Canadians fared very well in the first half of the 2024 Rotax Winter Trophy as they chased the first round of tickets to the famed Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals.
Taking to the Orlando Kart Center circuit, the Rotax Winter Trophy is being held over back-to-back weekends to create a mini-championship format to determine their class champions. Nearly doubling in size from the Winter Trophy last year, the event didn’t quite go off without a hitch from an organizational standpoint, but come Sunday afternoon, everyone was chasing the checkered flag.
There were 52 Canadian entries covering every category on track in the opening weekend and our drivers were in the mix every time they took to the track. In addition, Canadian teams filled up the paddock at OKC, housed international entries and scored race wins as well.
A massive drive from Alexis Baillargeon (PSL/BirelART) in Mini Max led him to victory on Sunday afternoon as he pursues his third straight RMCGF invite. He kept close with Julian Rivera all race long and made his move for the lead with only a couple of laps left, setting off a flurry of activity amongst the leaders. Just missing the podium but still scoring top-five finishes were Jeremy St-Cyr (PSL/BirelART) and Leo Da Silva (REM/Kosmic).
When it comes to the Rotax DD2 categories, Canadians are always the ones to watch. Matthew Taskinen (CRG) made the drive from Alberta worth it as he started the weekend with the pole position. However, when it came to the race, Olivier Bedard (Premier Karting/OTK) cruised in third place until the leaders came together at midway and he swooped in to take the lead and then drove off with the victory. Taskinen joined him on the podium in P3.
Also in the DD2 race was a pair of Canadian DD2 Masters. Micheal McLean (SH/SodiKart) fought off his teammate Bruno Bouchard (SH/SodiKart) to cross the finish line with the win.
Canadians also found the podium in Junior Max, Senior Max and Masters Max. Nathan Dupuis rolled to a runner-up finish in Junior as he continues to seek out a major international victory. Zachary Claman Demelo converted a last-minute entry into a P3 result in Senior Max which featured 55 entries. Lastly, David Laplante was P3 in Masters Max.
After a few days to rest and relax, drivers will return to OKC for rounds two and three this weekend to see who will score those elusive Rotax Grand Finals tickets to compete in Italy.
Attention Drivers: Did you download your photos from the weekend yet? Check out all the best shots from the weekend here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ez6G4rAJcZC7ghTQW8djMeKrpWV4j1Oe