So you are interested in starting Karting. At West of Scotland Kart club, we have a variety of people who can help and advise you. There are a variety of web sites that can also help. Links to these are listed at the end of this article.
Probably the best advice we can give is to encourage you not to just jump in and buy equipment without thinking about the sport. There are a great number of classes (i.e. types of engines and chassis) on offer throughout the UK, but not all clubs have all classes at their venue. If you are just “fun” karting this may not matter too much, but when just practicing the club still requires that your equipment conforms to standards laid down by our governing body, the MSA. You also have to consider your age group as there can be quite an overlap of ages between age groups.
Your best course of action is to come along to the track and see what goes on. On practice days there is no charge to enter although on a race day we make a small charge to help club funds. At the track you will meet people already involved and most people are happy to pass on their knowledge. You will also see “teams” in operation and they will be most happy to help especially if you are likely to become a customer. For impartial advice (which most teams will give you!) you should look out for our current chairman, Bill McDonald. He runs a small spares supply that normally operates from a small tow-a-van in the middle of the paddock. Bill will be able to explain the classes and by asking you your preferences recommend a particular route that you should take.
Armed with the information you can then consider buying the correct Race Helmet, Race Suit, Race Boots Gloves etc. and the equipment for your chosen class. This done you will need to join the club and start practicing your new sport. If you want to take it further and race you can try the “Non MSA” events of which there are about 3 or 4 in a year. These are low key events which are designed to be fun with the minimum of regulations whilst maintaining the all-important safety cover.
Once you are ready to start competing on a higher level you should apply for a MSA race licence. You will need to take a test known as the ARKS test and then you can enter race meetings. You will start off by gaining six signatures at six meetings showing that you have been safe and achieving levels that are normally around 110% of the speeds for your chosen class. This done you can upgrade to a National “B” licence and continue to hone your skills. From there the path is yours to choose whether you just remain at club level or venture out to other tracks and enter national competitions. Staying at club level is very often the choice of most. The important thing is to keep enjoying your Karting.
Motor Sports Association (the governing body) www.msauk.org
ABkC – the Association of British Kart Clubs www.abkc.org.uk
Bill McDonald – see “Contact” details on this site or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Or any of the Office Bearers as detailed under the “Contact” tab above