How to get kids into the sport?

So I am new to karting, but my 6 year old has shown some interest into getting into the sport. HTF do you get a kid with zero driving experience even started? I’d be different if he/she knew their right from their left. But when they’re that small/ young . . .

The prospect has me scratching my head . . . Grocery store parking lot at midnight?

Any advice?

Id say rentals but unless you have a place with the little tyke kind, no go. Think most places require 10 yrs old, least round here.

Maybe ask around the track and see if any of the dads there have a thought. Some of them must be running kid karts? Its obviously too steep a buy in for casual interest. Gotta be a way to rent/borrow one.

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Six is old enough to drive a kid kart. The challenge is finding a place/opportunity to drive one though. Time to chat with the tracks and teams again.

Go to the track, bring their bicycle. If they’re riding around before practice, at lunchtime, while you’re loading up, then there’s interest, and they know the track for the first time they drive a kid kart around.

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Mine started at indoor/rental karting doing ultra-slow laps the first few times, then suddenly ramped it up one day.

You’d be surprised what they can pick up and how quickly. For a 6yr old you’d need a dedicated kid kart (smallest chassis made).

If you’re hesitant to drop the money on a kart and gear without knowing how interested your child is you can first take them to watch some kid kart races and gauge their interest. From there make friends with one of the kid kart dads and see if you can pay to rent or buy them beer to allow your kid to try out their kart on a practice day.

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Not the smallest chassis. Smallest is bambino for up to 7years. If the kid’s 6 already no point getting bambino.

Next one up is micro or cadet size, good from 7-10 yrs- that’s the one you want to start them in.

That’s a generalization- depends ultimately how tall the kid is / gets, my daughter for example when she was 7 and came to the track to try she was too tall even for a micro, coach had to put her in a junior chassis with a micro engine.

In the US kid kart means the same thing as bambino.

Some places in the US allow kids to remain in kid karts/bambinos up to 8 years old, it all depends on the rules of the track you’re running at, and also the size/skills of the kid as they develop.

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I just got my 9yo daughter her first laps in her new kart a couple weeks ago. I have a yamaha cadet set up for her and she did good. Slow but she did good even after hitting the foam bags once.
At our track there is a little oval track that I got her started on and didn’t have to worry about other karts. Then I put her on our regular track towards the end of the day when most others were done practicing and got her some laps out there. Still a lot to work on, but it was a great start! My legs were tired though from running around the track with the starter from when she would spin and kill the engine lol. Then last weekend we went indoor karting and she did really well with that.

Just jumping in head first with it is the way to go. I was more nervous than she was at first, but once she was out there it was so awesome! And now she wants to quit soccer so she can race more. Not so sure on that one yet!

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Our karting progression:

-Rode in the 2 seater at the local arcade/laser tag/rental kart place. I made a point to race all the other karts. It is pretty easy to beat a bunch of 13 year old kids if you are the only one out there that understands a racing line. See if your child is competitive and wants to win.

-Found a rental track that allowed for my son to drive. This may be a challenge for you. It is generally based on height.

-Watched a few races on TV and took him to live events, karting, nascar, NHRA whatever

-Casually watched youtube karting videos where they are showed the age group of my son. Waited for the following two questions: 1. How old are they? 2. Can I do that?

-Went to the local kart track and see if he expressed interest

-Bought a USED kart and safety gear

-Dialed the max throttle back and ran in a school parking lot. School lot was an oval. It took a while to find the perfect lot. Away from traffic, flat pavement, etc. Ran drills with cones so he had something to focus on the next time around. Some times I would move the cones lap to lap. Perfected his donuts. Once he crashed into a curb, I decided that it was time to buy the club membership and drive at the track where it is safer.

Most of the karting community is fairly cool and welcoming. Go find your local track and post to their message board/facebook to see if someone would be willing to let your kiddo take a free ride. At six, you need to do kid kart. Ask around to find out who is moving up, and what karts will be for sale. We are in micro now and most coaches around here think the kid kart promotes bad driving habits (little to no use of the brake) but right now that is the only thing my son is really needing to focus on. He knows the line around our local track and all the rules and that sort of thing from kid kart, so it makes focusing easier. At least that is how I rationalize it. The courage to take some turns wide open will come. Have fun, apply some pressure, but try not to lose your marbles with the kiddo. The only times I ever really dug into my son is when he did something that was unsafe.

Enjoy the journey, makes some new friends, and say goodbye to all your free time and money!

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If you are lucky enough and have a kart shop in the area, start there. Visit a track with that has kart club. Club members are usually very approachable for information. A club would a good source for used equipment.

Our club has a few karts they use for test drives to new comers to see if they are really interested in joining. I arranged for my six year old daughter to try out a kid-kart (required for anyone under 9). Unsure, I did not put her on the track, but rather let her do circles in our pre-grid area with a long tether attached to the rear bumper so I could keep her from crashing until she figured out the gas and brake pedals. Then the pandemic hit and that was no longer an option.

Last Christmas I bit the bullet and got her a kid-kart. Even though she is tall for her age, the frame fits her fine. We have only had one track session so far as she has developed a fear of the sound of the engine. The little two-stroke Comer 51 is a bit loud. Perhaps the Honda would be quieter and less intimidating in that case.

We have tried the closed parking lot thing too, but she is still leery. Hopefully we can get some more time in. I will not put her in competition until I think she is comfortable enough to lap without incident. (i.e. spinout one or more times per lap).

