Where do I start?
When looking to get into karting there are two important questions you need to answer:
- Do you want to compete or are you just looking to practice (social karting)?
- What age group are you in and then what class will best suit you?
Once you’ve answered these two questions you’ll know what type of licence you’ll need and be able to begin narrowing down your search for right kart.
The information below will help you answer these questions as well as provide a basic introduction to the sport of karting.
While a major focus of the club is on competition we understand not everyone is looking to race so we also offer practice only memberships (also known as Social or E Grade). This allows you full access to the track as well as the ability to compete at one club day per year in case you ever want to dip your toe in the water and see what racing is all about.
A competition licence and membership allow you to race at Karting Australia sanctioned events Australia wide. There are several different levels of competition:
- Club Day’s – Held on the last Saturday or Sunday of each month (Feb-Nov).
- Open Meetings/Series – Held at tracks around the state on most weekends of the year as stand-alone meetings or as part of a series.
- State Championships – Held in each state at various times of the year as a single event or a multi-round series depending on the state.
- National Championships – The Australian Kart Championship and the Rotax Pro Tour are the two national championships run in Australia. Both are multi-round series held on the east coast of Australia.
The ten club day’s each year form Oakleigh’s Club Championship. As we are one of only two tracks in Victoria with track lights we run half of our club days on a Saturday starting in the afternoon and running into the evening under lights. The other half are run on Sunday’s starting in the morning and running until mid-afternoon. We also hold two Open Meetings each year as well as hosting the Victorian State Championship meeting every four years.
Classes are broken up by different age, weight and engine types. There are many different classes offered by Karting Australia but we will only cover the entry level classes offered in Victoria and raced at Oakleigh.
Please note that even if you decide you just want to practice you must comply with the rules for a class appropriate to your age group and licence grade. Practice licence holders with no recognised prior experience are limited to beginner classes with restrictor plates fitted when required.
Cadets are split into two classes, Cadet 9 and Cadet 12.
Cadet 9 is open to drivers from the date of their 6th birthday until the date of their 10th birthday. Drivers may not compete until the date of their 7th birthday they can practice only.
Cadet 12 is open to drivers from the year of their 9th birthday until the date of their 13th birthday.
Cadets all use the Vortex Mini ROK engine but for Cadet 9 a restrictor plate is fitted to the exhaust to lower the power of the engine.
While no longer competitive for racing the older Comer SW80 (Cadet 9) and Yamaha KT100J (Cadet 9 & 12) are both still eligible to be used at club days and are a popular choice for social karters or people looking for a cheaper engine to practice with before making the step up to racing and purchasing the Mini ROK.
Regardless of the brand of Go Kart you purchase all Cadet karts come in two sizes, 900mm and 950mm long. The size of the kart you need will come down to the height of each child but as a general rule most people do not need to upgrade to a 950mm kart until some point in Cadet 12.
There are many different Junior classes but beginners must start out in KA4 Junior. KA4 Junior is split into two weight divisions, Light and Heavy and is open to drivers from the year of their 12th birthday to the date of their 16th birthday.
Your weight is the combined weight of the kart and driver at the end of a race. For drivers that are below the minimum weight for KA4 Junior Light or who are close to the weight for KA4 Junior Heavy you can attach lead ballast to the kart to meet the required weight.
KA4 Junior uses the IAME KA100 engine with a restrictor plate fitted to the exhaust to lower the power of the engine.
There are many different go karts for juniors and even more options for things like axle size etc., some taller or heavier drivers may even choose to run a full size adult kart. We would strongly suggest talking to one of our local kart shops to make sure you purchase the correct kart for you.
There are three classes available for Seniors to start out in, KA3 Senior, TaG 125 Restricted and 4SS Senior. In Victoria TaG 125 Restricted is also known as Victorian Combined, this class allows TaG 125 engines and KA100 engines to be used in the same class.
While KA3 Senior is an option, it is one rarely taken by beginners and we will focus on Victorian Combined and 4SS Senior.
- Victorian Combined
Victorian Combined is split into three weight divisions, Light, Medium and Heavy as well as a single division called Masters for drivers over 40. Your weight is the combined weight of the kart and driver at the end of a race. For drivers that are below the minimum weight for Victorian Combined Light or who are close to the weight for Victorian Combined Medium or Heavy you can attach lead ballast to the kart to meet the required weight.
There are a variety of 125cc engines eligible to be used but by far the most popular at Oakleigh is the IAME X30 followed by the Rotax 125 Max/Evo Max.
4SS is a new class using 4 stroke engines and is a great entry level class. The engines are cheap, low maintenance and can be attached to nearly any kart frame with a few minor modifications.
