Getting in to go-karting?

Getting in to go-karting?

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Discussion

Notshortnottall

597 posts

186 months

Tuesday 30th May 2017
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Normally I'd recommend getting down to the Three Sisters track near Wigan but unfortunately the management company running it have just folded. I'm sure it'll be back open soon though as it's a cracking place and the circuit itself is owned by the Council.

One thing to note was that back in the day (about 10-15 years ago) when I was running in Senior TKM, 100 National and Rotax champs, it was becoming increasingly 'cheque-book' and people would think nothing of going through a couple of highly-strung engines in a weekend. I'm sure it will have been clamped down on by now but the point is attend a couple and talk to people from the professional looking teams through to the 'man and van' set ups in order to make an informed decision on costs.

It led to my decision to get into racing cars as I was spending similar money!

CraigyMc

16,557 posts

238 months

Tuesday 30th May 2017
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Notshortnottall said:
...I'm sure it will have been clamped down on by now...
It's got worse every year I've been involved (which is the last 15).
You can spend six figures a season running a Super1 entry. It's total madness.

To be competitive you're talking about five figures.
Base cost (not including a kart, mechanic, travel, testing, trailer, spare chassis/ multiple engines, test track hire, or any of the other commonplace stuff) is circa £4K but there are zero people doing it that cheaply.

The fact is that owner/driver at the top level is generally dominated by people with money to burn. A kid with less skill but ten times the testing hours will generally whip a talented kid with less experience. A kid who has had access to umpteen on-the-limit engines will (all things being equal) beat the one who has been running the same engine all season, purely through wear& tear and windage losses.

It's sad really, but money does buy success, on the whole.

Rental karting doesn't delete all of the above, and karts always do vary, but it makes it a more level playing field if everyone has the same chance of the rocket kart, or the snail kart, from whichever fleet it is.

HustleRussell

24,802 posts

162 months

Tuesday 30th May 2017
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Notshortnottall said:
(the amount of money the front runners were spending in karting) led to my decision to get into racing cars as I was spending similar money!
Same. Plus I'm a fatty.

HustleRussell

24,802 posts

162 months

Tuesday 30th May 2017
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Gary29 said:
Can you be big and fat and be good at karting?

Weight is a massive penalty when you have so little power surely?
You certainly can be big, fat and good at karting... whether you can be big, fat and successful at karting is the real question. In some weight equalised classes the disadvantage is less severe but lighter drivers can still do clever things with their ballast to optimise their handling.

cbmotorsport

3,065 posts

120 months

Tuesday 30th May 2017
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Get yourself in a decent Kart before you rate yourself as a driver. A Rotax Max is a different kettle of fish entirely from your corporate twin engine crap.

I bought a secondhand rotax, and did a few years of pay and play days at various circuits like Rye House and Buckmore. You can get a half decent kart for around £1k and go and have some fun. I was paying around £40/day to thrash around all day.

You may find that scratches your itch, if not, you'll have learnt a lot.


CraigyMc

16,557 posts

238 months

Tuesday 30th May 2017
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cbmotorsport said:
I was paying around £40/day to thrash around all day.
No you weren't: you're kidding yourself.

Unless you're saying that
  • you actually live at the circuit (so no travel costs) and
  • you pay nothing for fuel or tyres, and
  • you never rebuild an engine, and
  • you never buy a chassis, and
  • you never renew brakes, and
  • unless your kart was some sort that didn't depreciate.
Irrespective of the costs to buy, build+run a kart, track fees alone are often higher than £40/day.
At Fulbeck a month ago, it was £45/kart with a supplement per additional driver of £10.

RacerMike

4,251 posts

213 months

Tuesday 30th May 2017
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As many have said, I'd thoroughly recommend Club100. I also did BUKC, and have been lucky enough to make it as far as British GT via 6 years of Caterham racing with a Championship win in 2014! I'd done a very limited amount of testing in Pro Karts from the age of about 9-16 and C100 was a big step up. It took about 3 seasons before I was in with a shout of winning anything (and made plenty of mistakes still then!).

