By: Jason Holland/ECKC.ca
The 2013 Eastern Canadian Karting Championship has now cleared Ontario for the season and after back-to-back doubleheader events at Mosport International Karting and Goodwood Kartways, the schedule is two-thirds gone. While some classes had point leaders extend their margins at event two, others are now closer at the top or have a new leader altogether. The tallies are first and foremost on the minds of those taking aim at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, and with two races left to run, the tension begins mount as teams prepare to head to Le Monaco de Trois-Rivieres in Quebec this August.
As previously noted, ECKC events award points in both Prefinals and Finals. The top ten finishers score points in Prefinals, while in Finals the points start at 200 for a winner and recede at varying intervals down to the final finisher. Also of note, and very much on the mind of those setting their sights on the Grand Finals, is a ‘drop’ or ‘joker’ – a race day that is removed from a driver’s point total for the season. A number of drivers have had a day they would like to forget through four races, while others gain an even bigger advantage when discounting their worst day to date. Following are points to note in summarizing how the drivers now stand:
– A driver cannot drop the ECKC final event in Mont-Tremblant unless they compete there.
– Ben Cooper (Birel) and Marco Di Leo (Praga) have already qualified for the Grand Finals in DD2.
– The ECKC will award ten tickets to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in New Orleans: one in each of Junior, Senior, DD2 and DD2 Masters, and three in each of Rotax Micro-Max and Mini-Max.
In a scheduling twist this season, the Canadian National Karting Championships will take place prior to the completion of the ECKC season as well. This means at the ECKC finale, three Micro-Max and three Mini-Max drivers will have already qualified for the Grand Finals, along with drivers in Rotax Junior, Senior, DD2 and DD2 Masters. Each of these awards takes precedence, meaning the ECKC pictures are far from clear at the two-thirds point, and many more drivers are in contention than what may have otherwise been the case: a scrappy finish of P6 in final Micro-Max points could send a driver to New Orleans; a driver earning P4 in DD2 could also be headed to Grand Finals; second-place in Junior could get the job done, and right now two are just a single point apart! This, though, is what is known for sure:
After a first and second-place finish at Goodwood, Ben Cooper (Birel) continues to lead the DD2 point tally and Marco Di Leo (Praga) continues to be second, meaning the current ticket holder in class is Brendon Bain. The Maranello North America driver leads his teammate Fred Woodley by 26 points overall, though the margin extends to 45 points when a drop is factored. It’s a much different scenario in DD2 Masters, where teammate of both, Stuart Clark, continues to roll. He’s taken all four Finals to date, and his 985 points are well clear of any other tally. Francis Mondou (OK1) owns the second position with a 60 point cushion on Martin Verville (Haase) and 65 on Luc Sauriol (CRG). If Clark were to win Nationals, those three are then fighting for a trip to the Grand Finals in ECKC competition.
Rotax Senior has a new man at the top after Zachary Claman DeMelo (Praga) swept the Goodwood Finals. The first-year senior also moved into second on the ECKC all-time wins list with nine, and is now setting sights on a fourth-consecutive ECKC title. Claman DeMelo was the Mini-Max champion in the first year of the series, and followed with back-to-back titles in Rotax Junior before moving into the senior category this year. Even scoring a P23 finish in race two, Claman DeMelo is 55 points up on Olivier Bedard (Birel) overall, and when a drop is factored in he is 75 points up on tied drivers Kevin Monteith (Birel) and Steven Szigeti (Zanardi), and 76 up on Bedard. Maxime Couturier (Zanardi) and Zacharie Scalzo (TonyKart) are also in the picture and race five will surely clarify the class.
In Rotax Junior, consistency has given the point lead to Nicolas Dore. The Birel driver has put all four finals in the single digits, and has been awarded 763 points in the process. He leads the class by 88 points before a drop, but just 26 after, as each of the top four drivers in class has produced two podium results and benefit greatly when tossing a poor day. Second-place man Jeffrey Kingsley (TonyKart) actually has two wins, but has found himself getting all or nothing. He’s just one point up on Gianfranco Mazzaferro (TonyKart), and Anthony Tolfa (TonyKart) is also toward the top of the Junior picture.
Once again, four drivers from the above mentioned classes will earn tickets to the Grand Finals, while six drivers will qualify from the following classes: three each from Rotax Micro-Max and Mini-Max, and after three drivers from the National Championships have been discounted. In Micro-Max at the moment, reigning champion Matthew Latifi (TonyKart) is in control of the class having won three of four Finals, while Xavier Harris (Praga) and Alexandre Legare (Zanardi) are also in position to earn Grand Final tickets. Should those three earn berths through Nationals, sitting ready in positions four through six are Thomas Nepveu (Zanardi), William Chayer (Birel) and Patrick Woods Toth (CRG).
It’s a similar situation in Mini-Max where Antonio Serravalle (TonyKart) has won two finals and finished second twice as well. He has a commanding lead in the class but three drivers earn Grand Final spots. Samuel Lupien (Birel) is currently second in points with JP Hutchinson (TonyKart) third. Hutchinson sits just five points up on Thomas Simard (TonyKart) with Thierry Cote (CRG) and Joe Soranno also inside the top six – but all could be headed to the Grand Finals this November!
The Briggs & Stratton classes also continue to impress at ECKC events this season and after forty-three were in the paddock at Mosport the number grew to forty-seven at Goodwood and could easily have been well over fifty. In Briggs Senior alone, thirty-seven different drivers have scored points this season while nineteen have done the same in Junior and eleven in Masters. Based on a pair of Final wins, Jon Treadwell (K&K) continues to control the Senior championship, followed by teammate Marc Stehle (K&K) and Zach Boam (GP). After three consecutive podium results to begin the schedule, Jamie MacArthur (Birel) finally topped the blocks at race four, and he leads the Master class ahead of race three winner Tyson Stevens (Wild Kart) and race one winner Russell Kroon (CRG).
In Briggs & Stratton Junior, Jordan Latimer (K&K) leads the championship chase with 803 points. Top-three in every Prefinal, Latimer also won the Final at race two. Braxton Terry (Birel) is second in points having put two Finals on the podium and finished every run inside the top ten. Race one winner Christopher Proietto (Praga) sits third, Andre Fiorini (K&K) fourth and Tyler McCullough (Gold) fifth.
The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship resumes August 4 at the GP3R circuit in Trois-Rivieres where race five will be contested on Sunday. To check full point standings, update driver information and register to compete, please visit eckc.ca