How To Get Started In Racing
KARTING 101, A Beginner’s Guide
Karting is truly a family sport. You’ll see dads and moms and grandparents enjoying a day at the track, mom or dad might race as well as the kids. It’s not unusual to see a family of four all racing together on any given weekend. It’s a great way to spend a day with your family as well as teaching a lot of life lessons such as sportsmanship and mechanical know how.
The great part about karting is that even though it’s a good work out you can be 7 or 75 and still drive a kart! It’s aerobic for sure but you don’t have to have any special physical talents to enjoy and excel at karting. Even a bum knee that sidelined your jogging or a shoulder injury, as an example, is rarely an issue driving a kart.
DECIDING WHAT TO BUY
The most important thing to decide before buying anything is knowing where you are going to run your kart and what class you want to run in. Until you know those two answers you might end up buying a bunch of equipment that you can’t run against anyone. The besting to do is to attend a EDKRA Club meeting. Sit in and listen to what the ins and outs are within the club and then feel free to introduce yourself, ask questions about anything you are wondering about, how a race day works, benefits of being a club member etc. Also, if its race season, head out one weekend to the EDKRA Facility and walk around, ask the racers questions, most are very friendly and love to talk to new people interested in getting started in this great sport! You can also contact a local kart shop to ask questions and check out some of the equipment that is involved in the sport. Do you want new or used equipment? What is your budget? What is your free time like to free you or your family up for race days? The EDKRA has a couple of different race options available to anyone that wants to get started in karting. There are the weekend club events that start early Saturday and Sunday mornings and run to around 5pm or 6pm each day. There are about 6 or 7 weekends throughout the summer from May to the end of September that races are scheduled for. These race days are designed for racer age categories from 8 years old up to 65 and upward. There is also the Wednesday night group that races two speed shifters, racing starts around 4pm and ends around 8:30pm. This group has roughly around 12 to 14 races a season starting in May and ending mid to end of August. This group is mainly a senior category of racers meaning 15 years of age and older. Doing a little homework on what your options are before you buy, will save you a lot of trouble and money later.
How karting classes are broke down
Sprint kart classes are broken down into driver’s age, engine package, and total vehicle/driver weight. The most popular engine packages that are raced in the EDKRA are the Briggs LO206 four cycle, Rotax FR125 two cycle, Rotax DD2 Shifter two cycle and 6 speed shifter two cycle packages. These engine packages cover all age categories from 7 years old and upward. If you are new to the sport, and want more specifics about what class fits your racing needs, you may want to look at the specific 2020 EDKRA Supplemental Rules that are posted on this website under the Classes/Rules header on the home page. This provides detailed info on ages, total kart weight, engine type etc. You will have questions about all the rules specific information. Do not sweat it!! You can ask these questions at a club meeting, on the Facebook Page, local kart shop or another racer you may know. Karting is open to people of all ages and there is always a class that will fit your needs.
Cadet classes are purpose built smaller karting chassis that in the EDKRA use either a Briggs LO206 4 cycle engine restricted on fuel flow or a Rotax Micro Max FR125 engine that has been restricted with fuel flow, air flow and has to run specific gearing. The Cadet competitors are aged 7 years to 11 years. The spirit and intent of this class is to allow kids to become accustomed to driving a kart and driving with other competitors on a track. These classes require some adult involvement teaching the kids safety, providing engine and chassis tuning and providing a positive influence on the new young eager racer.
Mini Max and Junior 4 Cycle classes are medium to full size karting chassis that in the EDKRA use a Briggs LO206 4 cycle engine or a Rotax FR125 2 cycle engine. Both of these engines are still restricted down with horsepower but allow more power than the cadet classes for the improving racer. These classes are open to kids 12-15 years old. The junior classes are faster than the cadet classes and some classes are even as fast as the senior classes.
Senior classes are for drivers ages 15 and up. Senior classes are are also broken down by weight and engine package and are offered in a wide range of classes including a “Masters” class. At the EDKRA, Masters class refers to drivers aged 32 and up. Senior classes use full size chassis with either a Non Restricted Briggs LO206 four cycle engine, Rotax FR125 two cycle engine, Rotax FR125 DD2 two speed shifter two cycle engine or any 6 speed sequential shifter two cycle engine.
Four Cycles – Low cost and big fun has been the name of the game for the past few years in Four Cycle sprint racing. The EDKRA four cycle classes use the Briggs LO206 engine. It is a sealed OHV engine that restricts the amount of changes that engine builders can make to the engines as well as running on gasoline instead of super octane fuels. This engine has become the premier four cycle karting engine across the nation with great reliability, performance and is by far the most cost efficient way to get started in the sport of Karting. The engines are air cooled, parts are relatively inexpensive and the racing is very competitive with many racers in each Briggs class. This is the engine for you if you just want to do minimal maintenance, go racing and improve your skills.
Two Cycles – Higher cost, more speed and performance, highly competitive engines like the Rotax classes that have 13hp to 33hp engines and other 45 hp Shifter Kart Engines with front wheel brakes.
