By: Jason Holland/ECKC.ca
The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship returned to action closing out the month of June with a doubleheader event at Goodwood Kartways. Kart count was once again strong with 154 karts in the paddock, leading to split qualifying in Rotax Junior and Senior, and the separation of Briggs & Stratton Senior and Masters. Many teams and drivers had rain tires at the ready, but in defying mother nature the clouds remained sealed as the 2013 Championship reached its halfway point. Some point leaders had dramatic days in building toward a title, while others had disastrous days that may in the end lead to their demise. This is how it unfolded:
Rotax DD2 Pole Position: 35.613 – Pier-Luc Ouellette, PSL Karting/CRG/PSL Rotax
Prefinal: Ben Cooper, Pier-Luc Ouellette, Marco Di Leo, Brendan Bain, Dante Lerra
Final: After some grid introductions and a live rendition of the National Anthem, Cooper (Birel) and Ouellette (CRG) slotted one-two after the green flag waved. Brendan Bain (Maranello) took third, but Marco Di Leo (Praga) took it right back as the field hit the right-hand turn five. The swaps allowed for the leading pair to have immediate breathing room, and the hassle was far from over for Di Leo. First Bain took third position again working lap three, and then set to seeing if he could catch the leaders. His teammate Fred Woodley (Maranello) did the same to Di Leo before half distance, and the final five was set, though much was to come. Ouellette had taken his first lead just prior to halfway, and in the back half of the race he and Cooper were the only squabble on track with multiple exchanges, each bringing Bain closer to the fight. Cooper led through thirteen, Ouellette through seventeen, and Cooper once again on nineteen, just prior to the Last Lap board being shown. By then, Bain was very much in play and the trio headed to the last lap nose-to-bumper. Ouellette looked to be setting up for a move to the lead but also had to be wary of Bain behind, and Cooper was certain of the karts behind him. In the end, nothing changed on the final tour, Cooper winning his third of the season ahead of Ouellette, Bain, Woodley and Di Leo.
DD2 Field: 11 karts, 5 chassis manufacturers.
Briggs & Stratton Junior Pole Position: 42.252 – Austin Bisschop, Birel/Briggs & Stratton
Prefinal: Matteus Makos, Austin Bisschop, Jordan Latimer, Miles Tyson, Christopher Proietto
Final: After the midfield endured a little banging and bashing through turns one and five in Briggs Junior, Matteus Makos (Birel) led Austin Bisschop (Birel), Jordan Latimer (K&K) and the rest of the field through lap one. The early stages saw Makos and Bisschop team up and pull away while Latimer was joined by Braxton Terry (Birel) in a second pairing. At half distance the leaders had extended the gap as four groups of two had formed. Latimer and Terry remained third and fourth while Miles Tyson (Birel) and Christopher Proietto (Praga) were teamed up and looking to gain some ground. Then the race had its defining moment just past half distance when a kiss to the curb in the final hairpin sent Makos up on two wheels and headed to the outside grass. He saved the kart and put four back on the floor, but by then Bisschop had fled the scene, and Makos was soon sitting between Latimer and Terry in a three pack. Makos first looked to want to help push the trio back toward Bisschop, but when that didn’t gain ground he went back to second himself. Bisschop was comfortable in scoring the win with Makos similar in second, both making their first ECKC starts of the season. The third and final spot on the podium came down to the final few corners. Terry went inside Latimer at the final hairpin and the pair drag raced up the hill toward the final kink. It was there he established the spot, and pipped third at the wire. Latimer was fourth and Proietto fifth.
Junior Field: 18 karts, 6 chassis manufacturers.
Briggs & Stratton Senior Pole Position: 41.982 – Tommy Lemaire-Ouellet, Zanardi/Briggs & Stratton
Prefinal: Jon Treadwell, Ryan Brutzki, Marc Stehle, Lauren Fortune, Dale Bonham
Final: The start of the final was a fine formation of K&K Karts as they had positions one-three-five on the inside, and when they came out of the early turns in positions one-two-three they might just as well have been three wide. While Jon Treadwell and Marc Stehle jumped off the front, Dale Bonham looked to either have had an issue or thrown an anchor in making sure noone else would get close enough to challenge them. Painfully stacking up the field behind him, it was the start/finish straight before Lauren Fortune (OK1) worked past, and once she did, there was absolutely no help coming from behind – crucial in a four-stroke chase. It was another four laps before Ryan Brutzki (Arrow) was able to do the same, and Tommy Lemaire-Ouellet (Zanardi) went into fourth on the same lap, fresh from setting the fastest lap of the race. But by then much damage had been done. While both Fortune and Lemaire-Ouellet set quicker fast lap than the leaders, running them down seemed too tall an order. Treadwell led Stehle into the final laps with Fortune, Lemaire-Ouellet and by then Mathieu Demers (CRG) completing the top five and hoping for a miracle – yet one that was almost answered. For their part, there was no team order ‘play nice’ finish at the front. With two laps to go Stehle made a bid for the lead running turn one and Treadwell held an excellent outside line to maintain the spot. The exchange brought Fortune nearly to their rear bumpers, and in the end she crossed just three tenths behind Treadwell and Stehle in completing the podium. Lemaire-Ouellet was fourth and Demers fifth after a Bonham penalty.
