CKN Race Report: Eastern Canadian Karting Championship Round #2 – Goodwood Kartways
The best part of day two in doubleheader race events is that far more often than not, the fields get even tighter the second time out as long as the weather is delivered in similar fashion. It was definitely so at Goodwood Kartways Sunday, as the day was once again warm and clear, this time with a little cloud cover and a breeze that made things near perfect for the second race of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship. Teams and drivers returned with fresh hopes and plans, and a race day once again went off like clockwork.
TonyKart, Intrepid and CRG had each taken a top step in Junior, Senior and DD2 respectively in race one and each hoped for as much or more entering day two. It was a record setting day at the famed Canadian circuit, as all five Rotax Max Challenge engine formulas had new track records established by the time the final checkered waved. The racing was once again fantastic, and the weekend finale was absolutely epic!
CKN Race of the Day – Rotax DD2
After mesmerizing drives to first and second on Saturday, the pair of reigning World Champions once again had the attention of the paddock Sunday and the PSL/CRG of Pier-Luc Ouellette and SRA Karting/Birel of Ben Cooper began the day’s showdown in qualifying. First Cooper put down a track record 35.49 second lap on seven, only to have PLO respond on the eighth and final lap of the session with a 35.40 second lap of his own! It was a definite indication of what was to come for the second straight day. Row two clocked at twin 35.5, Hugo Ouellette edging Christophe Boisclair, while Brendon Bain nipped the Karts&Parts/LH Kart of Daniel Burkett for the inside slot on row three after each pegged 35.6 seconds. Entering the weekend the track record belonged to 2010 World Champion Daniel Morad, who earned pole position at the Nationals back in 2009 in a time of 36.129 seconds. The top eight all bettered that time on Saturday, Cooper taking pole at 35.725, and on Sunday the top six each bettered the pole time from race one, and the top fifteen all bettered the track record entering the weekend!
The Ouellette brothers jumped to a one-two at the start of the prefinal but the race was stopped shortly after with Officials noting karts out of order. After a shuffle, the race took green a second time to the exact same result with Pier-Luc leading out of turn one ahead of Hugo, the Prime/Maranello of Brendan Bain, Cooper, and the Intrepid of Enrico Menotti. The only change from there to half was Boisclair getting inside Menotti for fifth. The last two laps then brought fireworks. First Bain got Ouellette with some contact heading to one, and Cooper followed him through as well before taking second himself in the middle of the lap. They ran under the checker that way, but Ouellette then returned the favour into one on the cool down lap. Bain picked up a one-position penalty for contact, while Ouellette was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct. The grid for the final was set with the Saturday podium of PLO, Cooper and Boisclair leading Bain, Burkett and Menotti.
A great launch by the outside line in the final saw Cooper slot first ahead of Bain, PLO, Menotti and Boisclair, but most were looking to move early: Boisclair got Menotti in four, and Burkett followed him through. PLO recovered second as well, and when Boisclair got Bain on lap two the train went through. By the end of the lap Cooper had a small gap off the front with PLO second, Boisclair third, Burkett fourth and Menotti fifth. The only change from there to half distance in the twenty lap final was Bain taking back fifth, and the front six were still in that order when they completed lap fifteen. That’s when the showdown began.
Working lap sixteen PLO took the lead for the first time at turn five but Cooper wasn’t going anywhere and was glued to the backside of the CRG. On seventeen he returned the favour in the same turn, only to have Ouellette scissor in response and create a side-by-side run into turn six. They stayed that way all the way through, then up into seven before Pier-Luc had reestablished himself on the front running through the corner and into eight. The leader was then in full defensive mode, and the resulting loss of lap time brought others into play. Boisclair arrived on eighteen to make it three karts at the front, and when the defensive stand continued through nineteen Burkett was very nearly there as well. The final lap was a massive defensive effort, with Cooper’s best look being another side-by-side run up the hill to turn seven. The trio then ran through eight the same way, but in the run to nine Burkett had definitely arrived in full force. Ouellette was through, Cooper second, and Burkett surprised Boisclair by stealing the final podium spot at the final hairpin. Ouellette then raced to the line, with his margin of victory just 0.059 seconds and by far the closest finish of the day. Bain kept fifth, Menotti sixth, Hugo Ouellette came from the back to seventh, Zach Richard-Robichon was eighth, Tyler McEwan ninth and Blake Reith tenth. The final race of the day had the crowd on its feet in standing ovation as the event one came to a close.
