April 6, 2014 at 12:45 pm #25148Dustin McGrewParticipant
I am new to karting and I should be getting on track for my first practice sessions next weekend. I’ll be running the Senior Piston Port class at Pittsburgh Intl Race Complex (Beaverun). The thing I’m worried about is making some dumb mistake that will cost me money or track time. What are some mistakes that you’ve made or you’ve seen others make that can easily be avoided?
April 6, 2014 at 5:42 pm #25166Joe BowenParticipant
Tony covered it pretty well but I’ll share my experience as last weekend was my very first kart race weekend. I lost track time by not having my steering wheel to stem bolts wire tied, like Tony said that stuff isn’t fun to do at the track luckily I had long enough spare bolts to just double nut the three bolts. Second was being new and not fully understanding when to be staged on the grid and ready for practice I missed one of my practice sessions. All this was first day and on my own mistakes and after day two I feel pretty good about what’s going on. Also take the time to learn exactly where to enter pit lane, park your kart stand while on track and where to exit pit lane I just watched a few heats to see what everyone else was doing. Most important thing is have fun and don’t be discouraged, I left the track after my first day feeling like I was in over my head but now I’m going into it with a lot of really good goals I want to reach!
April 6, 2014 at 6:15 pm #25169Mike ClarkParticipant
I will add to what Tony said.
Check that your brake tether allows full travel. We had one that would prevent the brake from fully operating. Make sure your throttle returns and doesn’t bind. Wheels falling off – don’t be that guy. The center of the front hub should be clipped or safety wired. My policy when working on someones kart is they final tighten all wheel fasteners.
Check to see if your track has a rookie orientation. Don’t be afraid t let the other drivers know you are the rookie. Worst case is you will know something of there attitude and more than likely they will give you good advice.
Read the track rules. Know the flagging and procedures of the track you are on.
Make sure you enter the track at pit out and are going in the right direction. It happens. Raise hand before slowing off pace, exiting track or when you have spun, are sitting still or reentering track. If you do have to get out of the kart try to keep it between you and oncoming traffic. If you get tired get off and take a break. It is better to be too slow and build speed than to go too fast and have a short day. Look ahead! You probably can’t look too far ahead. If you find corners coming up too fast that can be a sign you need a break.
Watch your hydration and don’t forget to eat. I like to pack my gear in a modular fashion. Anything you can do at home before you head out to the track should be done ahead.
Make sure you have your emergency contact info available just in case anything happens.
Best of luck to you and enjoy your outing.
April 7, 2014 at 5:28 pm #25238Greg LindahlParticipant
Ask questions of experienced karters. Bring something to keep notes in. Use it extensively. Listen.
April 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm #25159tony zambosParticipant
Welcome to the sport. I suppose anyone on the forun can give you a list of things. But I’ll start.
Make sure your gear is ready. Besides the kart, your personal equipment, helmet, suit, gloves, shoes, rib protector and neck brace if you track requires one. For the kart, make sure it’s safe. Know what needs to be saftety wired or clipped. That’s mainly the steering components, spindles, tie rod ends, steering wheel, king pins. You don’t want to be drilling bolts or nuts at the track. Make sure the brake pedal is NOT soft or goes soft. Make sure all the bolts are tight. Tie wrap the brake pedal to the front nerf and try to turn the wheels. they shouldn’t turn. Bring just about every tool you have used to work on the kart including a tire pressure gauge. Consider having an air tank if one is not available at the track. But if put 20 lbs in each tire the night before, you should be good for most of the day since you’ll be letting out air as the day warms. Bring tie wraps plus electrical and duct tape, chain lub, gas and oil plus a measuring cup for the oil, rags or paper towels. Eventually you have to put together a box of spare nuts, bolts and washers. Bring a spare battery for you gauge or any other electronic device you might have.
Past the pit wall is out of my domain. But find out a how novice kart should be marked. At some tracks, an X on the back number place will work. I’ve heard that you should hold a consistant line around the track and the faster guys will pass you cleanly. Finally, bring water and sun block.
No need to pack a good time as you’ll find one at the track.
P.S. A Safety tether might be needed from the brake master cylinder lever to the brake pedal.
LAD Specialties customer / tony kart / rotax / kt100
April 6, 2014 at 7:49 pm #25174Walt GiffordParticipant
Slow down for the turns. Sounds dumb but allot of guys don’t know how to do this and end up wrecking. Start every race in the back and let the pack get a good gap going into turn one. Then after the first lap have fun racing the back markers. When the leaders come around to pass you don’t get out of their way just hold a steady line. Run your carb a little on the rich side so you don’t stick your piston. Write your blood type on the outside of your kart suit.
FAA certified jet engine and aircraft technician,
Nicholson Speedway class champion 2001,
Yamaha KT100 Service Center,
41 years karting experience
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