Below is a list or suggestions on the gear you will need to enter a race. While karting is not considered either an expensive or low level entry motorsport. You'll find that motorsport safety gear does follow the general comment that "You get what you pay for". Having said that, it does not mean that you need to start with a full carbon-carbon $2,000+ racing helmet signed by Mario Andretti himself.

From experience, we found that for a budget of about $400 to $500 you can get all the minimum safety gear required to get you started. Don't think for a second that Minimum means there are corners to be cut on safety, quite the opposite. IKF (International Karting Federation) is very clear and strict on the high standards to be used. So using your 8 year old motorcycle helmet is not going to be acceptable. Lets get started...

Helmets: $150-$250 And Up

Lets start with the actual rule from IKF - Per IKF HEAD GEAR: Full coverage (full face) helmets designed for competitive Motorsports use are mandatory and must comply with one of the following:
Snell Foundation Specs Legal Until
2010 SA and K 12/20/2021
2010 M 12/20/2021 Not approved for Champ Karts
2015 SA and K 12/20/2026
2015 M 12/20/2026 Not approved for Champ Karts
2007 CMS (Youth helmet) 12/20/2019
2007 CMR (Youth helmet) 12/20/2019

While the rule states "Designated for competitive motorsports", Snell 2005 and M 2010 helmets are actually available as full face motorcycle helmets as well (M stands for Motorcycle, clever he!). The SNELL sticker must be present and easy to find in the helmet, under the pading, and you must be ready and prepare to show it for safety inspection. So refrain from the urge to remove or cover the sticker, without it! You are simply not going to race that day. Also, it is not recommended to buy a used helmet, as you have no guarantee how the previous owner handled or cared for the unit, and it simply may not be compliant.
Your helmet should be treated as one the most critical piece of safety equipment on hand. Best practices include:
  • Do not drop it on any hard surfaces, a simple drop from the height of 3 feet can cause the inner shell to weaken. And any compression of the inner non-resilient styrofoam will make it non-compliant. The problem with either of these statement above is simply that you would have to sent the helmet back to the mfg to confirm the integrity. So treat it with respect. 
  • Always keep it clean, and safe in a helmet bag or similar. Do not store it on your workbench where it can roll off and fall. 
  • When making your purchase, we suggest you also buy a spare lens. Your helmet normally comes with a clear lense. With our near 365 days of sunshine here in CA. Its recommended to buy a smoke lense as well, just go easy on the tint. You still want to be able to see the track and your dash, no reason to go Dark Vader. 

Gloves: $19~$150 And Up

All gloves shall be made of heavyweight, abrasion resistant materials. Full coverage, no open fingers or exposed areas.

We recommend to purchase actual Kart Racing Gloves, they normally have a leather or similar material at the palm in combination with high abrasion resistant material.
There are some really good quality gloves at the sub $50 range that will do the job.

Suits: $75~$150 And Up

While you can actually use CE approved motorcycle gear (CE level 2), its not recommended. Also a Car racing suit are also not suited to the task, as they are designed mostly for fires. Kart suits are actually designed to protect against road abrasion and bear the  CIK/FIA* Level 2. They come in all kinds of colors and flavors. Some can even be purchased with your favorite logo or sponsor branded across your chest. If you are going to use a motorcycle suit, we recommend using a one piece leather assembly. 

2 stroke racing can be messy, the combination of race fuel, with two stroke oil and chain lubricants. Will find their way onto everything that you wear. So while you may feel the urge to look and dress like the Stig. Its recommend to get a colored suits. 
Take the time to size this right, it must be comfortable to wear, no restraint in your movements. they come in wide range of sizes (from 3XXS to 4XXL. And of course different mfg have different fits. If you happen to buy online, ensure they have a solid return policy. 
*CIK Commision Internationale de Karting, Federation Internationale de L'Automobile, while the sport of Karting was actually invented in CA (in Pomona to be exact in 1956). Its in Europe that it actually found its wings. Countless F1 car drivers all started their racing career in Karting. Including Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, Barrichello and countless others.  

Shoes: $130~$100 And Up

High top shoes with high socks are required. Shoes must be laced, buckled, or secured as designed. You can wear leather high top tennis shoes. But we strongly recommend actual driving/racing shoes that cover the ankle, provide a flexible sole as to better feel the pedals. And a means to secure the laces, normally race shoes have a velcro flap that allows you to secure them. 

Event Registration

Registration is open for the "Summer Challenge" at Buttonwillow Raceway on Aug 13.  It will close on Aug 10 at 11:59 PM.


It's All About the Tracks

Northern California Karters Club uses and accesses some of the best racetracks in California. While the name Northern reflects the original location at the time of the club establishment 10+ years ago. The fact is that our series uses tracks based all over our great state.