So definitely go and give it a go. You'll be up against some seriously good drivers and it's great fun and great experience but you genuinely never know what can happen. Whilst I inevitably put in quite a lot of my own money to race, I'm far from a millionaire, and was incredibly lucky to find some sponsorship for 4 years of my racing that ultimately paid for the foray into GT cars.

You won't regret it!

Edited by RacerMike on Tuesday 30th May 15:07

joema

2,659 posts

181 months

Tuesday 30th May 2017
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I'd just find your local kart club and go along on a practice day and have a chat to some people.

If you do something like Rotax max costs can be kept down if you're happy you aren't at the front (you never will be anyway). Paying just for practice days is also quite good.

A decent kart will cost about £2k second hand. Plus you need transport. It's a big outlay to start with but once you have it costs are what you make it.



Ruffy94

229 posts

138 months

Tuesday 30th May 2017
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warcalf said:
Ruffy94 said:
Do Daytona still do an Inkart championship? that was always arrive and drive and i enjoyed the junior version as a kid. If they do there's a Daytona in manchester (i think). Let me know if you find/ can recommend any arrive and drive karting near Preston though, im up there for uni and have been tempted to have another go (especially now im a bit lighter these days...)
I've only ever been to a place in Euxton (near Chorley) it's called Extreme Karting UK, it's a really small track, but for a first experience it was wicked! Plenty of corners you can go flat out through and a lot you have to balance on. Bags of fun and cheap.

However having knowledge of the size of circuits for tracks used in places like club100, it's really small. But a great intro, for me. The one that me and my friends are going to next is Trax (near the Docs). That's a lot bigger than Euxton and should be a lot more challenging, if you'll be in the area you could always come with us? Be great to have more people interested in motoring etc smile
Have to post up here what you think of Trax, ive heard of it but never been, looks like a decent outdoor circuit though. I might be interested later in the year, I work unpredictable hours over the summer (events management)

warcalf

Original Poster:

252 posts

89 months

Tuesday 30th May 2017
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CraigyMc said:
It's got worse every year I've been involved (which is the last 15).
You can spend six figures a season running a Super1 entry. It's total madness.

To be competitive you're talking about five figures.
Base cost (not including a kart, mechanic, travel, testing, trailer, spare chassis/ multiple engines, test track hire, or any of the other commonplace stuff) is circa £4K but there are zero people doing it that cheaply.

The fact is that owner/driver at the top level is generally dominated by people with money to burn. A kid with less skill but ten times the testing hours will generally whip a talented kid with less experience. A kid who has had access to umpteen on-the-limit engines will (all things being equal) beat the one who has been running the same engine all season, purely through wear& tear and windage losses.

It's sad really, but money does buy success, on the whole.

Rental karting doesn't delete all of the above, and karts always do vary, but it makes it a more level playing field if everyone has the same chance of the rocket kart, or the snail kart, from whichever fleet it is.
With regards to the snail kart and rocket kart, what is that about? Especially at arrive and drive places, I'd have thought they'd ensure all karts are tuned evenly!

Having the snail kart automatically rules one out from winning a race, or at least in my limited experience it does

ChemicalChaos

10,421 posts

162 months

Tuesday 30th May 2017
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warcalf said:
With regards to the snail kart and rocket kart, what is that about? Especially at arrive and drive places, I'd have thought they'd ensure all karts are tuned evenly!

Having the snail kart automatically rules one out from winning a race, or at least in my limited experience it does
Arrive and drive places do their best to keep the karts equal, but there are several factors against them. Firstly, not all of the fleet is in use at once, and though they try to mix up which karts get used in which session there will always be some that get more worn out than the others. Secondly, they have to deal with a lot of total cretins at arrive and drive sessions. The sort of cretins who stick it in the wall at full speed either through lack of skill or "cos it's funny, innit". As a result the majority of the karts are bent to differing degrees, and in differing ways.
One time at Teamsport Warrington I had a kart in the first session that would not turn in at all, and practically had to be handbrake-turned into the hairpins. The second session of the day saw me in a kart with the total opposite behaviour - very neat driving was required to stop it oversteering and losing me time in fast corners.

warcalf

Original Poster:

