Weather: Quick shower during practice, but then clear and 25 degrees.
CKRA’s 7th round might have been the most eventful race on the calendar. The race was special to begin with, as it is CKRA’s annual “Under The Lights” event on a Saturday night. The only time all year that the karts run under moonlight. Unlike day races, speeds seem to be enhanced by the night’s sky, and the particularly agressive drivers throw up sparks from the liberal use of the track’s edge and rumble strips. The evening is a motorsport photographer’s dream. To add to the unique format, this was a points race for both Moncton’s CKRA club, and the visiting AMKA club from Halifax.
Cadet Class (Ages 8-12)
A season-high total of 12 karts competed in the Cadet class. All three Pre-Cadet drivers from earlier in the season graduated to the bigger class.
The evening was the “Myah Knickle show”. The pint-sized rookie in kart #186 dominated the evening and swept all the heat races and won the feature nearly uncontested. Along the way, she smashed the track record for a rookie driver, looping the track in 28.418 seconds during heat race #2, breaking her own record from earlier in the summer.
Battling for second was Ryan Musson, Jacob LeBlanc and Callum Baxter. Musson would finish second thoughout the evening, and Baxter would catch some tough luck, as he crashed heavily in Heat #2, bringing out the red flag. The race was concluded at that point and Baxter missed heat #3 trying to repair the kart.
In the final, Knickle dominated again, followed by Ryan Musson, and a consistant Jacob LeBlanc in third. Callum Baxter was able to battle back to fourth place in the final, narrowly missing out on a podium finish.
William Lowther had a tough weekend in the mid-pack, but still holds the points lead with 393 points. Jacob LeBlanc has now closed the gap and is only a point behind (392). Musson is third (383), Knickle fourth (377) and Baxter fifth (354).
Junior Class (Ages 12-15)
The Junior field had the usual 6 drivers, joined by AMKA regular Liam Palmer, who made his first appearance in Moncton.
Heat #1 was a hard-fought race, as Ben Israel took the early lead, but was chased down by points leader Kelsey Hann throughout the event. However, Israel, the youngster from Windsor, NS was not intimidated by the champion, and held his own. He won a hard-fought race.
For the rest of the evening, Kelsey Hann was just too quick for anyone to contain. She ruled the rest of the heat races with an iron fist. In the final, Hann ran well but the duo of Israel and the hard-driving Isaac Teed put up a fight. After 20 laps, the final had Hann 1st, Israel 2nd and Teed 3rd, the trio seperated by only 2.1 seconds at the flag. Devin Wadden finished 4th, and newcomer Liam Palmer ran an excellent race to collect a top-five finish.
Kelsey Hann now holds a commanding lead in the Junior points standing, with 444 points. Isla Kants, who ran into all sorts of mechanical gremlins all evening, holds a distant second (378 points). Ben Israel is third and closing fast (372), Devin Wadden is close behind in fourth (371), and Isaac Teed is fifth (362).
Senior Class (Ages 15+)
The Senior class was given a large infusion of Nova Scotia drivers, and would hold an 11-kart field.
The evening would be punctuated by the battle between two young promising hotshoes in the area: New Brunswick’s Stephen Oliver, and Nova Scotia’s Cam Nickerson.
In heat 1, it was a true maritime-wide battle, as NB’s Oliver and NS’ Nickerson went wheel-to-wheel with Prince Edward Island’s hotshoe Alexander Davison. The next generation of Atlantic Canadian talent was on full display under the East Coast Karting moonlight. In heat 2, enthusiasm got the best of both Oliver and Nickerson and they collided. Through the chaos, Davison collected the chequered flag. Late in the race, AMKA veteran Zachary Grosse went on a wild ride, flipping his #706 machine in the final corner. He missed Heat #3, but was back in the field for the Final. When asked, he said “I’m fine! But, I am sure I will feel it tomorrow.”
In the final, both Oliver and Nickerson had to work their way through the pack to salvage a result. In the end, it was last year’s CKRA rookie of the year Alexander Davison that crossed the line first, collecting a long-fought first victory with CKRA. Brett Miller, last year’s champion, fought him hard all race and eventually settled for runner-up, while Cam Nickerson managed to join them on the podium in third.
“Mr. Consistancy” Brett Miller lives up to his label this evening, as he collects the required points to hold the points lead with 407 points. Stephen Oliver’s eventful evening was enough to give him second in the points race (371 points). Alexander Davison moves up to third (366), veteran Jared Meade holds fourth (344), and local driver Aaron Kennedy is fifth (328).
The championship now takes a break so local teams can contest the National Championships in Quebec. Round 8 of the series will resume under crisp fall weather on September 11th. The 9th and championship-deciding round will be held September 25th. As ever, daytime racing starts at 10am, and admission is free!
The series runs 9 points events from early-May to late-September, all at East Coast Karting at Exit 474 of the Trans-Canada highway, on the outskirts of Dieppe, New Brunswick.
For more information and latest news on the series, visit www.ckranb.com , or find “Championship Kart Racing Association” on Facebook.