On the last installment in this 3-part series, we discussed the cadet class, also known as the entry class into competitive karting as it welcomes the youth aged 7-12. When the driver turns 11 years old, or up until their 12th birthday, this is where the junior class comes in. The junior class features a bigger chassis, faster engines, and more experienced drivers to name a few. So, without further ado, this is everything you need to know about the junior classes.
Age Bracket: 11-15 years old
Any driver who is already 11 years old or will celebrate their 12th birthday in the same year the championship will be held are considered eligible to join the junior class.
Minimum and Maximum Weight: 310 - 315 pounds (Driver & Kart)
The Junior class shares similarities with the cadets in the sense that a minimum weight must be met to compete in this category. For reference, to compete in the KA100 Junior class in the SKUSA championship over in the USA, the minimum weight required is 310 lbs or 141 kg. Drivers stepping up from the cadet category will be forced to purchase a different size chassis, as the bigger engine, more lead ballast and stickier tyres require a 1010mm or full-size senior chassis to be competitive.
Engine Used: 2-Stroke Engines
The first major difference from juniors to cadets happens here in the engines. Drivers in the junior class see a huge boost in performance as they go from 60cc (Cubic Centimeters) engines to 100-125cc 2-Stroke engines. These engines can go as fast as 70-80mph (Miles per hour)! Brands such as IAME, Rotax, and ROK are the most used engines depending on what series you’re competing in. There are also one-make series across the globe. Some examples of this include the IAME series, Rotax Max Challenge, and the ROK GP. Juniors can choose between the 100cc KA engine, which is air-cooled, a push button start and the most logical steppingstone coming from the cadet category or for a beginner. Drivers with more experience & wanting to go faster will step into one of the 125cc engines that are compatible when they move to seniors minus the restrictor in the back of the header pipe.
Just like the cadet class, a license is required to compete. Keep in mind that the license issued to you will depend not just in the class you are racing, but also your experience with driving and racing go-karts. For example, the SKUSA (Superkarts! USA) championship has 3 different licenses. The C license is for beginners, B license for drivers with experience, and a PRO license for drivers with multiple accomplishments.
Chassis and Technical Parts: Must be approved and/or homologated
Many parts are scrutinized on a go-kart, and one must abide to all the rules to approve it. To keep it short and simple, we will only mention a few important aspects to follow. For the chassis, the wheelbase must be 1010-1040mm long. For the wheels, the diameter should be at least 5 inches and the overall width of these must be 135mm in the front, and 215mm for the rear. If you want to learn more about the rules and regulations, SKUSA has an official rulebook you can check out (https://www.superkartsusa.com/dmdocuments/2022-SKUSA-RuleBook.pdf)
So those were some of the general rules/instructions to follow if one is to join and be eligible for the junior class. Keep in mind that these are not concrete and simply a basis and reference as to how junior championships are operated. Always check your nearest racetrack as rules in your country may differ or have slight variations. In the next and final article of this 3-part series, we will cover the information you need to know if you want to join the Senior class.