Karting, as opposed to go-karting which is undertaken at fairgrounds, on the end of seaside piers etc, is an exciting and rewarding form of motor sport. Compared with other disciplines within motor sport, it is a relatively cheap way to race, at least to begin with. At the outset, most people start with buying second-hand equipment to gain a foothold in the sport, and upgrade their outfit in stages as they become more ambitious and competitive. Lewis Hamilton made it to F1 from Karting, maybe you have what it takes!
The RAF has a long association with karting stretching back more than 50 years, and a race series for both 2-stroke and 4-stroke karts is run from April to October each year visiting 6 UK National Kart Circuits. The RAFMSA National Karting Championship is also traditionally held at the last round of the season, and provides the focal point of the season.
Many stations have kart clubs, with those at Brize Norton, Coningsby, Cosford, Digby, Lossiemouth, Marham, Odiham and Waddington being particularly active. As karting is formally recognised by the RAF Sports Federation, travel costs, entry fees and certain other expenses may usually be reclaimed by serving personnel
Vehicle Types and Discipline Variety
RAFMSA Karting runs two classes of racing, both of which are usually staged during a race weekend. All events are run under the jurisdiction of Motorsports UK, which is the official governing body for four-wheeled motorsport in the United Kingdom.
Premier – This is for high-performance karts with two-stroke engines up to 125cc, which can reach speeds of up to 80mph. A variety of engines may be used including Rotax FR125, IAME X30, IAME Leopard, PRD Fireball, KF2, TKM BT82, TKM K4S, as well as the classic 100cc. Racing is on an individual basis, with each event usually comprise of three short-duration qualifying heats (around 10 minutes each), followed by a slightly longer final (around 12 minutes).
Endurance – This is for Honda-powered Pro-Karts with twin engines, and is where most new drivers start. Races are usually different between two and three hours in duration, and involve team of between two and four drivers each. This class provides an affordable way into karting, plenty of track time, and the opportunity for newcomers to learn in the company of more experienced drivers, Endurance racing also promotes organisation, teamwork and technical adaptability, as these are just as important for success as driving ability.
All events are open to serving RAF personnel, personnel from other services, as well as those with a connection to the RAF. Competitors also require a valid Motorsport UK Competition Licence as follows:
Premier – Kart National B (Novice) or above, This license requires medical certification and an ARKS test to be taken before racing for the first time. ARKS tests can be arranged at most Motorsport UK-approved kart tracks, or through the RAFMSA.
Endurance – Kart Clubman or above. This may be obtained on race day and does not require medical certification or an ARKS test.