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Part 3 – Safety Equipment

So, you’ve got your chassis and engine from part 2? Great – now you’ll need the safety equipment to go racing. Really, I wouldn’t even recommend running your kart in a practice session without all of this equipment. So, what will you need:

  • Helmet – can cost anywhere from $200 to $2000. Really, all that’s required is it has to meet the specifications laid out in section 5.3 of the ASN Canada Sporting Regulations (Book 1). Most motorcycle shops sell suitable helmets. The important thing here is to try on a variety of different makes and sizes. A large SHOEI is not the same as a large ARAI and so on.
  • Suit – ranges in price from $100 on upwards of over $1000. Karting suits do not have to be fire retardant unlike most motor racing suits so the costs are generally a lot cheaper. Your best bet is to visit dealers at the track and see what they have. Often, you can get a standard size suit but have it altered to suit your build. Ensure the elbows and the knees are well padded.
  • Rib protector – ranges from $100 on to around $250. As with the helmet, get one that suits you and provide good lateral protection for your ribs. The first time I was out for a practice day, I didn’t have a good rib protector – and boy did I pay for it the following week. The G forces experienced in a kart (even the lower powered 4 strokes) can be quite significant so don’t skimp on this, you’ll regret it.
  • Neck Brace – $40 upwards. The neck brace really serves 2 purposes – support the neck and support the helmet. These generally are not too expensive but, like the rib protector, are an important (but optional) piece of equipment for safe racing.
  • Gloves – ($30 – $200) Any gloves will do. I bought some cheaper racing gloves at the track, which have a lot of movement and a suede palm, which grips the steering wheel very well.
  • Shoes – $100. You don’t need to have any special type of racing shoes but high-cut boot type (basketball) is preferred. Also, you will want to tape your laces so they don’t get caught around anything.

That about covers the safety equipment you need to get going. As well as this, you’ll need some basic tools, a way to transport your kart to races, plus some spares.