Four drivers scored their first KartStars Canada National Bears this weekend in Junior categories at Shannonville Motorsports Park as Elijah Joshi, Jordan Di Leo, Nathan Dupuis and Cole Morgan solidified their names in the Shannonville history books.
Each of the four races for the Junior Briggs races was decided on the final stretch to the finish line with some very surprised winners getting to the line mere inches before their fellow competitors.
On Friday and Saturday, all of the Juniors were given the opportunity to race together before separating into their regular Lite and Heavy divisions on Sunday.
Starting off with the Friday night showdown in KartStars Junior Pro, these Briggs racers let their engines loose and ran their fastest laps of the weekend with a little less limitation than normal.
Jordan Di Leo (Intrepid Kart) led the first half of the race as the sun began to set on the Shannonville circuit. At the halfway mark, Elijah Joshi (Intrepid Kart) had waited long enough in the second position and pulled off a pass for the lead, with Di Leo slipping back to fourth as Joey Lecce (BirelART) and Gavin Goldie (Intrepid Kart) helping push Joshi to the lead.
Di Leo would recover to gain second place just before the final lap began and the pair fought for every inch of the track to gain an advantage.
Di Leo got underneath Joshi entering the final corner but Joshi had the better exit speed and the pair crossed the finish line 0.034 seconds apart while Goldie made a late charge to the finish and was only 0.054 back at the line. Lecce slipped back on the final lap and had to accept fourth while Max Franceschello (Ricciardo Kart) completed the top five winning a great battle with Declan Black (Intrepid Kart).
Back together on Saturday for KartStars Junior, 22 lined up on the grid to race.
Early on Di Leo and Goldie were able to break free from the pack as the third position was traded a number of times on the opening two laps.
But as the duo traded the lead in the second half of the race, the pack closed back in and it was a race of six karts to the finish. Wheel to wheel around the final lap Goldie and Di Leo wouldn’t give each other an inch going for the win.
But Di Leo slipped underneath in the second last corner to get the advantage and rounded the final corner with a slight advantage and kept it to the finish line to score his first Shannonville victory at the track his father and uncle scored numerous wins. Black and Dupuis linked up in the race to the line to overtake Goldie and score visits to the podium while Henry Brown (Awesome Kart) finished out the top five.
After two days of excitement, it was time to separate the Juniors into their regular categories on Sunday. Both Junior Lite and Junior featured 14 drivers for their races and they didn’t disappoint.
The Juniors traded rubber early and often in their Final. From the front row, Franceschelli was sent wide in corner two and lost the draft, ending his chances early. Joshi led the early laps until Black came chasing the lead on the main straight. Joshi managed to stay in second and pulled the same pass the following lap to regain the lead but that set off a flurry of activity.
Contact exiting corner one sent Black through the grass on the inside of corner two and while he was able to keep pointed in the right direction, the pack swallowed him up and sent him back to fifth. Two corners later, Joshi tangled with Di Leo in the bus stop, ending Joshi’s race and knocking Di Leo down the order.
All of this opened the door for Dupuis to swoop right in and move from sixth to score the race lead with only one lap remaining.
Holding on for dear life, Dupuis kept the lead all the way to the checkered flag to score the win while Black and Goldie crossed in second and third just ahead of Brown and Lecce. Black was relegated back to third place for his unsafe re-entry to the track so when the dust all settled it was Dupuis on top followed by Goldie and Black.
Closing out the weekend the Junior Lites showcased their skills.
Leoluca DiCarlo (Intrepid Kart) showed great speed in the KartStars classes to qualify up front but learned quickly that racing with the big boys was a major challenge. In Junior Lite he started the Final on the pole position and used a great push from Cole Morgan (Ricciardo Kart) to gain the early lead.
The pair linked up early and smartly pushed to pull away from their competitors and waited until the end to settle the score.
Morgan was able to pass a couple of times on the main straight but every time DiCarlo countered the move before the lap was complete to regain the lead. With no room on the inside coming to the last lap board, Morgan chose the outside line. Trying to hold it around the outside of corner one didn’t work and he slipped back into second place.
DiCarlo did a great job to keep the lead but he stayed really tight entering the final sweeping corner and Morgan saw his opportunity. Swinging wide on the exit, Morgan went around the outside of DiCarlo and just edged him out at the finish to score the biggest win of his young karting career. Ethan Chen (Intrepid Kart) won the battle for third over Ben Lawrence (Intrepid Kart) while Oliver Rayoff-Pearce bounced back from a tough start to the day to finish fifth place in the Final.