Extreme newbie here

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    Hi all-
    I am just finding my way into this world of karting and have been given an issue of Colorado Karter- which led me here. I am an auto-xer ( an addiction I picked up in Indy) though I am also still pretty new at that. I have come into a great appreciation of indoor karting this year. I am really wanting to start getting into the outdoor karting- because road courses are a real draw to me, and karts do not intimidate me as much as hitting the track in a car.
    So- I need some serious guidance here. Where should I head first? IMI?What should I drive first? I guess I should say that I am 26 years old- female. I am hoping that once I hit the track, that I will meet people who can help me out some- is this a reasonable expectation?? Also- are there any schools that people would reccomend? I know that this is serious amature stuff- but I thank you in advance for your help. I hope not to be amature forever!



    The first 2 people I would get in contact with to start your kart racing would be Sam Walls – he races pro shifter and is one of the most experienced kart racers in the Denver area. He was a great resource for me last year. I would also contact Doug Welch of Shockwave Karting. Doug knows everyone associated with karting both in Denver and throughout the country.

    I would highly encourage you to get into Tag racing – even though there is still some problems with the CSC rules for this year, it still is a very competitive and fun group of people to race with. If you are mechanically inclined, and money isn’t an issue, then the Biland or Leopard would be the better motor package to go with. If you are a fairly light weight person (don’t wan to get too personal), but I would say weigh less than 165 pounds, then the rotax is going to be your best motor to race otherwise you are going to have to add atleast 50 pounds of lead weight to your kart to run the Biland / Leopard / Sonik and that is too much weight to be adding – the karts become too heavy to lift and the weight starts to create too much of a strain on your seat struts.

    If it is possible, get hooked up with one or two people that want to run as a team. There was one other female that raced Tag last year, she ran a Biland in Jr., and I believe she is old enough that she will be racing Sr. this year. There are a few others that I know are going to be running as a small team, but not sure what their plans are in terms of running with more people. Higher a mechanic, again if money is less of a concern….I highly recommend Preson Newberry – he was mine last year for a few races and does a great job.

    Don’t, I repeat, Don’t run shifters in your first year. There are too many national caliber drivers in the Denver area for you to be competitive and the shifters are more difficult to learn.

    I do recommend going to IMI and renting one of their karts for several laps. If you are considering running Tag, they rent the Biland. It is pretty expensive to rent karts (not just IMI, but all places), but it will give you an idea of the speeds and handling of the Tag classes. Rent one of their slower potatoe diggers for the first session just to learn the track.

    Good luck and have fun.

    Marc Elliott

    ill vouch for preston as a tuner, he knows his stuff


    There are three types of adult kart sprint racing out here.
    1. 4 cycle motors are 12.5hp to 15 hp. This is good low cost racing. At IMI they run 62 second lap times.
    2. TAG touch and go motors have around 30hp and run IMI lap times in the 56 second range. It’s more money than 4 cycle but they have more speed.
    3. Shifters which are basically in 40+hp range. They are the fastest and the most expensive. I think they run 52 seconds at IMI. Dennis is right, don’t start in shifters.

    You can rent 4 cycle and TAG karts at Action Karting and IMI. If you go on the weekend, there will be racers testing and tuning there. Just go up and start asking questions. You will find racer’s to help you in any of these levels.



    James – you are close on the lap times, but I actually ran in the 55’s for laptimes last year at IMI. 55.4 was my fastest race lap time and 55.029 :mrgreen: was my fastest time on my Mychron in testing – I really wanted 54’s but couldn’t get there last year. I believe Ryan Bailey has the IMI lap record at 51.9 for shifters.



    Dennis hit it right on the number! Good suggestions. I would also go out to IMI on a nice weekend and talk to the drivers. You will be surprised at all the advise you will get. Everybody and I mean everybody is a supporter of kart racing-just a great bunch of guys.

    Get your check book ready to get into tag the first year from scratch, you will spend ~$5-10,000.

    Want to see you out there with us Tags. If you are real energetic-buy a Rotax and you can run:

    Tag and Rotax Max Challenge races on the same race days on some tracks.

