Indoor, outdoor, floodlit, multilevel – what set up makes for the best karting tracks in the UK? We’ve powered our way around the chicanes and hairpins to bring you our guide to what makes for the best go karting tracks in the country – and you can drive at all of them!
Are the best karting tracks indoor or outdoor?
Indoor go karting tracks are great because they are generally located on the edge of big towns and cities, making them easily accessible for karters. And of course, it means rain doesn’t stop play, so you can book an indoor karting sessions with confidence.
However, outdoor karting is considered the next step up technically and competitively from indoor, as the tracks generally cover a larger surface area and they’re tarmac, just like an F1 motor racing circuit. Many offer karting sessions all year round and lots are equipped with floodlights, so you can kart into the night.
Are the best karting tracks indoor or outdoor? Indoors you can kart whatever the weather!
Is it all about track length?
Indoor tracks are generally between 200 and 400m, whilst many outdoor tracks are at least 800m long. Longer tracks make for a bigger challenge for the driver, whilst shorter tracks are intense and fun.
Oulton Park in Cheshire, with tracks ranging from 2.6 to 4.3km and featuring blind crests and ever-changing gradients, offers the longest and one of the best karting tracks. It is more geared towards Superkarts though and indeed, it is one of the favourite dates on the Superkart race calendar. Superkarts are the next step up from your usual go kart, being larger, with more power and more aerodynamic body styling to reach speeds of over 110mph.
And does circuit layout make for the best karting track?
Despite being limited to space inside warehouse-style buildings, indoor go karting tracks can still pack in the corners and straights. The UKs longest indoor go karting track in Barking is 1050m-long and boasts 23 corners and an 80m straight. No wonder Capital Karts won best indoor karting track of the year in 2015 and 2016.
The other advantage of indoor karting is that you can create multilevel track layouts. One of the best multilevel karting tracks is at TeamSport Cardiff, where you can race 200cc karts over flyovers at speeds of up to 40mph.
Outdoor kart tracks have a more traditional motor racing feel and often incorporate seriously challenging circuit features. One of the best outdoor karting tracks for layout is Rye House at Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. An intense track full of tight turns and hairpins, it’s where an eight year old Lewis Hamilton started karting.
Are the best karting tracks MSA approved or not?
The Motor Sports Association is the governing body of motor sport in the UK, including karting. The MSA works with ABkC, the Association of British Karting Clubs to put on race series and championships. If you want to kart competitively, you’ll need to get your MSA Karting Licence from an ARKS (Association of Racing Kart Schools) centre.
So, if you go to an MSA approved kart school or track, a certain standard is assured in terms of karts, training and the actual track. It’s a good thing to look out for when choosing where to go karting if you’re serious about the sport.
For example, Larkhall is home to the only ARKS/MSA-approved karting school in Scotland. This well-known 850m track not far from Glasgow is MSA Licensed and offers excellent tuition and great on-site facilities. It’s considered to be one of the best karting tracks in the country.
MSA approved go karting circuits like this one at Buckmore – are they the best?
Are they any other long-established ‘classic’ karting tracks to look out for?
Yes. Buckmore Park go karting track in Chatham, Kent is one of the most popular tracks – and it’s also been going the longest. The track, set into the woodland, was first created in 1963 and has been offering go-karting on a ever-evolving circuit ever since.
The Three Sisters Go Karting centre is a founder member of ARKS and boasts a highly-respected 1.5km outdoor circuit. This centre near Wigan strives to open karting up to all, with 120cc karts for 8-11 year olds, 160cc karts for 12-15 yrs and Honda Le Mans Twin 200GX karts for adults.
Wherever you go for your karting, be it indoor, outdoor, MSA approved or not, your sure to have the best time racing your mates, or trying to beat your personal best lap time!
The F1 champs of the future? Junior go karting is a great way to start
Who said the best driving experiences are limited to fast cars only? Ditch the exhaust and engine noise for a powerful and beastly-like 4×4 while you tackle all sorts of terrains on the best off-roading destinations in the UK. But hold on tight, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
What is off-roading?
As some of you may already know, the term “off-roading” refers to the activity of riding your vehicle on different types of natural terrain and/or on unsurfaced roads. The most common tracks include off-roading through dunes, muddy slopes, rocky trails, deep waters or snow.
Off-roading is all about control and anticipating what to do in every situation, as well as fully knowing the capabilities of your vehicle. Whether you’re a first timer or you own a 4×4 that has never seen the dirt, we recommend you going on an off-road driving experience as a way to truly test your driving skills.
Best place to go off-roading in the UK
Whether it’s manmade circuits or shaped by nature, you’ll be spoiled for choice with hundreds of tracks to choose from. But following our customers recommendations, we’d say that Kent, the Midlands, North Yorkshire and East Lothian (Scotland) seem to be fan favourites!
And it’s no surprise why! From woodland trails to moorlands to deep riversides, these regions have everything to offer to both beginners looking to step into the muddy world of off-roading and experienced drivers looking for a challenge.
Nothing like off-roading with a new and shiny Land Rover Defender 90!
What are the best off-road vehicles?
