First off I would like to give a huge thanks to CanadiankartingNews.com for letting me come out and report on location with them at the Western Canadian Championships in Warburg, Alberta. It was such an opportunity, and I was honoured to represent them! Throughout the weekend I was extremely busy getting back in touch with all of the Western Canadian karting community. It was amazing to see everyone again; I consider them all my family. This was where I got my start, they are the roots to my career. Everyone welcomed me back to Canada with such open arms, and I thank them for that! Nothing like Western Canadian karting, the friendliest events of racing in world! It was also really cool to introduce Western Canada to Canadian Karting News, most of Western Canada never quite knew exactly what Canadian Karting News is all about but after this weekend I think we accomplished that!
The Event in my eyes:
The Western Canadian Championship was very professional as always. Everyone involved in the preparation of the track and the race organization was very top notch. The track club EDKRA did a fantastic job in my opinion preparing their track and facility for the big event. Obviously it was huge for the club to get the Western Canadian Championships on their calendar, and I was very happy for the club as I personally know how hard they work to keep the club going. Everyone apart of the club, organizers and drivers in my opinion deserved the Western Canadian Championships. I think the new format of the race weekend with the heat races was really cool, and it gives the driver more responsibilities like conserving tires in the heat races. As for the racing aspect of the event I was impressed from almost every category at the event! For me the event did very well with its deep competition. The one thing that I didn’t like about the event though was that it was just composed as one round. I think it would be better if it were the three events to give Western Canadian drivers some more seat time in a year, but as the event was I thought it was a definite success!
The Notables of the Event:
There was plenty of talent showed off at the Western Canadian Karting Championships that I feel needs to be recognized. The racing was honestly great, from classes as big as Senior Rotax with a daring last lap last sector pass from Skylar Dunning to take the win, or classes like Junior 1 Briggs and Stratton where I witnessed pure young talent at its best in a lap after lap battle between Tyler Kozma and James Altamirano. Skylar Dunning definitely gets huge respect from me on what he pulled off at the Western Canadian Championships! What people don’t realize is he was the only one at the front without an OTK Product, which at the moment is very dominant with Rotax and the Mojo tire package. Dunning drove a stellar weekend on his LH Kart before he won the Final in my opinion; just being at the front with a disadvantage is an accomplishment! But then he pulls off a jaw-dropping pass in a corner where it’s near impossible to lay a pass down on the last lap for the lead! Wow!! Adam Dowler also drove a solid Final event coming from eleventh up to third.
Then there’s the flip side, some talent that isn’t obvious to the naked eye. Tyler Kozma and James Altamirano left me amazed, that’s the least to say. In the Final I witnessed these two young drivers in Junior 1 Briggs and Stratton go at it almost every lap, passing each other continuously back and fourth. I am telling you I have watched a lot of young drivers, and I was upmost impressed at how much race craft these drivers had and at such a young age!
It’s honestly great to see where Western Canada sits for talent. I really like where we are headed in that aspect. I think a prime example is in Junior Rotax where Jeffrey Kingsley was the obvious favourite to win the Championship. Kingsley was extremely fast all weekend, to the point where most people thought he was untouchable in the Final. But underestimated Coltin McCaughan put everything together for the Final and had what I consider the best drive of his karting career. Absolutely no mistakes, not one mistake during the whole race from start to finish! I think that blew everybody away. My hats off to Coltin McCaughan for representing Western Canada extremely well on and off track!
Another example of young talent would be in Rotax Mini-Max where Griffin Dowler was very impressive for his age. This is his rookie year in Rotax Mini-Max and yet his pace is right where it needs to be to be at the front. I thought though that my big notable for Mini Max would be Stephan Bachalo, where I witnessed him race after race come from the back to front. I kid you not, this young driver had the worst luck I have ever seen. Other drivers would always interfere with his race. Every start, other drivers would essentially take him out. For most drivers once you get taken out at the start of the race, its game over. But Stephan had determination, something you don’t see in a lot of drivers. Every race he got taken out in, he would drive his way back through the sixteen-kart field! His race craft was honestly so far ahead of his age level, putting passing combos on other drivers and slicing his way through the field! Very impressive!
In the Rotax Micro-Max class there is a driver that I have been watching for a very long time. Marco Kacic in my opinion for his experience level is a hot shoe! He has the raw speed, something that can’t be forced into a driver or learned. It is a talent you are born with. This boy on and off track is a professional at a young age, and I will enjoy watching him learn and grow as a driver.
Now along with these talents, there was also a lot of Eastern Canadian talent that attended the one off Western Canadian Championship. Thierry Cote and Thomas Nepveu pretty much owned their respective classes, two French Canadian drivers who looked very strong all throughout the weekend in Rotax Mini Max and Micro Max. Jeffrey Kingsley in Rotax Junior was undefeated in dry conditions until the Final. Gianfranco Mazzaferro was also pretty quick. Zacharie Scalzo pretty much had the field of Rotax Seniors covered in any timed session, and had some astonishing pace but bad luck in the races. Tommy Lemaire-Ouellet was quick and in the mix all weekend. I think it’s great to give the Western Canadian Championship the diversity of the Eastern drivers coming and competing. It benefits all drivers by raising the difficulty of competition. All in all I was very impressed with the competition at the Western Canadian Championship, and with Canadian drivers.
Now back to business, but stay tuned I may be back at a track in Canada before you know it.