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Hacky Racers at EMF

Hacky Racers have just held their first ever event! This took place at the EMF 2018 festival at Eastnor castle near Ledbury in early September this year and was an overwhelming success!

Hacky Racers are a group of enthusiasts who’ve established a UK based racing series for electrically powered karts.  The general ethos is to self-build an electric motor powered go-kart style vehicle loosely based on a kid’s toy theme and constructed within a budget of £500 or less (the full rules properly define all constraints); no petrol/ICE engines!  Think of it as Red Bull Soapbox racing, crossed with Scrapheap Challenge, crossed with Robot Wars; these are self-built electrically powered karts which are all on the track at the same time racing against each other Formula 1 style in a series of 10 minute races. Points are awarded for Moxie (style and performance) as well as final race position etc. The Hacky Racers grid line up for this event consisted of up to 12 karts with names like Dustbin 7 (Bin on wheels), Rule Zero (Fire engine), EMF van (A-Team van), Trikemare before Xmas (3 wheel trike) and Bodge Charger (Googly Eyes car), Otter Car to name but a few.

 Although we are UK based, we had entrants from as far away as Germany taking part in the racing with us, which is amazing for our first event and a huge thanks goes out to the guys for making it over here with their 2 karts.  There were 8 official races over both days of the festival, these were generally 10 minutes long with the winner being the one who did the most laps in the allotted time. 10 minutes was determined to be about the right duration for each race primarily for audience entertainment value and to ensure good battery performance was available for all entrants; this proved just about spot on timing as motors got quite hot after this time and the batteries needed recharging for the next race.  There were different race and track variations over the event weekend, like the entertaining Le Mans style start where racers had to run to their karts and then fire them up before blasting off down the track; the slimmer, younger and fitter drivers getting a good head start of course! One of the crowd and the drivers favourites was the two night time races, with the dark track lit up with string lights, the kart’s headlights blazing and the racing official commentator all dressed up as our wizard it provided all the element for a fantastic and exciting atmosphere; the crowd and the drivers loved it and the racing seemed to be all the more exciting for it.

Other races consisted of standard F1 style grid, reverse direction course and a “there and back” timed drag race.  The track course was changed 3 times over the weekend to test the limits of both karts and drivers, this ensured the crowd were always entertained as no two races were the same and provided different challenges for drivers to overcome; track changes included the introduction of sharp hairpin bends, fast bends, long straights, a jump ramp, chicanes and other obstacle challenges. There was lots of overtaking in each race plus several “incidents” ranging from minor bumps, crashes and rolls, to breakdowns and in-race repairs to keep the crowd amused and entertained.  I’m happy to report that there were no serious accidents or real injuries (except for pride!) to report.  We have a number of safety requirements that each driver and kart have to have completed before they are allowed to race; these include having proper helmets for the drivers and the karts have to have proper brakes, no Flintstones style brakes or bits of wood pressed against the wheels etc. Even though all karts have to go through a strict technical safety inspection before each event, these are still self/home built vehicles with an inherent level of risk.

Check out YouTube for action videos of the racing at this event and some driver/vehicle profiles etc (search for Hacky Racers).  You can also find us on FB and

Twitter @Hacky_Racers.

Our sponsors, RS components, provided us with lots of safety equipment, and a MIG welder too, all of which came in very useful over the event weekend.  We would all like to thank them for their generous support and assistance in promoting Hacky Racers and helping us to get this UK series well and truly established. At the end of the weekend event prizes were awarded for 1st 2nd and 3rd places in each race as well as Moxie and most improved so almost everyone got a prize in the end which was great.  We would like to thank  Smoke & Mirrors for sponsoring the Medals.

Where to next? Well, we are actively looking for venues for the rest of the 2018 season and into the 2019 season too; so if you know of a suitable event where the crowd need entertaining and we would be able to set up a track (tarmac, concrete or grass) and showcase our UK series then please get in touch with us!

An engineer who exhibits and is a follower of the UK & US Maker Fair scene.

4 Oct 2018, 8:13


October 8, 2018 07:10

I would love to give this a go! :)

0 Votes

October 5, 2018 08:14

That looks utterly bananas and terrific fun! What a hoot!