Last year, Ryan MacDermid qualified on the pole position at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Italy, the first Canadian to do so in the Rotax Junior category. In mixed conditions, MacDermid held his own in the heat races to maintain the top position and started his PreFinal from the pole position. It was a promising start to his first Rotax Grand Finals, but it all came to an abrupt end shortly after.
Sitting in Parc Ferme before his heat race, the rain had just stopped falling and the track was showing signs of dry patches. It was a frantic few moments as 34 drivers and mechanics switched chassis and tire setups and MacDermid, along with the majority of other drivers, opted for slicks.
Rolling out onto the track, MacDermid was the first to experience the conditions and just how slick the track was, making it only three corners before he lost control of his kart and spun out. Frantically trying to get back on track and then through the group of drivers, MacDermid narrowly made it back to his pole-position before the start of the race. Then it began to rain and the race was a disaster, with MacDermid falling well down the order and not finishing within the top-17 spots to make the main event. Suddenly many of the fastest drivers during the week failed to make the main event.
Now a year later, MacDermid is once again heading to the Rotax Grand Finals, although this time he will be a Senior Max driver and even with the category change, he still has a passion to complete what he started a year prior.
“I definitely have some unfinished business. After seeing how competitive I was last year and how it finished, I am not going back to finish anywhere other than first. This is my chance at redemption and I am using every bit of it.”
MacDermid enjoyed a successful year in 2017 that saw him start out the season as a Junior but move up to the Senior division in the middle of the Florida Winter Tour. He secured the Canadian National Championship with a superb drive and has taken part in many international competitions to grow as a driver, all building towards this Rotax Grand Finals opportunity.
Looking back at last year’s race, MacDermid learned the importance of qualifying and the need for consistency and has those two points pressed into his mind heading to Portugal next week.
“After first experiencing the Rotax Grand Finals last year I know how helpful qualifying is.”
“In a 72-kart field with many other talented drivers, I need to be at the front of that pack so that I can stay consistent in the heat races. Anything can happen at this race so I know that I must keep positive and put my head down while I’m on track and constantly keep moving forward.”
Competing against 71 of the best Rotax Seniors, MacDermid will have his hands full in Portugal and they will utilize the same Sodikart chassis to equalize the opportunity.
The Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals runs from November 6 to 11 in Portimao, Portugal. Team Canada has fourteen drivers who have qualified to compete and looks to defend their Nations Cup title from 2016 as well as seek the podium in all six categories. CKN will be trackside for the sixth straight year at the RGF and will have all the action, updates, photos and information about Team Canada and the event!