There were four races on tap this weekend for Senior Briggs drivers at Shannonville for the KartStars Canada Nationals and all of them ended with a story written into the history books.
From Nicky Palladino scoring two more Bears to veteran Marc Stehle scoring his first and capping it all off with Greg Rempel returning to Shannonville and shooting down his seventh Bear 23 years after getting his first, all of these races had major meaning behind them.
KartStars Senior Pro
Starting on Friday night, KartStars Senior Pro set the tone for the weekend as the first race to take to the track. 22 racers lined up for the winner take all shootout with no championship points on the line.
On the opening lap there was plenty of wheel-to-wheel contact amongst the leaders and this allowed Ayden Ingratta (Exprit) and Nicky Palladino (Exprit) to break free. Ingratta held the lead for most of the race until a sudden hiccup allowed Palladino to get in front with only a few laps left.
It turns out that Ingratta hit the big bump in the penultimate corner and his shoe came loose and eventually dislodged. While he was able to regain his composure and close back in on Palladino, he only have two laps to do it.
Ingratta got back to the lead as the last lap board was displayed and the race was on. Side-by-side for most of the lap, Palladino got the advantage in the sweepers and he rounded the final corner clear of Ingratta to score the win. Ethan Waters (Awesome Kart) completed the podium after battling all race long with his teammate Michael Ing (Awesome Kart) while Chad Webster (Exprit Kart) pulled off a last-lap pass to finish fifth.
On Saturday the two senior divisions were split up into their regular classes with 26 lining up in Senior and 23 in Masters.
There was plenty of action in the heat races and PreFinal for the Seniors including a last lap contact on the main straight that nearly took out the flag man but when things finally settled the front row for the Final featured Vassil Tchiplakov (BirelART) and Palladino.
Tchiplakov led early while Palladino stuck glued to his bumper. Adrian Koniarz (BirelART) and Ing remained close as did Ingratta, Brennan Taylor (BirelART), Christian Savaglio (TonyKart) and Brodie Myer (SodiKart), forming a large lead pack.
The shuffling up front began on lap five as Palladino went to the point with a nice push from Koniarz. Ingratta had an issue on lap seven and ended his race early while Tchiplakov regained second place from Koniarz.
Sneaking under Palladino with two laps to go, Tchiplakov regained the lead and had his sights set on his first Shannonville Bear but Palladino had other thoughts.
Getting up the inside entering the bus stop, Palladino looked to grab the lead but Tchiplakov drove deep into the corner and held on. Palladino managed to keep himself on the outside of corner five and that gave him the preferred line for the following corner and the pass was completed. This left Tchiplakov vulnerable to Savaglio and that meant that Palladino was clear to the finish line to score his second win of the weekend, the only driver to do so this year.
Tchiplakov fought off Savaglio to hold on to second place while Koniarz and Myer completed the top five in a very exciting race where all five crossed the finish line within a second of each other.
In the Masters Final, it was a battle between the Pelee boys as Marc Stehle (Ricciardo Kart), Greg Rempel (BirelART), David Patrick (Ricciardo Kart) and Steve MacVoy (Ricciardo Kart) broke free from the rest.
Stehle led the first three-quarters of the race with Rempel stuck to his bumper. With two laps to go, it was go-time for Rempel and he pulled out of the draft and scored the lead. Stehle held on to only drop to second place and on the following lap he returned the favour but this time Rempel was freight-trained back to fourth place.
Fighting off the pressure, Stehle remained in the lead while Patrick tried to muscle by MacVoy but no positions changed on the final lap and Stehle scored the win and his first ever Shannonville Bear. MacVoy wound up second just ahead of Patrick with Rempel just missing the podium. A few moments later the rest of the pack would cross the finish line with Kevin May (Ricciardo Kart) scoring the fifth spot.
27 drivers hung around to race one more time on Sunday in the KartStars Senior class, which merged the Seniors and Masters together and it was once again the Pelee boys taking charge in the Final.
Stehle jumped to the lead from the outside on the start and was instructed to give the spot back as the pack completed lap one. Pointing Savaglio to the inside Stehle moved back to second place but that didn’t last long as he regained the lead in the back sweeper and brought Rempel with him. There was also some carnage on the opening lap that mixed up the early running order and unfortunately ended Jason Rothman’s (Awesome Kart) chances at a podium after starting up front.
The lead pair held a small advantage over Savaglio, Tchiplakov and Myer in the early laps until Rempel took the lead on the main straight on lap five.
The action heated up with two laps to go with Stehle getting passed by Savaglio into corner one and contact between the pair allowed Myer to slip by both of them.
This opened up a small lead for Rempel and more than enough for him to hold on and score the victory. Myer did well to hold onto second place while Stehle overtook Savaglio on the final lap to finish on the podium for the second day in a row. Steve Lyons (BirelART) ranked fourth after a penalty was accessed to Savaglio for ‘not leaving racing room’ early in the race.
What a weekend at Shannonville.