Can a old fat man get into karting

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Where are you located?

What age bracket are you in? Junior (<16), Senior (16+) or Masters (30+)

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your mechanical ability, or willingness to wrench on things?

Talk a little about your racing experience so far.

What’s the main thing you need help with to get you started.

The short answer is yes. I’ve seen people race j to their 80’s on age and 200’s in lbs

I am 56 and 190 lbs. I raced motocross up until I was close to 30. Had to quit since I had to work and couldn’t afford to get hurt. I have a local track about 30 min from my house and I have gone out to watch a couple races and It looks like so much fun. I don’t think I want to run the four stroke class since I always ran two stroke bikes and love the rush of getting into the power band.I like the looks of the air-cooled 100cc electric start karts. Back in the day I had a Honda CR500 for awhile then went back to a 250 and had more fun. Im thinking a shifter kart would be the same scenario, too much to handle. I live in Fort Worth Tx and am having a hard time finding a local kart dealer to visit for more info on karts and what is available.I prefer to just buy a new one from a dealer to make sure I get the right kart for me. I wouldn’t be opposed to a very clean used one but I really need to make sure it is the correct machine for me. The majority of the guys at my track seem to run a Tony Kart so I think that is what I will be looking for so I will have people around me to answer all the dumb questions Im sure to have.

Welcome! You’re on the right track. Local support from a shop is key when starting out. A 100cc kart is a great starter kart for someone who has some experience going fast. They’re fun and quick but it’s not brutal enough to beat you up like a shifter will. It’s almost universally agreed that you don’t want to start a newbie in a shifter, it’s just too much power and will only encourage bad habits.

Not familiar with Fort Worth specifically but there are some good shops in Texas. If you have the budget to buy new, go for it, but don’t feel like you have to. Plenty of nice used stuff out there for a lot less money. Tony Kart is a popular brand that’s been around for decades and has lots of dealers and teams supporting the product so that’s definitely not a bad route.

We have Texas members on here so I’m sure someone will jump in soon with more local info.

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190lbs fat? I feel attacked ! :joy::joy::joy:


100cc 2 stroke is ideal, imho. It is a lot more economical than 125 (because it requires less rebuilds) but feels similar to 125.

190 lbs isn’t fat, at least around here, and there are plenty of adults of similar weight to race against. I’m not sure how aerobic bikes are, but karting in general is a pretty good workout, especially two stroke on grippy tires.

If your budget is on the higher side, consider driving under a tent (team). It’s nice to have support over race weekends, so you can focus on the fun as opposed to figuring out why the darn kart won’t start.

Im not sure what you mean about driving under a tent, total noob here. At this point in my life budget isn’t a real concern like in my younger days racing MX. I worked hard and have done pretty well and now it is time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. And yeah, I’m still fat lol. I am only 5’8 so I do feel fat. 8 months ago I was a beastly 220 lbs and I have been working on slowly getting myself in better shape. Still have about 30 lbs to get to where I want to eventually be. So what does it take to drive with a team? Is that something you have to qualify for or just pay a fee to join? It sure would be nice to have experienced people around to glean knowledge from until I get all this stuff figured out. I am still trying to figure out what all the different classes and karts are. From what I can tell the VLR is the motor I want to run and it looks like TK has two chassis for that engine, the 401 or the 801. Not sure of the difference. I appreciate all the help and feedback I can get in this endeavor.


Most local kart shops or teams will have some tracks and races they support regularly, and will often have their team at the track providing setup help and parts and service. Many will run a “tent program” where you can pit with them under their tent for more direct assistance. Can be more expensive than running on your own, but if you can swing it, it can definitely help you get up to speed and irons out a lot of the logistical wrinkles of a race day.

Not sure what classes are run locally, but VLR and KA100 are the two main 100cc engine classes. Tony Kart has the 401 and the 801. For 100cc stuff, you’ll want the 401. The 401 is a 30mm chassis, so suitable for most classes, and the 801 is the 32mm chassis, which is for heavier and more high-power classes, like a heavy shifter class or a sticky tire 125cc heavy class.

You’ve done some good research, but the next step would probably be to go to a local club race if you can and just wander around, observe, ask questions and get pointed toward the best shops locally that can get you more specific info before you buy something. Karting people are friendly and happy to chat about the sport and how to get started.

And of course you can always ask questions here.

The most important things when starting are having local support from a kart shop that can get you parts, and buying something that you can actually race. Karting is fragmented up into a bunch of classes and engine packages and not all are popular or supported in all regions. If VLR is on your radar, make sure you have a place to race it with a decent sized class. No fun buying something only to show up and find out only 3 karts are in your class.

i started at 50, and i’m actually about the same size as you are, 5’8" and 190. just to add to the good info already posted, my recommendation would be to drive one of the 100cc’s before you completely rule out an LO206. depending on the track layout, a 100cc can beat you up, and be pretty rough on your ribs. hell, at my track, the LO206 can be rough on your ribs. rib protectors do help, but just something to keep in mind.

