Home Forums General Karting Discussion New to karts – looking for advice

This topic contains 13 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Kerry Matthews 4 years, 8 months ago.

  • Author
  • #31910

    Drew Nichols

    Looking to get into racing. Just wondering what type of kart to start out on. Like the title says, pretty much a newbie to go kart racing but I have so much fun racing them at K1 speed. I have no idea where to start. Race pro motocross so I am used to choosing lines, setting up passes, fast engines etc…well any help appreciated! Thanks , drew

  • #31913

    brian downing

    You need to go to the track nearest you and find their class structure.
    Most tracks/clubs have classes that will favor a particular motor, ala Yamaha, Rotax, TaG (IAME, etc), PRD.

    There will be a progression from lower power to higher power, smaller chassis to larger.
    Sticking with the same motor is supposed to allow one to have a more cost effective path to progress through the classes by adding/removing restrictors on intake, exhaust, etc.

    How old are you and what general area do you live in?
    Do you know where the nearest kart racing track is?

    Have you been to the track on race day and asked this question of the race director and participants? You’ll find karters to be exceptionally helpful, especially with the introduction of the sport to newbies.

    Good luck, it’s a great sport!


  • #31934

    Dre DIvac

    Thanks for posting this.  I was going to start a post kind of like this but I dont want to start a whole new thread.  Ive raced some tag karts, and some rental karts.  The question I have is, I am looking to get into an “Ignite” Series here in St Louis.  I am 6’3 225lbs.  Can I still be competitive being this heavy?  With minimal time on the track, in the couple of times I have driven karts, I am about 1 sec off fastest laps.  I know with more time on track I can improve, but already have a pretty good feel.

  • #31937

    brian downing

    There’s always room for improvement. Last year I was 6’2″ 215#, then I hit the gym, cut out crap food and started training. Now I’m down to 170# and fit nicely into a KT100 pipe kart, though at 55 YO, my sides hurt when racing :)

    Competitive? Depends on class structure and your level of preparation and commitment.


  • #31938

    Dale Daugherty

    Ditto what Brian said. The best thing you can do for yourself is FIRST get involved in the community, even if this means being a spectator, grabbing a pit pass, and asking questions. Observe, observe, observe… and then start asking more questions.

    Once you have been trackside and witnessing how everything works, you will start to get a real clear picture of what kind of kart you should be starting in. Do not be afraid to ask for a test drive either. If you have a local club, email them and ask if they have anyone willing to give you a run in a Chonda, for instance. This is dangerous, by the way; as you WILL be hooked. You think you got it bad from driving a K1 kart? Just wait until you get out on the track in a proper kart.

    Start in something you can afford, and when you are ready for bigger and better things, you will know.

    Bottom line: find your local track and kart shop, and go to both. Talk to people. Introduce yourself, be polite, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice, a test drive, etc. You won’t get what you don’t ask for. There are so many great people in this sport who are willing to show you the way.


    2010 Spirit [Birel] SP32 // SRS CR125 - Stock Honda [#08]
    Hill Country Kart Club - New Braunfels, Texas - http://daledaugherty.wordpress.com/

  • #31947

    Dre DIvac

    Thanks everyone!  This does help alot!

  • #31952

    Drew Nichols

    Thanks for the insight,  I live in davis, ca, 15 minutes west of Sacramento. I’m 29, 5’8 160 lbs. I actually live a few miles from a kart track here in Davis. I will have to check it out when they are racing. I have heard some about the kt100 and will check that out. Eventually would like to get into a shifter

  • #31968

    Troy Berry


    welcome to your new obsession! lol Check out the Blue Max Kart Club.


    They run a great program in Davis. Anything from  shifter classes and  tag, yamaha and KPV and Clones. Great bunch of folks.  Nothing helps more than to go to a race and talk everyone’s ear off and see what looks good to you. Banging gears on a dirt bike  is not much different than a shifter so try to get a couple of different rides before you decide. Have a blast and come to Reno sometime. We have one of the wildest and fun tracks in the west!

    "The Art is in the details"
    BirelArt AM29 LO206
    Intrepid Cruiser KA 100

  • #31974

    Kerry Matthews


    You have several kart tracks within short drive from Davis.  Blue Max in Davis, Prairie City has a track, and there’s Kinsman Kart Club, a track south of Dixon on Hwy 113.  There’s also a kart track at Sonoma raceway.

    In fact, there’s a race at Prairie City this Sunday, Aug 17th.  Might be worth it to drive over and check it out!


  • #32010

    Chris Stylianou

    Go to your local track and ask lots and lots of questions. I also used to race mx, last year for the past 4 years and just a few days ago I picked up a Tag 125 as my first kart.

  • #32012

    Drew Nichols

    Awesome thanks everyone!  I am going to check out prarie city.  I’ve ridden the mx track plenty of times but didn’t know they had a kart track.  Also the davis track is not a huge track. The tag 125 kart has me interested as its probably a little faster than the kt100?  How many hp for the 125 compared to the 100? Dumb question but do beginners to kart racing ever start out in shifters?

  • #32015

    TJ Koyen

    It’s generally advised not to start in shifters. They are quite a handful and it’s really easy to develop some bad driving habits if you start with all that power. Starting in a slower class will develop your driving and make the learning curve much easier.

    A TaG kart (Leopard, Rotax, X30) is going to be around 30hp whereas a KT will be between 15-20 depending on exhaust and carb setup. On most tracks the TaG class is 2-5 seconds faster per lap.

    Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
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    • #32017

      Drew Nichols

      That’s cool good to know! Thanks!

  • #32027

    Kerry Matthews

    If you do head out to Prairie City, ask for Bill McCallister.  He and his wife Paula are running the show out there these days, and he will answer any and all of your questions.  He will get you going in the right direction, and he has a couple of rental karts, so you might be able to check out a kart before buying one.

    The kart track is located all the way at the back of the park, near the water tower, ‘igloo’ and park offices.  There’s a sign showing the way at the ranger check in station.

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