Box Stock Jr 1
Box stock Jr 2 & 3
Cadet Jr. Sportsman
Briggs Jr. Restricted
Formula Yamaha Senior
Box Stock Sr.
Briggs Jr. Sport I Lite
Formula Yamaha Jr.
Briggs Jr. Sport II Heavy
Yamaha Jr. Sport
Briggs Jr. Heavy
Yamaha Jr. Super Can
Must have a minimum of three kart registered in any
one class to make a racing class on any one race date.
Questions About Karting
by Carl Mason
Q: What is Karting?
A: Karting today is long removed from its humble
beginnings over 60 years ago.
Back then, karts didn't have the sophisticated
clutches, live axles, disc brakes and ergonomics we take for granted
today. They are still minimalist racing vehicles, but they are much more
sophisticated than they look at first.
The garden variety yard "go-kart" is functionally
similar to a modern racing kart, but can't match a racing kart in terms of
acceleration (including lateral), braking, or speed.
Many of the world's greatest drivers got their starts
in karts or use them to hone their skills and stay sharp. Names like,
Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Paul Tracy, Michael Andretti, Jeff
Gordon, Sam Hornish, Central Ohio's Sarah Fisher, and many, many, more.
Q: How fast do karts go?
A: The old adage, "Speed costs; how fast do you want to
go?", certainly applies to karting. The fastest type of kart racing is
called Enduro, or road racing. Some of these karts will exceed 130 mph and
obviously are for the experienced driver. Sprint and Speedway racing
features karts that are slower, with speeds in the 40-60 mph range.
Q: What do you mean by Enduro, Sprint and Speedway?
A: These are the basics categories of kart racing. Let
Enduros are run on full sized road courses. Races are
held on tracks like Mid-Ohio, Road America, Putnam Park, and the infield
courses of Daytona, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Phoenix International
Raceway, etc… Races are between 30 and 60 minutes in duration.
There are two basic styles of enduro karts; they are
called "lay-downs" and "sit-ups" which refer to the driver's position.
Lay-downs have the driver reclined with only his head and shoulders
slightly elevated. Sit-ups use an upright driving position much like a
car. However, the driver still sits very low in the vehicle. Sit-up karts
are also known as Sprint karts. This is because they are used in another
from of kart racing called Sprints.
Sprint racing is done on scaled down road courses which
are usually under 1/2 mile in length; though some are much longer. The
racing is usually much closer than in road racing and there is more
contact between vehicles. However, the speeds are lower, so the
consequences of a mishap are reduced (not eliminated). Top speeds, in the
fastest classes are in the neighborhood of 60 or 70 mph. The races
typically last only a dozen laps or so.
The third type of kart racing is known as Speedway. As
the name implies, these karts are raced on small dirt or asphalt oval
speedways that are usually less than 1/3 mile. The same basic kart as is
used in Sprint racing can be used in Speedway racing. However, there are
specialized chassis' available to optimize weight distribution. These are
called 'left-turn only' or 'offset' karts.
Another type of specialized chassis is known as a Kage
or Champ kart. These karts have the same basic layout and mechanicals of a
Sprint kart, but they feature a full roll cage and belts (other forms of
karting leave the driver unbelted). The increased protection make these
karts about as safe as racing can be while still offering all the action.
Top speeds for Speedway racing is similar to Sprint
racing; 60-70 mph. Average speeds are considerably less. Races typically
last 15-30 laps.
Q: O.K., How much do these contraptions cost?
A: Again, speed costs. The fastest Enduro and sprint
karts can cost more than $8000 when new. However, perfectly useable
equipment for all forms of kart racing can be had for as low as $1000.
I recommend you go to the tracks nearest you and
observe the action. Talk to the drivers and crews. Most karters are very
happy to share their general knowledge about the sport, as long as you're
not looking for speed secrets!
Q: Would you recommend used or
A: Personally, I would (and did) buy used equipment for
my first kart. That way when you make contact or have an off track
excursion (and you will), you aren't tearing up that new paint job or body
work. You don't need the best of everything until you develop your skills.
Too, you can spend pennies on the dollar compared to new.