4SS is split into three weight divisions, Light, Medium and Heavy although due to the high torque of the engine the time difference between weight divisions is not nearly as much as it is with a 2 stroke engine, it is not uncommon for the heavier drivers to be mixing it up the front for outright wins.
Not only are the engines and karts cheap to purchase, ongoing costs are kept low with a hard compound tyre that is capable of lasting a whole season and factory sealed engines that cannot be modified or blueprinted and do not require regular rebuilds like their 2 stroke counterparts.
There are a huge variety of different go karts for seniors, some are built for specific classes and others may come in different frame thicknesses for different weight drivers. We would strongly suggest talking to one of our local kart shops to make sure you purchase the correct kart for you.
All go karts, whether being used for practice or competition must meet the technical regulations set out in the Karting Australia rulebook at all times when on track.
We would usually recommend that people purchase a second hand kart when starting out especially for children whose interests may change quickly.
While there are a lot of good karts for sale online we would suggest beginners purchase their first kart from a kart shop, you may pay a little more but you’ll have the peace of mind that the kart is in good condition and is the correct kart for the class you’re looking to join. You can find a list of local kart shops here.
If you do decide to purchase a kart online we recommend you start by searching for some of the many Facebook Buy & Sell groups for go karts, many of the karts for sale in these groups have been used at Karting Australia sanctioned tracks and should generally meet the technical regulations.
Karts for sale on sites like eBay and Gumtree are often very old and have engines that no longer or never did meet Karting Australia regulations. Before purchasing something online please double check that it does meet the regulations for the class you are looking to race in, the club will be happy to advise you on this.
There are a number of mandatory pieces of safety equipment that must be worn when karting as well as several optional though highly recommended pieces.
- Helmet: A full face must be worn. Helmets must comply with one of several standards listed in the Karting Australia rulebook.
- Suit: A one piece driving suit with full length arm and leg protection must be worn. It is recommended that the suit be made of an abrasion resistant material and be compliant with CIK-FIA 2013-1 homologation. Overalls with press stud buttons are not permitted.
- Gloves: Must be fastened at the wrist, be abrasion resistant and be full finger.
- Shoes: Must be securely fastened, provide cover and protection to the ankles and be abrasion resistant.
- Rib Protector (Cadet & Junior only): No specific requirements.
- Neck Brace: No specific requirements.
- Rib Protector: Optional for Senior’s only but highly recommended.
- Balaclava: No specific requirements.
When you join the Oakleigh Go Kart Racing Club you will have access to the track for practice. Under current COVID restrictions practice sessions must be supervised by a Club official, we usually run several sessions a week on both weekdays and weekends. This is included in your membership fee and you are not charged any extra each time you visit.
The track will occasionally be closed to members during working bee’s or for private hire events but these are usually only for a few hours at a time.
As well as access to the track you will receive a Karting Australia rulebook and a welcome email with more information about the club, the facilities at the track and some basic safety information and requirements that all karters must follow while using the track. There is also a short online safety induction you must take before we approve your membership and licence.
Your membership and licence are valid for 1 year so make sure you have already purchased or are well on the way to purchasing your kart before you sign up.
Details on the cost of membership and licences and how to join can be found on our New Membership page here.
Once you become a member you’ll need to get some practice under your belt before you’re ready for your first race meeting.
Once you’re comfortable that you’re setting lap times somewhere around the average race pace you will need to complete an Observed Driving Session before you’re able to enter a race meeting, Cadets must log 8 hours of practice with a parent/guardian who is the holder of a participant’s licence, anyone over the age of 18 who holds a race licence or a recognised driver trainer before being eligible to complete the ODS.
At the ODS we will go through the basics of how a race meeting runs, the officials and what their roles are, some basic rules and we’ll also go on a track walk to point out things like the start grid and formation line and run through some of the procedures. You’ll also be tested on your knowledge of all the different flags so you’ll need to study their meaning, they can be found in your copy of the rulebook.
Once the theory section is finished you’ll head out on track to be observed during a practice session, we’ll be watching things like your race lines and lap times to make sure we believe you’re ready to safely start racing.
If you don’t already have one, you’ll also need to purchase a transponder. The transponder is linked to our timing system and measures you lap times and position in the race (this is separate to the lap times your data logger records). The club has a very limited number of transponders that we rent on club days but you will need to purchase your own especially to race at events away from Oakleigh.
Transponders are available new from MyLaps or they can be found second hand on various karting Facebook pages.
If you purchase a subscription based transponder you must setup your account and activate your subscription prior to your first race meeting or the transponder will not work.