By Simon Hansford Dad And Lass Karting: A Unique Bonding Experience 

From Dancing to Racing: Autumn’s Journey 

Autumn was an accomplished Latin and Ballroom dancer for 8 years. In December 2022, she decided she didn't want to continue dancing. Knowing how quickly she can become bored, I asked her what she wanted to do next. "Don’t know, Dad," was her response. So, after offering a few suggestions, I booked and paid for a Junior Kart session for her in January 2023. At the age of 13, she wasn't the most enthusiastic about it at first. She began the session cautiously but gradually picked up speed over the 30 minutes. When she finished, she climbed out of the kart with the biggest grin and exclaimed, "Dad, can I do that again?" It was a joy to see. 
 
We scheduled a few more sessions and watched her confidence and skills flourish. As her father, the idea of her kart racing fills me with a mix of thrill and occasional trepidation as she zips faster and faster around the track. The experience has given us the opportunity to spend quality time together, learning new skills. We haven't looked back since. She's even made quite a few friends through karting, which is new for her, and she absolutely loves it! 

Demographics of Karting 

It is true to say that most Karting Paddocks are full of Dad and Son, but please do not let that put you off... 
 
Starting Out in Karting: 
 
Getting into karting can be cost-effective, especially if you begin by using karts and gear provided by your local track. This approach serves as an excellent gateway into the sport. My daughter, Autumn, and I embarked on our karting journey this way. We absorbed as much knowledge as we could from the staff at our local track and conversed with parents who had been involved for longer periods. Gradually, we invested in Autumn's personal equipment, starting with essentials like a helmet. 

Taking the Next Step: Owner Driver Experience 

After a few months, and having sought advice from our local tracks, we decided to take the plunge and become owner-drivers. This decision can be daunting, both in terms of the knowledge required and the financial commitment. We also began participating in track days, which are dedicated sessions where you use your own equipment and join the track in designated category sessions. Fortunately, there are always experienced track staff on hand, who are generally very helpful and eager to provide guidance. Additionally, you can tap into a wealth of knowledge from other seasoned parents and drivers. 

Motorsport UK and Beyond 

From that point, you can register your daughter with Motorsport UK and have her take the ARKS test. After she successfully completes the test, she'll be licensed to race in the appropriate age group category as a Novice. Once she finishes 5 races without any incidents, you can then apply for a license upgrade to Rookie, and so forth, as her karting career progresses. 
The Bonding Power of Karting: 
 
Karting offers a wonderful opportunity for parent-child bonding and serves as an excellent sport for acquiring new skills for everyone involved. 

Quick Start Guide to Karting 

In essence:- 
 
Local Track Discovery: Begin by locating your nearest karting track. Schedule a 'turn up and drive' session. Many tracks even offer family sessions, allowing both parent and child to hit the track together. 
Joining an Academy: If both you and your daughter find karting enjoyable, consider enrolling in one of the many academies offered by tracks. Here, you can join a club and partake in races using the track's equipment. 
Becoming an Owner-Driver: If you're looking to intensify your karting experience, transitioning to an owner-driver track day is the next step. Ensure you keep your club informed and involved; their guidance will be invaluable as you navigate this new stage. 
Seek Community Advice: Remember, everyone in the paddock has been a beginner at some point. Most are incredibly approachable and eager to assist newcomers, ensuring you feel integrated and welcome. 
The Sky's the Limit: Once you've got the hang of things, endless possibilities await in the world of karting. The two golden rules to always bear in mind: prioritize safety and have fun! 
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