Getting Started  
~ An
 Introduction to Superkarting ~

If you are seriously considering Superkarting as a sport and would like to know what is involved then this guide is designed to answer as many of your questions as possible. The guide covers the following: 

  • What you will need to do to begin racing a Superkart
  • What happens on race day
  • Who you can talk to about racing a Superkart
  • Estimated Racing Costs




                125cc Non-Gearbox Rotax 'MAX' karts

    What is Superkarting?


    Superkarts race on full length car racing tracks such as Mallala, Phillip Island, Winton, Eastern Creek, and Calder and in South Australia run under the same Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) rules as other racing cars. Racing a Superkart on these tracks allows the karts to reach high speeds, ranging from around 140kph for the Junior Max karts to 240kph for the 250cc International karts which are faster on most circuits than the V8 Supercars. Obviously these are not toys!

    Superkarting offers significant track time on race days, a friendly atmosphere and a well controlled racing environment. Some of our past drivers have progressed from Superkarting to other forms of racing such as V8 Supercars (Bathurst winner Nick Percat), GT Production, Formula Ford, V8 Utes and Saloon Cars etc.

    Preparing to Race

    If you have this guide you have probably already spoken to a current driver involved in Superkarting. The important thing to remember is that most, if not all, of the current drivers have been where you are currently and all of them will be happy to help you with any problems you may encounter.

    There are a number of steps involved in beginning Superkarting and these are dealt with below:

    See a race meeting

    This will give you an idea of what happens on a typical race day and provides a good opportunity to explore the paddock and talk to the drivers and support crews. Race dates are published on the events calendar page of this website.
     
    In SA we hold all of our race meetings at Mallala Motorsport Park. This is on the road heading North from the centre of Mallala township. Spectator attendance at Superkart meetings is free and access to all public areas is freely available on the day.

    Choose a class to run

    There are a number of different classes within Superkarting. Each class caters for different budget levels, different technical levels and so on. There are two main groups of karts, Rotax Non-Gearbox (NGB) and 250cc Gearbox (GB) and there are a number of classes within each of these groups. The 125cc Stock Honda Class (gearbox) has also commenced racing recently.

    Non-Gearbox Classes

    The classes within this group run without a gearbox, they have a centrifugal clutch. Non-gearbox classes generally run sprint-kart style chassis and running gear with the addition of special nose cones and a number of minor changes to comply with CAMS rules. They are all very closely controlled with very little allowed in the way of modifications this ensures a low cost form of racing and places the emphasis on the skills of the driver.

    In addition there are very few differences between the Non-Gearbox class karts and their Sprint kart counterparts. As a result it is very simple and inexpensive to convert an existing Sprint kart to a Superkart.

    Junior Rotax

    These karts use the water cooled Rotax Max 125cc engine (without Power Valve and with an exhaust restrictor plate) producing around 25 bhp with a centrifugal clutch. The karts are capable of speeds of around 140kmh and can lap Mallala in around 1 minute 22 seconds. This class is suited for drivers aged from 12 to 15.

    125cc NGB (Rotax Max)

    These karts use the water cooled Rotax Max 125cc engine, especially designed for karting which produce 30 bhp. These engines provide engine reliability coupled with a long time between overhauls. Treated properly these engines provide the lowest running and maintenance costs of any class within Superkarting and are probably the best class for beginners. The karts are capable of speeds up to 145kph and can lap Mallala in under 1 minute 25 seconds. The only difference between the Junior Rotax engine and the normal Rotax engine is the lack of Exhaust Power Valve in the cylinder barrel. When a Junior driver advances to the Senior ranks the only change to the engine is the replacement of the Junior cylinder with one fitted with the Power Valve. The rest of the engine remains unchanged and therefore the cost is minimised. In all possibility the old Junior cylinder may be able to be sold to a new Junior as these parts are very long lasting.

    Gearbox Classes 

  • 125cc Stock Honda Class
  • The Stock Honda class uses a CR125 Honda motocross engine on a 4 wheel braked sprint kart chassis. Chassis type, bodywork and all engine accessories are tightly controlled to minimise the cost associated with racing. For the budget conscious racer than wants to run a gearbox kart, this class provides a lot of fun and excitement 'out of the box' without the need for costly ongoing development.

         Top Speed: 180 - 200kph.

         250cc International Gearbox Class
  • These are the top-of-the-line Superkarts. They use twin cylinder racing engines such as are used in the Grand Prix bikes. The engines produce in excess of 90 bhp and these karts are capable of speeds over 240kmh. They can lap most circuits more quickly than the V8 Supercars and can lap Mallala in under 1 minute 6 seconds. The cost of running these karts is obviously greater than any of the other classes but they can be run relatively economically if maintenance is kept up to date and the engines are treated carefully. The karts make extensive use of wings to provide down-force at speed.

