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My First Go Kart Race
by Rob Elting ©2003

It\'s My First Go Kart Race, What Do I Do?

Its your first race with your new racing kart, and you ask yourself, what do I do? I am going to go over some pre race preparation that will make your first race day go allot smoother, so maybe you will come back for your second race day. Also, I will go over what to expect, and how to deal with the hidden problems that can arise at the track. Ok, first lets talk about what you have done prior to getting to that first race. You have your kart and its made it through your at home street courses, and your neighbors have had it with you riding your kart up and down the street, and you think you are ready to race this beast. Its time for the pre race maintenance check, you will need to check and make sure that all bolts that are associated with steering or braking, are safety wired. Its important to do this at home because it can take some time, and if you aren\'t good with a drill, maybe a few drill bits to get these bolts all drilled and wired. I suggest to check with your local kart parts supplier and get some pre-drilled bolts and some thin aircraft safety wire.

You will need to have a good chain, preferably a new one, as its better to put on a new one prior to getting to the track so you don\'t have to pull off the track during a on track situation, risk finishing that first race, or putting on the new chain at the track and missing valuable practice time.

Before getting to the track you have chosen to race that first race at, you should try to call or go online if they have a website, and ask someone that is affiliated with the track what gear they run in the class you will be racing in....i.e. 2cycle or 4cycle, they can give you a close estimate that will be a good starting point. Remember this, you better get good at changing your rear gears, as you will be changing them from time to time at the track until you get the right combination for your motor and weight class.

That brings up another thing, weight class, different tracks and sanctions have various weight classes, and if you want to be scored at the track you must weigh no less than the posted weight of the class after the race is over. When you call to find out the gear they run, make sure you ask about the weight classes and where you would fall in. If you cant figure out the weight thing, I will explain how to weigh your kart and you, but it will take a math equation, so I hope I don\'t lose any of you here. If you have a common bathroom scale, you can do this, weigh yourself, write it down, then stand your kart on the back bumper on top of the scale and just balance it with a finger, write down the weight. Add the two weight figures together and you will have the weight of you and your kart together. If you are racing in 4cycle heavy, and the weight is 350 lbs kart and driver, and your total weight is 360 lbs, then you are good to go. If your weight is 340lbs then you would want to add around 20lbs. The reason you want to be over by ten lbs is for fuel and sweat loss, remember one pound light after the race and you will be disqualified. Remember when adding weight use ten lbs max weight blocks, and make sure you safety wire these on as well, only attach to metal, if you attach to seat use five lbs max blocks.

Now that your weight is right and you have the new chain and close to the right gear on your kart, If you have a 4cycle you need to put your 12ozs of new racing oil in your motor, if you have a 2 cycle get your gas and oil mixed, if you cant pre buy your racing fuel, make sure you take some gas just in case the track doesn\'t have racing fuel for you. You can get racing fuel for your 2cycle at your local race car parts retailer, or at the local auto racing track. You will only need around 100 octane for Yamaha max performance, if you have a 4cycle you will need to find some alcohol/methanol, that two can be found at the local race shop, and at your karting retailers. Some tracks have a pump-around system for the 4cycles and they have different requirements, but most either charge you a flat fee or you have to bring 2 or so gallons with you to donate to the pump-around, so you bring your karts up with the fuel tank empty and you fill up prior to going onto the track. They do this to keep the cheaters from having a better fuel in their kart, this way everyone shares the same fuel.

Ok, you are at the line to get in the track, you need to get parked, and unloaded with your kart on your stand. First thing is to get registered and take your kart thru tech inspection, where they check those steering and braking bolts and the weight you added, they also give your kart a 10 or so point inspection, and if they put a sticker on your kart, then your homework has paid off, if you don\'t pass he will tell you what to fix, don\'t get discouraged, he wont tell you to do anything that will take that long, but do it and get back to him until you get your sticker.

You will need to bring your driving suit, gloves, neck collar, and Snell approved helmet to tech with you. You are registered and teched, now you need to get ready for practice, check your tires, if you don\'t know what air pressure to start with, just ask the guy beside you, karters are very helpful to their competitors, but if you never ask, you will never learn. Get your kart fueled up, put fresh clutch oil in your cultch, if you have a dry clutch clean it with some brake cleaner, make sure your chain is lubed up with some good chain lube, with about a half inch of chain play. Its time to get your kart warmed up, this is important so when you get up to the staging area your kart will be ready. Check the practice schedule and when its your turn get your kart up to the line, and get ready for hopefully a practice full of learning experiences instead of working on your kart at the track experiences.

After making maybe some gear adjustments or tire pressure changes you will be ready for the first heat race, remember not to monkey with your kart making lots of changes, if it runs around the track well, take time to get used to the feel of your kart, then as you get the hang of the line around the track, you will notice places where you are slower than your competition, then you can ask one of the faster racers in your class, what changes they think you could try to make you faster.

No matter where the track lines you up in you heats or in the feature, the first few times you race start from the back and learn to pass your way to the front, you will learn allot more passing cars than getting passed. After you get passed your first race day, all the other days will be better, and every time you race that kart you will learn new things about racing in general. Don\'t worry about where you finish, just finish every race you can, and before long you will be the guy up front, that all the other drivers are chasing.

I hope this will make that first race day go a little smoother for you, and be checking back for more articles I will be writing about karting and maintaining your racing go kart. I will try to go over some of the things talked about in this article in more detail in up and coming articles. Till Next Time, Stay Tuned.

Article by Rob Elting. Visit http://RacingArticles.com for more \"how-to\" on Racing. Don\'t have time to visit the site? Subscribe to their Free, monthly newsletter: mailto:join@racingnewsletter.com

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