252 posts

89 months

Tuesday 30th May 2017
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ChemicalChaos said:
Arrive and drive places do their best to keep the karts equal, but there are several factors against them. Firstly, not all of the fleet is in use at once, and though they try to mix up which karts get used in which session there will always be some that get more worn out than the others. Secondly, they have to deal with a lot of total cretins at arrive and drive sessions. The sort of cretins who stick it in the wall at full speed either through lack of skill or "cos it's funny, innit". As a result the majority of the karts are bent to differing degrees, and in differing ways.
One time at Teamsport Warrington I had a kart in the first session that would not turn in at all, and practically had to be handbrake-turned into the hairpins. The second session of the day saw me in a kart with the total opposite behaviour - very neat driving was required to stop it oversteering and losing me time in fast corners.
Ahhh, well I suppose that's to be assumed!

I certainly experienced my fair share of low torque karts, awful steering set up karts and the rocket kart! Haha!

Frimley111R

15,723 posts

236 months

Saturday 30th April 2022
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I'd echo a lot of this.

I bought a kart in my early 20s, about the same time as the OP. It was like an F1 car compared to everything else I'd driven. The speed and grip were unbelievable. At Rye House you'd barrel into the corner at the end of the straight at about 60mph and never lift. I never raced sadly, just used to go to test days on Sundays a blast around with others. Stunning difference in karts and when I'd go on hire kart days and they'd say 'These are proper race karts' I'd rolleyes

It's quite a commitment to do it properly and costs do mount up. I previously raced RC cars for 10 years and eventually couldn't compete with budgets in that! You have to be realistic that money, more than speed will be your biggest challenge but if you accept that it's still brilliant.

I did try Club100 and so went to their taster session a couple a years ago. It was wet. And I got slaughtered! If I wasn't spinning I was getting passed continually. After 25 mins of humiliation I came in. These guys often have done many seasons of karting and its their main thing/hobby. No way could I compete with them.

A friend does their equivalent series but in normal hire karts and that seems a better place to start but I'd improve fitness a lot and still expect to be at the back. It does help for some guys, that they live near a track. 70m+ for me doesn't make it easy to do regularly.

zippyprorider

735 posts

208 months

Monday 22nd May 2023
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I did a lot of indoor but about 2 years ago made the switch to prokart and currently race in BPEC which is a great very competitive series around the country. Prokarts are the sweet spot in my opinion as they are fast enough and have sealed cost effective Honda engines that don't require rebuilds every 5 mins like rotax (although if I had the money 😁😁) and massive grids

Couple of teams I know offer race and testing packages kartsim uk (testing and bpec rounds) and hase uk based at pfi and rye house offering testing for the day and coaching.

Also look at the big hire events like the 24hour series some of the best events anyone can just jump in and drive.


CraigyMc

16,557 posts

238 months

Monday 22nd May 2023
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zippyprorider said:
I did a lot of indoor but about 2 years ago made the switch to prokart and currently race in BPEC which is a great very competitive series around the country. Prokarts are the sweet spot in my opinion as they are fast enough and have sealed cost effective Honda engines that don't require rebuilds every 5 mins like rotax (although if I had the money ????) and massive grids

Couple of teams I know offer race and testing packages kartsim uk (testing and bpec rounds) and hase uk based at pfi and rye house offering testing for the day and coaching.

Also look at the big hire events like the 24hour series some of the best events anyone can just jump in and drive.
Haase isn't it?

But the big supplier of karts in bpec is Howard Lucas, who is the UK distributor for MS kart. His teams win a hell of a lot and he's an enthusiast.

zippyprorider

735 posts

208 months

Monday 22nd May 2023
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CraigyMc said:
zippyprorider said:
I did a lot of indoor but about 2 years ago made the switch to prokart and currently race in BPEC which is a great very competitive series around the country. Prokarts are the sweet spot in my opinion as they are fast enough and have sealed cost effective Honda engines that don't require rebuilds every 5 mins like rotax (although if I had the money ????) and massive grids

Couple of teams I know offer race and testing packages kartsim uk (testing and bpec rounds) and hase uk based at pfi and rye house offering testing for the day and coaching.

Also look at the big hire events like the 24hour series some of the best events anyone can just jump in and drive.
Haase isn't it?

