Hand gestures

Can someone explain the various gestures I see? I know hand up in the air means “something’s wrong with my kart, pass me carefully” but there are others I can’t figure out. In videos I’ll see situations where someone is close to another guy and the guy in front will make a gesture that I interpret as"pass me" but that isn’t it all all because they don’t cede position.

Those are point by’s. Usually indicates where to make a pass for the overtaking driver.

Any videos that come to mind that you could link to?

Helmet tap = “I made a mistake and I know it, please work with me and help me get back up to speed instead of passing me.”

Point by = “I understand you’re faster, go ahead and I’ll follow you. Just kidding, as soon as you get next to me I’m going to chop you and slow us both down because I know we aren’t going to catch the kart in front.”

Point at head = “I know you’re typically an idiot driver but please for the love of God don’t do anything stupid here that would cost both of us a chance at winning the race.”

Fist shake = “What a great and fair battle we are having. I can’t wait until we get to the scale line to high-five and discuss how much fun we are having as we currently try to kill each other.”

At least that’s how I interpret them.


Well that explains it.

There’s really no formal etiqutte… Which is a problem. Some folks will point to a side meaning “pass me here”. In road racing it’s like a turn signal when we’re drafting to say “hey I’m moving this way, let’s not tangle wheels at 110”.

Other hand signals I make are more universal :grin:

I’d also say that a helmet tap can also mean “We’re close to the same speed. Feel free to push on my bumper to get us closer to the guys in front.”

At least with the people that I know well.

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Wouldn’t that cause a crash at speed? Bumping seems like it would be dangerous.

Not really, if both drivers are any good.
It only really happens when going down straights, where the chasing kart leans on the leading kart.

If the lead driver knows it’s coming, it’s fine. You only really see it in four-stroke or in TAG, where you don’t have shifts to disrupt acceleration.

It’s not so much the speed, but the speed difference when the karts touch. As well as how the bumpers align. Bump drafting happens in road racing a lot. Shake ‘n’ bake baby!

But yes, it can cause crashes and in fact caused a death at Road America (full road course, not the sprint track) in 2008.

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Yeah my post was completely facetious. I only said that because my drivers like to ask for a push when they mess a corner up.

Helmet tap = push me, let’s catch the next pack


Here’s my video from the first Yamaha Heavy race at Rock Island this year. Cal goes by on lap 3 and says, “Hey push me and lets work together to catch the 3 leaders” like TJ said. If I attack him back I cost both of us time, we probably don’t reel the lead pack in, and let everyone behind us catch up. We were rolling until I stuff it in the turn 1 barriers.

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So basically the little push gives him a bit more speed because your velocity due to drafting is higher? While it slows you down you catch back up due to drafting? the risk seems high in that your bump seems to usually occur right before a turn which you would think could cause some sideways shenanigans. Also that crash was scary!

That’s why it’s important to have a smart drafting partner who knows when and how to bump and get the train ahead, and not wreck.

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Typically it’s smarter to give nudges down the start or middle of the straightaway, so the karts are only going straight.
Bumping near the end of straights or on corner entry is risky, because of the change of speed in the karts, and also because there isn’t much time to take advantage of much.

If anything, when you have a smart drafting partner, you’ll know that you won’t be attacked while the two of you are chasing to catch the pack ahead. However, I don’t just pair up with anyone. Normally drivers I know to be smart and safe.

Recently I made the international universal symbol of friendship with my longest finger and I received an official warning (and rightfully so). So I wouldn’t use that gesture. :slight_smile:


You mean you told him he was number 1? :wink: