But if past decades are anything to go by, the much-loved track where Johnny Herbert, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton learnt their craft will be able to recover.
Because this is not the first time the tree-dappled attraction at the top of Bluebell Hill has been teetering on the brink of extinction.
Faced with financial difficulties in the late 1970s, the then-owners were on the verge of shutting the site down amid health and safety concerns.
And during the recession in 2008, the business took a heavy hit when the global crisis meant it lost money from major corporate clients, many of which were big London banks.
But, as before, Buckmore pulled through – and those crestfallen enthusiasts can only hope the venue will do so again.
From humble beginnings as a track for boy scouts, the 1963-built circuit became one of the best on Britain's karting scene during the long reign of Bill Sisley.
The former kart racer sold up in 2015 to the only world champion on both two and four wheels, John Surtees, who invested heavily into the venue before his death just two years later.
Now though, the gates are closed and there is no sign of them opening again anytime soon, with the workforce reduced from 50 to just two since the pandemic began.
Still owned by the Surtees family, bosses submitted plans to Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council in January for an open storage and distribution facility on the existing paddock in a bid to generate "much-needed income".
But the scheme was thrown out, with planning officers saying the loss of the paddock would "severely reduce the use and functionality of Buckmore Park as a valued community facility".
Track chiefs said they were considering appealing the decision or putting the site up for sale, but no move has been made and its future remains uncertain.
For 67-year-old Sisley, who has worked in the karting industry since leaving school, the situation generates a great deal of sadness.
"If you cut me open, I have Buckmore written inside – I still have a passion for it," he says.
"And what really worries me is that it won't reopen as a kart circuit again – that someone buys it and flattens it.
"I am very sympathetic to the problems the current owners are having due to the pandemic."
When Sisley secured the circuit's lease in 1985, the track was only 400 metres in length and was in a dilapidated state.
It had been built for the scouts by the Royal Engineers as part of an Army training exercise more than 20 years earlier and was starting to show its age.
But Dartford-born Sisley, a renowned talent spotter who helped launch Herbert's career, quickly brought the circuit up to competition standards.
He was already a driving force in the sport before taking charge of the track, having run a kart shop since 1974 and manufactured championship-winning machinery.
"When I arrived at Buckmore, it was a piece of rough old tarmac just as it was built in 1963 – nothing had changed," Sisley remembers.
"There was no electricity, buildings, or kerbs, but I knew the venue well because I had been supplying spares to the scouts from the mid-1970s onwards.
"No one in the industry wanted to know it because it was considered just 'fun' karting, not real, but I saw a commercial opportunity there."
Despite being told he could never make a living out of running a kart circuit, Sisley pioneered outdoor leisure karting and developed it at Buckmore.
"When I look back, that is something I am proud of – I actually started corporate karting outdoors," Sisley says.
"People always said it would never work, but I knew anyone could drive a kart so I developed the outside leisure market.
"I used to make karts for fun fairs so I knew the market anyway and that's how it all started."
Alongside the rental karts driven by members of the public, Sisley started the Buckmore Park Kart Club in 1989 and began to run British Championship races at the circuit in the early 1990s.
He extended the track during that decade, reaching its current 1,200-metre length in 1999.
"We developed it all the time, making it better and better," Sisley says.
"The corporate side got bigger and bigger but, in my view, I believe you have to have proper racing to support the corporate.
"The racing side may not be profitable, but the kudos it gives the circuit is very important.
"We based our marketing on the fact Hamilton was discovered there – we said that all the time and it was all we needed to say."
Like the seven-time Formula 1 world champion, current British GT star Scott Malvern was another young charger to cut his teeth at Buckmore.
He even worked in the circuit's kart shop in later years, running the Dartford Karting race team from a workshop at the rear of the store.
Now 33, Malvern shares Sisley's view on the need for owner-driver racing – something that has not been held regularly at the circuit since 2017.
"John would be devastated and this wouldn't be happening if he was here – that's a fact," Malvern says.
"I have no doubt that if he was still here, owner-driver racing would have restarted at Buckmore.
