Rooted in the rain (wet) conditions

I did a wet enduro yesterday with 2 other guys, and a day later am surprised at how shagged I feel. Neck, shoulders and forearms are still hurting, and I’ve slept deeply for about 10 if the last 24 hours.

I did 2 sessions of 25 minutes separated by about an hour in a 13hp hire kart on tarmac that varied between streaming wet and patchy damp.

With the forces being a fraction in the wet of what are in the dry, what does my physical condition tell me about my driving?

Thanks for your thoughts.


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Likely the biggest thing may be how tense you were in the kart. Wet driving is often not physically taxing…if you’re comfortable! Which for most drivers is not always the case, as it’s unnerving without a fair but of experience.

Although the forces on your body are less in the wet, the forces you have to put into the kart are often more. Rain driver requires quite a bit of driver muscle to get the kart to react, so I’m not surprised you feel beat. I usually am pretty beat after a rain race too.

It’s also a mentally taxing endeavor to go fast in the rain, so that contributes as well.

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I find the wet a little less taxing on me because it’s generally colder and my pasty Irish body doesn’t do well with the heat.

But, a rental kart in the wet can be a real workout. It’s a heave thing that barely wants to jack the wheel and to turn in the dry, nevermind the wet.

I find trying to be smooth in those conditions makes it extra hard.

Give the thing an armful of lock, smack the seat with your ribs on the outside and get it turned it. That way you can be sure you get turned in. Armchair (youtube :laughing: ) commenters will say that it’s not smooth and it’s slow. What they fail to understand that you’re driving vehicle that’s comically unbalanced for the conditions and it requires some out of the box driving.

Plus skids are fun.

Kinda scrappy but you get the idea.

Gentlemen, thanks for sharing your experience.

It sounds as if I’m feeling the consequences of needing to bully a kart more than I’m used to, leveraged by the stress of a slippery surface and bad visibility.

Eric : I tend to drive with white knuckles anyway, probably more so I’m the rain.

TJ : glad I’m not the only one - was wondering what the hell was wrong with me. But makes sense now that you’ve said it. Hire karts aren’t really going to help you get round a corner.

Seamus : a Jim Rohn fan. Marvellous.
Smacking ones ribs into the seat to bully it around isn’t something I’ve heard of, but it sure makes sense. I’ll keep it in mind next time out. Thanks.
Wasn’t able to find the video in your FB feed. Roughly when was it posted (so I know where to look)?

Thanks again you guys. Appreciate.

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I’ve posted this before but I’ll do it again because it’s a badass picture.

You can see just how much body-english I’m using here to get the kart to lift. Obviously a rental kart isn’t going to get this, but the effect is the same. The track isn’t providing the force necessary to get the kart to flex and rotate, so you’ve got to induce that force with your own body weight. Hucking yourself into the outside corner of the kart on entry can help the kart flex and turn-in, while throwing your weight back and to the outside on exit can help with traction off the corner.


Tj - Awesome. That really helps.

Here you’re describing Shifting mass between outside front and outside back, turning in and out respectively?

Yes, correct. Basically you’re just leaning wherever you want the grip.

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It’s a public video, so the link above should work. It’s seven years ago.
If you can’t get to it just shoot me a friend request.

Also… how did you figure I’m a Jim Rohn fan?

Shall do.

There’s a rohn meme in your feed somewhere.

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Like all the guys before me explained: driving a high performance kart in the wet is often less exhausting than in the dry, but in a rental kart it’s probably the other way around. Having said that, a fairly experienced driver should be able to drive a rental kart in the rain for 2x 25 minutes without being exhausted. So there is something to gain in fitness, but probably more in driving technique.

Others have mentioned the technique to hussle an unwilling rental kart around the corner, but I feel two subjects are not highlighted yet. I normally need the following to handle the otherwise extreme understeer:

  1. Where is the grip? If the track is fairly rubbered in, the ideal dry line is normally the line to avoid in the wet. At many cases, the outside line provides surprisingly much grip. At other cases I advise to really smack the kerbs (the gentle approach doesn’t apply here :slight_smile:).