Tenting or being on a “team” is a program where a company, shop, or individual provides race day supervision and services under their “tent” for a daily fee.

For example, I used to tent with Kartworkz, run by a fellow named Jerry White. He has a big truck full of parts and equipment. He puts up a big tent and those of us who paid Jerry a daily fee would tent with him. Jerry would make sure our karts were running properly and fix whatever went wrong throughout the day.

He also provided fuel and tires, which he’d then mount and install for us. His truck full of parts would come in handy when we broke stuff in crashes or what have you. Basically, anything that was needed to get the kart back on track, he had. And Jerry is an engineer who can very quickly diagnose and solve whatever ails your vehicle. Basically, he’s a mechanic with all the toys and parts.

In addition the tenting provides a community of sorts where we would compare thoughts etc. Jerry’s son was also the fastest guy around who pretty much won everything so he’d coach us, tune the karts, etc.

Additionally, I used Jerry to store and transport my vehicle. For an additional fee, he’d take the kart to and from the races, delivering it prepped and ready to go for race weekends.

Jerry is kind of a “guru” who knows racing karts and race days inside and out, prepared for anything and equipped to make sure you can race your next heat.

Example: I blew an engine in semis.

Piston evaporated, total loss of engine due to a rather large exit wound. Within 20 mins Jerry had a new x30 on my kart and I podiumed in finals. That’s one of the reasons I tented with Jerry and Justin. The other reason is I really like the man and very much enjoyed being a part of his gang of racers (clients).

At the higher levels, being in a team is about being with a group of top level racers and engineers that are trying to win big events. Very much about coaching, setup, engine tuning etc. think merc/ferarri/redbull.

Karting teams are also typically associated with a manufacturer. So Jerry is tight with J3 (Compkart) and was also a dealer for other brands. His son is a sponsored Compkart driver that competes in the “Big show” of karting and travels internationally for racing. (Rotax worlds, Supernats, etc).

So, as your ambitions grow and if you desire to compete in the bigger regional and national events, your team goes to those, typically.

Many karters do most of their wrenching themselves and tow their stuff to the track in trailers. Many are self sufficient. Guys like Jerry typically are who these self sufficient karters go to get parts when they crash, tires and mounting, fuel, etc.

The only problem is of course that convenience costs money. So, there are different levels of tenting. Some of the folks under the tent had agreements where they did their own wrenching (using Jerry’s tools and equipment) unless it required a Jerry intervention. They paid less than I did as a “full service” client.

Races are tightly scheduled events with zero time to breathe. Tenting with Kartworkz allowed me to enjoy the day rather than be a ball of anxiety. I knew that I’d make my heats and that if I lost, it wasn’t because my kart was not working properly or poorly setup.

Jerry at work with my son Nick

Nick and Justin being lazy in the shade between heats

Me too! I’m 63, 5’9 and 190 lbs. Not that I wouldn’t mind dropping 10 pounds or so… :grinning:

Welcome Brent!

There is some good advice here and I will add a little bit too…As a point of reference, I am 52 (started 5 years ago) and also 190lbs and like you was near 220. I have mostly lost the weight for karting but also because it was a good idea generally.

At my track, we have a couple of MX guys and they too prefer the sound and smell of a 2 stroke. With that said there are a few things worth mentioning. With either 100cc motor budget for at least a yearly rebuild and run on 98 - 110 racing gas. With the 206 the rebuild (replace the short block) is less expensive and they use pump gas. The KA100 is a direct competitor to the VLR but generally, there seem to be more people running the KA. Some tracks that run both run the VLR at a lower weight and since you are likely not going to be adding weight make sure you’re not handicapping yourself with a weight you can’t get to.

I think the 100cc class is appropriate for new drivers so either 206 or 100cc you can’t go wrong. Have fun.

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There are very few brick and mortar karting shops that you can pop into.

Most new and lightly used kart sales (that I know of) are done by the same folks who run the tent programs I described above.

Big teams use engines and chassis once or twice and then sell them.

My engines were bought by Jerry after Supernats from one of the big teams, for example.

What TJ said is the way to go. Go to a race weekend. Talk to the race director. Say “I am new and want to get started but don’t know who to talk to about getting a kart that’s appropriate. Who do you think I should talk to?”

Most likely he will point you to several of the local Jerry equivalents, that service racers of that series. Go have a conversation.

Oh, re weight: I was 215 lbs 6’ and then I got into karting at age 44. I’m 52 and 170lbs now and got as low as 156 (overshot). Racing may change you. I really, really wanted to be fast and racing provided me with the desire to get light again. But, even if you just wanna have fun and don’t care about plastic trophies and your ego, bi-monthly karting will work wonders on your overall fitness. But, get a rib protector before you start. Seriously. Particularly if you are a bit overweight as two stroke will torture you at first. Before you ask, the answer is get a Bengio rib protector.