But the big supplier of karts in bpec is Howard Lucas, who is the UK distributor for MS kart. His teams win a hell of a lot and he's an enthusiast.
Yeah Howard and ms is prob the biggest but apollo and haase have a big following (run ms myself)


CraigyMc

16,557 posts

238 months

Monday 22nd May 2023
quotequote all
zippyprorider said:
CraigyMc said:
zippyprorider said:
I did a lot of indoor but about 2 years ago made the switch to prokart and currently race in BPEC which is a great very competitive series around the country. Prokarts are the sweet spot in my opinion as they are fast enough and have sealed cost effective Honda engines that don't require rebuilds every 5 mins like rotax (although if I had the money ????) and massive grids

Couple of teams I know offer race and testing packages kartsim uk (testing and bpec rounds) and hase uk based at pfi and rye house offering testing for the day and coaching.

Also look at the big hire events like the 24hour series some of the best events anyone can just jump in and drive.
Haase isn't it?

But the big supplier of karts in bpec is Howard Lucas, who is the UK distributor for MS kart. His teams win a hell of a lot and he's an enthusiast.
Yeah Howard and ms is prob the biggest but apollo and haase have a big following (run ms myself)
(me too: occasional 303 driver)

Raging Bu11

128 posts

183 months

Monday 22nd May 2023
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OP, my advice would be to do it, get properly involved, get your racing licence and enter some proper races.
Don’t listen to all the naysayers. (I’m going back a few years here though). I was actually the opposite to you. Didn’t fancy entering a race as didn’t want to get embarrassed, but knew I was fairly quick on practice days.
Long story short. Entered my first race and won. Had some reliability / learning issues, Would generally win or bin it in the wet. (Learnt so much about set up). Finished 2nd in the club championship at Rye House.
I was the one bringing my Kart on the roof rack of my car. My Kart was 2yrs old and everyone else seemed to have pretty much brand new & I was racing against people with huge set ups etc…. It makes the wins feel so much better when you beat the properly sponsored guys ??

I went on from that to race 250cc SuperKarts on proper circuits, like Silverstone, Snetterton, Caldwell, Brands etc. Won some races but didn’t worry the championship. Great fun and these were properly quick.
Went on from that to race an MGC (classic touring car type racing). Loads of people telling me to keep it on the black stuff, this is big boys league etc. Finished 2nd in my first race at silverstone. Finished 3rd in the championship and won it the next year. Got invited to race in the French Historic Touring Car championship at Spa. (Biggest and most awesome grid of cars I’ve ever seen). Won the class I was in (not qualified for points).

Sorry for the ramble, but all I’m saying is have a go as you never know where it might take you. And I guarantee wherever it takes you, you will have massive fun on the way

RB

Edited by Raging Bu11 on Monday 22 May 21:29

Register1

2,203 posts

96 months

Monday 22nd May 2023
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warcalf said:
I have been go karting once or twice now and find endless fun and enjoyment from it, I also personally think I'm better than I expected to be!

I want to make it a proper hobby, get in to it on a competitive level and just enjoy it more than anything.

Where is best to start? I read about a place called club100 where you can do arrive and drive tournaments I think they are, where you needn't own your own equipment etc, which is ideal for me! However it is in Kent and I'm in Preston (North-West England).

Anyone any experience or pointers with this?
Warrington have an amazing track.
Even on different levels.
Different surfaces, with varying grip.

CraigyMc

16,557 posts

238 months

Monday 22nd May 2023
quotequote all
Register1 said:
warcalf said:
I have been go karting once or twice now and find endless fun and enjoyment from it, I also personally think I'm better than I expected to be!

I want to make it a proper hobby, get in to it on a competitive level and just enjoy it more than anything.

Where is best to start? I read about a place called club100 where you can do arrive and drive tournaments I think they are, where you needn't own your own equipment etc, which is ideal for me! However it is in Kent and I'm in Preston (North-West England).

Anyone any experience or pointers with this?
Warrington have an amazing track.
Even on different levels.
Different surfaces, with varying grip.
Club100 isn't a track, it's a company that does rental karts at various tracks around the country.
The Kent address you may be looking at (Sittingbourne) is an industrial warehouse, it's where they prep the karts and load them on an HGV, before sending them wherever in the country they are off to for the fun.