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.