Having to battle through two days of competition at Goodwood Kartways, the racers in the four Vortex categories had a little bit of everything thrown their way throughout the weekend. Cold and wet conditions on Saturday where they Qualified and completed their first two heat races followed by sunshine and warmth on Sunday for their Prefinal and Final races to determine the round one victors.
New for 2023 at KartStars, all of the two-cycle classes are using air-cooled Vortex engines, the VLR package for Junior, Senior and Masters while the Cadets utilize the Mini Rok. It wasn’t a huge contingent of racers, but it was still a great weekend of competition that should hopefully grow throughout the season.
VLR Senior – Milwain comes through in the Final
For the most part, Ethan Pollack (Goodwood/Exprit) controlled the VLR Senior division throughout the weekend. Pole position in Qualifying, followed by a few heat race wins. He did score the PreFinal win too, but a penalty for contact put him on the outside of the front row for the Final.
Starting alongside him was Mackenzie Milwain (REM/Kosmic) and the dry conditions helped him become comfier with the VLR race package that was new to him this week.
Milwain grabbed the lead early but Pollack wasted no time getting back to the top on lap two. The pair traded the lead again on lap three and it was obvious we had a shootout setting up on track.
Milwain regained the lead on lap three and held on until the halfway mark when Pollack was putting his best laps down and took his shot at the lead.
A small gap opened up over the next two laps but Milwain reset and worked to close back in. Seeing an opportunity with two laps to go, Milwain went back to the lead. Pollack tried the over-under but was unsuccessful and lost some momentum.
Hitting his marks on the final lap, Milwain didn’t turn a wheel wrong and he scored his first victory in a while.
Third place went to Aidan Shimbashi (VRS/CL Kart) who endured an uneventful race until the very end when Michael Schwab (CANCAM/Exprit) closed in on him. But it was too little, too late and Shimbashi was able to hold on to the final step on the podium.
VLR Junior – Deonarine delivers on Sunday
When the weather heated up, so did Mayer Deonarine (VSR/TonyKart) as Sunday was his day on track. Struggling a little bit in the wet weather conditions, Deonarine came to life in the dry and delivered when it mattered most.
He scored the win in the morning PreFinal to put himself in the pole position for the main event and he didn’t turn a wheel wrong in the 14-lap sprint.
Behind him, fast qualifier Jordan Di Leo (Goodwood/Intrepid) had his hands full of David Zhao (Goodwood/Intrepid) in the early going but even when he was able to move clear of Zhao, Di Leo didn’t have enough to stay with the race leader.
Deonarine pulled out to 3-second victory with Di Leo breaking free the rest to easily take second place.
In a great late-race battle, Antoine Lemieux (REM/Kosmic) was about to race his way by Zhao to put himself on the podium in his VLR debut. Quinn Tyers (Goodwood/Intrepid) completed the top five.
VLR Masters – Pavan puts it all together in the Final
Eleven Veterans lined up on the grid for the VLR Masters Final and it really was anyone’s race to take home. Paul Rhodes (Exprit) started from the pole position with Mark Pavan (LN Kart) alongside him. The fastest driver in Qualifying, Ivan Hincu (Intrepid) was fourth on the grid while Joe Crupi (TonyKart) was back in ninth after losing a chain while leading in the PreFinal.
Rhodes got the best start and led the field throughout the opening laps as a lead foursome formed with Pavan, Andrew Valenzano (Intrepid) and John Cariati (Intrepid) keeping close. Crupi was quickly up to fifth and chased down the lead pack before he started to have mechanical issues that kept slowing his kart down.
The door was left open by Rhodes on lap six and Pavan pounced on his opportunity to grab the lead and Valenzano also took advantage and moved into second. It went from bad to worse for Rhodes as Cariati also found his way by on lap six.
The gremlins for Crupi forced him to withdraw a lap later and now the focus was on Pavan and Valenzano.
Pavan punched out a solid string of laps in the closing stages to open a small gap and he rode that all the way to the checkered flag, winning by a 1-second margin. Cariati kept Valenzano honest in the late laps but no pass was made and the running order remained the same.
Rhodes fell off the pace in the second half and had to accept fourth while Dante Pelaccia (Intrepid) completed the top-five.
Mini Rok – Solid start to the season for Tyers
There’s a new crop of youngsters in the Mini Rok division this year and this weekend proved there are a number that are capable of taking home a big victory this season.
Jayden Francisco (Nitro Kart) was the fastest qualifier in the rain on Saturday and he didn’t back down in the dry either.
After everything settled from the heat races and PreFinal, Ethan Tyers (Intrepid) and Dominick Moskalenko (Intrepid) lined up on the front row for the main event. It took them a few attempts to get the race started but when the green finally flew, Moskalenko exited the first corner with the lead.
Tyers slotted in behind him and a train of six was formed as Asher Pavan (Parolin), Francisco, Leo Da Silva (Nitro Kart) and Cole Medieros (CL Kart).
Keeping the pressure on, Tyers took his opportunity to get the lead on lap five and the lead pair then worked together to break away from the pack.
Behind, the positions didn’t change until the final five laps when Medieros decided it was ‘go time’. Running in fifth, he picked off Francisco and then Pavan with similar passes to get into podium position.
That was it for the excitement though as Tyers kept Moskalenko at bay to claim the victory. Unfortunately for Moskalenko, he received a 3-second penalty for a lane violation on the start and that knocked him off the podium.
Medieros moved up to second for the day while Pavan scored his second podium trip of the day in third place with Francisco also moving ahead of Moskalenko in the final results.
The KartStars Canada series will be back on track during the Canada Day long weekend when the series takes a trip down the 401 to Point Pelee Karting in Leamington, Ontario on July 1-2.