Alberta Summer Challenge: Stevenson and Holowachuk capture victories in Friday DD2 Action.
Story by Rob Kozakowski
DD2 ran on the Mojo D2 tires for this event. And with 18 karts between the 2 classes, the turnout was excellent for Western Canada, with great racing throughout the field.
Qualifying was a unique 30 minute open session, with the ability to exit and re-enter the track, crossing the scales each time.
Zach Sinclair (BirelART – DD2) had the entire field covered by half a second and looked set to dominate the event.
The DD2 Masters drivers made things exciting. Brent Holowachuk (BirelART – DD2 Masters) went out early and had 2nd overall for most of the 30 minute session. Rob Kozakowski (Intrepid – DD2 Masters) waited until the track cleared and after an initial run placed him 4th overall, he returned late to move to 3rd only .02 behind Holowachuk. None of that lasted long, as Tim Gnida (CRG – DD2 Masters), who was originally 5th overall, managed to join Sinclair as the only drivers below 49 seconds, and take 2nd overall ahead of Holowachuk and Kozakowski, with the three covered by less than .1 seconds.
Whitney Stevenson (CRG – DD2) managed 5th overall.
Due to pending thunderstorms rolling into the area, the organizers were forced to modify the schedule and cut the 2 heats to a single 12 lap pre-final.
Sinclair dominated from the pole, checking out to a huge win.
Things were interesting behind him. Gnida was best of the rest early, until making a mistake entering the last corner and allowing Holowachuk to get a run on him into the hard-braking first corner, while at the same time Stevenson got a run inside Kozakowski into turn one. Gnida out a big block on Holowachuk, and in the ensuing scramble, Kozakowski managed to gain the inside line in Stevenson into turn two and also dive up the inside of Holowachuk to take third overall. A few corners later, Kozakowski moved inside of Gnida and was able to hold onto second overall to the checkers, despite a broken seat, with Gnida, Holowachuk and Stevenson following right behind.
The start of the 22 Lap Final made the race interesting. Sinclair led the field to the green at a very slow pace, allowing Gnida to take the lead entering turn one, with everyone else scrambling to hold onto their spots.
Sinclair quickly ran down Gnida and moved to his rightful spot at the front. A few corners later, Gnida made a mistake with Kozakowski getting tied up with him, allowing Holowachuk into second followed by Stevenson in third and Lars Madsen (CRG – DD2 Masters) into fourth, followed by Kozakowski and Gnida several kart lengths back.
Those positions held until about 2/3 into the race when Kozakowski’s tires started coming in, allowing him to chase down Madsen for fourth, and being followed shortly after that by Gnida.
Stevenson tried a few times to take second from Holowachuk, who was able to hold her off. Then just as things seemed settled, Sinclair made a big mistake running off the track and dropping from a commanding lead to 4th before getting past Kozakowski who was struggling badly with the broken seat.
At the line, it was Holowachuk taking all the bragging rights with Stevenson right behind, followed by Sinclair, Kozakowski and Gnida rounding out the top 5.
The night’s action was rounded out with the DD2 Masters podium finishers dousing the gathering crowd with champagne, to put a cap on a fun DD2 event.
DD2: Whitney Stevenson, Zach Sinclair, Alexis Budel (BirelART)
DD2 Masters: Brent Holowachuk (1st overall), Kozakowski, Gnida