GO KART RACING A CHAT WITH CARLO VAN DAM (ROK CUP THAILANDIA)
What is the average age of kids starting Karting in your country?
The mini category starts from 7-years-old. However, most kids are around 9-10. Thailand has a very hot climate and thus its extra-demanding for young kids to start karting.
How many option can they choose from?
Obviously there are different series to participate in such as Minirok, MicroMax and X30 cadet. However, the Minirok is the most-used engine for kids and the ROK Cup series the most competitive.
4-stroke or 2? What do you think about rookie categories?
Mainly 2-strokes, as there is much more competitive racing and eventually that’s what the new drivers want to do. In the Singha Kart Cup, we use the Vortex Minirok engine with restrictor. This too reduces top speed and we reduce the weight to 105 kg to make the kart easier to handle for the smaller kids. Also in the ROK Cup in Minirok class, we have a seperate ranking for ‘rookie drivers’ from 7-to-10-year-olds, as it’s hard to immediately compete with the older, more experienced racers.
Are 60cc minikarts too fast for such young (and sometimes unskilled) drivers? Can this be dangerous? Do they really need to be so fast?
Well, I definitely think that if the kids are very small, sometimes it could be too difficult and does not encourage small kids to go racing. That’s why with the Singha Kart Cup we do our ‘pre-selection’ on electric rental karts first. And if kids are really into racing, most
of them drive a simulator and you’d be surprised how quickly they get familiar with the racing karts!
Most of the driving skills are not just related to being fast on the straight. So why give them “rockets” to drive?
Well, that’s why we offer the solution with the restrictor in our series. I think it works well. And eventually this is a high-level sport where we want to develop real racing drivers. For the drivers and parents who find this too fast, they usually opt just to drive with fun/rental karts.
What do you think of allocation of engines by drawing lots in Minikart? Can this make minikart categories more attractive, or less?
From the competition level and driver development, I believe it’s great. Especially in the early years, so it keeps the costs for parents lower. However for the sport and especially for the teams I think it’s important that they can also claim their abilities by preparing chassis and engine in the best condition according to the regulations. Which in most one-make series, there is very little room for ‘tuning’ engines anyway.
Do you have in your country minikart categories that are JUST FOR FUN?
To all our drivers joining our series I always tell them that the most important thing is to ‘have fun’ in the first place. But obviously there are some club races organised where the competition and tensions (especially with parents) are lower. I believe it is important to have such races to make the entry to the sport more accessible.
Post time: May-21-2021