The best deals are usually from someone leaving karting
altogether, or someone who's moving to a different class and wants to get
rid of all their old equipment. While the kart might not look like it's
worth $2500, what kind of spares are you getting? Gears, spindles, tie
rods, clutches, tools, stands and starters all cost a lot of money when
purchased separately. Consider that before making a purchase.
Q: I'm forty and weigh 200 lbs... Can I be competitive?
Yes, and you'll have plenty of company! Karting is a
great family sport because there are classes for nearly every member of
the family. Class age and weight limits ensure there will be a class where
the playing field is fairly level.
Depending on the track you wish to race at, there may
be a class for children as young as 5. Many tracks have "heavy" and "Over
35" classes to accommodate those of us who started our racing careers a
little late in life. Finding a class to race in will be the easy part!
Q: What kind of motor should I race?
A: That depends on what type of racing you want to do,
how far you want to travel, and to some extent how much money you can
afford to spend. Again, I recommend you visit the tracks near you
featuring the kind of racing you think you'd like. See which are the
biggest classes; they are the biggest for a good reason. Usually they are
the most cost effective and the most fun
Q: Do you have any more recommendations?
A: Yes. The sport of karting is competitive, but unless
you're at the very upper echelons, it's just for fun and trophies. Race
cleanly, don't cheat, learn, learn, learn, and have fun.
Buying Your First Kart
by Carl Mason
LOOKING FOR YOUR KART
You've done your CLASSESwork, found the local tracks, know what rules you'll
be running under, decided what class you want to run, and are ready to buy
your first racing kart. While they are by no means complete, here are some
things to consider.
Whether you buy new or used (which I recommend for your
first kart), your biggest concern should be support. Are parts and advice
readily available locally for both the chassis and motor? It does you no
good to save a few bucks buying a chassis that is cheap, but no longer
imported for example. Where will you get parts when (not if) it breaks?
Foreign or domestic is a matter between you, your god,
and your pocketbook. There is no doubt the foreign chassis' were quite a
bit ahead a few years ago. However, the domestic manufacturers have made
giant leaps forward. I'd wager Emmick, Trackmagic, Invader, Margay, etc.
have a chassis that can run head-to-head with most of the foreign stuff .
. . for less money.
I don't have any karting related business interests, so
I am not going to benefit either way. However, I am a firm believer in
supporting your local kart dealer. Sure, I buy some things mail order, but
I also spend a fair amount at the local dealers. While I may pay more
locally, I know if I go there with a question, I'll get some answers. And
if you develop a good rapport with them, you may get a few 'specials'
thrown your way. I also know the local dealer will stand behind his
products, many mail-order places (not all) will refer you back to the
manufacturer. Another run-around waiting to happen.
BUYING A NEW KART
If you're buying a new kart, there aren't too many things you need to look
at, but there are a few to consider. Insist that the dealer mount the seat
with you in the kart...ON THE SCALES! Since your body weight makes up a
major portion of the total weight, proper placement is critical. Driver
comfort is a consideration, but it is not THE consideration. Proper
Each chassis will 'like' a different weight
distribution. The dealer should know this and should help you achieve a
good starting point. They aren't likely to hit the magic combination right
off, but they should get you close enough until you have lots of seat time
and can start making adjustments.
Ask the dealer to adjust the toe-in to his
recommendations with you IN the kart. The chassis is your suspension. As
such, it flexes when your weight is added. This flex will change the
toe-in (a function of weight and king-pin inclination). Make a note of the
resulting measurement with you OUT of the kart. Write this number down for
Speaking of writing things down, good records cannot be
over emphasized. Sure, the first few times out, it's easy to remember what
adjustment was made. However, after a few dozen races or more, it's not as
easy. The Amazing Kreskin might be able to keep track of all that was done
and what the conditions were on a given day, but I sure can't! I'd wager
you can't either. Write it down.
Get a set-up sheet from the dealer when you buy the
kart. They should have some recommendations for tire pressures, gear
ratios, track widths, pipe flex length, etc. for the
track/chassis/motor/class combination you're going to run.
It's easy to overlook all the miscellaneous 'stuff' you
need at the track when you're buying a kart, but they need to be factored
into the overall cost of your racing effort. As with any hobby, there are
always goodies and gadgets to make you flashier, faster, smoother,
smarter, etc… Here are some of the basics you'll need.
