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EastWest Aviation Ltd Lead sponsor of the Team BSR
Sponsor of Team Black Sheep Racing

Driver Training with BSR:

Starting Karting

You have tried karting at a corporate track or you have seen it on television (if you have please let the karting fraternity know which channel please) and you want to take it up. First thing to consider is your or your offspring's age. There are three age groups:- Cadets, Juniors and Seniors.


        8 - 12 (31st December of year of 12th birthday)  


      11 - 16 (31st December of year of 16th birthday)   


      16 - upwards  

There are a few rules you should follow irrespective of the class you are entering.

[1]  Do not go out and buy the first kart you see.
[2]  Do not try to design and build your own (most classes require homologation of the chassis).
[3]  Do visit your local MSA track and talk to the scrutineers and other officials.
[4]  Watch the days racing and look round the pits talk to competitors, above all ask questions.
[5]  Gather information from dealers on their product lines and test drive opportunities.
[6]  Have a look at second hand deals in Karting magazine and UK Karting web site.
[7]  D
o your homework. The ancillary equipment can cost as much as the kart.

You've done your homework, chosen your class and you still want to have a go, then you're nearly hooked. Before you go to the considerable expense of buying a kart and all the ancillary equipment required the best thing to do is your ARKS driving and theory test again follow the rules.

[1]  Study the Flags section on this site, remember them and know what they all mean.
[2]  Hire a race kart and do some supervised practice see if you'll be able to make the grade.
[3]  Purchase the MSA starting karting pack.
[4]  Study the pack contents and learn all you require to pass the test is contained in it.
[5]  Practice on your hire kart and when ready apply for your ARKS test with your local MSA club.

You will require full race clothing for your practice and test sessions, i.e. FIA/CIK approved kart race suit, gloves, boots that cover the ankles and an approved helmet. You do not have to use a kart from the class you intend to race in. The ARKS test comprises a written multiple guess exam and a driving test supervised by the clubs examiner. Don't worry the examiners are friendly and there to see you can drive competently and safely within 110% of the other drivers in your class and at most circuits that means up to 6-10 seconds a lap of the pace. ARKS test passed and your on your way, you are now eligible to race. After you've passed the ARKS test is the time to seriously investigate buying a kart and the ancillary equipment.

For the first five races you'll start at the back of the grid and if your honest you'll probably be quite glad of that. If your in a hurry to get that full licence then it can be done five weekends and you'll race at a minimum of 4 different tracks.

Important note -  These first five races are your probationary period and you won't get a signature if you are not seen to be competent and safe by the race steward.

You can keep your licence and upgrade at the end of the year or send it off and upgrade to a National 'B', or if one of those races was at another circuit and you can upgrade to a National 'A'. National 'A' allows you to compete in the various national championships. 

Important note -  Whilst you are waiting for your licence to be returned you cannot race. If you want to it back quickly put a jockey on it and pay the express surcharge.

Once you have those six signatures then its off with the novice plates and you take your place on the grid with all the others. Heat grid places are a lottery and you could see yourself on pole position for your 6th race day. If you do feel nervous about that you will find most competition secretaries are happy to put you at the back of the full licence holders but in front of the novices for a couple of races until you have more confidence in your abilities.

The best way to do all this - Hire a kart for ARKS and your qualifying races. The further knowledge you will have gleaned from competing at six race weekends put you are in a better position to decide whether you wish to continue or not, what class you really want to do and whether to buy new, used or even lease. Your pocket will feel the difference.

Good luck and remember - Let's all be careful out there and keep the shiny side up.


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Black Sheep Racing 2001-2010