Questions from a lifer #2 What are you looking for?

When it comes to a kart shop, supplier, racing team etc. what are you looking for?

  1. Good inventory of necessary parts?
  2. Service engine and chassis?
  3. Pricing?
  4. Reasonable hours?
  5. A large display of flashy stuff that you’re not going to buy anyway.
  6. Arrive and drive opportunties
  7. A 20 something guy in a $50 racing team shirt telling you he can make you a star.
  8. Straight forward advice
  9. Other?

I will take #1, 2, 6, 8.

And I will ponder further.

Kart Shop: Unless you are based at a track, no one cares about most of this. Give me a good website with reasonable pricing and fast shipping. That’s all I need out of my kart shop. I haven’t set foot in a brick and mortar kart shop in probably 5+ years.

Racing Team: I want arrive and drive, with knowledge of supported chassis brand. Also need in-house driving coaching tailored to your level (new kid all the way to seasoned vet looking for that last 0.1 sec). Unfortunately, for grumpy old guys like you and me, appearance matters. Those big tents with the branding and fancy shirts are very appealing to parents who want to be a part of “factory teams”.

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I can do without shops as I have come up in karting without one near me. I’m used to team stuff instead.

For team stuff what I value most is my relationship with the team principal/manager/owner. I want someone that I know is gonna do his best to do right by me and will be honest about stuff, no puffery.

As someone who sells stuff for a living, I can say that thimg about us sales people is that it is not uncommon for sellers to not provide the entire picture, to perhaps withhold information to close a sale. This pisses me off to no end. Pull that shit with me and you have a one-time customer as opposed to a client. Treat me right and I’ll pay you full retail no questions asked if I see the value in what you bring to me and my program.

If there’s a problem I want it upfront and direct. If you can’t deliver the product/service you said you could, don’t try to do an end run around it. Tell me.


If you’re a retailer and you’re not at the track in a travelling store, you’re no use to me.

If something breaks on my kart, it’s about 100% of the time while I was using my kart out at the track. If it breaks and I need to end my day early because of it… I’m not a happy camper. But if I look over and there you are with your mobile store/trailer with the replacement part sitting in it ripe for me to purchase, guess what. You’ve made a sale.

You don’t need rock bottom prices this way, but also don’t gouge. Yeah you can find nuts, bolts, clamps, etc for much cheaper at (not real, don’t try to click it, lol) but if the difference is buying it slightly more expensive from the track store and being able to get back out there right away as opposed to shutting it down for the day, ordering from JSSHS dot com waiting a week, just to save a few pennies… we’ll that’s a no brainer.


Martin, Sincere question. Do you do all your maintenance at the track or do you try to predict what parts you are going to need and buy at the track before you leave.

Derek, your response that says that the “big tents with the branding and fancy shirts are appealing to parents” is on point but I see it in one way that the sport is “preying” on parents that will spend lots of money for a short term but mostly won’t spend much time in the sport.


Yeah, that’s a fair view as well.

Yeah, my kart stays at the track in a storage container I rent for the year. I do all my maintenance after race days or before the Saturday test and tune session. If there’s small things I know that I will need that isn’t pressing then I will wait to get the hardware from home. However, if I break something like a spindle in Free Practice 2 and need a replacement fast I obviously just use the on site retailer for a replacement instead of carrying stock in the off chance that this failure might happen.

If it helps, personally I bought very little online. I would rely on my teams inventory of stuff should something need replacing. Jerry having a big trailer full of everything was really helpful. So, I’d send it and then buy parts trackside.

I don’t have Dom’s budget, instead I run out of 15 yo pickup and a borrowed open trailer for race days. Most of my parts, I buy online and if I buy enough at once I get free shipping. I have been running long enough now to be somewhat predictive about what spares I will need and most of the time between practice days and pre-race checks, I will come across something that’s worn or sketchy and order a replacement for when it does go.

