Home Forums General Karting Discussion What form of engine did you begin your karting career with?

This topic contains 40 replies, has 39 voices, and was last updated by  Paul Lopez 3 years, 11 months ago.

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    David Cole

    We all had to start somewhere in the sport. As diverse as karting is, there are many options that racers get their first taste of an inch off the ground. In the early years, there was not as many options as there is today.

    So, what was your first engine – 2cycle or a 4cycle
    What engine model?
    And, what do you think is the best engine for a new karter?

    I started around age 10 with a Briggs Flathead engine. I feel that the best engine for a depends on the location and the experience. A Briggs LO206 is perfect for the newbie, Yamaha KT100 is a great 2-cycle option as well. Should it be someone coming from the sports car world, I don’t mind them starting out in a TaG or shifterkart.


    Walt Gifford

    Homelite Chainsaw motor.



    First engine I ever used was a Comer K80. I started at age 7, drove it until I was 11. Moved to a Yamaha kt100.


    Greg Dzielinski

    In 25 years of karting, only 1 engine type

    Yamaha KT100 (sprint & enduro)

    Now my son: Comer Kid kart->Comer Cadet->Yamaha JR


    Rob Kozakowski

    Flathead Briggs once in about 1986 before I hit a tree.  Flathead Briggs for a year when started again in 1992.

    Lots of different engines from 1993 until 2001, when I stopped racing.

    Then 4-strokes when I got back in 2011-2012, before going Rotax in 2013, and shifting gears with a TM K9b this year.  If I didn’t already have the Rotax and the shifter, I’d be running a LO206 this year as well.


    Ryan Schartau

    I believe in missing kid karts and start teaching a young driver in a cadet chassis with a Comer 80 or the new Honda Pilot, It gives the new driver just enough power to learn braking aswell as throttle ( kid karts are mostly floored around the entire track).

    Once a new driver gets some seat time on the Comer / Pilot, the next engine that we enjoy racing is the Vortex Minirok – Great Motor  but more rebuilds. And of course the other great cadet engine is Rotax, very strong engines.

    I think the IAME K-71 / HPV / KPV motors are steller engines that last a long time between rebuilds and fast.


    David Cole

    That’s a good point. Age is a big factor in what you start with as well.

    If your a kid, you go with what engines are available at your age level. I think if my son starts racing any time, I’d like to start him off with lower HP engines. Two factors – Speed and Maintenance. The slower speed can teach drivers to be smooth instead of all over the wheel like you tend to see with higher HP engines. And the lower HP engines seem to be less maintenance.


    Jim Derrig

    Modified honda CR 125 shifter, also called  “learning to swim by jumping into the deep end of the pool.”


    Rick Lawson

    I started with a MC91A, then to Komet K88 in the A-open light and LMR for controlled stock.


    Jim Silverheels

    In 1960 I had a Lombard Chainsaw motor. Looked at those Macs in the karting mags but never had the money to git one. At that time I made my own kart and ran the streets and parking lots on Sundays. Stores were closed in those days on Sundays.


    Brad Johnson

    1987ish, West Bend 820, box muffler, dry clutch


    Glenn L Riggs

    Power products  was disappointed after putting dual carbs on it didn`t go twice as fast learned alot since then. lol


    Ted Hamilton

    My first race vehicle was a Microd, like a full-bodied kart only with a wood frame. We used Tecumseh H35 engines, 3.5 hp with left rear driven only. That was in 1988. Switch to a 6hp 4 years later, and my final year was in what amounted to a quarter-midget with a 5hp Briggs similar to WKA specs.
    Good training ground for being smooth and total momentum game.

    My first kart was practicing with a friends’ 28mm Swiss Hutless with a 100cc Formula A spec Parilla TT36 Revenge. Direct-drive with an IBEA slide carby and breadbox sides only. Violent acceleration in every direction. Everything since has been a letdown except my foray into club ICA with BeaverRun using a 100cc water-cooled Haase Titan engine. Of course running at 330# instead of the more bulky 375# required for TaG may have something to do with the lack of feel for TaG, and the clutch changes things too…

    For a newb, any 4 cycle seems like a good choice. Except for maybe a Biland. 🙂


    Jason Bane

    I had no motorsports experience, but started in Rotax. I blew it up in my first race due to improper jetting or maybe old bottom end.  Fortunately Eric Jones took pity on me and made me a good deal on another motor to get me back up and racing again. Ran Rotax for a year before switching to a CR125.  I love the shifter, but I do miss the TaG as well, but Rotax parts were pricey. Maybe one day funds will allow me to run 2 karts, shifter and a leopard or X30.

    I think the L206 is a great option for new karters.  I haven’t been in one, but the many that I have seen at the track looked fun and very economical.  If I ran a track, I would find a way to run a combo of 4 cycles at the same time, adjusting weight to help make them close.   Have a used tire only spec rule, you couldn’t put the kart on the ground with new tires, except in practice.   TaG and shifter karts could sell their used take offs cheap, and the 4 Cycle guys would likely still be able to get plenty of laps out of them……


    B.J. Schnettler

    I started July of last year with a clone.  Moving with the rest of the club this year to LO206.

    Looking forward to a full season and learning how to race better and get into the mix of competition instead of chasing it.

    For the entry costs I think I went the right way starting in 4cycles.




    Greg Wright

    Started with a 2 stroke West Bend 580. I guess that’s telling my age.


    One of the best engines to start out with or stay with for that matter, Yamaha KT100.


    Gary Lawson

    Briggs flathead for me in 1992.  The lo206 is the best choice for someone getting started especially if they dont have a prior mechanical background.  They are the closest to zero maintenance you can get for multiple years.


    Ray Chiappe

    Mac 30, long time ago!



    Brian Mead

    Mac-9 to Mac 91-a to Mac91-b to Mac 101AA to marriage. Back in it in the 80’s with the Yammi and lots of other stuff. LO206 this year.


    Troy Berry

    Mac 91. It  was 1972, Don’s raceway in Wichita Ks.  I was 10.




    Clark Gaynor Sr.

    1963, North Hills Raceway, Phoenixville, Pa.  63′ Dart A-Bone with a MC 40. (dual carbs on gas).  I was 14.  Since then, everything from a Briggs flat head to a CR250 Anderson super kart.  Currently road race with the WKC/WKA in Stock Leopard.  I was getting a little old for Stock Honda anymore, so I went back to the Leopard and had a ball.

    Let’s see, starting out.  My 7 year old Grandson is following his Dad and I into kart racing this year.  He’ll be running a Pro Gas Animal (stock Briggs Animal, controlled cam on gas- imagine that!!??)  Someone with no racing experience, I think the LO206 is the way to go.  Very low maintenance, and just learn how to race.  Someone with racing experience, go with a Tag.  Rotax, Leopard, whatever.  More experience, Stock Honda.  But whatever you get, make sure it’s a popular class where you intend to race!

    I actually think I’ll be putting a LO206 on an 07′ Intrepid shifter chassis to do a little local club racing where ever my Grandson races.

    Clark Sr.



    Mc 91  2 cycle Rupp A-bone chassis in 1973. It went on from that point. Wow I have been at this a long time.


    patrick j slattery

    Briggs 5hp


    Mark Erpelding

    Mac 8, Mac 9, Mac 91, Mac 91A, 101 Mac, Yamaha KT100, Leopard.

    Nothing like the smell of castor in the morning.  At the end of the race season I bring home my left over race gas and put it in my snow blower to get me through the winter!


    Jeff Wesell

    Started with Briggs Flathead. Lots of good times and memories.

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