November - Resources and Books


You know, at least once a week, we get a call here at the shop asking this very question. Whether it's from a guy brand new to our sport, or someone that's been in the sport for a while and is just struggling for some answers, invariably, we are asked, "Are there any books available on karting?" That kinda gets me scratching my head every time I am asked. Oh sure, there are a few out there. "4-cycle Karting Technology" is one that comes to mind. Unfortunately, the writing is so outdated and poorly written, that it of interest to only a small percentage of folks who have absolutely no technical skills whatsoever. Is it completely worthless? No, no writing is worthless in my opinion. The author deserves more credit than that. It would be a good read to young adults trying to learn more about their sport and gain a little insight to karting. It might also be a good read for people outside of karting that might show an interest, or wonder why the heck their classmates do this crazy stuff with a kart! There are a handful of unpublished books and notes that are much better, but in all honesty, none have really hit the target of the needs of karters. Some are so basic that common sense rules out 90% of the content. The other 10% is either a sales pitch or complete nonsense that the author is trying to push. I haven't read every title out there, so I'll have to refrain from comment on "all" karting books. One thing to consider, is to ask yourself, "Who is the author?" "Is there some motive to his sharing his 'years of expertice'?" Does he repeatedly plug his kart shop or engines or chassis? There have been a few "ok" unpublished books on chassis set-up floating around the karting circles for a while that were just that..."ok." Only some garbage in them. Some completely false info that I can't believe a guy let slip past his proofread. Then again, I don't recall his name at any Nationals, so maybe he actually believed his own writing. Again, one guy is stating his opinion.What works for him isn't always going to work for you. I would hope that you take that approach to reading my ramblings as well.

Of course there is the ever present internet. There are a myriad of websites that claim to be your source of wisdom and knowledge on everything karting. While I have yet to find this fountain of genious "online", there are several places, indeed, that you should check out. Google up karting sometime and just see how many sites are available. Many offer tech sections, many offer open forums, etc. Be vary wary of open forums. OFten times the person sitting on the other side of that monitor has an agenda. Be it to push their products, or bash someone elses, they often time use their computer anonymity to hide behind their actual pretenses. Keep in mind that you cannot know the age or education of the author of many online articles, forum submissions, etc. You may be reading the intellectual stimulation of an active eight year old, or a karter wannabe coming down from an all night alcohol binge. Again, you may be reading from the Old Testament writers of karting and Moses, himself, is suggesting what to do with your chassis. With the internet, there's a lot of insecurities. Just be cautioned that there is at least as much mis information out there as there is valuable information. Use common sense as you browse and don't take anything for granted.

How about videos? Well, there are a few videos that have been produced. Joey Padget, of Checkered Flag put together a video "From the box to the Dyno" some ten years ago or more. While much of the video is dated, it is still a good insight as to what an engine builder goes through in building a competitive flat head engine. Dyno Cams has a great "Valve Float Technology" video that is current, sans a couple years now and is a great study of controlled valve float on today's flat head stock engines. Then there is "Professor" Harrill Wiggins, of Phantom chassis fame. While most of these videos were originally restricted to their customers and dealers, most are available directly from the Phantom shop and many mail order houses. While some of the videos may seem basic, the later versions are fairly in depth and discuss some great chassis tuning subjects at length. Of course they are geared towards their brand of chassis, but much of the information is applicable on most any brand of chassis. Scour the usual sources, swap meet tables, onine classifieds, and even on Ebay....as people get out of our sport, many sell off their video collection seperately and can be had for pennies on the dollar and are a wise investment, if not worthy of your entertainment dollars.

While I don't discourage guys from reading, viewing, and studying what little is available on the subject, I DO caution them on the value of the content. Again, like the internet forums, there's about as much misinformation out there as there is good information. That makes it very difficult for the newbie to get his "bearings" straight out there.

 

So what, exactly is MY motivation for sharing my insight into karting on this website? Here it is in a nutshell, IF in 30 years of being involved in karting as a competitor and a businessman, I can't help a customer, or possible future customer, then something's wrong. Information is free around this shop - ALWAYS. If it makes your son, daughter,or youself faster, then it makes our motors, chassis, and complete product line look even better on the track. So, I guess, in some round about way, there is a benefit to our business in the long run. Most of all, I do it for the love of our sport. I want to enjoy karting with my family for many years to come. I've been involved in karting from my youth, and made a living from it over the past 20 years now. I'm always ready to give back to this sport I love. See you at the races!

 

 

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bcarlson@CarlsonMotorsports.com