Senior Field: 25 karts, 12 chassis manufacturers.
Briggs & Stratton Masters Pole Position: 43.485 – Jamie MacArthur, Birel/Briggs & Stratton
Prefinal: Jamie MacArthur, Tyson Stevens, Shane Findler, Steve Durkac, Russell Kroon
Final: Making the most of solo track time, the Briggs & Stratton Masters drivers had a very polite and processional run in the final… until the final lap that is! Jamie MacArthur (Birel) led the entire line of eight together early on before the front four separated from the back nearing half distance. A half-second covered the lead pack, yet still they stayed nose-to-tail allowing the laps to click by. MacArthur continued to lead, followed by Shane Findler (Birel), Tyson Stevens (Wild Kart), and Russell Kroon (CRG). Perhaps in the fashion of elder statesman who rarely let loose yet blow the roof off when they do, the fast four had a massive blowout on the final lap. Dodging and weaving to the final turns, it was a grand spectacle with flying fairings, banging pods and screeching tires up and over the hump of turn seven the final time. Through all the carnage Stevens emerged, followed in line by Kroon who also split the leaders, MacArthur and Findler! The 2.4 second margin of victory was a larger span than any that had covered the top four all day! MacArthur salvaged a podium in third, Findler was fourth and Steve Durkac (Arrow) was fifth.
Masters Field: 8 karts, 5 chassis manufacturers.
Rotax Junior Pole Position: 37.561 – Nicolas Dore, Birel/SRA Rotax
Prefinal: Jeffrey Kingsley, Gianfranco Mazzaferro, Nicolas Dore, Antoni Ptak, Tyler Ripani
Final: Jeffrey Kingsley (TonyKart) led out of the first turn and the field didn’t see much of him again! Antoni Ptak (Birel), Nicolas Dore (Birel), Tyler Ripani (LH Kart), Natael Cantin (Birel) and Gianfranco Mazzaferro (TonyKart) were fighting for positions behind, and that just served to give Kingsley more room to breath. He had a three-second lead by lap five, and he just managed the race from there. Working to half distance Mazzaferro was the big mover, recovering the ground he lost after being pushed out at the start and charging all the way back to second. Ptak was third, Ripani fourth and Dore fifth. Nothing changed the rest of the way in with the leaders having their setups coming in together. Three of the top five set best laps on twenty of twenty, and the other two set bet laps on nineteen. Kingsley maintained his margin, while Mazzaferro created one of his own in second. Ptak completed the podium in edging Ripani by just over a tenth, and Dore was fifth.
Junior Field: 29 karts, 9 chassis manufacturers.
Rotax Micro-Max Pole Position: 40.919 – Thomas Nepveu, SH Karting/Zanardi Kart/SH Rotax
Prefinal: Thomas Nepveu, Matthew Latifi, Matthew Barry, Patrick Woods-Toth, Xavier Harris
Final: At the start of the Micro-Max Final Thomas Nepveu (Zanardi) held his pole position with Matthew Barry (OK1) slotting second and Matthew Latifi (TonyKart) third, but the race one winner and point leader definitely didn’t want to stay there long. Latifi took second spot in turn five, and later on the same lap took over the lead at the final hairpin. Nepveu and Barry were still in touch, and the trio built a gap on the field over the next few laps. Alexandre Legare (Zanardi) was heading a chase pack of eight karts looking to catch back up, a pack that included the Birel of William Chayer. After qualifying just 0.008 off pole time, Chayer was making his way through the field after a DNF in the prefinal. He was tenth after the opening lap, seventh through two, and after passing a kart per lap over the next three laps he sat in fourth place with ten laps still to run. There were definitely two tales unfolding, tales that became entwined by the end. First Barry moved into second, creating a tandem at the front, and by then Chayer had climbed to fourth, creating a chasing pair as well. Latifi and Barry waged a fantastic battle for the win in the second half, swapping the lead seven times leading to the Last Lap board, and with each exchange, Nepveu and Chayer moved a little closer. A wheel touch by Chayer and Nepveu in turn nine popped the Zanardi kart up and wide on the penultimate lap, and the final lap was epic. Barry went inside for the lead in turn four, the ninth lead change of the race, and he still had the point running downhill to the final hairpin. Running middle of the road to prevent a pass, Barry then chose the same centre line on the exit and running back up the hill. Trouble was, as he looked over his left shoulder to mark Latifi, the TonyKart driver was using the momentum he had gained from an outside line through nine to pass into the lead on the right! He stuck it, and took his second win of the season! Barry crossed second, but lost out in tech after not being aware of new float height regulations. That opened the door to second for none other than Chayer, all the way from last on the grid! Nepveu was third, Xavier Harris (Praga) fourth and Legare fifth.
