How to Start Karting
Karting is a most exhilarating activity, yet a family sport
It's fun, it's cool, kids can start racing from age 8, practice in Cadets from age 7, and drive Bambino's at some places from age 6
Almost everyone can race, some at 60 or more
Find out all about kart racing at Shenington near Banbury
For those aged 6 - 14 years old, we have an introductory scheme called Lets Go Karting:
Shenington Kart Racing Club was selected in 2008 as one of the clubs to hold the MSA (now rebranded as Motorsport UK) sponsored Lets Go Karting scheme, giving youngsters an introductory taster session in a race kart.
Initially set at £5, once the three year supported time was over the club now charges £25 for an introductory session as from December 2016.
If the youngster enjoys the experience then they can book to come back for an afternoon of three sessions at £50, and once they have done two of these they can come to a full test day on the whole circuit for £100.
The club supplies all the equipment, kart and racewear (except boots, please have trainers).
We have a fleet of four Bambino karts, several Cadet karts, some lower powered for beginners, some four stroke and some two stroke, and three Junior karts for the older drivers.
Drivers will start by signing on and paying (cash please) then will be kitted out in one of our race suits and a suitable helmet fitted.
An explanation of the scheme and how to progress will be given by one of our officials (see Video page) which is then followed by a video briefing and explanation of the flag signals.
After that a suitable sized kart based on age, weight, size and previous experience if any, will be chosen, the driver will be fitted into the kart and given a full explanation of the controls with checks to make sure they understand.
Then they can take to the track for their introductory session, for those that have not been in a kart before that will consist of driving round cones until the Instructors are sure they are competent. After that they will have a session lapping the track, starting off by being taken around in a convoy with an Instructor leading. For those that have some experience they will get two sessions lapping the track after the briefing and video.
Taster sessions must be booked with Secretary Graham Smith on 01926 812177, the next availability is at earliest in the summer holidays, the April event is cancelled
You can also request a copy of the How to Start Karting brochure and a free Come Karting DVD from the Secretary.
Afternoon sessions must be booked with Gill Cox on 01295 257674 but drivers must have done the morning taster session first, the next availability is at the earliest in the October holidays, the April event is cancelled due to the coronavirus emergency.
Here are various pictures of the Lets Go Karting scheme and some of the many drivers who have joined the club and have gone on to race with us.
For everyone who is interested in starting kart racing, here is the information you may need:
First off, why not come along to a race meeting (see Race Calendar page) and see which classes are popular and may suit your age, weight and ability (Do not rush out and buy a kart without this research first!)
First you need to purchase a Start Karting pack from the Motorsport UK Shop, it costs £59 which includes the cost of your first licence,
and if a minor under the age of 18 then also the PG Entrant licence for the parent or guardian.
Then the test costs £98. You can buy a voucher on line from the www.arks.co.uk website, here: https://www.trakentries.co.uk/ARKS/Add.asp which will save you writing a cheque when you come to the club or school to take the test
You will also need to purchase a suitable helmet (under 15's note the only helmet standard allowed is the Snell CMR2007 or CMR 2016 type) - do NOT buy a motorcycle helmet, then a homologated race suit, boots and gloves.
Consider an introductory course by one of the professional kart schools, see www.arks.co.uk. Protrain operates at Shenington.
But if you take your ARKS Novice Driver Test at Shenington (paying £98) with our ARKS Examiner Tom Whitehouse and join the club at the full price you will get your first race entry free (worth £60 or prorata for Clubman/Libre).
Those who have answered all the medical questions on the licence form can race the following day, otherwise the licence application form must be sent off to the Motorsport UK and the licence received. From 2016 no medicals are required for short circuit karting for any age, but a medical is required for long circuit racing only if over age 60, but a (free) vision test is required for all long circuit drivers, or a medical if taking out an International licence.
And if economy is what you seek, at Shenington we have a budget class called Formula Libre which incorporates TKM Clubman and a Junior Max engined kart for over 16's where only second hand tyres are allowed along with the older type chassis and engines.
Saturday afternoon practice and Sunday race fee combined for club members in the senior TKM Clubman is only £80 (or £100 for non members) meaning that a complete weekend should cost less than £125. Karts can be purchased from around £1200 or even less sometims. We also have a Formula Libre economy cllass for Seniors,, using the Junior Rotax Max engine. In both cases the chassis must be over 2 years old. Check out the regulations for this class on our Regulations page.
