ECKC: Victory for Szigeti; Championship for DeMelo in Rotax Senior
The final major karting event of the Canadian season wrapped up this past weekend as the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship completed another at the Jim Russell Karting Academy in beautiful Mont-Tremblant, QC. It was a cool and overcast weekend as the event hosted the Coupe du Quebec on Saturday before setting up the ECKC Championship finale with some classes coming down to the wire for titles and for who would join Team Canada for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.
The closest championship battle entering the season finale at Mont-Tremblant was in Rotax Senior. While Kevin Monteith (REM/Birel) and Zachary Claman DeMelo (IPK/Praga) both had two victories, it was Olivier Bedard (KMS/Birel) entering the event with the points lead after a win at Le Monaco. All weekend long, the front three were crunching numbers seeking what they needed to win and/or secure a ticket to the Grand Finals.
DeMelo started things off by taking the pole-position and the prefinal, setting up an even closer Championship race with Bedard and Monteith starting on row two.
A tough start for DeMelo in the final saw the outside row advance into the first corner as Steven Szigeti (SH Karting/Zanardi), Monteith and Marco Di Leo (IPK/Praga) all overtook the polesitter and broke away. The action continued through the next few corners as DeMelo would fall all the way back to seventh and Bedard ninth.
Heartbreak for Monteith on lap three as his rear bumper would come loose, creating a very ill handling kart and his championship hopes over. This moved Di Leo to second, but Szigeti was gone and DeMelo was working his way back forward, third on lap six. Disposing his teammate Di Leo, DeMelo went into pursuit of Szigeti in the second half of the 18-lap final, lapping over two-tenths a lap quicker even as Szigeti was posting his fastest laps of the race.
In the end, DeMelo would come up a couple laps short and Szigeti scored the win, a bittersweet ending to a tough season for him. DeMelo would cross in second and with Bedard only managing to get back to seventh DeMelo would earn the championship. With DeMelo already qualified after his Canadian title Bedard earns the ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals and the great day by Szigeti moved him onto the championship podium in third.
The event caps off yet another successful year for the ECKC, showing growth at nearly every event this year. With a strong support and huge growth in the Briggs & Stratton classes as well as growth in the youngest categories of Rotax, the series has plenty to look back on this year as we know it is already looking forward to 2014!