All that said, I still support my local race shops too. Whether they are brick and mortar or trackside doesn’t matter. Mike Jones and his team at DKC have been invaluable over the years. Most of my big purchases have been through him. Seats, engines and often Tires, 2c mix and fuel. In the past they supported on Sodi Kart, but now have taken on the LN line as well which opens the door for my OTK bits and pieces. Now instead of shipping, I have just have to fuel up the truck and go pick it up. Aside from that, Mike, Adam, Jake and Sean have always been willing to help. All are older, more mature guys than some of these young hotshots that sell their time for coaching, but offer little else in the way of maintaining your equipment. And, yes, at one point they were the Factory Sodi Kart Team in the U.S.

They are a one stop shop. I like the idea of that. Sure, their prices are slightly higher than some online resources out there, but the knowledge and expertise that comes with it far out weighs the monetary savings.

When I first started racing at DKC, Mike was not all that giving with advice. It wasn’t unlit about a year later when he realized I was not in it for the short term and was really committed to racing, that he started opening up and the advice started flowing. Its to the point now, that I have showed him a few tricks and tips I learned from the auto racing world that cross over nicely into a karting application. As for his employees, they have always been free flowing and pitched in when I was scrambling to fix the kart after a crash for the next heat.

So, also like Dom mentioned 1, 2, 6 & 8 are very important, but I will say 9 (other) its the relationship you have with the people at the shop that really make juice worth the squeeze! Priceless!!!

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I actually bought my bengio at DKC when I went for a visit. I agree, its a cool place with all you need under one roof, it seems.

I impulse bought -273 gloves at the little United Karting store, trackisde. I dig it when there are cool soft goods like that.

I saw that in the case too. I could not justify the buy when my torso is nearly six inches taller than the average person. I had to order a ribtect.

I was doing some Redditing and the tall folks as were saying, that, in general, the world is very, very frustrating for those 6’,4" and above. (From a design/fit perspective).

I was thinking about how cool it is that your passion for karting is stronger than the endless ballache you had to go through just to get on track!

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Tell me about it. About the only thing I didn’t have to hunt down through countless hours on the internet was a helmet. I walked into the local Dirt Stock Race Shop and and bought one off the shelf. Definitely a try before you buy item. It took me almost 6 months to find everything else.

Just some specs I had to cover before I could even get on track, for those who don’t know me. By the way, I intentionally bought the kart first to motivate me more to source everything else.
Height = 6’9"
Waist = 37" (now down to 35")
Sleeve = 37"
Inseam = 36"
Hand Span 10+"
Shoe = size 15 (American)
Arm Span = 7’2" (I can reach your kill switch and not even have to lean over :rofl:)
Weight = 225 Lbs (now down to 203 Lbs and still not fully kart-fit)

After buying the kart I knew I wasn’t going to fit in it. First buy was the seat. Some teenager owned it before me and the kid must have had a 26" waist. My hips would not squeeze into it. Next was finding a front porch to hang my long legs off of. Decided to go custom, because I was worried the “buy and try” fitment on the OTK weird front bar would be potentially costly if it didn’t work. Suit was the hardest thing to get. Had to order it custom made. Best deal that was FIA/SIK legal was from K2. Shoes I found through Racequip. Gloves were a lucky find on Comet site in the Sale Bin. The lady from Comet even called me to make sure that’s what I wanted and when I explained my situation she told me she was happy they were able to help. They have Awesome Customer Service. The vest was the last thing I sourced after having started racing. That wicked Hop I was getting early on due to my size and lack of tuning ability was taking a toll on my ribs. I got a family and a job I have to return to in the next day or two. I can’t afford a cracked rib.

Side note: I was lucky those first few races and only bruised them once or twice. I cracked one once in my youth when I thought it was a good idea to ride an unfamiliar horse bareback with only a makeshift bridal. That horse wasn’t having it and decided to take me for a ride down a 45 degree slope at full gallop. I thought F-that and bailed. The tumble cracked a rib and I could feel the sting for nearly 6 months. I was a kid then, now I am getting older. My body does not bounce back like it used to.

