Everyone has their own personal preference on their favorite type of kart. I personally love to enter races in a shifter kart but have more fun driving single speed karts if that makes sense. Shifter karts are the purest form of racing, but they are a lot to handle. When you are starting out in a shifter kart, much of your focus is taken off of driving lines and getting a feel for the chassis. When you start out in a less intense kart, you can progress your skills better.
In terms of which kart to get… It might be fun for a while to just go out on the weekends and have the thrill of the shifter kart but soon you’ll want to race with other people. The animal class is definitely the main class at the Shasta Kart Club aka your local track. Here in the Sacramento Valley the Clone class is the largest and the animal is non existent. It all depends on where you want to race. Also here the 80 shifter class is the one that is run.
The animal will be less maintenance and the L206 is a great motor to run, don’t remember if that spec is run there.
I agree with Rob, don’t go the cheap route, it always costs way more. Many times someone buys an older kart for 3k and then puts 1k in it trying to bring it to closer performance of newer karts. They never get their money out of the kart and it still doesn’t preform like a modern kart.
If you want more info on classes run at the local tracks, feel free to message me. Also we can build you a brand new 2014 Intrepid Raptor or 2013 ItalKart Elite, Briggs L206 motor, Burris motor mount, Bridgestone tires for 4599, this way you’re starting fresh.