Phoenix Kart Racing Association (PKRA) is a non-profit member operated club established in 1982 for those interested in Go Karting. The club leases property from the Maricopa Park District on which the club maintains an outdoor asphalt track inside the Adobe Dam Park and Recreation Area. The track allows for multiple configurations of up to 3/4th of a mile in length and averages 25 feet in width. With 12 turns of various radii and over 500 feet of straight away, it’s a constant challenge for both the novice and expert driver.
The track is primarily for those who own their own karts, though a separate vendor provides an arrive and drive kart rental service (please visit our Useful Links page to see local Kart Shops and Kart Rentals options). The track is open to the public during regularly scheduled times, but members enjoy reduced rates and voting rights. PKRA operates under IKF Sprint Kart rules. See below for required safety equipment and local karting vendors.
Some are satisfied with the fun of driving during practice sessions. Others want the thrill of racing, and PKRA organizes club races about every other week, with two seasons of typically 10 races each, with Winter races on Sunday days and Summer races on Saturday nights. Unlike some indoor karting tracks where every session is a “race” and measurement is by time, these are formal races, with racing officials and results determined by finishing order. Competitive racing requires more commitment it terms of achieving proficiency and kart maintenance. We would like new drivers to achieve lap times sufficient for them not to be lapped in a 10-15 lap race under normal conditions before entering races.
Many maintain their own karts, but local kart shops provide services that range from selling parts to fully maintaining karts, and even to storing and transporting your kart to the track. See below for more information.
Beginners Guide To Karting at PKRA
Whether you plan to go racing, drive your kart around during practice, or just see how it goes, be sure to do two things:
- Visit the track during practice sessions (typically Tue-Fri nights and weekends – see calendar) and/or Racing Schedule. You’ll get a good sense of what’s involved and just about anyone is willing to answer your questions and help you out.
- Visit the local kart shops (see Useful Links). They can give you specifics on what’s involved and what it will cost.
If possible, test drive a kart. You could try a rental kart, or perhaps someone will let you test drive theirs. Keep in mind that it will take some time to become proficient.
You’ll need to decide what kart and engine you want to start with. Classes are designated by engine type and age group
- For children 5-7, the only choice is a Kid Kart. Beginner night (Tuesdays) will teach them the basics.
- Four stroke (LO206) is generally a good starting point for older children and adults. They are generally easier to handle, less expensive and require less maintenance than the two stroke karts.
- Two stroke (Tag). These karts get more power from a higher revving two cycle engine. They go faster, but they can be more expensive to purchase and maintain. They also tend to wear out tires faster.
- Shifters. These require a significant amount of skill, as they have the highest powered engines and use a 6 speed gearbox with all-wheel brakes to achieve much faster acceleration and braking. They can be overwhelming, and we don’t recommend getting started with a shifter. It is not uncommon to find Shifter karts for sale after only a few sessions.
If you plan to come out very often, you’ll likely want to join PKRA to enjoy reduced practice and race fees. Two membership levels are offered (see the Membership Page for more information):
- Bronze $300: Reduced practice fee of $15 (vs. non-member fee of $40), and $40 race entry discount.
- Silver $750: Same as Bronze level, but with unlimited free practice.
Buying a Kart
There are plenty of quality used karts available at a significant discount to new, but like any other used equipment, there is a risk that you get stuck with some else’s reliability or maintenance issues. It’s usually best to keep within a 5 year window of production; there’s a greater chance the kart will be in better shape, and it is generally easier to get parts for. It’s best to buy a brand of chassis that has local parts availability (check kart shops for advice). The local kart shops frequently have used equipment for which they are aware of the history. Classified Ads are another source. Be especially careful of Craigslist – frequently this equipment is out of date and/or in poor condition.
Don’t forget the safety equipment. You’ll need a full face helmet with proper certification (better to buy from a kart or race shop), a neck brace, karting suit or jacket, gloves, and ankle length shoes. Children 12 and under require a chest protector, and we recommend a rib protector for all.
Practice / Training
It’s best to start off on beginner night (Tuesdays). The first time, you’ll get to go out by yourself, and someone is there to give you basic training/advice. At some point, you’ll likely benefit from some coaching from an experienced driver. Ask around – we don’t maintain a list of coaches, but we do have a lot of good drivers.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Practice Day Procedures before coming out.
If you aren’t having fun, then you’re doing it wrong! Don’t take things too seriously, and don’t let your temper get the better of you when inevitably something happens you don’t like.
This is primarily a volunteer organization. If you enjoy yourself at PKRA, it’s because people volunteer their time to keep it running. Find some way to give back and volunteer to make PKRA great.
Personal Safety Equipment Required for Karting
- Full-Face Racing Helmet with proper certification – up to one cycle older than current per rules
- Neck Collar
- Abrasion Resistant Gloves
- Abrasion Resistant Clothing – Karting Suit or Jacket and Jeans
- High Top Shoes with Socks
- Under 12 – SFI Approved Chest Protector
- Long Hair must be adequately restrained (tucking into race suit insufficient)
- Pets are not allowed at PKRA
- There are no glass bottles allowed at PKRA at any time, due to park restrictions
- No drinking of alcohol is allowed by anyone until all racing/sessions have been completed
- All two cycles karts must have air boxes (silencers) for practice and races