• Bambino Age 6-8
  • Cadets Age 8-13
  • Intermediate 10 -14
  • Juniors Age 12th-16
  • Seniors Age 16+
  • Gearbox Age 16+ (Junior 13-16)

Boys and girls can start in Bambinos from their 6th birthday to the end of the year they turn 8. The karts and engines must be registered with Motorsport UK, the engine being a Comer C50. For time trials the driver must be signed off as competent by an ARKS Instructor or Examiner before taking part in an Motorsport UK time trial event. The training schedule is available here: Bambino Training Guidelines

The Record Card must be downloaded and printed off and each module signed off by an ARKS Examiner or Instructor, then when all modules are complete and the driver is assessed competent the Record Card is put in with the normal Licence Form and posted to the Motorsport UK. The PG Entrant part of the licence form must also be completed. These first licences are currently free. The forms can be used in lieu of a Bambino Clubman licence at the first event if there is insufficient time to post the licence applications.

Time trials are where the karts leave at set intervals on specially approved circuits, and are timed. There is a Motorsport UK Bambino Championship promoted by Zip Kart, see https://www.britishkartchampionships.org . The only engine allowed is the Comer C50 with a logbook from Zip Kart, and the only tyres are Le Cont all-weather. Drivers can race in the Bambino class from the age of 6 if they buy the Go Karting pack from Motorsport UK and take the full ARKS Novice Driver Test. The races will hold timed qualifying to set the grids for the heats, and only at specially approved circuits.

Boys and girls can start racing karts at the age of 8 in one of the Cadet classes, although some tracks will allow youngsters to practice from the age of 7. They can continue until the end of the year of their 12th birthday, although they may be getting too heavy by then and so can move into certain Junior classes from the age of 11. The Cadet classes are described below and all are permitted to race together. All have a centrifugal clutch and either a recoil starting cord or electric start. The special minikarts used are registered with prices controlled to an agreed maximum. Top speed is about 50mph.  Karts can either be the 900mm chassis from 2017 to 2022 or the new registered 2023 950mm chassis.

See the 2023 Kart Class Table for the list of classes

More information is on www.abkc.org.uk 

Intermediate is new for 2023, and for ages 10 to 14 (calendar year of 10th birthday with National licence).  It uses a registered with MSUK 950mm chassis and there are several classes, so see what is popular with your local club before choosing.

Download the 2023 Kart Class Table for information on the classes.

Junior TKM

A 100cc aircooled engine with mandatory clutch and electric start (TAG) option.  Not raced everywhere.

Junior Rotax

125cc water cooled TAG electric start category, using a sealed engine

Junior IAME X30

Similar 125cc water cooled TAG engine but not sealed

Junior 4-stroke classes

There are other 4-stroke classes for Junior and Seniors which run at certain clubs only e.g. Honda classes and World Formula (senior only).  More information on https://www.msauk.org/Resource-Centre/Technical-Kart

The junior classes all have more powerful senior equivalents. The most popular senior class in the country are Rotax Max, Senior TKM Extreme and Senior X30 and there may be other options worth exploring at your local circuit.  

TKM Extreme

TKM Extreme is for year of 16th birthday upwards (although as in all the classes very experienced juniors already racing may move into the senior classes earlier). The engine is a115cc variant of the BT82.  It’s a popular and economic class and now has a TAG option.

Rotax Max

The senior equivalent of Junior Max, with a very powerful 125cc TAG engine. Although the maximum revs are limited electronically, they are nearly as quick as OK, but much lower maintenance, and sealed to prevent unapproved tuning. Care needs to be taken if starting in this class. Like many classes there is a higher weight variant called Rotax 177 for the heavier driver.


A TAG electric start water cooled 125cc engine which is not sealed so anyone can do rebuilds.  

Senior 4-stroke classes

There are other 4-stroke classes for Junior and Seniors which run at certain clubs only e.g. Honda classes and World Formula (senior only).  More information on http://www.abkc.org.uk/startkart.htm


Gearbox karts offer the highest powers and speeds. They can have either 2 pedals – brake and accelerator – like the direct drive classes, or 3 pedals, one of which is a foot clutch, like a car. Most 125’s use karts very similar to the direct drive karts except for the four wheel brakes. They have a hand clutch mounted next to the steering wheel, which is only used to move off from a standstill. At most circuits a standing start is used, as opposed to the rolling formation start that direct drive karts have.

Gearbox karts can also be used on the long motor racing circuits, although everyone should preferably start on the short circuits which are typically 900 to 1400 metres in length.


KZ2 is the most popular gearbox class. Although a little more expensive than a direct drive class, they can be surprisingly economical to run. The 125cc water cooled engines have six gears, sequentially operated like motorcycle using a gear-lever mounted next to the steering wheel. 0-60mph times are less than 3 seconds, top speed is 90mph on short circuit, 110 – 120mph on long circuit. 

250 National

This is the most powerful short-circuit class using 250cc single cylinder motocross 5- speed engines. The karts are often equipped with large full width nose cones and wings, especially when used on the long circuits. Top speeds are 100mph on short circuit, 140mph on long circuit. Twin cylinder Superkarts can reach 170mph though. The NKF holds the ABkC national championship. Some clubs offer the 450cc 4-stroke engine class which may be raced in parallel with 250 National but for separate prizes.

210 National

A classic class using the Villiers 197cc engine or derivatives. Administered by the drivers themselves through the 210 Challenge group, contact is Kate Bateman email A classic class using the Villiers 197cc engine or derivatives. Administered by the drivers themselves through the 210 Challenge group, contact is Sian Masson email 210challenge@talktalk.net

About Us

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