Fuel container w/funnel
Ratio Rite (2-cycle motors only)
Starter (clutch kart only)
Stand (actually not essential, but pretty close)
Tire pump of some type (I used a bicycle pump for two years)
* Tire pressure gauge
Basic hand tools (metric and standard)Allen wrenches (metric and standard)
Feeler gauge (dial caliper would be very helpful too)
Clutch tools (as applicable)
Chain breaker (DO NOT use master links!)
Gear sets appropriate for the local track
Something to carry all the stuff you'll accumulate, like spare everything!
Besides a truck or trailer, plastic boxes like Rubbermaid's Action Packer
work very well at keeping all the bits and pieces in close proximity.
Plus all the consumables: Gas/oil, alcohol, spark plugs, clutch oil, chain
Some type of instrumentation for the kart (EGT, CHT, RPM)
Helmet (check with sanctioning body, most require Snell
Driving suit or jacket
Rib protector (not required by most sanctioning organizations, but highly
Belts/restraints (for Champ kart)
BUYING A USED KART
When buying a used kart, there are a lot of things to look for. The most
important is frame integrity. This means all welds are intact and the
chassis is reasonably square. Inspect all welds for cracks. If you see a
crack in the paint on a weld, ask the seller to strip the paint off for a
closer look. If they refuse, look elsewhere for your first kart.
Remove the seat and measure from each king pin (spindle
bolt) to the rear bearing hanger on the opposite side. The measurements
should be within 1/4" of each other. If they are not, the chassis is
sprung and should be avoided.
If buying a sprint or enduro chassis examine the
spindle washers. The same number of washers (within one or two) should be
on each side of each spindle. In other words, if the left spindle has four
washers above and four washers below the spindle bearings, the right side
should be the same (within one or two). These washers are used to fine
tune the left/right weight ratio on the front. If there is a significant
difference between sides, it indicates the frame is bent and the seller
has compensated by moving the washers.
While a bent frame can be helped by bending it back, it
is best not to start with such a chassis. This check does not apply to a
chassis used on ovals as it is desirable to have more left side weight on
As with a new kart, get any set-up notes the seller has
for this kart. These notes reflect many days of racing/testing and are
worth almost as much as the chassis itself. Without the notes (or copies),
don't be in a hurry to purchase the kart unless your research shows it's a
better than average deal.
It seems like every motor ever sold is 'fresh' or only
has '2 races on it.' There are only a few things you can check, but you
should insist on them or push for a discount.
Have the seller start the motor. Don't take no for an
answer; if he doesn't have any fuel, arrange to come back a time when he
does. This doesn't guarantee the motor is 'fresh', but at least you'll
know the ignition and carburetion are good enough for it to run.
Using the seller's compression gauge, check the
compression after a warm-up. There are no universal absolute compression
numbers. However, if the seller kept good records, he should be able to
tell you what is good for his motor with his compression gauge. If he
can't, be wary.
On a 2-cycle (Yamaha in particular), look through the
exhaust port at the piston skirt. If it looks scuffed (dull with vertical
lines in the piston skirt), the motor has some time on it and is not
fresh. While looking in the exhaust port, note whether or not the port has
been cleaned up (smoothed) which is a sign of at least minimal
On a 4-cycle (Briggs in particular) most of the above
applies. Also, find out what cam, rod, and dipper are installed. Briggs
class' rules vary significantly; make sure the motor is legal for the
class you want to run.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE DEAL?
Have the seller specify exactly what is included with
the kart. Some people consider a 'roller' (kart with no motor) as a kart
with wheels and no tires. Others don't include either wheels or tires. Get
the specifics. If you go to a seller and there are several karts and
spares lying around, have them segregate everything included in the deal
from what isn't.
The more spares, tools, and equipment you can get, the
better. The items listed in Buying a New Kart are only the beginning;
you'll need more. If the seller will throw them in to sweeten the deal, so
much the better. Gears, chains, plugs, etc. are not cheap. Their worth
should be considered when weighing buying options.
I'm sure I've missed a few things, but you can see
there is a lot to consider when buying a kart, be it new or used. Good
luck and good hunting.