Pre-Race Rituals - Spill

Bare in mind I am crew

The week before, make a list of tasks
For Karts
For Trailer
Meal Planning
Work on Karts
Finish Karts
Start packing
Food Packing
Kart work
Trailer work
Pack karts and tools
Pack clothes
Sleep on the couch because I am too wound up.
Pack last minute things
Hook up the trailer
LEAVE time will vary on location.

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I have a somewhat different ritual. I own my own business with no staff.
2 weeks before event - Order parts to fix latest issue.
Week before event - Get super busy, walk past trailer every day of the week and tell myself “you need to get onto that”
Day before event - Panicked readying of kart and camping gear, Ignoring any and all customer requirements
Arrive at event - Race
Finish of event - Collapse

Which works for me, and is at least better than one of my mates, who’s routine consists of opening the trailer on race day and getting his kart out, having never touched it from the previous event!


I really don’t set my prep based on “Day before” sort of schedule. I normally look at the next upcoming date that I’m planning to get my kart on the track, and then work back to the present day on how much time I have.

When I saw pre-race rituals, I think was thinking more like things we do prior to getting into the kart before a race. (IE: Always entering into the kart from the left side, or listening to music before a heat race, favorite pre race foods, etc)

Back in the day, when I was doing the iZone thing we used to train drivers to do quite a lot!

One driver did take it all on and won his championship.

  • 10 minutes before a race - 20 pushups to get his blood up.
  • Visualise perfect laps, and perfect race start.

In the kart on the dummy grid

  • Visualise perfect laps until the signal to go. (sometimes 10 minutes of waiting)

That was a system that suited him, but most drivers didn’t bother with it all.

I reckon finding a ritual is probably a good idea, especially with music because that can shut out distractions and evoke an emotional response and wake up the senses.

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I think you might benefit by adding post session / post day or weekend rituals.
For sessions that don’t end in tragedy I have a normal routine.
Some examples:
(Excluding your debrief)
I eat and drink after a session - gives a chance to digest and stay hydrated.
I take care of my chain after every session. #1 it is probably the most prone to failure system on the kart. #2 That way the lube has a chance to dry and not fling all over the kart as bad. If I need a gearing change I do that first. The dirty gears come off the trailer & go into the parts washer when we get back to the garage.
I have a systematic approach to check the steering system or rear or any system on a kart. On the steering I check for looseness, missing safety clips, bent tie rods etc. I am also always touching everything. So it is visual and tactile. I suggest going from steering shaft to wheel (or wheel to shaft) on one side then do it on the other side or check items symmetrically both Inner tie rod, bolt & rod end, then outer, then kinpins, spindles, etc. If I can’t check a system between a heat it doesn’t bother me because I am checking so often and systematically it is overkill. I find it helps me decide how to prioritize work back at the garage.

On an LO206 I drain the fuel from the carb after each day. That way I don’t forget and get the green bowl. Inevitably you will get non-ethanol fuel with ethanol and forget to drain a bowl. If I do one thing after the day is done that is it on a 206, nothing else will get that funky and can wait . . . unless it rained . . .

A lot of it is just priorities that need to be put in order. For me the key is to keep it modular. Front end check, rear end check, chain, engine or checks are just like running down a mini checklist. I do the # of steps in the same order on a LO206 intake check every time I do it. Maintenance is handled the same. I even developed a habit of packing modularly whenever possible.

Food is a low priority for me. Not that I don’t need it, but in the sense that I can just eat at the track or near if I can’t prep it ahead of time. Water, bananas and fig newtons will get me through the day.

For a while I had the luxury of having everything done and loaded on Thursday night Fri night was just relax. Sat morn was meet for breakfast, then got to garage open gate, entrance door and garage roll up door. Get food from fridge and transponder from charger, crank up and roll out closing up behind. That is such a great way to start a day. I usually have about an hour of dead time before I can hit the track.

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Great Post. I really enjoyed it

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OVRP started running club races in Sundays which is a blessing - it leaves Friday night and Saturday for any extra kart prep (or to take the Mrs. out for dinner because I won’t be around all weekend). At the very least I thoroughly clean the kart, nut and bolt and pack the car and trailer.

Between sessions I try to relax for at least 10 min to bring the adrenaline down. I’ll do a less thorough nut and bolt (axle set screws, seat mounting, anything that clearly came loose), lube the chain, fill gas and makes sure the carb/plug is set up correctly for the next session. I’ll also fill out a setup sheet for that session.

On the pre grid grid I really don’t do any sort of visualization or anything. I just put down my visor and try to relax as much as possible. This is especially important if you had any sort of thrash between sessions.

Pre race ritual: me putting my vape down on the floor pan and then driving off. It’s fun making karting even more expensive.


Honestly, most of my visualization happens before I get start going to the race track. I try to do a lot of mental priming in the days and weeks leading up to a race, rather than just on the day.

The subconcious mind doesn’t really know the difference something that you’re doing in real life, versus something you’re practicing using serious mental imagery. So I try to visualize how I want to behave at the race track, how I will respond to situations I don’t like, or how do I react to opportunities that might appear in front of me.

It’s really helped me chill out more at the track, because I’ve gone through scenarios 10s of times in my mind, before I get on the track. When I start driving, I just let things play out, as they will, because I can’t control a ton of it.

I can only really control what I’m doing, and a little bit of the people around me.

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