The fourth Eastern Canadian Karting Championship season continues to draw near and as it does, the 2013 Awards package continues to develop as well. Most known in Canadian karting for its Grand Final tickets, organizers have been working to secure other awards and opportunities in addition, and the final offerings are sure to reward a number of drivers in the year ahead.
Key among the initial awards are tickets to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in November. Hosted by NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana, just across the Mississippi River from New Orleans, the ECKC will send ten drivers to race the 13th annual event and many more will likely attend as the event hits North America for the first time, and rightfully so. To gauge just how outstanding the Grand Final will be, eckc.ca tracked down transplanted Canadian and longtime tuner Mike Maurini of Race Tech Development and KoeneUSA.com at the final Florida Winter Tour round in Ocala.
“The Grand Finals will be huge for the North American karting market,” the veteran of five Grand Finals said. “Not only will it provide world class racing in the USA, it will allow some of the karters that don’t get a chance to participate overseas, to see what this kind of event is like. The racing is close and a small mistake can be the difference between first and tenth. This is where the North American drivers need to improve and just watching an event like this can make them a better driver. Drivers and tuners that are in attendance are some of the best in the world and ones that you read about from some of the biggest races in Europe. The chassis manufacturers’ setups are second to none and they provide a professional and positive atmosphere for all the drivers from around the world. Also, if the karts used during the event become available for purchase afterwards, karters and potential new karters can pick up a pretty good deal before heading home!”
Attending Grand Finals in North America is obviously an incredible opportunity for all involved in karting as Maurini noted, but given the chance, every karter would choose to be on the grid. Ten will have that wish granted through ECKC Awards, and multiple classes are looking to be wide open to competition. Retirement, class change and the transition to cars have moved many customary contenders from the fields, and classes that have had the podium all but locked out to newcomers in the past should be welcoming new teams and faces this season. Rotax DD2 is one of those, and as an Open class in 2013, things may be getting set to change.
“Getting a podium in DD2 has been extremely hard to do in the past, and each year it got harder and harder to do because there was just so much raw talent in the class,” said Darren White, Team Manager of the ECKC’s newest outfit, Summit GP, and veteran of three Grand Finals with Team Canada in DD2. “For a few years, at any given event, anyone in the top ten could win the race, but more recently there was just never a real shot at a win in a number of series. But this summer is looking to be different with drivers moving to cars and such, and I just hope the DD2 drivers view it as an opportunity to challenge themselves and create full grids starting at Mosport.”
White knows of what he speaks, and past ECKC numbers show it as well. In the first season of ECKC action, six DD2 races produced four different winners, and in the second season five different winners came from six starts. Last year just three drivers commanded fifteen of the eighteen available podium spots, despite healthy fields at all six rounds. Yet the scenery appears to be changing. Formula cars have lured a number of drivers, others have moved on to team management or other sporting ventures and both Ben Cooper and Marco Di Leo have already qualified for Grand Finals. DD2 may truly be, ‘Open.’
The nine remaining Grand Final tickets are fully reserved for Team Canada, and will be awarded to the top Canadian finishers in Rotax Senior, Rotax Junior and Rotax DD2 Masters; along with the top three Canadians in both Rotax Mini-Max and Rotax Micro-Max, regardless of their position in the final point standings should drivers from other countries choose to attend.
Additional awards also await top finishers in 2013. First up, is for those who earn pole position, as UGG Canada will reward the fastest in each field with a $100 gift card. Those who turn a magical lap will be able to reward themselves by putting UGG’s ‘magical material’ on their feet: sheepskin. They may not yet have approved driving boots, but outside of that the options are nearly endless. See for yourself at www.uggaustralia.ca
Position 1 Motorsports Fitness returns as a series’ supporter as well, and will create custom training programs for class champions in DD2, DD2 Masters, Rotax Junior and Rotax Senior prior to the Grand Finals. Industry leaders in motorsport specific fitness, nutrition and supplementation, P1 has worked with a number of drivers and athletes, including consecutive Rotax DD2 World Champions Daniel Morad, Pier-Luc Ouellette and Ben Cooper! P1 has athletes training around the globe thanks to its P1 Mobile Online Trainer and has its home base in Burlington, Ontario – a 30,000 square foot multipurpose facility designed to build champions. Visit today at www.p1-fitness.com
ALDO Shoes is also supporting the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship with a $5000 award package that will be split between drivers and their tuners, and run from first to fifth in the final championship standings. Each class champion driver will earn a $150 gift certificate and their tuner will be rewarded with a $75 gift certificate. The runner-up driver/tuner pairs will receive $75/$50 respectively, and from their the awards decline at $25 intervals. Check the possibilities at www.aldoshoes.com
Longtime karting supporter The Decal Zone is also adding to the 2013 Awards package with $250 gift certificates for each class champion. Your #1 source for decals, The Decal Zone creates items as small as visor strips and name bars to full kits for your kart or trailer. One would be hard pressed to attend a karting event and not find examples of their work. To see galleries and examples, visit www.godecalzone.com
Additional awards and prizes will be added as the season approaches and begins. For the latest information, please visit www.eckc.ca regularly.
2013 EASTERN CANADIAN KARTING CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 1 – Mosport International Karting, Bowmanville, Ontario
Friday, May 31, Practice
Saturday, June 1, Race One
Sunday, June 2, Race Two
Round 2 – Goodwood Kartways, Stouffville, Ontario
Friday, June 28, Practice
Saturday, June 29, Race Three
Sunday, June 30, Race Four
Round 3 – Le Monaco de Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
Friday, August 2, Practice
Saturday, August 3, Coupe du Quebec*
Sunday, August 4, Race Five
Round 4 – Jim Russell Academie de Karting, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
Friday, September 13, Practice
Saturday, September 14, Coupe du Quebec*
Sunday, September 15, Race Six
2013 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, New Orleans, USA
November 13-16, NOLA Motorsports Park