Advice for my rookie 8 year old in karting

gettingstarted

(Randy Kuyoth) #1

Any advice for a starting 8 year old? I know seat time is king but are there any tips or pointers out there?

I have a funny feeling it won’t be long until he out performs what his tuner is capable of so any advice for the loose nut turning the wrenches would help too.


(31colm) #2

1 NEVER shout at him (or her).
2 Let your child ENJOY karting.
3 Purchase the BEST safety apparel you can find.
4 Learn any tuning expertise with him.
5 Observe other experienced racers.

Good approach. Good fortune !! Be safe.


(Matthijs Hofman) #3

Agree with 31colm, but I should add: try a rental kart first. Performance is not important for a young rookie, fun and experience is. Who knows he is done with karting just after you spend thousands of pounds on his hobby.


(TJ Koyen) #4

Never forget it’s supposed to be fun.

I saw a dad screaming at his little girl in their pit a couple weeks ago because she wouldn’t go for a pass and it broke my heart.

For the tuner/dad, just keep it simple and ask a lot of questions here!


(Morgan Schuler) #5

Mount your Mychron on the back of the seat or tape over it so your driver isn’t distracted looking down at it.

Practice as much as possible. For whatever reason, just about every new person (young or old) I’ve seen start in the last 1 or 2 years doesn’t practice except on race day. Then they get frustrated and most eventually quit because they get lapped twice in a 8 lap race.

Don’t change anything on the kart. Go burn through fuel and tires.


(Davin Roberts Sturdivant) #6
  1. Keep karting fun.
  2. Repeat step 1. :wink:

(Eric Gunderson) #7

Especially for new drivers, improvement will come from almost entirely from the driver. As others have said, make sure the kart is mechanically sound and functions fine. Then, just leave it alone. Let him/her go out and pound laps.

Seat time. Seat time. Seat time.

Also, if there are other kids at the track on a practice day of the same age, let them hang out and drive together. This will likely make it more fun for them than running alone by themselves.

Have fun!


(Randy Kuyoth) #8

Thanks for the input folks. He’s having a great time so far.

We have watched a lot of race videos and been to three different tracks so far. We are even tracking lap times of others to see how he compares. We are about 2-5 seconds off podium pace at each track, but he’s still working on using the brake to slow down instead of just cruising into the corners.

We did make some changes to the setup so the kart. It was pushing pretty bad and now it might be a touch loose. My biggest complaint about him so far (not really a complaint I’m honestly happy about it.) is that he reduces speed down to whatever the kart will provide and it makes it hard to judge what’s happening or needs adjusted. I ask him what the kart is doing or if he needs anything changed and he just says "Don’t touch it, it’s perfect. (Freaking drivers.) I think we have a fairly decent learning platform for him right now so I’ll follow the advice and leave it alone for now.

He’s been on track with several other karts and does better when he has a rabbit to chase or when he’s being chased.

My thoughts on his development are that there is nothing I can say or do now to make him a great driver and carry that on with him. I can however say or do something now that will cause him to quit or give it up.

Thanks again, and I’ll keep looking reading and staying positive.


(TJ Koyen) #9

Exactly why we usually suggest not to change the chassis in the beginning because the kid isn’t driving it to it’s limits yet, so it’s never going to work the way it’s supposed to. Plus he can’t offer the setup feedback yet.

If he isn’t using the brakes to slow down, then he’s probably scrubbing off speed with the front tires which is where the push came from I would imagine. If he was driving the kart on the limit and using the brakes, it wouldn’t push. Most drivers I coach complain about the kart handling poorly when in reality, it’s something in their driving that’s creating the issue.


(Jim Maier) #10

As a dad of an 8 yr old karting kid some more advice from me… all of the above is great. I would also suggest going to a track where you can use cones and will allow you to stand out by the turns. Teach him a good line. Teach him to stay on the gas to a corner and lift once, then get back on the gas. Finding the braking point can be a challenge, so help him find it. Work it 1 corner at a time. Tell him to just focus on this one corner until he figures it out, then move on to the next.

Once he has a good racing line and understands some basic concepts then the next thing to continue his improvement is to find faster kids and race them. I was coaching a kid this weekend who beats up on everybody at his club, and I asked him where the best place to pass was. He said “on corner exit”!!! He thinks that because he is always racing slower kids and he can easily dive under them coming out of a corner. Once he races faster kids he’ll realize that is not the case. So if you are just out to have fun and are content with winning at the club then that’s cool, but to keep him improving you’ll always need a rabbit (faster kids).

Have a blast with him and don’t make too many changes to the kart. He’ll figure out to drive what you give him, once you start seeing patterns then try to tune them out. You just need to focus on making sure it is reliable. That’s your job.


(Matthijs Hofman) #11

If your son is an absolute rookie, I’d just let him drive. forget about setup or even lines, let him just experience the kart, the speed, the forces and the thrill. If he gets some mileage in and he’s loving it, then think about teaching. At least that’s the way I’d do it.


(Don Westlie) #12

Like many have said, get the kart set up correctly and leave it there until he is using the kart at a point to make changes. Anything done prior to that is just moving parts with no true knowledge of input vs output. Spend as much time burning gas as you can to get as much seat time possible.

When your young wheel man gets better you will begin to learn how to tune the kart and your driver. Knowing how to relay information so you can get back GOOD information is key. You are a ways away from needing this right now but when the time comes we reference pages 27, 28 & 29 when needed. http://www.southwestkarters.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/crg-setup-guide.pdf. When my son got to a point where I thought he was giving feed back that looked good I began sitting down with him and would go over the pages. He began to understand what does what and we worked together. It’s worked well for us. He is now 14 and has a pretty spot on feel for tuning and what is needed.

When the time permits pick up the book “learn how to master the art of kart driving”. There is a link on here some where. Good read for sure.

We all good go on and on about karting and whats best. You will find what works for you. Most importantly, have fun. GOOD LUCK!


(James McMahon) #13

Lots of good pointers here. One thing I noticed that that you mentioned making adjustments on the chassis. Unless the driver is 100% on the right line and consistency is on point I think I’d avoid making any changes yet as the handling issues may be induced by driver input/line.

Have the little one help maintain and wrench a little too.


(Randy Kuyoth) #14

Thanks for the information. I think we’ve got the weight in the right spot so now he’s legal for the Rookie Yamaha class. Now I’m just going to just let him roll and see if we can’t find some other folks for him to drive with.

If there is anyone in Central Ohio that want to come out to the track and spend some time showing him the line I’ll pay your entry fee. You don’t have to spend all day with him. Just a couple sessions to let him think it over and work on a couple corners.


(Dom Callan) #15

I’ve been trying to get my son to work on the concept of the line but it doesn’t seem to sit all that well with the kids. I think they get too excited to just be driving and sort of forget.


(James McMahon) #16

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(James McMahon) #17

I’m having that same problem with my 9 year old daughter. Two things I’ve tried, with not so great success (she’s pretty stubborn) are…

  1. Have her watch a couple youtube videos about lines (there’s nothing out there for kids though)
  2. Have her practice lines with game or sim on a console or PC

It’s tough though because you want them to have fun, but also want them to learn the value of pushing themselves.