After months of anticipation, the weekend had finally arrived…my first major event in Western Canada for 2014, the Western Canadian Championships. It felt odd racing so close to home, after all the events I’ve attended in Ontario. But nonetheless, I brought my “A” game and I was ready to roll. For this event we didn’t partner with any of the Western race teams, instead we decide to go “solo” with the assistance of local tuner Brent Bolster. My relationship with Brent started seven years ago when my Dad purchased my first cadet kart. Over the years, I’ve worked with Brent on and off and he has remained a family friend.
This year we were introduced to a new event format. There are two race weekends, each with three races. On top of that, we were thrown a curve ball that only allowed us to use two sets of tires over the three race days. On each of those days, we had a qualifying, pre-final and final. Nine times on track, two sets of tire…strategy was going to be key.
Having never been to 3 Flags Motorsport Park, I wasn’t sure what to expect with regards to the track. At first glance the 838M track looked similar in length and width to Goodwood Kartways, but has no high-speed turns or elevation changes. Prior to walking the track, the surface appeared to be fairly smooth but that wasn’t the case. Numerous corners had rough patches of pavement that would require extra attention when proceeding through those areas. The racing line included multiple curbs, late breaking points and lots of roll speed. Thank god for chassis skid plates, they were definitely essential though out the weekend.
During the first practice sessions, my TonyKart was handling well and my Black Racing Engines Rotax felt strong. The track was as rough as anticipated, but I knew I could handle it if I stayed focused and watched my lines. I posted fast times throughout the day and felt confident on how the rest of the weekend would play out. That evening we reviewed my practice data and discussed our tire strategy. There were some very interesting and tactical conversations between Brent, my Dad and myself regarding when we would use our new tires throughout the next three days. Once we were all in agreement, we moved forward and didn’t deviate from our plan.
With race 1 upon us, the sun was shining and the forecast called for hot and windy conditions. Carburetor jetting was going to be critical today in order to maximize engine performance. As we worked our way through the sessions, I qualified P1 and set a new track record. I finished 2nd in the pre-final and 3rd in the final due to a faulty bead lock that caused my left rear tire to go down and eventually become flat by the end of the race. Overall, it wasn’t a bad day, but I needed better results to keep the momentum going.
The following two days remained the same with regards to the weather…hot & windy. We stuck to our original tire strategy and proved that we were just as fast as the guys on new tires. My results were similar to race 1, but this time I made it to the top step of the podium on Saturday & Sunday! After the races I was speechless. It was really hard to believe what I had just accomplished, and honestly it still hasn’t sunk in that I’m the current points leader in the series. I guess I could say it was a great way to end the first round of the WCC’s. As I look ahead to round 2 in Chilliwack, BC, I’ll need to step it up another notch in order to remain competitive against a number of local drivers and their home track advantage. I’ve raced at the Greg Moore Raceway on numerous occasions, but this will be my first time on the track as a Sr. Max driver.
Once again my results throughout the weekend could not have been possible without the support of my family, my Dad and Brent Bolster. Special thanks goes out to CKN, Cold Stone Creamery, Bell Racing Helmets, Polen Designs, Freem Racewear, and Black Racing Engines. Without you guys, weekends like these wouldn’t be possible.
Next stop: Le Monaco de Trois-Rivières on August 2 and 3
Have a great summer!