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See if you can rent or borrow a kid kart. They’re pretty harmless and a good way to enter at that age. I have no experience with having a little kid kart but I get the idea that you should try and let addiction happen naturally. Sounds like they’re already looking to do it, so that’s a great start. If all goes well and you end wanting to buy a kid kart, buy cheap, buy used. As long as it drives and is safe it’s good enough for a first time kid karter. I see some people spending 5k on a brand new kid kart. It’s not as much about racing as it is getting used to driving I think. You start really racing in cadets and up. Our track occasionally lets out new kid karts with their parents or siblings in bigger karts to follow them around. Best of luck!
Again, I’m 17 and not a dad so take it with a grain of salt.
Anyone feel free to correct me if I said anything wrong

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I experienced this with nick golfing. I’d let him drive the kart when we were out of sight of clubhouse. At a very young age he could drive just fine. It’s not as hard as we think! Inspired me to take him karting.

Yes absolutely. Last time my daughter was visiting we went to Al Ain to do some laps. She improved end over end, 3 sessions every single lap faster than the last one.

I followed behind her for a while, she was properly gunning it on the straights and turning into any slide immediately to catch it. When we came in I asked where did you learn to catch slides like that? It was amazing.

Her answer…GTA Dad!!! :joy::joy:

Whatever works haha

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I first bought my son a kiddie cart with a 40cc engine (Leon K40 - picture below, I found online), which he barely used. We used to sometimes let him play with it outside our country home (dead-end road), with some cones, till eventually an asshole staff member of a property developer, who’d bought a property next door to develop into a new housing development called the police. That was the end of that. Kids can’t legally drive on roads, even if nobody except us lived at the end of it… Now there’s 10 new homes next to ours, so no more “illegal” fun. BooHoo.

For his 9th birthday at the beginning of January, I spent (the equivalent of) some $350, to buy him a 20-year-old Rookie Tony Cart, with a Comer W60 engine. It hadn’t been used in over a decade, but was a perfect opportunity for the two of us to take it into the workshop, strip it apart, clean, lube & rebuild it, including refreshing the engine and carburetor.

The picture just below was taken as we started it for the first time. You can see the happy look on his face!
Rebuilding it together was a great experience, and he’s been learning engineering without realising he’s actually studying, and it’s another way we bond together. He has always had a love for cars too, and I blame myself for that.

For good measure, a friend who races carts, gave me two of his old ones, with which to make a good one.

Initially I had a direct drive (PRD) engine, but I quickly grew tired of push-starting, and bought myself a 120cc IAME (Panther) engine.

We did have some beginners teething problems (Silly mistakes), but with the help of a friendly mechanic whose shop is at the circuit, we soon resolved them.

We have fun together on the track and have made several new friends, most of whom are enthusiasts with decades of experience, and keen to share their knowledge & tips. He’s still slow, only having spent a handful of hours on the circuit, but with both our carts working perfectly now, we can concentrate on having fun each time we go. I’m getting quicker, but happily got plenty to learn yet.

My business is with classic cars and in Japan. I’ve prepared and raced endurance cars, driven time-attack, etc. so driving purely for trackday fun isn’t new. The craft of driving carts sure is, though! There are core differences. Purity, in a sense!
Carting being a new sport for both of us, is something we’re finding to be a lot of fun. Since a few weeks ago, one of our young staff members who has tried mine, is getting into it too and now wants his own…

He filmed me with my phone camera, whilst I was setting the fueling on Sunday morning. Sorry, I haven’t bothered to upload it to YouTube or anything like that. Here’s a link to an upload if anybody’s interested (Not sure I’ll keep it there for long, I only put it there to share with the friend who gave me his cart).

So it looks like we’ll be making a second complete cart from the other old Cosmic that he gave us, so our younger staff member has his own to play together, too.

Carting is (naturally!) more expensive than I’d anticipated, but both my son & I are keen to progress, and now, so is our young friend. The more, the better!

Once we’re each faster and know significantly more about setup, etc. we’ll look to get newer carts and engines, and hopefully start racing on this one first, then on a larger nearby cart circuit. For now, there’s a lot of new things to learn and enjoy at the local track.

Hopefully, our short story will inspire you to find your kid a cheap old cart and do the same as we are.
My son said last time we went (He drove his Tony Cart about 2 1/2 hours in total), it was the most fun he’d ever had, and it was even better than skiing! That’s what it’s all about, in a nutshell. If they love it, they’ll learn a lot, at a young age.

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If that chassis is pre-2000 there’s plenty of people that;d give good money for that :slight_smile:

The Cosmic is from around about 2004, I was told. The Rookie Tony is probably around the same age.
Would be ridiculous to ship from Japan, where we live though.

Rookie carts are rarely to be found in the classifieds here, but when they come up, they can be inexpensive, if old. Even a year old, hardly used, there are few takers and they can be less than half the cost of new. ヤフオク! - ほぼ新品 レーシングカート TONY KART ROOKIE 20...

Our son is a few years off something like this yet.

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Great story with your son Miguel. The shot with the RVF400 reminds me of working at a Honda bike dealer during college and wishing we could get those here in the US.

Fast forward a month since this post began . . .

Both my 7 year old and my 5 year old have followed me to the track, and after watching kids their ages, they began asking if they can do that?

My local track has 3 kids who run 4 stroke and they are all 7-8-9 years old.

They have been begging to go to the track now for over a month, and want to cheer (and pit) for me when daddy races.

IMG_0924

So my buddy with a kid in the same situation, reached out to me with a lead. Used Arrow with an Lo206. Seller is including the kart stand, MyChron 4, new helmet, jacket, and a ton of extra goodies for $1,500.

So I popped for it! Going to pick it up Sunday!

Thread questions will continue as I try to figure out how to get the 7 year old going. I figure I have maybe one year to get her confortable with karting.

I know I’m in the market for at least a chest protector, suit, and pedal extensions, So keep me in mind if anyone is looking to off load some.

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