The nearest tracks to you in Fort Worth are:

40miles: NTK (North Texas Karters).
70miles: Dallas Karting Complex.

Full results (Click we’re sorry anyway :smiley: ) : We're sorry!

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I’ll second that recommendation! I was also eyeballing a TAG 100cc kart when I got interested in karting. Glad the owner of our track/shop talked me out of getting a TAG for my first kart, and I got a 206. It’s tough enough on my bod as it is! DEFINATELY wear a rib protector! These things can pull 2Gs in the corners. Hard seats. Bruised ribs are NO FUN. Maintenance on a 206 consists of changing the oil. That’s it. The 100cc and 125cc need frequent rebuilds (the 100cc less so) so that adds significantly to the cost, never mind the FUEL cost. The 206 runs on pump gas. The 2-strokers require $100/5gal cans of racing fuel, PLUS the castor oil additive. But I’m running on a shoestring budget. Sounds like you have more $$ latitude.

I’m 62, 5’ 10" and 165lbs. I had to buy 55lbs ($200 worth) of lead weight to ADD to my kart to meet minimum race weight! (390lbs kart+driver+gear) You probably won’t have to. Nah, you’re not fat. Nor OLD! 56…pish! :smile: Welcome to the forum!


Only thing there I disagree with is 2 strokes require $100/can race fuel. They do not and will run quite happily on pump gas - over here for example IAME and Rotax national series technical regs actually stipulate pump gas, race gas is not even permitted. I’ve never put race gas in my kart (X30)

52, 6’ nothing, 190lbs. 2 stroke all the way :grin:

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@GregF must be repairing the fencing way out in the back 40 of the ranch to have missed this one. That, or his ten gallon hat is blocking his wifi.

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I’m a 2 stroke guy and feel that the 206 is too slow for me, even being 70 YO. There is one caveat, I’ve been racing karts for the last 21 years, so that helps. Nonetheless, you should have no problems but not without some misery, as you need to develop karting muscles.

Like all the others, karting will take the last 20 or 30 lbs off. Not sure why but it does.

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Ah! Thanks Richard, I stand corrected. :+1: That’s just what I was told at my local track. Sorry for spreading bad info. Carry on!

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You got it! The back 40 ft looking off my patio in the Burbs. I would love to have 40 acres. I would build my own kart track, lol. Surprisingly I am not a hat guy. The only time I wear one is at the track to hide my Helmet Hair.

Welcome to the Forum and to Karting Brent! If you have raced MX, you are going to fit right in with most of the Karting Community. I am a Georgia Native, but have been residing in Dallas for the last Decade. To answer your questions about Kart Shops, there are only a couple of Brick & Mortar stores in the area. The largest and likely best stocked is at DKC. He (Mike Jones a Pro Karter) started it as a Sodi Kart Dealer, but has recently added Exprit (OTK/ aka TK in another color) brand to the lineup. OTK parts are universal across their brands. He is also a Rok Dealer, so you can outfit your new wheels with some power.

There are several tent programs in the area, but mostly they only go to NTK locally (almost all support a chassis and engine brand), but several run regional and hook up with parent teams on the national level. For example, Full Gas Motorsports (Birel-Art), run by Mark French handles the local and regional events and pairs up with PSL Karting for the National stuff. You may have seen Mark’s son Jake French racing Shifter on @XanderClements Youtube channel He rose to #1 status with DKC several years back. There are several advantages to running with a Team/Tent Program, least if which is cost.

Someone else mentioned earlier that the VLR has a 10 lbs weight advatage over the KA. It is to level the field for 100 senior, so do keep in mind what you and the kart will weigh. Nobody wants a 10 to 20 lbs handicap if they can help it. Also, if you plan on traveling to different tracks on the regional level keep in mind what engines they run as regional series run brand specific motors. The100cc class has a strong following in our area and so does the LO206. It may sound counter intuitive, but sometimes going slow in the beginning results in being faster in the end. In that I mean, starting in LO206 will force you to learn the essentials to be faster amongst the competition in less time than if you were to start in a higher horsepower class that is less forgiving to mistakes. Almost all of the fast guys in 100 started in 206, so when they moved up they were nearly on point with the front of the pack in 100. Plus 206 motors hold their value better than 2 strokes due, so when you do move up you can recoup a good chunk of your investment.

Personally I don’t think I could be as competitive in 100 as I am 6’9" and scale out at 205 lbs in my birthday suite. When I started a few years back, I was closer to 225. Thanks to karting (and little stomach flu) I have managed to drop some flab and keep it off. Currently I am running TaG 125cc Senior/Master. In Master, I am on weight if I fill my tank with no lead on the kart, but in Senior I am about 25 lbs over with minimal fuel to finish the race.

If you have any questions about the local scene, let me know. If I can’t answer them I can direct you to the people that can.

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