While it was a little quieter at karting tracks across the Ontario and Quebec regions this past weekend, many jumped at the opportunity to enjoy the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, Quebec, the only Canadian stop of the season for F1 machinery. Some attended simply as spectators to enjoy the show, but for a great handful of karting graduates who are working their way up the motorsports ladder, it was a chance to showcase their talents in the support classes also competing on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
In the new Nissan Micra-Cup, karting grads snagged victories in both races and the drivers still with ties to the karting world, claimed victories. Olivier Bedard of Terrebonne, Quebec, a former member of Team Canada at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, and Stefan Rzadzinski of Edmonton, Alberta helped put on a show in the spec-car championship making its debut in 2015. Also competing in the category was Kevin King who had a weekend high of ninth in Sunday’s Final.
Pulling double-duty at the Grand Prix, Bedard was one of many karting graduates racing in the 38-car strong Formula 1600 Super Series.
Jesse Lazare, Michael Adams, Bedard, Reid Arnold, Zacharie Robichon, Michel and Dominic LeGrand and Martin Janson, all former racers of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship and many other major Canadian karting events all took part in the Formula 1600 event, that saw Robichon qualify on the pole on Friday.
The F1600’s always put on a spectacular show in front of the massive Montreal crowd and 2015 was no different. Saturday saw Robichon surrender the lead on lap one to Adams with a technical issue. But Adams also found trouble with his brakes and slipped down the order. At the finish the race was won by Patrick Dussault with Lazare, Adams, Bedard and Arnold all earning top-ten results finishing fourth through seventh.
Sunday was a day of redemption for Robichon, a team member of Ben Cooper Racing and the Jim Russell Karting Academy. Working his way forward in the short Final, Robichon pulled off an amazing last lap, last corner pass on Dussault to claim the win! Lazare joined him on the official Formula 1 podium while Adams, Arnold and Dominic LeGrand finished fourth through sixth.
“It was pretty cool,” laughed Robichon when contact by CKN. “Standing at the same spot as the F1 guys makes finishing well at this race that much better then it already was.”