Two cycle engines are usually a TAG 125 cc engine (touch and go, electric start) water cooled engine with a single speed clutch. It can also be a shifter engine with a clutch and 6 speed gearbox. The Rotax class are very popular with EDKRA karters at the club and at national levels. Most two cycle racers are highly competitive and are looking for that extra 1/10 second just to be in front of the pack. These kart are very powerful and fast and their tire compounds they use allow for very high G forces in the tight corners. Two cycle engines require more maintenance and precision to have a trouble free race day. If you are a gear head and like to fine tune for best performance, this is the class for you. Many high level racers on a world scale have come from the EDKRA two cycle classes.
Now that you have chosen a class that is suitable for you or your child, you will need the knowledge of the safety equipment needed in order to race at the EDKRA. Go to the classes/Rules page on the home page of this website, and open up the 20202 Karting Sporting and Technical Regulations.
The proper safety equipment that is needed is outlined in Section 5 of this rule package. Of most importance in this section is the need to ensure you use a helmet with proper designation. Also, the EDKRA has another stipulation for all its Junior drivers that they MUST always wear rib protection WITH an approved component of chest protection. Sometimes the chest protection plate is built into the actual rib protector and sometimes it is a separate piece alone. Either way, it must be worn by all Junior drivers at all time during track activities. EDKRA’S definition of a junior driver is defined as any driver ages 12 years and younger. To get the best advice on purchasing any of this equipment, contact your local kart shops or speak to one of the EDKRA Executive members. Racing safety equipment is your last line of defense against injury in an incident. Ensure your equipment is not damaged in any small way prior to purchase if you decide to purchase used equipment from one of the classified pages that most clubs have on their perspective websites.
Joining The EDKRA
OK, you now know about the different classes, the different types of motors and what safety equipment that is needed to race at the EDKRA. The next step is to join the club. As with anything, there are costs in doing so. Membership is completed online through Motorsports Reg. You will need a free account with them and then you can register for the current race season membership. Please attend a club meeting and ask many questions about these costs and learn how the club functions, operates and what exactly your membership fees are used for.
Any racer under the age of 19 will also require a Parental and Minor waiver. These forms can be found under “Racer Information” on the menu.
Rookie Race School is offered in the early Spring of each year. This school is mandatory for all new racers of the EDKRA. The school consists of two separate components. A classroom component that usually takes place one evening during the week at a predetermined location in Edmonton and a Track component that takes place at the EDKRA Race track Facility in Warburg, Alberta.
The classroom component will introduce new racers to the rules and regulations of the club, the rules and regulations of the race track and will give the knowledge needed for a new racer to start a kart racing career. All ages of new racers will attend this evening session and it is the perfect opportunity to meet some current members as well as the executive and ask any final questions before you hit the track with your kart for the Track component of the Race school.
The Track session usually takes place during a Saturday and/or Sunday as soon as the race facility is dry enough from the melting snow for access.
You will participate and learn about:
– the safety inspections of karts and race gear
– participate in a track walk with an experienced racer(s)
– how the lighting and flagging system works
– how a normal race day and actual race will function
– what will be expected of rookie racers from the Race Director
– have the opportunity to do many practice laps and learning how to fine tune your new race skills
– the proper way to register for a EDKRA Race event
The track session usually starts early in the morning and runs all day. This day gives new racers an opportunity to get their karts out on the track to practice the race line and learn about what’s required to keep their karts maintained to an acceptable level in order to safely compete in a race day at the Warburg facility.
You will need some items to make your race day a success.
- A fully charged timing transponder. These are mandatory to participate in a race day. They give a signal to the tracks timing and scoring system and keeps track of your lap times as well as your placement in your race class. Talk to your local kart shops and get your options for acquiring one of these.
- Necessary tools to do repairs/maintenance on your kart. Consumables like wd-40, chain lube, triflo, brake cleaner etc.
- Kart trolley to roll your kart to and from the grid. Or a way to support your kart at your pit stall for ease of access in order to work on your kart. Your back will get very sore bent over all day!
- KART #. Take a look at the kart numbers list on MotorsportReg.com and choose 3 choices. Bring those with you to the race school and get one assigned to you. That will be your number for as long as you are a member in good standing with the EDKRA.
- Read the rules that are posted on this website on the Classes/Rules page. There is allot of detail in them, but don’t get overwhelmed, the more you learn, the easier your race day will go.
- Pay attention to the kart weights that are described in the EDKRA Supp. rules. It is a good idea to have your kart/driver weight fairly close before the first race day. Talk to your local kart shop or experienced racer about what is required for this.
- Try to have some spare parts like tie rods, chains, gears and perhaps a steering column as well. Or at least have a source to go to at the track if you should need . The EDKRA has a few kart teams that are suppliers and attend on race days if there should be a need to purchase parts.
- When choosing a kart chassis to purchase. It is a good idea to chose a name brand of a chassis that there is easy access for spare parts and components. There are some generic chassis parts (tie rods, tie rod ends, gears etc.) that can pretty much fit from one make to another, but some chassis components are very specific to their brand.(steering columns, spindles, axles)
Well that’s about it in a nutshell. Welcome to the world of Karting. I’m sure you will find that the EDKRA is a great place to spend some quality time either with your family or the friends you will make. Thank you for your interest in karting and the EDKRA. Hope to meet you at the next club meeting as advertised on the home page.