The Motomaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship hit the track over the Mother’s Day weekend to launch their 2023 season with the first of four weekends of competition at the Mosport Karting Centre. Perfect sunny skies, fresh green grass and more than 140 competitors took to the track over eight different divisions.
A perfect split down the middle saw 72 drivers enter the Briggs & Stratton portion of the weekend with a slightly different look to the class lineup. The series is back to the core four divisions featuring Cadet, Junior, Senior and Masters and a pair of defending champions kicked off the weekend right back on top on Saturday. It was a similar story on Sunday too as the drivers in all four categories set the tone for the championship races and determine who would leave Mosport as the driver on top.
Briggs Senior – Two great races earn winners the Pfaff High Performer awards
A great start to the weekend saw Steven Navratil (Awesome Kart) control the Briggs Senior division on Saturday, setting the fastest time in Qualifying and winning the PreFinal but that changed in the Final when the BirelART train took control. Led initially by the defending champion Jordan Prior (BirelART) as well as David Barnes (BirelART), Brennan Taylor (BirelART) was also in the mix. The trio settled in until chaos occurred with only three laps remaining. A brake failure for Taylor resulted in his kart smashing into the rear of Barnes and sending both karts wide in corner three. This disrupted the lead pack and left Prior well out in front, Taylor on the sidelines and Barnes at the tail of the field by the time he was able to resume the race.
Prior managed to keep a small gap to the finish and take the victory with Jaden Harry (CL Kart) having a great run to finish second over Navratil, Logan Ploder (CL Kart) and Ayden Ingratta (Exprit Kart), who had slipped back to tenth in the early running and recovered nicely.
Sunday’s action saw Barnes score the pole position in Qualifying and a small brawl for the lead in the PreFinal. With two laps to go, the top positions were shuffling and a drag race out of corner five saw Ingratta and Prior go wheel-to-wheel up the hill to corner six. Contact from behind sent Ingratta up and over Prior, ending both of their races on the spot. Barnes snuck through to grab the lead and the win over Harry and Taylor.
On the grid for the Final there was a little excitement as Barnes’ kart wasn’t quite ready when the signal to leave the grid went off. While he managed to get on track with the group in time, he was unable to get back to his starting position before the commitment line and this left him with a ten-second penalty before the race even started.
Featuring five different race leaders and a great scrap for the top spot all race long, Anthony Boscia (BirelART) was able to erupt on the final lap with the lead and lock down his first major victory in a few years. Barnes would cross in second place but fell outside the top ten with his penalty while Navratil stood on the podium for the second straight day, this time in second place. Third went to Logan Pacza (BirelART), who quietly loomed in the lead pack all weekend long and was rewarded for his efforts at the end.
It went from bad to worse in the Final for the defending champ. Working his way through the field and knocking on the door of the top ten, Prior was once again sidelined after contact with Noah Van Straten (CL Kart) resulted in both drivers going hard into the barriers in corner seven.
For their efforts on each day, Prior and Boscia were both awarded the Pfaff Senior High Performer of the Day awards.
Briggs Junior – A perfect weekend for Day
Sebastian Day, the 2022 Canadian Karting Briggs Junior Champion set the tone that he will be the driver to chase this season as he controlled the category all weekend long and locked down both victories at Mosport.
Saturday’s main event was pretty uneventful as Day (CL Kart) broke free from the pack with support from Muskaan Sattaur (CL Kart), who was able to overtake Ari Theodoropoulos (BirelART) on the opening lap and lock onto the rear bumper of the race leader.
It all came down to the final lap and Day was able to keep Sattaur behind with a clean run to the finish line to celebrate the victory. In the race for third, James Tufford (BirelART) was able to overtake his Prime teammate Theodoropoulos to put himself on the podium in his first Junior race while Liam Plate (BirelART) rounded out the top five.
On Sunday, Sattaur put her best effort forward and started the day off with the pole position and followed it up with a win in the PreFinal too.
Leading the opening laps of the Final, Sattaur was in a battle with Ethan Chan (Intrepid Kart) and Day for the lead.
