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by David Sera

Is go karting dangerous?

Written by David Sera

Motor racing as a sport can be dangerous when not driven in the right context, and kart racing is no different. When drivers are travelling at speeds of up to 120km/h (70mp/h) on most circuits, the danger is there if you are not paying full attention to your surroundings and the competitors around you. Where sprint kart racing differentiates from rental karts is the lack of bumpers around the entirety of the kart. Sprint karts don’t have protection around the wheels, so there is the chance that wheel-to-wheel contact can be made and that is where karts can get airborne. Rental karts have protection also in the way of a seat belt, where sprint karts do not, so if a kart were to flip over this allows the driver to be thrown from the kart. This is a better outcome than being stuck underneath the weight of a racing kart as they can exceed 90-100kg in some instances. The last point that is different from a rental kart to a sprint kart is there is no roll bar attached to a sprint kart. So again, if the kart were to flip, or another kart / competitor was to drive over you, there is limited protection between driver and another kart. This happens from time to time but is not a regular occurrence! In my 25 years of competition around the world, I am yet to flip a kart or break any bones from driving. Yet there are drivers that have had multiple accidents and a broken bone or two. Breaking of bones is not common in karting, its more the bruising of another kart driving over you, but at speed that generally happens quite quickly so it’s the initial impact that can injure a driver. People getting into the sport need to understand that any form of motor racing isn’t without its dangers as kids as young as six can get behind the wheel of a racing kart and drive by themselves at speeds of 80+km/h. But if they learn the right overtaking techniques, how wide their kart is compared to the racetrack and use all their vision (rather than focusing on what’s directly in front of them), they can minimise the risk of any major accidents. For me, kart racing is the purest form of motorsport and needs to be respected. You can’t drive alongside another driver and swerve into them as the risks are there for wheel-to-wheel contact to be made.