Go Karting – Where it all began…

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 No Comments

Strange beginnings – did you know that the original go karts in the UK were made of old sheds, prams and rope?
kart history

In the late 1940s and into the1950s, there was barely any telly(if you were lucky enough to have one in the first place), no mobiles, iPhones or iPlayers, no internet or computer games and no money to spend on flashy toys. Playing for kids was with simple equipment like jacks, marbles, skipping-ropes, conkers on strings, bats, balls and bicycles – and anything they could make themselves out of old stuff they found lying around. That included the first go karts in the UK. The earliest were wooden in construction, with old pram wheels and a rope to steer. The more inventive used the old pram chassis itself, but it didn’t steer so well. They were prized possessions and often raced on the streets to determine who had made the fastest model.

It is unclear who should be credited with making the first go kart, as kids in the UK were very early pioneers in the 40s and 50s. However, the Americans claimed ‘a first’ in 1956 where Art Ingels is given the credit of making the first kart, It was motorised, which was far more sophisticated that the hundreds of street karts already being raced round the streets of Britain, but does that make it a first? Ingels kart had a motor (lawn mower) on the back, and steering from a wheel set in the middle of the kart that was connected to one wheel at the back by a bicycle chain. It was pretty nifty, nevetheless, but the crude brake of a hand lever connected to a plate that he merely hauled up to stop the kart by pressing the plate on the back wheel had variable results in stopping him in anything resembling a straight line. An American manufacturer then started making these motorised karts in kit form in 1957 – with some considerable improvements to the design.
kart history 2
This new motorised karting made its way to the UK in 1958, brought over by American servicemen, with the first of the outings classed as unofficial races and demonstration events. In late 1959 the RAC officially sanctioned karting, and the first official race was held in November of that year at RAF Lakenheath. This was a two hour race won by the late Graham Hill in a Progress kart with a Villiers engine. Karting, as we now know it, was born in the UK and a continuous development program of improvements has made the modern kart almost unrecognisable from it’s humble shed, pram and rope beginings.
kart history 3

How Safe is Karting for Kids?

Thursday, February 13th, 2014 No Comments

Kids Karting

Parents often ask if karting is safe. We think the main reason they ask this is that they think of their own experience driving on our roads. But is this a fair comparison? Yes, they will be driving a vehicle, but unlike the real roads there are numerous checks and measures that are strictly enforced and safety precautions are standard. So lets sum up:

  • Your children will be in a strictly controlled environment
  • They will be fully briefed and instructed before they get into a kart
  • They will be wearing a race suit and a full face crash helmet
  • They will be in a very small and manageable group
  • Everyone will be travelling in the same direction
  • Their speed will almost certainly be limited to about 20mph
  • They will be surrounded by deformable safety barriers
  • There will definitely be a first-aider on site
  • Each kart will have been checked on a daily basis with paperwork to back this up

Are you still worried about how safe go-karting is?


Kids Karting

Thursday, August 12th, 2010 No Comments

Our kids can drive us all mad, but thanks to the facilities available through Karting Nation, they can also drive a range of super-fast, super-fun go karts. Did you know that Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and many other top Formula 1 drivers got their first taste of motor racing in karts? And despite what many people think, this activity isn’t reserved for the mega-rich.

If your little devil is a speed demon, you’re bound to find an exciting karting package to suit your family and your budget.

Kid’s party packages are a great way to introduce your young ones to racing in a safe and fun environment, and celebrate their birthday while they do it! These events, available in many karting venues nationwide, include exclusive use of the track, marshalled races between your kids and their mates, plus complimentary gifts like medals for the racers or a special prize for the birthday boy or girl. Many locations even throw in party food and drink, so all of the little drivers can refuel throughout the day.

While several venues do not offer these fantastic activities, they still allow junior drivers to take a kart for a spin around the track. Some venues let children take part in their GP Experience sessions, which are opportunities to take a kart onto the circuit for a designated period of time, usually between 15 minutes and 1 hour.

This is a chance for mini-Hamiltons to gain experience and develop their racing technique in a non-competitive environment, before they go head to head with their peers. With computer timing equipment, they will be able to examine their exact lap times and chart their improvement.

Other sites may offer Kid’s Practice sessions, which follow the same format as the GP Experience sessions but afford younger drivers exclusive use of the track.

Look out for peak and off peak pricings which apply at some venues. Off peak bookings give your kids the opportunity to drive at reduced prices provided you are available for an afternoon session.  Please be aware the vast majority of providers require adult supervision of young drivers to be maintained at all times.

Cadet Karts are another option offered by selected venues. These schemes, designed to promote junior karting and develop new talent in the sport, take the form of karting lessons or competitive races against other young hopefuls. This might be your little ones chance race full-throttle toward a lucrative career in motor sport. And if that doesn’t happen they’re still bound to have a fantastic time!

Each of our karting locations has its own minimum age and height requirements. The most common age range for junior karting activity would seem to be 8 years to 15 years however some facilities sport electric karts which may be driven by children as young as 3 years.

Many venues impose a height restriction of a minimum 4’4’’ but this is also different depending on the site in question.

Most junior karts are usually run on 120cc to 200cc engines. Electric karts are also a new option that is growing in popularity, as a safer and quieter alternative to the traditional petrol kart.

The guys at Karting Nation are on hand to help you in planning an exciting karting trip for your kids. They will be able to offer specific information regarding the features and requirements of each venue, and our happy to discuss your options. With their help you’re sure to plan a thrilling experience for your potential racing champs, and an affordable experience at that!

Call us now on 0844 745 5006