With five laps to go, Day made his move for the lead a little early and it paid off as the red flag flew two laps later when Chan and Tufford came together in the final chicane while racing for third and Chan crashed hard into the barriers. He would be okay but the race ended early and that awarded the win to Day while Sattaur had to settle for second place for the second day in a row. With the results going back to the last completed lap, Chan and Tufford were reinstated for third and fourth while Noah Modestino (BirelART) finished in fifth.
Briggs Masters – Macintyre Prevails in both Finals
A small group of only eight drivers in Briggs Masters still managed to put on a showcase at MRFKC1 as excitement occurred in both Finals on the weekend.
Greg Scollard (TonyKart) controlled the category in Qualifying on both days and won both PreFinals too, but when it came down to the final laps of the main events it was Ian MacIntyre (CL Kart) who drove himself to the front and kicked off his defence of the Briggs Masters MRFKC title with a pair of impressive victories.
Rich Folino (BirelART) and Scollard joined MacIntyre on the Saturday podium while Steven MacVoy (Ricciardo Kart) and Scollard were on the Sunday podium.
What makes the victory on Sunday a little more impressive for MacIntyre was the fact that he was driving with an injury. Pulling double-duty and racing in the VLR Senior division Saturday, a crash in the Final left MacIntyre with a very bruised knee and barely able to walk. This didn’t stop him from carefully getting back into his Briggs kart Sunday and battling through the pain to drove to the win.
Briggs Cadet – The kids put on the best races of the weekend
Saving the best for last each day, the Briggs Cadet division wrapped up each day’s action with two action-packed and exciting races.
The crowd was on their feet for Saturday’s main event where four different drivers took their turns in the lead with six official lead changes during the fourteen-lap Final.
Ryker Magro (BirelART) and Leo Da Silva (LN Kart) were the first to trade the top spot in the opening laps until Ava Cabral (BirelART) took the lead on lap five. Her turn on top only lasted a lap as she tangled with Da Silva and the pair fell down the running order. Taking the lead on lap six was Blake Fregeau (Exprit Kart) and he held it until the final lap.
Under pressure from Stefano Lanzilotta (CL Kart) the pair traded the lead but it slowed both up enough that Magro slipped by both of them on the final tour and he rounded the final corner with the lead. Drag racing to the finish line, Magro just barely got their first and was only 0.022 seconds ahead of Fregeau with Lanzilotta just behind as well as Christian Damianidis (LN Kart). Fifth went to Asher Pavan (Parolin) who led the second pack across the finish line.
The excitement continued on Sunday with another thriller.
The Final started with Pavan and Magro swapping the lead on each of the opening four laps. On lap five, Domenico Crupi (LN Kart) put himself in the lead with a slick move and he remained on top for a few laps until Pavan came charging back. The pair swapped the lead back and forth for two more laps until it all erupted on lap ten.
The lead pack ran three wide and three rows deep up the hill into corner six with every driver hoping for their chance to grab the lead until the inevitable happened. Contact between the lead pair of Crupi and Pavan sent all the drivers scattering for clear track ended the race early for Pavan, knocked Crupi down the order and completely shuffled the lead pack.
Lanzilotta exited the ‘bowl’ with the lead and Kegan Irwin (CL Kart) and Da Silva hot on his heels.
Da Silva slipped by Irwin on the next lap and then put his focus on the new race leader with two laps to go. Not waiting until the final lap, Da Silva dove up the inside of corner nine and took control of the race with the last lap board in sight.
Lanzilotta and Irwin pressured throughout the final lap but were unable to make a pass and the 2022 Briggs Cadet Canadian Champion exited the final corner with a clear path to the checkered flag, excitedly celebrating with a huge first pump.
A pushback bumper penalty for Lanzilotta relegated him back to sixth in the final results and bumped Irwin up to the second step of the podium with Melville Dos Santos (Exprit) also moving up to third. Carlo Lot (BirelART) and Cabral also moved forward in the results to rounded out the top five.
The MRFKC will return to the Mosport Karting Centre for round two of the series on June 3-4. Registration will open soon on the series website, http://ronfellowskarting.com.