I Can't Keep Up with the Competition - is it me or the kart?

I participated in a 6-heat event over the weekend, 206 Masters. The heats got progressively longer starting at 10 and ending at 20 laps. I did well in the first two heats near the back of the pack, but kept pace. I noticed that with the longer heats, I gradually got slower. I felt physically and mentally strong, but as the laps built up, the kart felt slower. The rear tires screeched more, and it seemed to lack power.

I’m running a 2008 CRG Kalifornia, which I understand is not ideal for LO206, but it’s what I could afford. Is it likely that an old, worn kart could contribute to slower times as the race wears on? I noticed my rear tires were covered in crack sealer from the track over time. I saw it on other karts, but not as bad. Could a too-stiff chassis lead to this?

I bought the kart 6 months ago when I just started karting and have been getting in seat time, participating in races, and overall I feel like I’ve improved a lot. I qualified 2nd for my third race, but didn’t finish well. Everyone else is running a chassis that’s 1-3, maybe 5 years old. I guess I’m trying to determine if it’s worth upgrading the chassis. My budget is limited, so an upgrade would mean something a couple years old at best.

Or do you think it’s my driving? I understand these are very vague questions without seeing my driving or the kart, but I’m hoping your collective experience can help me narrow some things down.


It sounds like your kart is “binding” or “feeling stuck/planted”as the grip increases?

Failing to unload the inside rear wheel enough to free up the kart. It would explain what you describe.

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Did you make any changes to the kart to help with the longer heats? I would have adjusted tire pressure at a min for a longer race. If you did not adjust anything then I can see how you could end up getting bound up at the end of the longer heat.

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Googling the Kalifornia, it says it’s 32mm and 1052 wheelbase. That seems like a lot of chassis for the 206. Personally it sounds way too stiff. Sounds like as the day goes on you get more and more stuck to the track and the kart is just too stiff to flex properly.

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The guy who ended up third overall recommended 12 PSI, so I ran that all day and checked before every heat.

The only other change I made was after my first few practice laps on the spec tire, which I had never run before. I was super loose in the rear, so I widened about 8 mm, which helped a lot.

I have read that the Kalifornia is a stiff chassis intended for higher horsepower shifter classes. I knew that going in, but the price was right at the time since I wasn’t really sure it would be a long term investment anyway. Now that I’m a little further in, I’ve been wondering if the chassis is holding me back, or if it’s just me. I’m willing to sell this kart and spend a little more, but I’m hoping for some reassurance I’m going down the right path. I’m also considering at what price point is it going to be too much.

Thanks for the input.

That is an accurate description based on my limited experience. At the end of the last heat, the rear tires were literally stuck to the ground when I went to push it. No rubber was touching the asphalt anymore, it was all tar/crack sealer.

Widening the rear would have made the Kart “looser”. Sounds like you need to dedicate a day to experimenting with chassis changes. Stick to the major ones and get yourself a good baseline of things to change. Rear width, front width, gearing. Seat struts.

Check your tire pressures when you come off the track, right away. On a longer run later in the day when it is hotter you may find you go out at 12 but come off the track at 16, the tires built up too much pressure/grip and the Kart is stuck. In the morning, and with fewer laps you might only get it up to 14psi which may be your ideal pressure. So in the afternoon you may actually need to go out at 10 psi.

One thing some people do with tire pressure is to set the pressures right when you come off track. So if 14 is your optimal hot pressure, then bleed down each tire to 14 right when you come off track. Once they cool they may be 9, 11.3, 10, and 10.5 for example. Just leave them there. Then they will come up to the optimum pressure in the next session. Of the run is longer then maybe take a pound out of each once they cool down. Hope that helps.