65 years old man newbie in Karting

Hello everyone … I am 65 years old… height 185 … thin build… post 3 years had a Radical cystectomy ( left with urine bag on the outside of my right side)
I have car racing expertise but none with Karting and welcome any tips or suggestions that will allow me to limit the physical pain or discomfort as much as possible…
I am much more concerned with safety and comfort then speed
Do you thing that having a deep seat and making an expanded foam insert that would be moulded to the shape of my body would be the safest and most comfortable…?
Would be grateful for any suggestions …Cheers
This is the video explaining how to make the custom insert : Kirkey Molded Foam Seat Insert Kit Racing - YouTube

First, are you wanting to drive around the track and have fun or race in competition?

In general karting is not nearly as comfortable as racing cars. I would find an outdoor rental track and see if that works for you and then move to one of the LO206 classes (4-stroke).

A 65 YO can race karts, there are few that do. I’m 70 YO but I’ve been racing karts (2-stroke) for the last 23 years. So it can be done but I wouldn’t count on a true competition kart ever being comfortable but I’ve never driven a LO206 (4 stroke). There are others on this forum that have driven both but experience and age color their responses.

The lo206 is the same comfort level as the x30 but the difference comes from lateral grip loading.

Stickier tires make the turning more intense and therefore more energy gets transferred to your bod.

So, 2-stroke is considerably harder on the body than 4, typically.

Both are doable at 60, easy. I guess I’d start in 4-stroke because you’d be less beaten up by it.

If you do go 2-stroke, the ka100 is a good compromise and 90% of the fun of x30.

Does your medical condition require you to have the bag in track? That might require some finagling.

I’m 54 and have raced 420’s but mostly LO206. 420’s we’re very rough on my ribs without rib protectors, not as bad with. I’ve always had rib protection driving LO206, so no real problems the last few years. In general, karting can be pretty rough on the body, but measures can be taken. I really supportive comfortable seat definitely helps.

I will say this, I started when I was 50, and at first, there were hot Summer races where I couldn’t wait for the race to be over, I’d be focusing on not puking. The physical demands seem less taxing now.

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Hi guys… let me reply to those questions…
First “the bag” must be attached 24/24 as it is the only receptacle connected with a tube directly to the kidneys
For the moment I dont intend to race just entertainment
When I drive one of the most important aspectsfor me is the Intake and exhaust sound so definitely no interest in “lawn mower” sound…
I am actually testing an X30 on Saturday that I am considering buying… any objection… any suggestions…?
Important : Please address the issue of custom foam insert … good or bad idea and why…? Thanks

X30 sound wise is my favorite. When it crosses 15k it makes a lovey howl.

I guess the only way to know if it’s going to be doable is to try. Generally, though, most will be surprised at how physical karting 125tag is.

I remember one of my earlier races. Race days looks like this:

9-10am Open Practice
10-onwards “race day”

Qualifier (10 mins)
Pre-Final (15 laps)
Final (18 laps)

In this race, around halfway through the final I was a dead man driving. I couldn’t hold my head up and I was at the limit of exhaustion. I had 9 laps to go. I made it to the finish, however.

It looks easy from the outside. Bunch of big guys on little machines going relatively slowly. But in the seat it’s a flurry of speed and energy. It’s quite brutal when you aren’t accustomed yet.

Eventually, if you want to race, you get kart fit. It’s just a matter of certain muscle groups developing. Comes with driving the kart regularly.

Seat insert sounds like it could be worth a try but I’d try regular seat and padding first.

The problem with trying x30 first is that you are probably going to WANT it.

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X30 is fine if you’re just scooting around for fun, then you can go as fast or as slow as you’re comfortable. But it is a bit more involved with the watercooling and everything, and tends to be more maintenance. If you are driving it flat-out, it’ll be very physical.

Something air-cooled like a 100cc KA100 or VLR would be a logical step down, while still retaining the screaming 2-stroke sound, but in a less physically demanding package with a bit easier maintenance and cheaper upkeep.

If you really are just planning on driving around for fun and not competing, you might even consider an older engine like a Yamaha or something that could be bought for peanuts not that they aren’t really raced anymore. Still a good package to learn on and fun to drive.

I think people pay you to take their Yamahas off their hands these days. :crazy_face:


Since your driving for jollys (jollies?) then an X30 is probably ok. You can just slow down and go fast down the straight and have fun. Form fitting seat can’t hurt.

Started karting at 65 and do club racing; I do a lot of upper body cardio (intervals on machines that involve the arms like a Schwinn Airdyne) plus weight training to stay in shape. I think this is necessary regardless of age (I’ll turn 80 in May). Switched last year from a Rotax Evo to a VLR 100, but my Micron says I am hitting higher lateral g’s in the 100. The faster karts like an X30 demand quicker reactions than a 100 (braking, turning, accelerating) at speed, but I have not found the “forces” any less challenging in my 100 vs. my Rotax. Bottom line: karting is physical, from hands to feet to neck to lower back to ribs to arms, and to lungs and heart.
Usually you want a very tight fitting seat so that you can apply force in turns to the outside of the seat (and, thus, to the outside rear tire) without flopping around. I do fudge with an aircraft seat pad made with non-slip gel as recommended by an orthopedic doctor for lower back issues.
I had a seat like the one you reference in your original post for classes and racing with open wheel formula cars (e.g., Jim Russell). Don’t see how it would work in karting. I am also unclear why it would be “safe”. Others may have some pushback, but I think the primary danger in karting is flipping upside down. This is probably much more likely in racing, but, if it occurs, the kart will land on you, and a comfortable seat will be no protection one way or the other.
A good rib protector like a Bengio plus a seat with 1/4 padding might work well. There are after-market glue-on pads from kart shops you can add for comfort/sore spots.
Wrenching on a kart is a substantial time and energy commitment (obviously depending on your skill level). I would not underestimate its impact on your enjoyment. If you buy used equipment, you will soon be making a number of repairs on worn out or damaged components; you need to factor this into your budget, track time, and enjoyment.


65 year old getting into karting, that’s awesome! Lo206 legends sounds right up your alley. I always watch those folks, and in the back of my head I’m always thinking I hope one day my body holds up long enough to do that at that age. Very cool :+1:

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I’ve had no experience with foam inserts, but given you research it and take your time making it I can’t think of any reason it wouldn’t work. Maybe try similar process to molding seats for single seaters.

X30 would be very rough IMO. Maybe you can go out on harder tires if you don’t plan on competing, in which case it would be similar loads to a 206, but x30 power.

Also depends on the tracks you race at. There was a track near me where even on hard tires and 4t power I was beaten up constantly. (By the track)
But another track I go to feels like a Sunday drive

OP could always carve away at the foam to make room for the bag