    Good luck


    Like you, I am new at this. I have raced the 100 cc yamaha and 4 cycles. I am now moving into Tag. I think you have received some good advice, and I believe Tag has much to offer. Doug, at Shock Wave Karting, recently gave a class on chasis adjustment. It was very helpful and it gave be important direction in chasis selection and the concepts behind chasis adjustments. As recommended, talk to him.
    The engine package ($2200 to $3700 approximately) has been a struggle for me. I am still undecided. For example, some of the engines are sealed (Biland and Rotax Max), requiring authorized representatives to work on the insides, and others are not sealed (Leopard, Sonik, etc.), allowing more flexibility in getting work done. In that same vain, the Rotax Max, while it runs Tag, has its own popular series that runs locally, regionally and nationally – Rotax Max Challenge. Therefore, I would like to hear from some of the drivers about the pros and cons of the available engine package selection.
    My investigation of pricing demonstrates that a new turnkey (ready to race-almost) runs about $5200-$5500.00. Then you will need electronics (engine-water temp, rmps, etc.) that cost from $300.00 to $500.00. Then your outfit-helmet(Snell 2000), gloves, shoes, suit, tools and kartlift. Many things will be purchased as you go. I would recommend getting a karting book that talks about kart racing in general. Steve Smith Autosports has a selection on line. I also went online and ordered the many different catelogs from the outlets for kart parts. It gives you a good idea of what goes into kart racing and general expense. You can also get good tech articles online
    One area I will offer some advice is in regards to kart lifts. I do everything myself. Other karters will help you, however, I know how busy they are on race day. There are kart lifts that pick the kart up and place it back down on the ground. They are more expensive ($500.00). In my case, I have modified a dolly to accomplish the same things. It cost me only $50.00. If you don’t have the problem, just ignore my advice.
    Also, we have some very nice tracks in Colorado. I have driven at CRE in Colorado Springs, Bandimere in Denver, IMI and the new Grand Junction track. I find all of the owners to be helpful. There are also Kart racing shops such as Billet Performance, Shockswave Karting, KSD and Mile High. I am sure I left some out but not intentionally. As I said my experience is limited. The point is they have a good selection of products to sell. Stop by and shop around. I like to support the track owners because without them I couldn’t enjoy this sport as I do–and I am 58.
    Lastly, you can’t say enough about The Colorado Karter. Angie deserves the respect of all of us for her efforts in establishing this site. It provides a forum for needed discussions and opinions. It is very informative and will keep you up to date with all kart related activities.


    I would rec. spending time at the tracks hanging out or racing the rentals. Everyone around on the weekend is super friendly and helpful, talk to some of them see how they got started.

    Action Karting @ Bandimere just got me into a kart, all I can say is I should have done it a long time ago !!


    jjw makes several good points. First you need to educate yourself as to what you are getting in to. Karting can be either recreational, recreational/competitive or full blown competition in ALL classes. All of the local tracks (IMI and Bandi) support all three types of racers. The CSC does a real good job for the 2nd and 3rd categories while still allowing the recreational racer an avenue to put their karts on the track and log laps, but don’t be afraid to pull off the track or get completely out of the way when the faster karts are about to lap you – some people found this out the hard way last year at Steamboat and affected the race outcome when they shouldn’t have – this is not to be a slam towards the driver but rather help for less experienced racers.

    Angie does an OUTSTANDING job with The Colorado Karter (pickup all past issues if you can) and this forum. With that said, I do recommend ekartingnews.com for national news and a broader scope of kart racing. There are debates on their daily on the very issue that you brought up. The $ that Rich spoke about is closer to reality. I spent close to $35,000 last year getting 3 karts ready to race including spare motors, tires, hubs, seats, mychron, trailer, tires, entry fees, subscriptions, travel, hotel, fuel, more spare parts, repairs, mechanic, kart stands, tools, jets, front drivers, rear drivers, throttle cables….the list goes on. The more you break, the more you pay and don’t count on not breaking – everybody does…it’s racing.

    If I was going to do it all over again I would buy a used chassis – no more than 2 years old and have the chassis scaled prior to buying it. I would buy a NEW motor (rotax in your case) but not necessarily locally and have a spare used motor just in case I needed it. I recommend a couple of websites to purchase new rotax motors. First and foremost is speedquestkarting.com – Nick Weil out of Florida did an awesome job for me last year when I needed spare parts, knows a ton about the motors and will shoot straight. I also recommend Andy Seesman at FullThrottleKarting.com – Andy is probably the foremost expert when it comes to rotax motors in the US. His company is being recognized nationally for their support to rotax and he will shoot straight.

    In terms of chassis for the Denver area – go with DFM (supported by Bandimere), CRG (supported indirectly by shockwave karting), Birel (easy to find parts for, I believe the Baily’s are supporting in Denver and nationally one of the largest market share karts in the us) and finally GP (I don’t know about local support anymore, but you will see plenty of them at the track). Outside of those chassis I wouldn’t recommend, but I’m sure that others will have opinions.

    Motors – buy rotax and be done with it. They DO NOT have to be sealed to run TAG, common misnomer.

    Tom Dennin

    I just wanted to add my two cents. Everything everyone is saying is great advice, but about what Dennis last posted.

    If you were thinking about getting into a Rotax engine package two things.

    First, Nick and Andy are great guys and I do not want to take anything from them, but Curtis, Chris and Brooke with Acceleration Karting in Las Vegas are very helpful as well. Their prices are actually lower than the others mentioned on most items.

    Second, You do not need to buy a NEW Rotax engine just buy one from one of the shops that have been mentioned. That way they can or will have already rebuilt it for you and you may save some money.