Much the same as in Rotax DD2, the Junior field had the same two karts on the front row but in this case the order was reversed from Saturday. Olivier Bedard’s Max Karting/Birel set a 36.72 second lap that Parker Thompson very nearly equalled when he clocked 36.74 seconds. The SH/TonyKart was followed by the PSL/CRG of Samuel Fontaine, while Zachary Claman DeMelo had no repeat of his Saturday qualifying drama and jumped from Group A all the way to P4 on the grid. Gavin Reichelt timed fifth, while sadly, Cameron Morrison had to call it a day when his rib injury from race one made it clear Morrison was not going to compete on Sunday.
An amazing start by Claman DeMelo saw him leading by the exit of turn four in the prefinal, and Bedard settled second ahead of Thompson and Reichelt. Bedard then moved back to the lead beginning lap four, but Claman DeMelo responded three corners later. Both karts then blew the exit of the corner, and that allowed Fontaine to jump past both and take the point. The trio would prove incompatible. In a bad combination of pushing/blocking/attempting to pass, Fontaine ended up spinning into the infield working lap six. Claman DeMelo and Bedard carried on, swapping the lead multiple times before Bedard took the checker. Claman DeMelo was on pole for the final though, as Bedard’s airbox was deemed non-compliant. Reichelt was second when the dust settled, Thompson third, Gustavo Bandiero fourth and Jeffrey Kingsley fifth.
In the final the field was off and away safely and within two laps a trio had established itself at the front: Claman DeMelo leading Thompson and Bandiera. A second three-pack formed behind, as Reichelt led the Intrepid of Tyler Kashak and the K&K Kart of Trevor Rancier. Working toward half distance the front four spread out while Kingsley moved to fifth with Kashak right behind. The six karts were then in three pairs by lap fifteen, with Thompson having settled on the back bumper of Claman DeMelo’s CRG, Reichelt holding off Bandiera and Kingsley still fending Kashak. The only change in the order came on the penultimate lap, as Thompson stole the lead running into turn one. Utterly unfazed, Claman DeMelo took it right back with a scissor move on the exit, and kept to the checkered flag in winning by two-tenths. Reichelt was third, Bandiera fourth, and Kingsley fifth ahead of Kashak, Marco Signoretti, Jordan Slipacoff, Rancier, and Bedard, who came all the way from P26 to tenth.
For the second straight day, Luke Chudleigh had his Prime/Maranello at the head of the largest field and Steven Szigeti was once again right alongside in his SH Karting/TonyKart. Saturday winner Marco Di Leo was third ahead of Jesse Lazare, their spots reversed from day one, and Austin Milwain was once again fifth with Bryson Schutte taking the outside of row three for race two. All then cleared the first turn in the prefinal, and nothing changed up front as Chudleigh took it flag-to-flag. Di Leo was the biggest mover, as after slotting fourth at the start he worked his way to off-pole for the final. He got Lazare early in turn five, and went inside Szigeti later in turn nine with Lazare following him through. The front four finished in that order after some dicing, and Schutte returned to sixth bumping by Kevin Monteith in turn six.
Di Leo stole the point from the outside at the start of the final with Chudleigh assuming second. Szigeti was third after running the outside line around Lazare through one – and looking to move in a hurry before anyone could slip off the front. He looked inside Chudleigh in six but couldn’t stick it, and if that trial didn’t give Di Leo all the lead he would need for the afternoon, the Intrepid definitely had it after Szigeti got inside Chudleigh in turn five the next lap and Lazare got him in turn nine. From there to the house, Di Leo never put a wheel wrong in wracking up his fifth-straight win at Goodwood and sixth win of fourteen ECKC Senior races. The front three did identical best laps at 36.8 seconds, and each posted the time within a lap of the others. Matched so closely, the early gap Di Leo scored proved insurmountable and the podium positions never changed. Though it ended in fourth, Chudleigh may just have had the second-best drive of the final. Knocked down to sixth after given some rough treatment in turn four, he closed a significant gap in running down and passing both Monteith and Milwain by lap twelve. Milwain finished fifth, and Monteith sixth ahead of Reid Arnold, Johnny Flute, Chris Ernst and Sasha Aleksic.
