The first time I stepped foot at Shannonville Motorsports Park was the year 2000. It was the OKRA Grand Nationals and the first time I experienced the real glory that is competitive kart racing. Before that, all I knew was club racing at the Waterloo Regional Kart Club, where I got my start in 1999.
The paddock was jammed and racing with the SodiKart team at the time, the team rented a massive circus tent so everyone could pit together. The track was so fast, and the four-cycle Honda engines screamed down the main straight, making you jump back from the wall the first time they came booming by. Drafting, you don’t know four-cycle drafting until you’ve been to Shannonville, where it’s more like Nascar at Daytona and if you lose the lead draft, you’re almost surely out of the race.
And the ambience of the facility for the week was almost like summer camp for karting. Five days at the track and the vast majority camped trackside. As a family, it was our summer vacation and it created memories I will have forever.
So this weekend I head back to Shannonville for the first time since 2012 when the Brian Stewart Racing Karting Championship was still alive. I’ve heard great things about the place since new ownership took over a year or so ago and I’m quite excited to camp trackside again.
The Bear trophy is back and so, here are my ten questions leading up to the KartStars Canada National Championship, the first of four “Canadian Nationals” to take place across the country in the next five weeks.
Briggs Cadet – Can Christian Papp Remain on Top?
This kid has literally been unbeatable this season. Two KartStars wins and countless trophies at TRAK have Christian Papp on everyone’s radar this weekend. Will he have any drafting partners, or have to go at it alone?
Briggs Junior – Will a junior driver take home multiple Bears this weekend?
For most of the Juniors this weekend, they have three chances to win a Bear, whether it’s in their preferred class, KartStars Junior or the KartStars Junior Pro division, which is a one-off for this weekends event. It’s great to have so many opportunities to hit the track over the weekend when it can only be visited once a season.
Briggs Senior – Can Jake Cowden Sweep in and Defend his KartStars National titles from a year ago?
We haven’t seen too much of Jake Cowden this summer as he’s been competing in an F1600 car more than his Awesome Kart, but he’s entered this weekend in a few classes. Last year, Jake surprised everyone with a weekend sweep at Goodwood in Briggs Senior and KartStars Senior. Can he do it again, we will let you know in our reports next week.
Briggs Senior 2 – Do we see a Collison take home another Shannonville Bear in their return to regional competition?
Over the past twenty-one years, Jake Collison has won 16 Bear trophies starting in 2001 shortly after the birth of his daughter Ciarra (see photo below courtesy of Collison Racing). When the BSRKC kept the Bear alive Jake continued to add to his collection and Ciarra even won a pair for herself in Novice and Junior. This weekend, Jake is back in action as a Briggs Master after a few years off, while his daughter Ciarra will suit up in Briggs Senior.
The pair will also race together in KartStars Senior putting them head to head for the very first time. We’ve also heard Ciarra is very excited to compete against her Godfather, Steve Lyons, another driver with a few Bears on his trophy shelf.
Rok Junior – Who steps up in Ingratta’s absense?
Sadly, we won’t see Ayden Ingratta in Shannonville this weekend as he’s headed down south for the SKUSA SummerNationals in Indiana. This opens the door for someone new to take the reigns in Junior Rok. Who might that be? Fowler, Pollack, Vico, Valverde, Savaglio and Kedairy will let us know.
Rok Senior – What is the fastest speed these guys will hit on the Shannonville straight?
I’m hoping someone has a radar gun this weekend as the Senior Roks will be flying down the main straight at Shannonville. Hopefully, we can find out how fast they can get to.
VLR Masters – Can Goodridge steal another one?
When it comes to the VLR Masters Finals, Cayden Goodridge has shown his best when he needs two, scoring two KartStars Canada race wins this season. Can he score another this weekend? We have a good feeling he can, but we have to wait until Sunday to find out.
How many total entries will we see this week?
As of writing, we have a pre-entry list with 214 entries on it. Yes, there are 14 categories taking to the track this weekend, but that’s still an average of 15 per class so far, with a number of classes above 20. The organizers are expecting a few more by the time karts his the track Thursday evening, so how many do you think we get up to?
Who will have the fastest four-cycle lap of the weekend, Briggs Junior Pro or Briggs Senior Pro?
Friday evening, to get the racing started, we will see two classes take to the track, Briggs Junior Pro and Briggs Senior Pro. Junior Pro will use the Black Slide at 295lbs while Senior Pro will run at a lighter weight of 320lbs. These very well could be the fastest Briggs laps of the weekend we’re really not sure who will be faster.
Finally, who will join Team Canada for the Rok Cup SuperFinal in Italy?
Four tickets to race the Rok Cup SuperFinal in Italy will be awarded this weekend as the race winners in Mini Rok, Junior Rok, Senior Rok and VLR Masters will join Rok Cup Team Canada this coming October.
These are coveted awards to one of the world’s best international karting events and we can’t wait to see who will join us at the world-famous South Garda Karting circuit this fall.
It’s not too late to register. Move it happens on Thursday and practice runs all day Friday.
Finally, for those who want their photo taken this weekend, please place a pre-order for your weekend photo package from the CKN Online Store, or send us a message to give us a heads up. The more prepared we all can be, the better!
Enjoy a small gallery below from 2012, the last time CKN visited Shannonville Motorsports Park.