Needless to say, I did a ton of research and for my body type the Ribtect was my best option. It was the tallest option on the market and the reviews were all positive. The only negative reviews were that for some it was too tall. Sold!

Anyway, I digress. After several years of use the equipment has held up pretty well. The K2 suit has a little wear where the side seat bolts have rubbed against it and the shoes have one of the seams around my left heal coming apart. I may need a new visor soon after someone drug rocks onto the track and one bounced up and chipped it. A’hole! Why couldn’t it have been the clear one instead of the pricey Iridium one?

What can I say? Racing is in my blood and it’s not going anywhere.


Thanks for sharing that!

It’s probably gonna be useful for some of our taller readers. I’m happy to hear that Comet was helpful! Their legend grows daily.

It never occurred to me that your long torso makes rib injuries more common, makes total sense, given that you’ll have plenty of torso above seat rim. Did it make any sense to try a tall seat or even a deepseat type?

Everything was so new to me at the time, I wasn’t aware of that even being an option. What I did find in my research was that with OTK chassis’ was that the Tillet T11 seat was the best option for tuning outside of the OTK seats. Which they don’t make in my size. Other brands were hit or miss.

This is such pointed question leading towards a specific answer I can’t believe this is being taken seriously. Half this stuff isn’t a question, it’s just a list of things a shop would offer, otherwise it wouldn’t be considered a racing shop.

But I’ll bite and touch the two points you’re clearly fishing for an answer from.

Yes, it’s nice to see what they have and know that if the time comes that I do need some of that “flashy stuff,” I can get my equipment from a local shop. If the shop has a pair of gloves, or a ribvest, or whatever is on display and it comes to be the day that I need that thing, I’ll go to the shop instead of order it online. All that useless flashy stuff is showing that good inventory of necessary parts you asked as question 1 in your own post.

I have never heard any shop, team, coach, or mechanic advertise themselves in that way whether they’re 22 or 62. Clearly you’re making some point about the young guys working in the sport, to which I would ask, where do you think the old guys in the sport came from? You think Rolison, Doty, Speed, and all the other big names just popped out of thin air with all their knowledge of karting at 35? They were those kids 20+ years ago, and the kids working now are going to grow up and get to that point eventually as well.

I’m at a point now where I can gauge who knows their stuff in a karting paddock, but if I was starting out and I had a team with a proper shop and display and all these things you clearly don’t like, versus a team based out of a small garage, I’m taking the team with the proper shop. Because the people that know their stuff, present themselves as such, age and fancy shorts too.

The other kart seat that might have use for the tall folks I’ve heard mentioned is the Beasly long seat.

A couple of the lo206 midwestern gents use them, I believe.

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I don’t have anywhere near your depth of experience but for the most part, at least in our small world, we didn’t have super fancy stuff, unless you consider Doty’s program as super high end, as his tent seemed to be the most focused that way. I never was pointed his way because, well, I’m old and not shooting for Nats (which I could do with Jerry anyways).

At least in the club world, I got the feeling that Jerry (Kartworkz), Keith (FullTilt) were mainly trying to get bodies in seats and were really flexible in their approach, depending upon the potential customers budget. I never felt taken advantage of, really.

I think it’s important to be clear about ongoing costs, which is the elephant in the room when it comes to new guys, but, again, a good program will articulate what a program looks like, financially, over a season.

Im sure here are bad actors out there but anyone whose a tool to their customers won’t be around very long, since this ain’t cheap, would be my guess.

On the subject of store with products… HELL YES. I will buy gear on a whim if it’s something I want and it’s in the shop when I want it. I bought two pairs of -273 gloves at UK, a bengio at DKC, etc.

Personally, seeing a shop makes me happy because I know there’s owner karts which means it’s a real karting facility.