Either you’ve just bought or want to buy a go-kart, and just paid attention to the elephant in the room: how are you going to get it to the track? There are quite a few solutions to suit every budget, and a lot more to consider besides!
So, how do you transport a go-kart? The ideal and most practical answer to this question is to purchase a trailer to be towed by your vehicle, inside which your go-kart will be strapped down securely. You can convert old horse trailers and such for this purpose.
Okay, let’s be honest. You’ve all considered this fact already, right? A trailer is a bit of a no-brainer solution, but sometimes it just isn’t the right one for you. I’ll explore multiple ways you can transport your go-kart, and look at the pros and cons of each.
Cheap n’ Cheerful: Use What You Have!
One of the delightful and novel parts of go-karting is just how resourceful racers can be. It’s a very affordable motorsport all things considered, especially if you compare it to any form of car racing out there.
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Kart drivers all over the world have made the best out of lacking means ever since the sport started back in the 50s, and my family were no exception back when I was racing competitively as a teen.
Let me tell you, if you don’t know, that go-karts are very lightweight. They’re designed that way to be racy with as few heavy components on the rig as possible, making them both simple and mechanically-friendly. Beyond being fast on the track, this design aspect gives them yet another boon:
You can, rather remarkably, stuff a go-kart into just about any vehicle!
In fact, there are whole forums dedicated to the most whacky ways that kart drivers transport their karts to the track.
Some people strap the rigs to the roofs of their cars, while others take off the wheels to put the karts inside of the vehicle itself. Having a larger car will help in this endeavor, obviously, but it isn’t a requirement by any means!
I’ve turned up on many a practice day to see Toyota Corollas with adult karts packed inside without an inch of extra room and nobody bats an eye. You can make a kart fit into just about any vehicle that can be driven to the track, and it’s that aspect which makes the sport so endearing to people.
As you can imagine, however, this route does come with a few draw-backs. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you might have to take off more than just the wheels to make the kart fit, and that means a lot of assembly will be required at the track.
Compare this to having a large van or truck or trailer available, which you can roll the kart into without dismantling anything, and it isn’t very practical.
But, having something is better than nothing, especially when you’re first getting started. Some might even call this process character-building! You’ll definitely appreciate a trailer far more after lugging a kart inside your normal road car, that’s for sure.
Mid-Way: Better, But Still a Compromise
From just using your regular commuting car, let’s take a look at some of the more flexible options out there that aren’t quite at the level of a full, purpose-built trailer.
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It’s oftentimes much easier and cost-effective to buy a van or flatbed truck if you don’t already own one, compared to buying or restoring/ converting a whole trailer for the sole purpose of kart racing. After all, you can use a van or truck for other purposes. A kart trailer will always be a kart trailer!
You’ll find that having more space at your disposal will help you breathe easier, and every knock or bump won’t be a concerning sign that your rig might have been dented or battered.
Not only that, but having more spare available means that you can also transport all of your tools, oil, fuel and spare tires without it flowing over into your front seats (as it likely would in a normal road car).
I’ve known people take multiple cars if the whole family is headed to the track, so some people will take the tools, others will bring the tires… it isn’t very practical and leads to a lot of logistical work that can easily be cut down by buying a second-hand van or truck.
Another option that I’d classify as an improvement on using what you have, yet not buying a full trailer, would be to invest in a small, open trailer such as an ATV variety.
Go-karts are all a pretty standard size, and you’d be surprised how easily you can fit it onto even the smallest of open trailers. These bits of kit are easier to find than enclosed ones, for one, and they’re much cheaper. Just fasten up some good, strong straps and other important safety measures, and you’re good to go!
The drawback to all of this will still relate to a lack of space, even with a bigger vehicle or a separate transport trailer. Compared to an enclosed trailer, in which you can store multiple karts and your necessary tools/extras, this middling option isn’t quite the best you can get.
The Ideal: A Lean, Mean Kart Transporting Machine
You’ve probably all seen enclosed trailers on highways and streets, and it’s easy to see how much more spacious they are compared to the previous means I’ve talked about.
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This is easily the gold standard of transportation for your kart(s) that’s out there. It won’t be as easy as just buying an old horsebox, however, because you’ll need to make some modifications to make sure the karts will be secure, but the work will be worth it in the end.
Housing your karts in an enclosed, spacious location will protect them properly from the elements, something you wouldn’t have if you were transporting via roof straps on your car or an open trailer.
You also won’t run the risk of being pulled over for a method of transportation that isn’t road-legal! You know, quite the big bonus there.
All of that aside, you’ll also have room for every tool you could possibly pack, plenty of spare tires and all manner else that you’ll need at the track. It won’t encroach into your car or truck. And, you’ll have a great means of storage when you’re not out racing.
A smaller positive aspect of having a trailer is the instant respect you’ll gain from other kart racers at events. There’s something pretty powerful in how other racers perceive you, and being considered more of a competition to drive against is never a bad thing. Better racing, being thought of as a cool driver… it’s pretty important in my book, anyway!
Kart Transport Safety Tips
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From early race day transport, all the way up to the best transportation means out there, I’ve looked at all of the big options you have. Now, safety is always an important factor to think about when you’re moving your pride and joy out on the road, so here’s a few important pointers:
- Make sure the go-kart(s) are tied down securely! The last thing you want is a wayward kart, not only because it’ll get damaged if it comes loose, but it’ll unbalance your trailer or vehicle which can lead to the whole thing flipping over.
- Replace any old tie-down equipment! This point links closely to the above one in regards to keeping your trailer level and will stop breakages of the tie-downs themselves. And truly, new straps are pretty inexpensive in the grand scheme of things. Better to be safe than sorry!
- Go out and get the right insurance! Even if you aren’t anywhere near a renewal for your insurance, start calling around to add trailer cover to your policy. It’s also essential to ensure that this insurance covers the contents of your trailer, just in case any damages do happen in transit.
- Pay up that extra cash to get a good, solid padlock to secure the trailer to your tow-bar! After spending a good chunk of cash on buying a trailer in the first place, you need to make sure that it’ll stay secured to your vehicle.
- Lock your toolboxes and store all your gear securely! Whether you have a trailer or a regular road car, you really don’t want flying wrenches or tires to contend with. Make sure to get padlocks for your toolboxes and put all your race gear plus tires into bags, before strapping them down or securing them in another way.
There we have it, petrolheads! Everything you need to know about transporting your kart with a wealth of options available. Don’t skimp on safety, and otherwise use the best method for you to truly enjoy go-karting in all its racy glory.