Starting Karting


Whether you are 6 or 66 years of age, male or female, looking to become the next Formula 1 champion or just after some fast exciting racing, then karting is the place to be.

Throughout the pages of the website you should find all the information you need to get started in karting. If you have never seen full-blown racing karts in action then come along to a race meeting (calendar of events) & this will give you an idea of what kart racing is all about.

Selecting a Class

Having been to a race & chatted to a few drivers you should be in a position to select the class of racing that best suits you or you child. It is important that you choose a class that suits your personal budget, along with the level you wish to compete at. Currently in Northern Ireland there are 10 different classes available & apart from age there are no restrictions on what class you can enter. Boys and girls can start karting from the age of 6, so it really is a sport for everyone.

However choosing a class can be confusing for the novice competitor, but if you are unsure don’t be afraid to ask. Basically there are 3 different categories which the classes are grouped into: juniors, seniors & gearbox. With this you should be able to find a class to suit your age, size, ability & budget.

Buying a Kart

Once you have decided on the class in which you wish to compete, the next step & probably the most important one is buying your kart. Here you have two simple choices - either buy new from a dealer or choose something second hand.
Buying new, if your budget permits, allows you to know exactly what you have, with no nasty surprises waiting to appear & spoil your enjoyment. You will also have the support of the dealer who will gladly keep you on the straight & narrow. However you will have to allow for extras in your budget, such as wet tyres & wheels, sprocket, chains & general spares.

Second hand equipment is always a good starting point for novices, (buy & sell) especially if your budget does allow the luxury of new equipment. While knowing exactly how the kart performs, quite often you will find you find the deal includes a selection of spares & accessories.

The owner will also happily pass on loads of useful information in order to help you get the best from your purchase. However, like most second hand items beware of ‘bargains’ - they may not be all that they seem. Often you will find that you need to spend extra money to make the kart race worthy or meet current safety regulations - this is a particular problem with older equipment. Again don’t be afraid to ask some of the competitors or officials, they will gladly offer some independent advice.

Getting a Licence 

Before you can go racing you will need to get a racing licence, which can be obtained from the sports governing body, the Motorsports Association (generally referred to as the MSA). You begin with a starter pack (MSA shop) which costs £64. This pack contains a Novice application form which includes the cost of the first licence and the cost of an Entrant PG licence, (which is required of any parent whose child is under the age of 18, and competing within UK National Karting events), an MSA Pen, Specimen Licence and a DVD, which contains the MSA Kart and Yearbook and a video on Karting.

From here you need to take an ARKS test (Association of Racing Kart Schools), which involves a multiple-choice questionnaire based on the regulations & the DVD. There is then a driving test, which assesses your ability to control the kart & lap at a respectable speed. You must pass both sections to gain your licence. If you are over 18 you will be required to have your doctor complete a medical. You can now complete you application for a full racing licence & when it returns you will be ready to race.

Before you can upgrade your licence you require 6 signatures on your licence. Your ARKS test counts as one & you must complete 5 events to the satisfaction of the MSA steward. During this time you are a novice driver & can be identified by having black number-plates on your kart. You will also start at the rear of the grid for each your heats, although you can take up your rightful place on the grid for the final.

Before you take your test it is advisable to get in some practice & get a feel for the performance of your equipment.

For more info on starting Karting please contact Stephen Tosh on 07718 876385 (Please only call between 6PM & 10pm Weekdays and anytime at weekends thanks)