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The Beginning of Karting

Check out the history of the greatest sport on earth.

The American – Art Ingels is generally accepted to be the ‘father of karting.’ From Southern California, Art was a veteran hot rodder and a race car builder at Kurtis Kraft. He built the first go-kart in 1956 and shortly after, the sport became instantly popular. Karting rapidly spread to other countries. In fact it was just 2 years later – in 1958, that the UK got a taste of what is very likely to be the best sport in the world! As soon as the sport got recognition in 1959 the popularity of karting exploded! Mr.Ingels below.

“He built the first go-kart in 1956 and shortly after the sport became instantly popular.”

The first kart manufacturer was an American company, Go Kart Manufacturing Co. (1958). In 1959, McCulloch was the first company to produce engines for karts. Its first engine, the McCulloch MC-10, was an adapted chainsaw two-stroke engine. Later, in the 1960s, motorcycle engines were also adapted for kart use, before dedicated manufacturers, especially in Italy (IAME), started to build engines for the sport. Historic karts below.

Karting was an affordable form of motorsport, and still is the cheapest form today! Motorsport legends such as Sterling Moss and Graham Hill were persuaded to race and demonstrate the karts to the masses, creating a new and needed interest. Sterling actually took part in the 2nd annual Karting World Championships in the Bahamas just 10 days after winning the US Formula 1 GP! Below is Graham Hill leading the pack in the first ever UK kart race.

King Hussein of Jordan even raced go-karts! He enjoyed the more dangerous sports and hobbies. He was a trained pilot and flew jet aircraft and helicopters and enjoyed racing around Jordan on his motorcycle. Below is footage of him smoking a cigarette while racing round a circuit. 

Things are a little different today. We have colourful side pods and stickers. Full face helmets and fire proof suits. Official motorsport bodies, and a marshal on every track corner. In those days they didn’t even have tyres surrounding the track. Can you imagine competing at such a place?

However some things will never change. We still race on 4 wheels with 1 motor and a steering wheel. We still have the passion to race others and we still and always want to win! We respect the rules of the track and our competitors around us. When we are behind that wheel – nothing else matters.