Canada’s premier talent from around the country came together in the 2016 ASN Open Canadian Karting Championships in MontTremblant, Quebec this past weekend. Competition was at a high level in Rotax, Briggs, and Shifter categories, and as we’ve ordinarily seen in 2016, BirelART and Ricciardo Kart had an impressive list of drivers present who captured National Championships in 8 of the 12 categories.
Amongst all the competition, the team to beat was the Trois-Rivières outfit of PSL Karting, who put together a string of results to capture the Team Cup title in both Briggs and Rotax.
Andres De Alba started the momentum for PSL and BirelART in Rotax Junior as they were first category to see the green flag on Sunday. De Alba had come off of two heat race wins the day prior and led his competition in the opening laps from the pole position. With heavy pressure throughout, De Alba kept his cool and was able to hold off two of Canada’s best for the win by .023. With the result, De Alba earned his ticket of entry to the Rotax MAX Grand Finals to join Team Canada.
Gianfranco Mazzaferro and Jeff Kingsley led the PSL squad in Rotax Senior and both put their BirelART machines on the podium. In the lengthy final, Mazzaferro clearly had the fastest pace on the circuit late in the race, but was unable to successfully overtake for the lead on the final lap. Mazzaferro slipped off track briefly in his move for first, letting Kingsley slide by into second as he fell to third at the checkered.
In DD2 and DD2 Masters it was an impressive sweep by BirelART machinery, first by Alessandro Bizzotto in DD2 and Scott Campbell in DD2 Masters aboard his Ricciardo Kart. Bizzotto had struggled coming into Sunday and that put him 8th on the starting grid. With nothing to lose, Bizzotto put his head down and began picking off his fellow competitors until it came down to him and Natael Cantin, his fellow PSL mate. On the final lap, a driving error by Cantin put Bizzotto in the perfect place to overtake and take the win and Grand Finals ticket. David Greco would make it a clean sweep for PSL in DD2, finishing third in his first DD2 race. Meanwhile in DD2 Masters, Campbell had put it on cruise control to take yet another Canadian National Championship, sweeping the weekend and joining Team Canada for the twelfth time. With Christian Gysi finishing third, that made it five BirelARTmade machines on the podium in both of the twospeed Rotax categories.
The youngest of the Rotax categories, Micro and Mini MAX , saw Georgie Zouein of Ben Cooper Racing and Jak Crawford of PSL lead the way for the brand. Zouein was able to make it look simple in Micro, qualifying on pole and sweeping the heats on his way to an 8.9 second victory. Crawford, an American standout in the cadet ranks, joined the PSL operation for the Canadian Nationals with Canadian upandcomer Thomas Nepveu at his side. The two swept the front row after qualifying with Nepveu at the top, but swapped positions after heat racing completed. On the opening lap of the final, however, the two would make contact, sending Nepveu down the order. Crawford carried on, though, and comfortably cruised to the win, only
to be penalized for the contact that would drop him to second. Nepveu climbed all the way back to third after the incident, only to be given a postrace penalty as well that dropped him to fourth.
In the combined categories of Open Shifter and Open Shifter Masters , BirelART added four more podiums. Dany St. Hilaire and Michel Legrand were the top two finishers in Open Masters, meanwhile Dominic Legrand son of Michel matched his father’s finishing place and Samuel Guerin would climb two spots to finish off the podium in third in Open Shifter.
Myah Knickle, aboard the white Ricciardo Kart for PSL Moncton, cleaned up in B riggs Novice for the category’s debut at the Nationals. In Briggs Junior, Zachary Vanier saved his best for last when he picked up the win in a lively final that had seen multiple leaders until Vanier took the spot for good on the final lap.
Samuel Lupien, one of the country’s brightest stars, had his hands full in the 29kart Briggs Senior category. The Ben Cooper Racing driver made it through the heats as the driver to beat and was able to keep it rolling through the final. Despite numerous attempts for competitors to take the spot, Lupien fended off all attacks to win by .142.
On the Ricciardo Kart, Marc Stehle was outpacing everyone in B riggs Masters . After grabbing the pole position and two heat race wins, Stehle was set up perfectly for Sunday. While Stehle led throughout the final, with only one other competitor within striking distance, the agonizing feeling of a blown chain with two laps to go became the reality. Stehle pulled to the side and was forced to swallow the bitter pill of a DNF.