Micro-Max Field: 12 karts, 5 chassis manufacturers.
Rotax Senior Pole Position: 36.681 – Zacharie Scalzo, Summit GP/TonyKart/Rotax
Prefinal: Zacharie Scalzo, Olivier Bedard, Maxime Couturier, Andrew Palmer, Kieran Oxley
Final: A wild start in Rotax Senior saw point leader Kevin Monteith (Birel) launch into the infield while Pier-Luc Ouellette (CRG) was another of many karts that was on the grass in evasive manoeuvres. Up front Zacharie Scalzo maintained his pole position with Olivier Bedard (Birel) doing the same in second. Maxime Couturier (Zanardi) slotted third, Andrew Palmer (Kosmic) fourth and Zachary Claman DeMelo (Praga) fifth – and he quickly became the man on the move. He took fourth position in turn five, and after running down a gap to Couturier over the next two laps he moved into third running through turn four. Lap five then proved pivotal: Bedard took the lead in turn one and Claman DeMelo followed through for second before taking the lead himself in turn four, a lead he would never relinquish. Bedard ran wide in the exchange, allowing both Scalzo and Couturier back through and the podium was already set. The battle for positions four and five was also intense with many casualties. First Palmer went inside Tyler Kashak (OK1) in turn four leading to Kashak running wide and onto the grass. When he rejoined the field in the run to turn five, his steering wasn’t with him and as he tracked helplessly onto the infield, Steven Szigeti (Zanardi) was stuck on his left-hand side and also went to the grass with no other option. Both were out. Bedard was then fourth, Palmer fifth and Johnny Flute (CRG) sixth as a pack was chasing DeMelo at the front. Once again teams and drivers had setups coming in together, as after Scalzo and Bedard set best laps on eighteen of twenty, DeMelo and Couturier posted bests of their own on twenty. The margin at the checker was just under a half second for DeMelo with Scalzo second and Couturier third. Bedard remained fourth, while Ouellette recovered to fifth. The back half of the top ten was Flute, Bryson Schutte (TonyKart), Bryce Choquer (Birel), Didier Carre (Birel) and Rui Teixeira (Birel).
Senior Field: 33 karts, 10 chassis manufacturers.
Rotax Mini-Max Pole Position: 39.184 – Samuel Lupien/Birel/SRA Rotax
Prefinal: Antonio Serravalle, Thomas Simard, Samuel Lupien, Charles Deschenes, Thierry Cote
Final: The red flag was waving before the first lap was out in Rotax Mini-Max after a nasty crash in turn one. A spinning CRG collected JP Hutchinson (TonyKart) and Andres Filipe (Zanardi) sending them wide and into the turn one safety barriers. Neither was able to rejoin, but thankfully there were no serious injuries and both were back in action on Sunday. When the race resumed, Thomas Simard (TonyKart) took the lead with Antonio Serravalle (TonyKart) and Charles Deschenes (Zanardi) taking up the chase. Point leader Serravalle went back to the lead before half distance, beginning a three lap segment where the front four changed each time by. Deschenes was shuffled back to fourth in the exchanges, and the back half of the race became a matter of him taking back ground and trying to run down a win. He set the fastest lap of the race on ten, and claimed third and second before finishing just a tenth back of Serravalle, the TonyKart driver taking his second of the season. Simard was third, Lupien fourth and Thierry Cote (CRG) fifth.
Mini-Max Field: 12 karts, 6 chassis manufacturers.
Rotax DD2 Masters Pole Position: 36.163 – Stuart Clark, Maranello North America/Prime Power Rotax
Prefinal: Stuart Clark, Francis Mondou, Elvis Stojko, Luc Sauriol, John Cariati
Final: Saturday’s final race saw a flag-to-flag victory for Stuart Clark, but one that hides the hard work he put in throughout a day that was anything but simple. By late afternoon though, he had the field covered by two tenths and ran just over four seconds out in the last race of the day. Francis Mondou (OK1) was second in the beginning with Luc Sauriol (CRG) third and Elvis Stojko (Praga) fourth and enjoying his home track tremendously. Stojko took third early on and after some early pressure for second, the front of the field began to fan out. While Clark had things on cruise control and Mondou was headed for second, heartbreak struck for Stojko on lap seventeen when he retired in turn four. That opened the door to the podium for Sauriol, while Martin Verville (Haase) moved to fourth and John Cariati (OK1) fifth.
DD2 Masters Field: 9 karts, 5 chassis manufacturers.
Opening day of event two had rookies and veterans alike scratching their heads as many were chasing the setup, but all agreed the repaved racing surface was much improved from a year ago and the asphalt held up beautifully. As usual, the track offered multiple passing opportunities, with four prime ones appearing around the layout. Teams and drivers were also talking up the upcoming ASN Canadian National Karting Championships at Goodwood, but prior to that was Race 4, and many were headed back to the drawing board to get ready for Sunday.