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How much does all this cost, then?

​Lots. I once heard the guy who runs the kart shop at Clay saying “it’s not just buy a kart and then you go”. But it is possible to do it on a (relative) shoestring. I wouldn’t class myself as badly paid, and it is all too easy to spend and spend and spend, but you really don’t have to.

In fact, after the initial outlay, it’s not actually that bad.

For a weekend (both days), I pretty much budget as follows:

Practice: £40
Race day: £50
Fuel: £6
Car fuel: £50

That’s £146 per weekend including getting there but excluding any team fees (because those vary by team and because you don’t have to run with a team). Which means, for two kids going to two circuits, approx £292.

Now, you could buy a set of tyres for each race at £130, but you don’t have to. Not by a long way and certainly not if you’re just starting out. We’re not just starting out, and Henry just got a PB on a set of tyres we bought used in August that ran in Rowrah S1 2015 - so they’re over a year old. Since we’ve started, I have bought - tyre-wise:

2 sets of wets: £145 each, so £290
2 sets of scrubbed slicks: approx £80 each, so £160
1 set of new slicks: £135

That’s run two boys for a year once a month each plus the occasional full day test, give or take. £535 on tyres - basically what you’d spend on car tyres over a year.

Now, factor in the burger van. If you don’t bring a packed lunch and drinks, then - I kid you not - you will spend more there than on tyres. 2 coffees, 4 soft drinks, 2 bacon rolls and 2 burgers will set you back £20 a day. Easily. Bring lunch ... though the burgers are lush!

Now, obviously they’re going to bend something at some point. Here’s a rough guide of what stuff costs (based on what has been broken!):

Front bumper: £30
Side pod bar: £30
Bumper clips: £14
Stub axles: £45 (each)
Track rods and ends: £20 (each)
Rear axle: £45
Chassis: £60
Nassau panel support: £3
Wheels: £20 (each)

Budget for at least a front bumper a race. Reuse bent ones where possible for practice. I’ve had three of them, maybe four. I’m not kartingdad.co.uk, so I don’t keep an exact budget (because, frankly, I don’t want to know - the “head in the sand” approach!).

Which brings us to the initial outlay. You can buy a decent kart with a basic engine for £850, and you can race with it. You don’t need a new one. Our 2012 is still going well. Get it straightened before you put it on the track if you don’t know the seller.

As a novice, you’ll be fine, but you will want to buy a “proper” engine at some point in order to be competitive. That’s my biggest single gripe about Honda - at cadet level it should be about the driver and not the equipment, but you won’t get anywhere on a T1 engine. Or a stock T2, most likely. No, you’ll have to spend at least the same money as you did on a kart for a decent “Selected Parts” engine making 6+bhp, and you can see the difference on track, you really can.

As regards transport, a cadet kart will go into the boot of a 2001 Honda Civic. If you have a saloon, then you’ll need either a roof rack (£200) or a trailer. Hint: you want the trailer. So if you don’t have a towbar (£400) or a trailer (similar), you’ll need that too. Or a 2001 Honda Civic.

And finally, you need lap data. £160 for a Mychron 4 with RPM lead and magnetic pick up—you don’t need the 5, but you do need to know what the engine is revving at and to get a log of lap times.

So, basically, you’re talking £1,860+ on a kart, lap timer and decent engine, nothing on transport if you have an estate or decent-sized hatch, £146 per race weekend, £50 a weekend on tyres and whatever is needed on repairs.

Which is a lot. Only you spend less than that on your car, don’t you?