    Other than that have fun with it and remember the only dumb question is the one not asked.

    I assume the “which chassis is better issue” will be discussed by others.



    WOW 😀 Thank you all so much for responding- and for all the wonderful advice so far. I am going to consider all of this- and will definitely be hitting IMI as soon as I can. I know that actually getting outhere will really help me figure out what I should do to start, but this has already made me feel less like I am completely clueless. I am sure that I will be posting more ?s on here as they come up- but I can already tell that this is a great community! I hope I- and my family- will fit in nicely!

    Mike Jansen

    Hey Newbie,

    I have always enjoyed motor racing (watched it never participated) and last year was my first year in the sport. I got into it after going to IMI for a bachelor party and (also) Sam Walls worked out at my gym. I agree with the things that are being said and i’d like to add a few things to the mix.

    I bought a used GP/Rotax package and was glad i bought used. Would I have bought new? I don’t think so because I didn’t know enough to make a good decision, Then to be stuck with something i wouldn’t be happy with later. But that is me and I am cheap at times 😆 knowing what i know now I’ll buy new for my next kart. Do you want to race? Are you doing this for recreation? Those are questions you have to answer.

    Shifter versus the Touch and Go (TAG) Classes? How deep are your pockets? Remember this: Have you ever seen a pilot go from a Cessna to a 747? Did Juan Pablo Montoya go from karting to Formula one? It is the same with a shifter versus TAG. Shifter is the top of the ladder.

    As for kart chassis and engine packages get something that you like but more importantly get something that has local support. No good getting a Tony Kart/ Italsystem when there are no dealers here. Same for the engines. Personally i like the zit engine (Rotax) but again that is personal preference. I think that all engines have thier plusses and minuses. Your challenge is a)how much is the rebuild when that comes b)What is my engine’s weakness (no one engine is perfect) some are great low to mid range others great mid to high range in RPM’s.

    Between the kart and accessories it cost me about 7,000 to race last year. (Dennis cost more because when he wrecked they were doosies 😀 ) (And I didn’t go to any out of area races other than Steamboat)

    Go to any track here in this state and ASK QUESTIONS. Everyone here loves to educate anyone with a pulse who is curious! They’ll tell you why thier chassis and engine is better than XYZ’s piece of junk. Seriously if you don’t ask then that is your fault because we all are happy to give you knowledge and the more that race the better the competition.

    Good Luck and hope to see you at the tracks! :mrgreen:

    Mike Jansen
    rotax #27d


    Do you want to race? Are you doing this for recreation? Those are questions you have to answer.

    I want to race! 😀 And eventually some day….I’d like to place well. But first, I just want to get in a kart on a road track. What is the weather supposed to be like this weekend?? I am getting very excited now!



    Check the weather in the Denver Post, I think 40’s.

    Dennis, I can’t believe you spent $35K last yr.! I guess that 1,500 octane costs a lot!

    The Rental karts at IMI are not as fast as the Tags or shifters. I am sure if you talk to Brad or Bobby out at IMI they will rent you a Biland tag kart to give you the feel-not cheap. Take a look at their used tag karts. Your could pick up a used one pretty cheap.

    A new rotax roller will be about $5,200 not including electronics and extras.

    Like I said I ran both the CSC series and the Rotax Max Challenge last year. That was 18 race days and spent $6,000, but it was my 5th yr. I went to the Rotax Grand Nationals-what an experience!! My first year spent $10,000 and started right off in a shifter.


    As many have said before, go out to the track and drive the rentals. It should give you a good idea of what kind of power level you are comfortable with. Since you have had some previous racing experience TAG is probably a good fit for a class.
    There are 3 motor packages that are popular in this area, Rotax, Leopard, and Biland. All are great motors, but they all have different power characteristics. I think any one of the motors are capable of winning races in the hands of a good driver. I run a Rotax and could not be happier with it. Some people have troubles getting the jetting of the carb down, but it is really not that difficult. If you end up with a Rotax be sure to pick up the MaxJet / RaceJet software http://www.g-rpm.com/ it will take alot of the guesswork out of jetting and plug changes. I as well have worked with Andy @ FTK, Nick @ SpeedQuest, and Curtis @ Acceleration, and will say they all are very helpful and are great to work with. Curtis does our rebuilds and is very thorough and fast. We had one motor back in 4 days and the other was back in 5, including shipping to and from Vegas.
    As someone said, with a Rotax you have many options for racing, you have club level races, CSC races, and a very large national program that you can run. The level of competition at RMC nationals is amazing.
    You really can’t go wrong with any of the major chassis brands. Last year was my first year and my teammate and I both ran DFM’s which were great chassis but they lacked some of the adjustability that we were looking for. This year we will be running Arrows, but any of the chassis mentioned are very good. I as well would start off with a used chassis, there is no sense in buying a brand new one until you have raced for a season or two and you know what kind of features you will want in a chassis.
    That being said, hope to see you at the track.

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