Forget about your average pick-up-from-school SUV, to tackle all these off-roading obstacles you’ll need authentic automotive masterpieces and we’ve got a bunch of ones that are perfect for any sort of terrain!
• Land Rover Defender 90 and 110
• Land Rover Discovery
• Mitsubishi L200 Warrior
• Isuzu DMAX
• Toyota HiLux
• Kia Jeep
• Daihatsu Fourtrack
Nothing like gathering your friends to do a bit of a friendly off-roading competition.
Is it easy to learn to off-road?
Believe or not, mastering the off-road skills is not an easy task, that’s why we always recommend learning with a BORDA or LANTRA qualified instructor, especially if it’s your first time behind the wheel of a 4×4.
That being said, you’d be surprised at how much you can learn in just a day! From how to approach each obstacle, to which gears to use for all the different tricky terrains. But in Land Rover’s own words, off-roading is all about going “as slow as possible and as fast as necessary”.
So there you go, everyone! Here’s IntoTheBlue condensed version to Off-Roading 101. Hopefully this guide will help answer all your immediate off-roading questions and your adventurous itch going!
We take a look at just how you become a rally driver in the UK
You’ve tried an IntotheBlue rally taster day and you’ve really got the bug, so how do you become a rally driver? If you want to start competing in rallies you’ll need a licence. Here’s how you go about getting a licence to become a rally driver in the UK.
1. Get your ‘GoRallying’ MSA licence pack
Competitive motorsport in the UK is governed by the Motor Sports Association and that covers racing, rallying and karting. Go to the MSA website and buy the GoRallying MSA licence kit. Inside is everything you need to go about becoming a licensed rally driver. It only costs around £99 and the admin cost of your first licence is included in this.
Before you can compete in rallies you’ll to become a licensed rally driver
2. Take your test with a BARS member rally school
The British Association of Rally Schools (BARS) is the only body that is able to issue you with a BARS accreditation. You’ll need this to be able to apply for your MSA Stage Rally National B licence. To get your BARS qualification you need to undertake:
- A written multiple choice theory test – a 30 minute test based on the MSA Blue Book’s rallying sections and video (included in your MSA GoRallying pack)
- A driving assessment – an examiner will accompany you in a rally car and assess your driving for around 10 minutes
The whole thing lasts around two hours and you organise them at various BARS accredited rally schools around the UK. You’ll need to take your MSA pack with you, including the licence application form that will be validated if you pass.
3. Apply for your licence
Once you have been passed by BARS, you will be able to apply for your very first rally licence (the cost of which is included in that MSA GoRallying pack you bought). Once you’ve received it, you’re qualified to be able to compete in Stage Rally competitions in the UK.
After you’ve got your stage rally licence
Having got your MSA Stage Rally licence, that’s just the beginning. You’ll need somewhere to race, the rally car, and ultimately the co-pilot.
Where to compete in a rally in the UK
Once you’ve got your MSA Stage Rally licence to become a proper rally driver, you can compete!
Whilst the pinnacle of the rally world is securing a team and a drive in the World Rally Championship (WRC), there are hundreds of licensed rally drivers in the UK with a wide choice of rally series to compete in that’ll allow you to hone your skills.
On the MSA Championships page you’ll find links to all the competitive motor sports series in the UK. One of the main series for becoming a rally driver in this country is the Prestone MSA British Rally Championships (BRC) (there are also Scottish and Welsh Championships). Within the competition there are different classes according to the type of car you’re driving, including a specific junior racing series too.
Other organising bodies include the British Trials and Rally Drivers Association (BTRDA), which organises the BTRDA Rally Series. Then there are events like the Autosport News Circuit Rally Championship which is slightly different, in that races are on tracks. The series features several different challenges and cups to compete in at circuits around the UK – the very same circuits where many of our supercar track day experiences take place.
Your rally car:
To rally you’ll need a fully-prepped rally car and that;s not cheap!
For Stage Rally competitions you need a car that complies with all the current MSA regulations. Thats to say, modifications such as adding roll cages, special rally-grade seats with multipoint harnesses, fire extinguishers and other safety features.
You can buy converted rally cars that are ready to go, or you can get a specialist company to modify a standard road car. You can even do it yourself. Needless to say, it’s not cheap to buy, convert and especially maintain a rally car – rallies are tough races that take it out of the cars.
The rally co-pilot:
Having become a rally driver, you’ll need a great co-pilot too! Pic source: hilal-hilal
Sitting next to every great rallyer is a great co-pilot. Their role up front in the passenger seat is navigator, reading the organiser’s pace notes that give details of all the bends, crests and drops of the course, so the driver knows what’s coming up next.
They might not be as well known as the drivers, but serious kudos to the co-pilots who keep it all together in the car during the race. So, when you start competing in stage rallies you’ll need one. Again, the process is pretty similar to becoming a rally driver and you can read one co-pilot’s journey to become an international qualified rally navigator for more info.
Congratulations! You’ve just become a rally driver!
You’ve got the licence, you’ve got the car, you’ve got the co-pilot – you’ve become a fully fledged rally driver, now it’s time to get out there and compete on those Stage Rallies!