    Have a test drive

    If you are interested in a test drive in a Superkart there are "Come and Try" sessions available at most race meetings.

    Purchase a Superkart

    Once you have chosen the class of kart you are interested in you will need to purchase either a new or second hand kart. New and second-hand Superkarts can be purchased from the dealers listed at the end of this guide, second-hand karts are often advertised on this website.  Club members are happy to offer advice during this process, contact one of the Committee members if you need this assistance.

    Every vehicle that races under the CAMS rules must have an official log book which stays with the vehicle for life and Superkarts are no different.

    If you purchase a second-hand Superkart ensure that you get the log book from the previous owner and take it to the CAMS office (3/43 King William Street, Kent town ) and have the change of owner noted in the log book.

    If you purchase a new Superkart you will have to apply to CAMS for a log book to be issued. Once you have the log book the kart will have to be pre-scrutineered prior to your first race meeting. This process lets the scrutineer check the kart over to make sure it is safe, complies with the rules and is (again) safe. Once the pre-scrutineering is done and the log book has been updated by CAMS the kart is ready to take to a race meeting.

    Purchase other equipment
     
    In addition to your shiny new Superkart you will need a few other things before you start racing. These range from a few essentials to enough equipment to put a V8 team to shame it depends on how deep your pockets are or how good your sponsors are!

    Essentials

    You will need a driving suit, this protects you in the event of an accident and ensures you look flash whilst wandering around the paddock we cannot guarantee that you will be inundated with autograph hunters but it's a good start. The suit requirements are detailed in the CAMS Manual of Motorsport.

    You will also need driving gloves, driving shoes and a helmet. Requirements for these are also listed in the Motorsport Manual.

    In addition you will need a fire extinguisher which must also comply with the requirements listed in the CAMS Manual of Motorsport. (If you don't have one, try our club sponsor: Safe Fire Electrical 8352-8620.

    Members of the Adelaide Superkart Club can help you finding places to obtain this equipment if you need assistance.

    Good to have stuff

    You will find it a lot easier if you have sufficient tools to handle routine maintenance on your kart, spanners, screwdrivers, tyre pressure gauge etc. and a supply of bits and pieces such as spare sprockets, chain, spark plug and so forth. Your local kart dealer or any of the club members can help you with this information.

    If you do find yourself stranded without a part or tool at a race meeting then other drivers will always try and help you get back on the track.

    Join the Adelaide Superkart Club

    Before you can obtain a CAMS racing license you need to be a member of a CAMS affiliated club. In South Australia the Adelaide Superkart Club is the only Superkart related club and you will need to join our club.

    The initial year will not cost you anything (we run our subscription year from January to December) and subsequent yearly subscriptions are around $175 ( GST included ).
     
    The club holds meetings each month at TAFE SA Regency Park Avenue,  on the second Wednesday of each month starting at 7:00 PM. You are welcome to attend these meetings as a visitor before you join the club.

    In addition to organising the official racing events the club holds social events from time to time.

    Obtain a CAMS license

    Once you are a member of the Adelaide Superkart Club you can obtain your CAMS racing license. You need to obtain an application form from the CAMS website at http://www.cams.com.au and then the steps required are as :

  • Obtain and fill in the application form
  • Have a doctors examination (there is a medical form within the license application form) the cost of which is claimable. If you are under 45 you will only need this examination once,  but after you are 45 it needs to be done every second year. 
  • Return the application form, medical form and payment (currently around $320) to CAMS
  • In addition you will have to download the CAMS Manual of Motorsport. You will need to study sections of this to be able to do an online license training module, where you will be given safety instructions, race format details and other information.

    The cost of your license also covers personal insurance while you are racing (details are in the Motorsport Manual) as your normal insurance will probably not cover you while you are racing.

    Once all this has been completed you will be issued with a Provisional License which allows you to race at club level meetings but not at National level events. While you have a Provisional License you must display a P plate on the rear of your kart at race meetings.

    To graduate from the Provisional (NSKP) Licence to a Full Seniors License (NSK) or Full Junior Licence (NSKJ) which allows racing at any event in Australia the following steps are required:

  1. At the first meeting, during practice, you will do an OLT where you will be shown a black flag and the officials will require you to pit and then rejoin the traffic safely.
  2. For your first 3 meetings hand your license to the Clerk Of Course during drivers briefing and ask him to observe your driving.
  3. You then need to officiate as a Flag Marshall at another meeting, which doesn't have to be a Superkart meeting.

