Karting in the RAF

RAF Karting

RAFMSA Karting

Karting, as opposed to go-karting which is undertaken at fairgrounds, on the end of seaside piers etc, is an exciting and rewarding form of motor sport. Compared with other disciplines within motor sport, it is a relatively cheap way to race, at least to begin with. At the outset, most people start with buying second-hand equipment to gain a foothold in the sport, and upgrade their outfit in stages as they become more ambitious and competitive. Lewis Hamilton made it to F1 from Karting, maybe you have what it takes!

The RAF has a long association with karting stretching back more 50 years, and a race series for both 2-stroke and 4-stroke karts is run from April to October each year. The RAFMSA National Karting Championship is also traditionally held every July at Rissington circuit, and provides the focal point of the season.

Many stations have kart clubs, with those at Benson, Brize Norton, Coningsby, Cosford, Marham and Waddington being particularly active. As karting is formally recognised by the RAF Sports Board, travel costs, entry fees and certain other expenses may usually be reclaimed by serving personnel (please contact the Karting Competition Secretary for more information).

Race Classes

RAFMSA Karting runs two classes of racing, both of which are usually staged during a race weekend. All events are run under the jurisdiction of the MSA, which is the official governing body for four-wheeled motorsport in the United Kingdom.

Premier - This is for high-performance karts with two-stroke engines up to 125cc, which can reach speeds of up 80 mph. A variety of engines may be used including KF2, Rotax FR125, Parilla Leopard, PRD Fireball, IAME EasyKart 125, TKM BT82, TKM K4S and Parilla Lynx/Lynx Maxi, as well as the classic 100cc. Racing is on an individual basis, with each event usually comprised of three short-duration qualifying heats (around 6 minutes each), followed by a slightly longer final (around 10 minutes).

Endurance - This is for Honda-powered Pro-Karts and is where most new drivers start. Races are usually between two and four hours in duration, and involve teams of between two and four drivers each. This class provides an affordable way into karting, plenty of track time, and the opportunity for newcomers to learn in the company of more experienced drivers. Endurance racing also promotes organisation, teamwork and technical adaptability, as these are just as important for success as driving ability.


All events are open to serving military personnel, as well as those with a connection to the services. Competitors also require a valid MSA Competition Licence as follows:

  • Premier - Kart National B (Novice) or above. This licence requires medical certification and an ARKS test to be taken before racing for the first time. ARKS tests can be arranged at most MSA-approved kart tracks, or through the RAFMSA.
  • Endurance - Kart Clubman or above. This may be obtained on race day and does not require medical certification or an ARKS test.

2012 Dates

The RAFMSA will be organising an inter-service race series in 2012 as follows:

21/22 Apr

Round 1 – Premier & Endurance


9/10 Jun

Round 2 – Premier & Endurance


30 Jun / 1 Jul

Round 3 – Premier & Endurance (incorporating RAF Champs)


10-15 Jul

Corporate Games Endurance


11/12 Aug

Round 4 – Premier & Endurance

Clay Pigeon

15/16 Sep

Round 5 – Premier & Endurance


Endurance events will be held on Saturday evenings, with Premier events staged on Sundays. Practice for either class is available throughout the Saturday.

Please note - there will be separate championships for Serving Military and Associate competitors within the Premier Class.


More information about RAFMSA Karting, where to do it, and how to participate, can be obtained from the Karting Competition Secretary Duncan.Masters549@mod.uk or from Kevin Meynell.

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