"He was a real believer in it and liked to see kids progressing through it."
In the circuit's most recent Facebook post, shared on March 29, owner-driver racing was described as "completely unviable" due to "decreasing demand".
But during Sisley's time at the helm, the track played host to scores of high-profile meetings, with the prestigious Super One national championships returning in 2014 following a £150,000 upgrade.
Those big events excited Surtees, whose business involvement at the track began in 2003 when he helped finance a £1.25m clubhouse.
He later became the circuit’s landowner and secured the freehold to a large part of the ancient woodland surrounding the site, continuing to work hand-in-hand with Sisley.
In 2015, Surtees finally bought the circuit for an undisclosed sum, but Sisley stayed on for another year as a consultant, supporting the 1964 F1 world champion's bid to turn the venue into an "absolute showpiece".
"John wanted to secure the future of the kart circuit," Sisley says.
"We only had a lease on the 12-acre site that the kart circuit was on and he wanted to make sure the whole area was secure forever.
"The only way he could do that was to buy the land and all the woodland around it – I think it was 210 acres in total.
"He bought the land so no one could close the kart circuit – he loved the place and was doing it for all the right reasons."
The pair first met when Surtees's late son Henry, who was killed in a freak Formula 2 accident at Brands Hatch in 2009, started racing at Buckmore aged just seven and a half.
Following Henry's death, Surtees carried out much philanthropic work through a charitable foundation set up in the 18-year-old's honour – and Buckmore was at the centre of his efforts.
"He had a passion for developing young drivers and he wanted to make the circuit into a centre of excellence not just for drivers but for engineers as well," Sisley says.
"That was always his aim from day one, more than the commercial success, as he just wanted to make it something special.
"People say John was tricky to deal with, but we got on really well and he was as straight as a die.
"He was very fierce and didn't suffer fools gladly, but because we were straight with each other, we got on fine."
Working in partnership with Surtees, Sisley had bold plans to extend the circuit, hoping to use part of the neighbouring woodland to add an extra 300 metres of tarmac.
If approved, it would have seen a new section added beyond the current first corner, making Buckmore the longest track in the UK.
Malvern feels the long-rumoured project would have put the venue on a "completely different level to other circuits".
"Having been out there into the woods and seen the undulations of it all, it would have been fantastic," he says.
"It was something John wanted to happen and I am sure his ultimate plan would have secured the future of the circuit forever.
"It's so frustrating that it never happened."
The plans included an education centre, a new footbridge connecting the paddock with the clubhouse, and a two-storey kart shop.
"It was on the cards and we had the budget for it, but I was thinking about retiring by then," Sisley says.
"I wanted to put it in place for someone else to do and John was very keen, but sadly he didn't get the chance.
"There were issues with the ancient woodland that could have been resolved, but it kept getting put back."
Even without the extension, Malvern, the 2011 British Formula Ford champion, believes Buckmore remains one of Britain's toughest tests.
"There's nobody that goes to Buckmore and doesn't enjoy it from a driving point of view," he says.
"There may be other aspects that people don't enjoy about it – with the hill in the paddock and things like that – but there isn't a better circuit in the UK for a driver.
"I would say it's less challenging now they've put the tarmac run-off everywhere and changed the kerbs quite a bit over the years, especially in the downhill part, but even now it's still a fantastic circuit and one of the best for racing."
Sisley, who turned down an offer from Brands Hatch before Surtees invested in the circuit, feels the one thing the venue lacks is a long straight – something that would have been added as part of the upgrade.
When designing the last extension in 1999, he ensured different cambers were put in to encourage overtaking and was keen to add the rapid downhill section to "make it really interesting".
The experience gleaned during his own karting career proved useful, with Sisley taking inspiration from the former Heysham Head circuit near Morecambe, which was built on the side of a cliff.
"Kart tracks lack hills – they are mainly built on RAF bases – and I wanted to make it a proper drivers' track," Sisley says.
"As part of the new extension, I planned to make the first straight a bit like Pilgrims Drop at Brands Hatch and put in Zandvoort-style banking.