Once you have all four signatures you can apply to CAMS to have the license upgraded to NSK level and throw the P plates into the nearest bin.

At long last - we get to race

After reading this far you may be wondering if it was all worth it. The next section gets you on to the track and once you are out and racing the complications of getting this far seem to fade into insignificance. Each race meeting follows more or less the same pattern, the details of a typical race day are as follows:

Supplementary Regulations and Entry Form

As a member of the Adelaide Superkart Club you will be sent a race entry form and Supplementary Regulations around 2-3 weeks before each race meeting. These will detail the format of the days racing (the number of races, number of laps, whether grid positions are based on qualifying or are randomly allocated etc). You need to fill in the details required on the entry form and return it with the race entry fee to the address on the form. Other club members can help you fill out the form if you need help.


Later this year the club will be introducing an online entry system to make it easier to enter race meetings. We will be using the CAMS Online Entry System. For more information on how to use the system please read this easy guide.  The CAMS Online Entry System can be found at this link. If you need more information, contact one of the club officials.

Preparation

You should ensure you have the following items ready to take to the track 

  • Superkart!
  • CAMS license 
  • Vehicle Log Book
  • Club membership card
  • Safety equipment (Helmet, Driving Suit, Boots, Gloves)
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Fuel
  • Tools and parts
  • Dorian Timing transponder (available from the Adelaide Superkart Club)

Obviously you should have run an eye over the kart to make sure everything looks safe, batteries are fully charged and it looks ready to win. This would be a good time to give the bodywork one last polish you never know when a Formula One talent scout is at the track.

Arrive at the track

The Supplementary Regulations will advise when the track gates are opened. Most drivers tend to arrive a little early to ensure they have time to unpack and get ready for sign-in. Once in the gates it will be obvious where to go (follow the other drivers), there are garages available and some use them but others just set up in the paddock. If you do want to use a garage you will have to arrange it with Clem Smith who owns the track. (Ph: 08 8276 7744)

Driver sign-on

Once you have unpacked you should take your various licenses to the sign-on shed (at Mallala it is the ATCO hut alongside the scrutineering bay) and sign on. You will be asked to show your CAMS license, club Membership card and Vehicle Log book.

Drivers Briefing

At the Drivers Briefing all drivers will be introduced to the meeting officials who will give any special instructions for the day. This is the time to give your license to the Chief Steward if you are running on P plates so he/she knows that they have to observe your driving.

All drivers must attend the Drivers Briefing.

Practice

After the Drivers Briefing each class will be called up for Practice (some classes will be combined depending on numbers). You should take your kart to the form-up area ready for practice.

Practice allows you time to run the kart, make sure everything is working well and get used to the track conditions. It is important that drivers observe the flag points while practicing as often there are karts circulating slower or faster than others during this session.

If you are at your first meeting this is probably the time you will be shown a black flag at the Start line and this is the signal for you to drive though the Pit lane so the officials can judge how well you can handle this situation.

Qualifying

If the grid positions are determined by qualifying times (most are these days) there will be a Qualifying session for each class (again the classes may be combined depending on numbers) and the procedure is much the same as for Practice.

Racing

The form up times for each class are published in the Supplementary Regulations or may be provided on a sheet at the start of the day. The times may vary from the published times due to events on or off the track so you should keep an ear out for the announcements made over the PA system from time to time.

When you are called up to race you should proceed to the form-up area, there will be a grid board shown there so you know where to line up. It pays to look at the number of the kart in front of you and remember this and your grid position, this helps you stay in the correct position for the warm-up lap and rolling start procedure.

When the track is clear from the previous race the Gate Marshall will wave you out onto the track. The warm up lap is taken at less than race pace to allow tyres and engines to warm up and for the drivers to get ready for the race.

When you arrive at the start line make sure you are in the correct position and watch the Starter.  He will give switch on the green lights or wave the flag and when this happens start racing!


South Australian Superkart Dealers

Ian Williams Tuning
79 Torrens Road, Brompton, SA
Phone: 08 8340 9288
Email :mailto:iwt@iwt.com.au 
Website : www.iwt.com.au
                                                                                                       
Zipkart BDH
(David & Barbara Hepworth)
4 Taylor Court, South Plympton, SA
Phone: 08 8294 3444
zipkart@ozemail.com.au

Jones Kart Development
(Shaun Jones)
3 Wilson Street,
Mansfield Park SA
Phone: 0412 125 594