the safety of participants."

He added: "Motorsport UK has invested heavily in safeguarding, including an independent review commissioned and conducted for 2022 which has both informed and confirmed our clear strategy for the future.

"Motorsport UK will continue to dynamically review and improve our safeguarding policies and procedures in order to develop the culture of regulated motorsport to prevent harm from occurring and acting immediately where any incident is reported to us."

The Herald on Sunday asked for sight of the independent report but the request was not acknowledged.

The sister of Fairley's victim added: "If you are a predator with a conviction you can still set up a coaching company with access to children unless a parents asks for checks to be done.

"You don't need a licence.

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"What should be happening is that you need to apply for a licence and you are checked and fully verified but instead MUK's guidance puts responsibility into the hands of parents to do these checks themselves.

"If you look up your local karting club it will be under the banner of Motorsport UK, which gives you the false reassurance that it's checked and perfectly safe - but it's not.

"Motorsport UK shouldn't be allowing clubs to use their stamp or attend their events unless they are doing annual checks and subscriptions."

Despite a difficult and protracted fight for justice, the woman hopes that Fairley's conviction and sentencing will spur other victims of abuse to come forward.

It was guilt, she said, and a promise to help that propelled her to keep pushing police and prosecutors to put Fairley behind bars for his crimes in Scotland and England.

She said: "I made a promise.

"I promised my brother that if we did this the right way and we went to the police then I would see it through to make sure we would win in the end.

"Obviously being an older sister as well, you feel a lot of guilt that you didn't know at the time what was going on."


Andrew Fairley

Andrew Fairley


She described how Fairley "groomed our entire family" to the point she relied on him like an uncle figure and had no idea what was being done to her little brother.

On the team's website, an "about" section on Fairley details his skills as a coach and adds: "How can he be older than Methuselah yet have the body of a 12 year old?"

The website describes Clan Kart Racing as "family oriented" and boasts of "an incredible number of Champions" among its ranks.

The woman called for other victims to know that they will be believed and they will be given help.

She added: "The affect of living with this secret will destroy people.

"It is so hard for boys. There's that extra level when it comes to young men, the secret and the shame of it destroys them and it's awful to see.

"Luckily my brother was able to come to us when he was still relatively young so he hadn't carried it for too long.

"The sooner you come forward, the sooner you can get help and understand that it wasn't your fault and you are not alone and justice can be served."