"It would have allowed us to run even larger meetings and we could have split the track up more so we could have run more events at weekends.
"We had so much demand for arrive-and-drive that we just couldn't cater for them all."
Before Hamilton's F1 successes drew a wave of new punters to the circuit, Buckmore's profile was raised in the early 1990s when Princess Diana twice visited the circuit.
She had a go behind the wheel herself and watched from the pits as Princes William and Harry took part in mock cadet racing in 1992 and '93.
"They thought they were coming down to a normal racing situation, but in fact it was all staged," Sisley remembers.
"We had to let them win and all the other racing cadets we invited along were very experienced and made it look like a proper race.
"The boys hadn't done it before so they weren't very good, but we made them look good and the security was fantastic – they closed off all the air space."
In the same period, 2009 F1 champion Button enjoyed title wins at Buckmore, including the British Cadet 'O' Plate crown.
And in September 1996, Button's future team-mate Hamilton, then 11, caught the eye of McLaren boss Ron Dennis during the televised Champions of the Future event.
"On that day, the late Martin Hines was running Lewis and got Ron and David Coulthard to come along," Sisley says.
"When Ron arrived at the circuit, I didn't really know him, but I said hello and told him to make sure he looked at Lewis.
"He stood out a mile and that's how it all started."
Hamilton may be the circuit's most famous graduate but Herbert – a three-time Grand Prix victor – was the very first 'Buckmore boy.'
The Essex ace won two British kart championships with machinery built by Sisley, who later secured the 1991 Le Mans winner's first drive in Formula Ford.
"If it hadn't been for his accident at Brands Hatch [in Formula 3000 in 1988], Johnny would have been exceptional," Sisley says.
"He had more natural talent than others – he could do tricks with karts that I had never seen before.
"I think he could have gone much, much further, but he has adapted himself well and he is happy in his life."
Towards the end of Sisley's time at Buckmore, Malvern, another Essex starlet, was tasked with testing out the circuit's new corporate karts.
He even tried an electric machine as Surtees considered his future options for the venue, but the battery-powered racer was deemed impractical.
"John wanted it to be the best experience and the fastest it could be for the price," Malvern says.
"I once did three or four weeks relentlessly driving around in corporate karts trying different tyre compounds, but in the end we stuck with what we had!
"If I had any opportunity to drive at Buckmore – in a corporate kart or whatever – I would take it because it never gets boring driving around there."
Malvern, who now works in driver coaching and management, says Surtees would regularly arrive at the circuit unannounced to catch up with staff.
"When I was in the shop, he would quite often take me to lunch or to business meetings he had at the circuit," the Basildon resident said.
"I got to know him when I was racing in cadets against Henry; I was winning at that point and Henry was still learning.
"John would always ask me questions and try to fish for advice for Henry – and I would just tell him because it was John Surtees!
"He was just a very interesting person to be around and it is such a shame to see how the circuit is now, especially with the investment it has had."
Even before Surtees got involved with the circuit, Sisley says his team would always make "one big improvement" every year, using the money made in the previous 12 months.
It was regularly hired out for multi-day private testing, with current F1 racers Lando Norris and Lance Stroll just two of the drivers to use it.
"We always reinvested into the circuit and never took any money out of it," Sisley says.
"When the High Speed 1 tunnel was put in underneath the track, we were given the new access road as part of the deal – it didn't cost us a penny.
"The circuit used to vibrate slightly when the trains went through, but you wouldn't know unless you had a meter there."
Sisley, who lives just outside Bilsington on the Romney Marsh, is still working in the karting industry to this day, overseeing the regeneration of the Three Sisters circuit near Wigan.
He was tempted out of retirement to take up the role and is working alongside former Buckmore chief operating officer Chris Pullman, a partnership Malvern describes as a "dream team".
"I am quite happy where I am at the moment and I have no interest myself in going back to Buckmore," Sisley says.
"It doesn't interest me personally because I believe if you have done something, you should never go back to it.
"And because I developed it so much, I don't think I could actually sweat the asset anymore, but I just hope a way can be found to reopen the circuit."