Just Getting Started. Any advice would be a big help

Where are you located?

Charleston, SC

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

Senior or Masters (Age 32)

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

Ability: 5 Willingness: 10

Talk a little about your racing experience so far.

Ive never raced competitively. Grew up racing go karts with my cousins on my grandparents property and rental karts. Im not stranger to the general knowledge of go karts.

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

Just about everything. lol. First off, how do I find events near me. There doesnt seem to be any paved tracks close to Charleston, SC that I can find. The closest one I can find is Carolina Motorsports Complex. Its about 2.5 hours away from me. I spoke with someone there and was informed that the track is under new ownership as of November 2019. Currently, there isnt anything scheduled, but that could change. Another good track that was recommend to me is the GoPro Motorplex in NC. Its about 3.5-4 hours away from me.

After doing my research, it seems like the LO206 class would be the best fit for me to start out. Im mechanically inclined and can usually figure stuff out, but my Im not very knowledgeable when it comes to working on engines. This classes seems to be a good starting place because most of the parts have to stay stock. My only issue is the min weight is like 390 for the heavy class. Im a hefty guy. 5’8 220lbs. I will definitely be over the weight. Can I still be competitive in this class? Also, Ive been looking a 2 brand new chassis in particular. The TB Kart S55 and the VLR Emerald. Any feedback on either of these 2 carts. I can get either one for around the same price brand new. Just under $4200 for a track ready kart minus assembly.

The other thing is trying to find a cart. Im not opposed to buying used, but I dont want to buy a used chassis and end up having to sing a bunch of parts into it. I have found a lot of decent ones for sale yet, but I can be patient. Im not opposed to waiting, saving, and buying new either. It will just take some more time because I havent found that money tree yet. lol.

Any advice that anyone can give will be extremely helpful. Anything from race etiquette, to how to fine tune setups. I started researching last week and there is a TON of information to take in and sort.

If any of you guys live near Charleston, definitely hit me up. I would love to talk for a bit and pick your brain about what classes are popular and find out if theres any decent paved tracks closer than 2.5 hours away that I can use at the very least for practice.

Thanks guys and have a great night. Look forward to hearing from you guys.

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I can’t comment on too much, as I’m more of a rental karter. But, when it comes to weight I wouldn’t be too worried, at least not at first. The gains you make with seat time will be so much greater than gains from being lighter. Although, gaining some fitness will be a big plus. Strengthening you core, back, arms and shoulders (as well as increase cardio fitness) will help with not getting gassed part way through a race. Which will help you both physically and mentally.

I have a place down in SC and there doesn’t seem to be any Karting in the Charleston area. I haven’t looked that hard, however.

Gopro is a great facility but it would be nice to find a place closer. The other one you mentioned does seem to be open. The site shows rentals but doesn’t mention owner karting. I’d call or swing by to get the lay of the land. Its possible they do have “owner” karts.

Insofar as what you buy kart wise, generally it’s a good idea to sort out where you kart first. Reason being is parts and service. Usually you’d likely get whatever brand is well supported locally.

Like Bobby said, don’t let weight stop you. Karting has minimum weight to even out the field a bit. If you are over it’s not a huge deal. Karting is great exercise, surprisingly. You can be competitive and if you get really into it, you might be inspired to lose weight. Hopefully you find a track with a bunch of other adult guys of normal size (not skinny kids).

If sprint karting is hard to find in SC, I wonder if dirt oval is around instead? That would be incredible fun.

The other advice supplied here is good. I would also note, I wouldn’t worry about buying used, there are plenty of good karts out there that have a season on them and still function like new. Better to save your money since you are going to be over the class weight and you’ll be learning anyway. Not really any gains to be had from a new kart in terms of competitiveness. Just make sure to find a well taken care of used kart to start.

Being in the south, you’re more in dirt oval territory. You’re in a bit of a deadzone for sprint karting. As was mentioned, you have two great tracks in Kershaw and Mooresville, but those sound like a bit of a haul. Florida is the next closest hotbed of tracks, but that would be an even longer haul.

Kershaw is a really nice track and there has been talk of returning there for some national series this year, so I imagine there will be racing going on there in 2020.

If you have any interest in dirt oval karting, maybe start snooping in that direction as well. Otherwise there may be other sprint karting opportunities that I don’t know off, just need to dig a bit more.

Thanks for all the good advice guys. Im not opposed to making a longer drive and spend the weekend doing some karting. I was just curious if there was anything closer. As far as the used karts, Ive been looking and really have seen much in the way of use 4 stroke chassis or 206 setups. Im not in a rush to buy so Im ok with being patient and waiting for the right deal.

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When you eventually find a track to race at, you’ll find that if the track doesn’t have a shop, there will be people that run what are known as tent programs.

Basically, they are the guys with the big trailers that have clients that they help run. All of these tent program guys sell parts and karts too, usually.

These fellas, since they have a book of clients, typically can put together a totally race ready used kart (or partly used).

That’s how I got my karts, at least. Not a shop.

If we get anyone who is an active So. Carolina racer, we’d love to hear how they make it work. The internet doesn’t show much going on. And, when I go down to Kiawah, I sure would love to run laps.