Rotax DD2 Masters
Pole man for race two was Marc-Andre Bourgeois as the PSL/CRG driver dipped into the 35-second bracket and edged the 36.0 of Stuart Clark. Saturday winner Luc Sauriol followed in third, with David Ivichek fourth and the Pserra/Tecno of Ryan Horses fifth. The outside line had the better jump in the prefinal, and Clark grabbed a lead he would never relinquish. Once the line settled in, Bourgeois worked his way back to second on lap eight, and the front row was ready for a rematch of Saturday. Sauriol was third in the order once again, with Intrepid Quebec driver Francis Mondou fourth and Ivicheck fifth.
The drama in final started early, as in formation lap early, when Clark appeared to have engine problems. He repeatedly had one hand on the wheel in playing with his power, and when the green flag waved Bourgeois grabbed the lead with Clark slotting second. The story got worse from their, as Sauriol demoted him further on four, then Mondou did the same on six. It appeared Clark’s Maranello was doomed, then, in the second half, he was absolutely back on it. First he ran down the pair in front where Mondou had dipped inside Sauriol for third. The pair had scrapped it out for a few laps, with Sauriol taking the spot back on twelve and by that time, Clark had caught on and followed him through at turn four. Clark then took second himself in turn nine, and in a single lap had returned to second. He set his best lap of the race on fourteen, and though he closed in some, there was no catching Bourgeios on this day, and he stood in the middle of the podium after a four second win. Clark was second and Sauriol third. Paul Carvalho advanced to fourth and Mondou was fifth.
The Rest of the Show
Matthew Latifi was on the Micro-Max pole for the second straight day but his mates had something in store on Sunday. Matthew Barry got a jump from the outside at the start and carried the lead through the first lap. Latifi was controlled though, and after running up to the back of the Intrepid he passed it in the run to turn one the following lap. From there he was picture perfect again in maintaining his pole position. Xavier Harris worked his way to second to take the other front row spot. In the final Latifi checked out on the field early in completing his second class sweep, but the battle behind him was fantastic. Harris and Barry resumed their tussle from Saturday with Barry eventually earning the spot to take second on the podium and Harris took third. Yuga Furutani was fourth, Max Horbik fifth and Jeremy Tallon sixth.
Gianfranco Mazzaferro had the Mini-Max pole with race one winner Alex Murphy alongside and the second row saw Sportality/Intrepid driver Jacob Ewaniuk P3 ahead of Matthew Thomas. Keeping the daily theme, Murphy then cut to the lead from the outside in turn one with Thomas second and Austin Riley coming all the way forward to third. Thomas then moved to the lead and took the checker, but was sent to the back along with Alexander Lacroix when their airboxes were found to be non-compliant. That put Murphy on pole, Riley second and Mazzaferro third. In the final Murphy held off the start but Mazzaferro wanted the win on this day. He got Riley in turn five working lap four, and was back at the head of the line on eight after diving to the inside through turn one. Mazzaferro had no concerns from there, and stretched it to a two-second win over Murphy and Thomas by the final flag.
Though light on numbers, Briggs&Stratton also produced an incredible man hunt in its final. Simon Rousseau had the fastest lap in qualifying, but after retiring on lap eight of the prefinal he had some work to do if he wanted to get back to repeat as winner on Sunday. One man who didn’t see that in the plan, was Jason Assinck. He built a big lead on his Birel through the first half and was desperately trying to find every ounce of power in his Briggs. The lead was significant, but bit-by-bit Rousseau picked away at it after reaching second on lap seven. He turned his best lap on eleven and he was right on the bumper of the Birel when the pair ran under the last lap board. The winning move came in turn one, and that’s how they hit the stripe: Rousseau first, Assinck second, and Harland Goulbourne third. A pair of juniors were even closer, as Christopher Proietto edged Brady Dylan by just 0.071 of a second!
So came to a close the first event and first two races of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship. The series resumes in three weeks at Circuit ICAR where after a day of practice on Friday The Coupe de Quebec will race on Saturday and the third race of the ECKC will run on Sunday. For more information, please visit eckc.ca.