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A Simpler Rule Set for Kid Kart Engines


Above all else, kart racing is supposed to be fun.  One of the most distasteful parts of kart racing for me is the unnecessary drama that too often occurs regarding kart racing rules, especially engine rules.  Many people believe that the best way to level the kart racing playing field is to make rules that require engines to strictly adhere to factory specifications.  They also justify that by saying that using “stock” engines will control the cost to the racer.  I do not agree with that notion.


The problem with strict stock engines is that in order to ensure that the engines all do conform, a thorough engine tech is necessary at every event.  Human nature is an issue here, especially in motor racing.  I simply know of too many people who use modified engines who claim that they were simply blueprinted.  If the requirement is that the engines are supposed to meet some strict tech, and there is not a regular, in-depth inspection, then cheating will occur, or at the very least, the perception will be that it is.


Stock is not cheaper either.  When parts cannot legally be altered to perform as desired, racers are notorious for searching out those special parts that come from the factory just a little bit different or better.  Or, racers will go to extreme lengths to disguise work that has been done.  None of that is cheap and racers pay a lot for “special” engines that have a winning record.


The Kid Kart class is not only a place for new drivers to learn the sport; it is more often than not the place where dads and moms too learn the mechanics of racing engines.  Very often in their tuning efforts they do things to the engines to simply tune them that are violations of the rule book even though that is not the intention. With a stock appearing rule set, new engine tuners are free to try different combinations and ways of "massaging" parts and observe the effects without the worry of being accused of cheating. Part of the attraction of racing is that it is an outlet for tinkeres to tinker. I say let them.


All of that is insistance on adherance to nit picky rules is way too complicated and is open to unnecessary politics and just is not fun.  All over the country there are tracks that have it right.   They simply say that in the kid kart class, the engine just has to be a C-50 or 51 and on the outside look like it does when it comes out of the box.  Do what you want on the inside. I love that.


Now there are those who will say, “That means I have to get my engine reworked to be competitive.”  That may be true, but it is very naive to say that is not also the case when the rules require “stock”.  In the vast majority of cases, the winning engines, regardless of the rules, have been thoroughly worked over, and often at great expense.  It is much cheaper to get an outlaw engine built once and for all and learn to tune it them to begin the search for that “special” winning stock engine. 


When the rules are stock appearing, there is no more room for accusations of cheating, or involved technical inspection.  You just run what you brung, and if you don’t have enough stuff this week, go find some more for next week.  It’s just simpler, easier, and lots more fun.


The following is a suggested rule set for Comer C-50 and C-51 kid kart engines.


Stock Appearing Kid Kart Rules


The Kid Kart class is for drivers 5 to 7 years old.  (At some tracks it may be desirable to allow small 8 year olds to compete in this class and in some instances 5 year olds or first year drivers should be required to use a restrictor pill behind the carburetor that would be subject to tech.)


Eligible engines; Comer C-50 (cast aluminum blower housing) and Comer C-51 (plastic blower housing)


Engines are to be run in stock appearing condition with the air filter and muffler installed.


This means that externally the engine must look as it does when it comes from the factory. 


The muffler hole sizes are non-tech.  (We have learned that bigger or more muffler holes do not increase performance but they do make more noise)


The air filter is non-tech, meaning that the competitor may use any air filter that fits provided that the filter does not incorporate some sort of external scoop or ram effect that is visible when the filter is installed.


The fuel line from the tank to the carburetor is non-tech and an external fuel filter is permissible.


Internally the engine may be altered as the competitor sees fit with the exception of the stroke.


 The stroke is not to exceed 1.505” and it is to be measured with a dial indicator and a suitable adaptor that attaches to the spark plug hole. (This is very easy to do without disassembling the engine but eliminates very expensive stroker crankshafts…we don’t worry about the bore size in that no suitable over size pistons are available anywhere and it is very impractical to resize a cylinder with an integral head)


The right rear tire is not to exceed 33.375” circumference. (this is often non-tech at some tracks and allows another tuning variable)


The axle sprocket must have 89 teeth and the clutch drum must have 10 teeth.  (At some tracks it may be desirable to make the sprocket sizes non-tech.)


Chassis are subject to the same safety specifications as the other kart classes at this track.


Driver safety gear is to meet the same specifications as other junior classes at this track.