Beginner advice for a dad

2nd what James says. As a karting dad, I can tell you interest can come and go, even for a 10yr old.

The internet is full of “son/daughter wasn’t interested “ or “lost interest” almost new karts. I’d hate to see you spend $4-5k and be in the same situation. If you don’t have much technical ability, that’s ok. Find a good kart shop for support. You’ll always find help at the track also.

With all this said, best of luck, it’s a great hobby.

Agree with the above points regarding a used kart. Note that brand name or age of a kart is going to be minimally important, especially for a little kid and especially x 2 for newbies to the sport. Just make sure you get something that has is a supported brand so you can get parts, advice, and help for it.

And definitely try to get a test drive in before you commit to dropping cash on something. I know plenty of people who’s kid was really excited to drive and once they got in the kart, the engine noise and the vibration scared them so badly they were done after one lap.


Hi James
Thanks for your message. I’m located in Portland Oregon.

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Good to know TJ. Thanks for the advice.

The 2nd part of the question is more important, probably.
Have you figured out the logistics of this yet?

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I have not figured out anything yet.
I spoke with a local Karting shop and the owner/operator has agreed to give lessons. I was thinking once a week two hour sessions and start from there.

Other than reading threads I haven’t done too much else in planning.

I will hold off on the trailer and other equipment until probably age 5.

Scott - can you please let me know what you did with your son and when he started. It would be interesting to hear and thanks for your comment too.

I like the lessons from the kart shop guy. Can he offer a package for you where Kart storage is done at his shop? Or, could you rent instead for the lessons? See how the child takes to it?

Lessons are a good way to start for sure. I started my eldest daughter at 4 in a rental kid kart.

Before I knew it she was tall enough to share my own :laughing:


My son didn’t start until he was about 8, in 206 sportsman. I was a long time karter, who took a long break, but then got back into it with him.

He’s almost 11 now. There are days he loves it and days he could care less. We just try to have fun. I don’t push him, he’s not the next Jeff Gordon for sure.

His kart was used, still using the same one. Minimal investment for a lot of fun.

Dom - I’ll definitely look into that. It makes sense to have the trainer store and meet us at the track with the Kart already there. If possible I’d like to rent first, but my gut feeling is that no one has these small karts to rent and purchasing a second hand one may be challenging.

So far this is the list of things I need as time goes on:

  1. Kart
  2. tool box
  3. kart stand
  4. Trailer.

I appreciate everyone’s advice.
Scott - thanks for sharing. Sounds like you guys have a lot of fun together. Look forward to also having those moments.

So the trainer you are considering taking lessons from. What track does he operate out of?

There are two local tracks and lessons can be taught at either location. There would be a lot less people at McMinville.
McMinville Track
Pat’s Acres

A used kart is fine, get a parolin variant, or Praga. The tony kid karts are very flimsy and easy to bend. Birel has a good kid kart too. If you buy a used kart for $1500 it will be worth $1500 until eternity, so you won’t lose a thing if he hates it. When you are ready for new look at the Nitro Kart, they make a kid kart with a parolin chassis and some other nice touches.

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The two facilities are very different. The McMinville track seems more like E-town in that it seems to be a track first, and primarily cars. Looks like a great place for the lessons. No peripheral karting businesses, though. I bet on race weekends, you’ll find the tent programs here.

Pat’s Acres seems like it would be my home. They seem to be a business around karting only. It looks like they have rental leagues, a pro shop, the whole nine.

It seems more likely to me that Pat’s Acres can sell, service, advise and maybe even rents storage and does coaching. If the non-rental series goes through here, too, even better. If you see non-rentals offered for sale there, that’s a good sign.

This feels out of sequence to me. It feels like you got interested in karting, figured out a place that sells karts, went there, got shown a couple karts, and was suggested some coaching. All that is fine, but where’s the rest of the picture?

I dunno about your neck of the woods, but there are businesses that live in the periphery of karting that do all of this stuff and provide you a tent to be under. Someone who knows the drill gets you out on track and through the day. Worth doing like that at first, if money permits.

Don’t buy a kart until you’ve got an idea of how the day goes and whats involved. Its not a huge undertaking, but you need some guidance. It seems weird to me that you are being offered karts and lessons, but being asked to figure out the rest

@DavinRS Who can he talk to? He needs a version of my Jerry. Kid team you can think of, beginner friendly?

Thanks for your post.

I haven’t visited anywhere yet (track or the store). I only made a couple phone calls over the past 6 months. The reason why I haven’t visited the shop, as I have mentioned to the person I spoke with, is because my kid was only 3 at the time. I didn’t want to waste his time until we were ready to make a purchase and start. We didn’t discuss that much besides buying a kart and lessons. Both he and I agreed that age 3.5-4 was a good time to engage (roughly now).

Such a business that your referring to also exists in my area:
I did phone him and my kid is just too young for him to take him on as an instructor. He mentioned that he needs to be at least 5-7.

I’m just an eager dad wanted to get my kid involved and haven’t visited anywhere yet. Just doing online research for now, which I’m learning a lot, thankfully to the wealth of information here.

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Thanks for the helpful advice. Appreciate it.

Rollison is right, it is too young to get him coaching, but not too young to get him in the seat. The first year is all about seat time. Have somebody get you set up with what you need, then get him to the track to do laps. The two of you will each figure out your respective duties. There really isn’t much going on with a kid kart. Your primary role is to make sure it runs reliably. Once he can hold a decent pace then you can start working on one corner at a time. Just stick to the very basics with a 4 yr old…start wide, hit the apex, end wide. The tools you need will fit in a small tackle box. The kart will fit in the back of your suv. Laps, laps, laps. Just need somebody in the know on speed dial. You may also find a local group of equally green kid kart dads to learn with. There is a guy out your way that races for Rollison. His name is Luke Sellikan. He coached my kid for a bit and was very good. See if you can find him on Facebook. Maybe he’d meet you at the track a few times to help. Try John at CRP Racing to find a good used Kid Kart. He seems to know where they all are. Parolin, Praga or Birel.

Ah ok. That’s understandable. Like Jim said, its not hugely complicated. It sounds like a deeper discussion would have got you a more complete picture of whats needed and involved from the folks you were speaking to. There will be a fair bit of “Why wont this engine turn over?” and “how do I get these tires changed?” your first few times out. It’s helpful to have someone experienced oversee a bit till you are on your feet.

I’m still very green in the sport, but as a fellow rookie I can say the greatest information I have received is just by making friends at the track and taking everything anyone says with a grain of salt. Some people will give you good advice, but others just like to talk and pretend they know what’s best.

As far as the kart goes, I tried to do too much at first and learn everything at once. What I’ve realized, thus far, is that tire pressures are king. Chassis adjustments are useful, but until you learn what the pressures do and what happens with the tires, it doesn’t really matter. You can change the geometry all you want, but if the rubber isn’t meeting the road correctly you’ll go in circles with adjustments.

3.5 years old sounds like he’ll be in Nascar by the time he’s fifteen lol.

Good luck and have fun!

Here is my kid a 3 yrs old in a kart. There are some other vids too of him at 3 -

What a fun time. Tires on a kid kart are not part of the equation yet. 24 psi all around. Friends at the track are the best, and you’ll find people will jump at the chance to help you.

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