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 5 years, 2 months ago.

  • Author
  • #22022

    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.

    David Cole - EKN Managing Editor

  • #22023

    Walt Gifford

    Homelite Chainsaw motor.


    FAA certified jet engine and aircraft technician,
    Nicholson Speedway class champion 2001,
    Yamaha KT100 Service Center,
    41 years karting experience

  • #22025

    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.

  • #22026

    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

  • #22028

    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.

  • #22031

    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.

    David Cole - EKN Managing Editor

  • #22037

    Jim Derrig

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

  • #22038

    Rick Lawson

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

  • #22039

    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.

  • #22042

    Brad Johnson

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

  • #22045

    Glenn L Riggs

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

  • #22046

    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. :)

    2014 Praga Dragon / IAME KA-100

  • #22051

    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……

  • #22053

    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.



  • #22055

    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.

    Greg Wright
    Rapid Racing Inc.
    Vintage B-Stock Pilot
    "When in doubt Gas it, It won't help but it ends the suspense."

  • #22056

    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.

  • #22060

    Ray Chiappe

    Mac 30, long time ago!


  • #22069

    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.

  • #22080

    Troy Berry

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



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

  • #22086

    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.

  • #22093


    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.

  • #22106

    patrick j slattery

    Briggs 5hp

  • #22200

    Jim Russell, Jr

    some kind of Briggs on a Clark yard kart tearing up the empty field next to the shop. Then when I turned 10 Briggs on dirt oval.

    Been on just about anything you can think of since then.

    • #24925

      patrick hubbell

      Mac 91B1 , ran Reed Jr.   next was a Yamaha KT100 piston port sr.  Honda 80cc. And Horstman HPV.  Tag Leopard.

  • #22216

    Bill Cox

    Started as an adult.

    HPV.  But my size and weight were a penalty.  Still a good place to begin.

    Moved to the 80cc shifter; then to the Stock Honda 125cc shifter (dream ride).

    As an adult, I would point anyone to the TaG as a good place to begin.

  • #22233

    Bret Moreland

    Started with a Mac 91 (1978), then a Mac 91A.  Also drove a K88, Open Mac 91 and an Open Mac 101 (an absolute Rocket).  Ran everything Sprint, Dirt, and Laydowns and Sprints on RR tracks.  Left karting in 1984.  Got back into karting in 2011 with a PRD running TAG and open 125, tried sprints (not my cup of tea to old and fat), but RR only now and love it.

  • #22254

    Kerry Matthews

    Like Bill, I started late in life, at 45 y.o.  I started with a TaG, then bought a second one for my then g/f.  Ran the TaG’s for the first couple of years sprint racing, but discovered road racing late in my second year running karts.  As soon as I went road racing, I knew I needed a Stock Honda.  Bought one a year later.  The TaG’s were driving me nuts with all the problems keeping them running.  The Honda’s are SO nice to run!  And people wonder why I have a spare Honda in my trailer…  It’s because I used to run TaG, and you needed a spare engine!  Man, after running those pain in the butt TaG’s for a couple of seasons, I can’t say that I’d be too quick to steer anyone towards one, especially a beginning karter. I’d probably steer a new karter towards a KT 100.

  • #22256

    Ryan Schartau


  • #22264

    johnny brooks

    1969…got to drive my brothers A-Bone w/ Mac 91A…Sundays in parking lots…age 14. Only a few times that summer.

    Nothing else until 16 years later, found the Woodbridge Kart Club and started racing with a used Elite laydown powered by an LMR 100cc controlled.

  • #22279

    James McMahon

    Jumped in the deep end with a Formula A. Not the way I’d recommend as there’s not many driving experiences that compare.

  • #22489

    Joel Giacometti

    2 cycle

    West Bend 510 bushing PTO



  • #22602

    Lyle Clark

    Mac 91A in the late 70’s on the dirt tracks in south east Iowa.

    • #22666

      John Crider

      My first motor was a Mc-10 I got for X-Mas when I was 13. When I was told it was obsolete and non competitive it broke My heart but it was still fast and fun and I wish I still had it. It’s worth a bit more then the $35.00 My Dad paid for it. So I saved My paper route money for 3 or 4 months and got a Mc-91A. As for a new Karter. If Your Enduro racing either a B&S Animal or any good Piston Valve motor is easy to get Your feet wet with then decide for yourself what Your goals and aspirations are. This is all My opinion and You know what’s said about them. Happy Karting.

  • #22718

    Britt Robinson

    Harbor Freight clone. Raced that for 3 years. Now happily starting my 3rd year of shifting.

    '13 Velox SK1 - CR125 -
    4th place finisher on a good day @ Tri-City Kart Club, Richland, WA

  • #22890

    Eric Gunderson

    The Comer K 80, Jr.1 in a Tecno Kart. Wonder where it is now….


  • #24272

    Evan Fraser

    Started at age 26 after a lot of volunteering experience around the local sports car track.  Vortex Rok 125 on a 2002 Tonykart Mitox.  Broke a lot, learned a lot.  If I were to do it over again I would start with (and recommend) an LO206, it just wasn’t very prevalent at our track at the time.

    Evan Fraser

    #43 - Formula K FK01 / Briggs LO206

    West Coast Kart Club

  • #24941

    Oliver Kell

    Jumped in the deep end with a Formula A. Not the way I’d recommend as there’s not many driving experiences that compare.

    First kart I drove, same thing. FA. I still remember being out with friends for dinner 2-3 hours later. I was literally bouncing around the booth from the adrenaline still pumping through my system.

    My first kart was a TK Extreme with a PCR engine the same generation as a TT75. I HATED the pos Mikuni carb on that thing!

  • #25003

    Paul Lopez

    im 28 and when i was 10 i started with a 5hp flathead briggs. Most fun ever!

    Keeping the sport of kart driving fun and pure. Creator of Lo Speed Karting Team a cool non-competitive bunch of local people. Check out our site "LoSpeedKarting.weebly.com"

  • #22029

    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.

  • #22108

    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!

    We spend our money on Racin, Whiskey and Women.... The rest we waste....

  • #22123

    Jeff Wesell

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

    Streeter Super Stands
    "Roll with The Best!"

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