  2. Use your throttle to counter understeer: a normal reaction to understeer would be to lift off en slow down. Unfortunately that can cause even more understeer in wet. Understeer means that the front tyres lack grip compared to the rears. Applying throttle at the exit reduces the grip at the rears (wheelspin), so the relative grip at the front increases and the kart turns. Normally a rental kart lacks the power for wheelspin, but in the wet it’s just enough to help the kart rotate. I sometimes need to surpress the reflex of lifting when I feel understeer, maybe it’s the same for you.

Good luck, let me know if this helps!

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First time I did a 24H (about 6hours of driving) at Teesside I felt the same. This year (my 6th 24H) I felt fine the following day minus a few bruises. I think it is just something you can get used to.

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Great to hear from you - especially with such high grade info. Thanks for sharing.

To your point about fitness - this is not possible in my case, as I closely resemble the Adonis chiseled in stone, wearing a helmet and gloves. point taken.

“Understeer means that the front tyres lack grip compared to the rears…”

Thanks for spelling out in simple terms what understeer is. Because it’s such a familiar term, everyone assumes they - and everyone else - knows what it means. I’ve been around Karting for 30 years and it’s important to me to learn and relearn the fundamentals. this forum is great for the fact that I can converse with people whose expertise exceeds mine, and have them share generously without arrogance or condescension.

“Applying throttle at the exit reduces the grip at the rears (wheelspin), so the relative grip at the front increases and the kart turns”

I’d like to understand this. “At the exit…” says you’ve already bullied the kart into the turn and maybe don’t need the wheel spin induced rotation any more? Please elaborate.

Cheers mate.

Graham - 6 hours at the wheel is hard core. These were prokarts or something similar ? How much driving had you done to get fit for that?

Glad you appreciate my post. Replying on topics like these is a good way for me to find out if my experiences are useful or complete nonsense.

Yes, first you need your kart to turn in at all. The best way is to bully your kart the way TJ Koyen described so well. Braking lightly while turning in helps you shift the weight forward which gives your front tyres more grip but this is for experienced drivers. I assume you drive on slicks.

When the kart turns, only then you can use the steer-by-throttle technique. When it works, you’ll find out that steering is almost minimal. If you have the chance to test this in free practice, please do. I think you will find out that releasing the throttle will result in instant understeer. Be careful when you cross the ideal dry line, you may experience a sudden loss of front grip.

And finally, moving your seat should also help. I am inclined to say move the seat forward for more front grip, but that is not always the case. I read that in some cases a kart understeers because of too much pressure on the front tyres rather than too little. I expect that this only applies to dry and to high performance karts with grippy tyres, but perhaps the experts can give us some insights on this!

6hrs is hardcore for sure…

@Trey_Shannon has held the 24hr (solo) world record a couple of times.

Me, I’d be happy to last 24mins (in a kart) :slight_smile:

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Yeah. These were prokarts. There was a link to the live video stream of the 24H a couple of months back. Also the 6H was divided into blocks of ~1.5H with 4.5H in between.

Surely that pasty Irish body would sustain you through 24 minutes of hire Karting James.

High octane Kilkenny and all…


I do appreciate your post because it’s great stuff. Please keep writing.

The steer by throttle method makes sense, and is pretty intuitive to me (I think - I was coaching myself actively to drive as straight off the corner as I possibly could. Need to think about whether this is the same thing or not).

The key to wet laps might just be the discipline to brake to a low enough speed to allow the kart to rotate from straight. And all the fancy stuff comes after that.

What do you reckon?

Bit reluctant to comment given my own inability to drive a kart fast particularly in the wet but I reckon if you slow down enough to get the kart to change direction, you may as well get out and push it. The thing (without a diff.) will plough straight on as long as the inside rear is loaded. The only other approach is to drive completely off line, and this may well be a very long way round.

So taking TJs badass pic. we can see that he has wound on a lot of lock, we can see he is leaning forward in the seat and we can see the inside rear well unloaded!

I assume that he is at turn in to a fairly tight corner , that he has 'wound on ’ extra caster, moved the front wheels further out from the kingpin and moved the rears in.

As a result compared with a dry setting we have increased the downward movement of the inside front wheel relative to the chassis, and increased the upward movement of the outer wheel.

In effect we are lifting the whole inside of the chassis and driver by forcing the inside front into the track, which is always going to be hard work but can be eased by the driver leaning forward and off the inside rear, but the kart will then change direction. ???

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