At the other end of the scale the geared karts can reach speeds of 100mph (250 National) or 90mph (KZ UK 125cc 6-speed)
And if you don't want to race, we are often looking for volunteer officials and marshals, contact the Secretary for more information.
Motorssport UK, the governing body, are continually on the look out for new Scrutineers (Technical officials), Clerks of the Course, Timekeepers etc
(Training is given, and you will have a mentor to guide you through the training period)
CLASSES RACED AT SHENINGTON
We run mainly 2-stroke classes at Shenington, plus the 4-stroke Honda Cadet. We do not cater for prokarts but other more powerful 4-stroke classes are usually welcome at our open practice days. No licence is required on our practice days but novices should have at least two black number plates with white numbers (number between 11-99 as 0, 1-10 are reserved for the top places in the national and British Championships. Practice usually starts at 0920 on a Saturday and on a Thursday or Friday, always preceded by a Drivers Briefing at around 0905. Click here for a list of classes but especially note that we welcome the X30 classes.
WHAT HAPPENS ON A RACE-DAY - A GUIDE TO NEW DRIVERS AND SPECTATORS
Drivers can join the club via the link on our website, membership provides a discount for entry and practice fees. If not a member, guests – who must be a member of another ABkC club – can still enter, but of course they will not get championship points, which are automatically awarded to members from the date of joining. Members can also choose a regular competition number. If the driver has passed his ARKS Novice Driver Test a day or so earlier, they can usually race on the Sunday but we ask them to put in a provisional entry beforehand. (If logging into the online entry system before a licence number is issued, use your email instead.) Before taking the test, they need to purchase the Start Karting pack from www.motorsportuk.org although we often have them in stock.
So weeks before the actual event, the drivers will have sent their entry to the club’s competition secretary, most will do this online through the link on our website. On average, we receive 150 plus entries per meeting over eleven different classes. A lot of behind-the-scenes hard work occurs before the actual day of the race from arranging the Motorsport UK permit (which covers the insurance), through to sending confirmation of entries, compiling and printing the programme and booking officials.
Drivers usually arrive very early on race or practice day and in some cases, the night before if they have a long way to travel. The first action is signing-on. Every driver must produce his/her competition licence issued by the sport’s governing body Motorsport UK. If the driver is under 18 years of age, then his or her parent or guardian needs to have a PG Entrants licence as well. Various forms are completed and entry fees paid. Next, the equipment has to be checked by officially appointed Scrutineers. Every bit of the kit has to conform to the rules and regulations laid down and published online at www.motorsportuk.org . This ensures that the kart and driver meet the strict requirements of his/her chosen class and everything passes the stringent safety checks. Also check out www.kartinguk.org for the links to regulations.
At around 9.15am the drivers attend a briefing by the Clerk of the Course. He informs them of any information pertinent to the day’s events and of any special regulations relating to the day or to Shenington circuit. Novices and anyone new to the circuit will receive a special extra briefing. After that, practice begins. This is in race order by class or kart and lasts for 3 laps each. Most drivers use a lap timing and maybe also a data logger on their karts, from which the data can usually be downloaded to a computer at the end of a session. One such system is from AIM, click here for more info. The Shenington circuit has three strips, or loops, to pick up sector times, from the transponder or data logger.
Once the practice is complete we start racing properly. For normal club meetings, every driver completes two or three heats and a final. In the heats, grid positions are allocated to give every driver an equal chance of success. Thus a driver who is on pole for the first heat can expect to be on the last grid place for heat two. The only exception is for that of the novice driver, who hasn’t yet achieved their full competition licence and will start at the back. They will have black number plates with white numbers to show they are a novice. The points scored by the drivers in the heats determined his/her grid position for the final. Alternatively there might be a timed practice/qualifying session to set the grids for the heats.
Finals are run after a lunch break and are always very competitive events, the heats having sorted the fastest to the front etc. Finals have more laps than heats. Trophies are awarded to the first three or four finishers in every class, depending on the number entered for the class. Except for special meetings, Shenington Kart Club gives out the trophies 30 minutes or so after the end of the final, so that families and teams can get on the road home more quickly. The points scored by the drivers during the meeting (provided they start the Final and are Club Members) count towards the annual Club Championship. At the end of the year we add up the best scores for every club driver to determine the Club Championship by class (If the driver does all the possible rounds, they can drop out their two worst scores). This is a very coveted award and represents a lot of hard work by the team concerned and one driver is chosen as our ‘Driver of the Year’.
Remember also the squad of officials and marshals that volunteer to come along and make the meeting a success. If you are interested in helping, please contact one our our team or the Secretary.