For the second year in a row we present the CKN Year in Review Awards. We here at Canadian Karting News decided to create our own set of awards, all pertaining to categories we feel worthy and throughout the final weeks of 2014, we will highlight an award for categories such as Junior and Senior driver’s of the year in both the Rotax Max and Briggs & Stratton divisions, helmet design of the year, Canadian event of the year among many others.
While these are all the opinion of CKN, you can let us know who you think deserved each award. Using the comments below each article, let us know who you feel was worthy of the award and a short blurb why you believe so.
**2014 Rotax Senior Driver of the Year**
2013 Winner: Pier-Luc Ouellette
– Bryce Choquer
– Zachary Claman DeMelo
– Jeffrey Kingsley
– Coltin McCaughan
– Christophe Paquet
– Fred Woodley
Winner: Zachary Claman DeMelo
There is no question that Montreal, Quebec’s Zachary Claman DeMelo deserves our award for Senior Rotax Driver of the Year in 2014. Comparing both the Senior Max and DD2 classes, DeMelo stood out like a shining star with stellar performances around the world from January to November.
In January through March, DeMelo earned a Florida Winter Tour title in the TaG Senior class along with a coveted FWT Rotax Senior race win on a chassis that wasn’t made by OTK, which fielded more than majority of the class.
Returning back to Canada in May, DeMelo earned six straight podiums, five of them wins, in the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship. At the ASN Canadian National Championships in Mont-Tremblant, DeMelo was once again on top and he never looked back in the National Final to successfully defend his crown as Canadian Champion in Rotax Senior.
Before capping off his fifth ECKC Championship in as many years, DeMelo stood on the podium in Spain, while competing in Rotax Euro Challenge, the most competitive Rotax program in the world. He almost earned the podium earlier in the year in Italy as well, but a late race penalty snagged the trophy away. An overall top-ten result in the Rotax Euro Max Championship may not have as high as he had intended, but it was impressive given the competition and him not being on an OTK chassis.
Back in the USA, DeMelo was the class of the field at the Rotax Pan American Challenge, qualifying on the pole and winning two heat races, only to have his throttle cable snap while leading the PreFinal. This forced him to start the Final from the tail of the grid, driving all the way to fourth.
Closing out the season and his competitive karting career, DeMelo drove to a third place finish at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Valencia, Spain, earning Team Canada their first ever podium result in the Senior Max class.
While DeMelo is set to compete in the Florida Winter Tour with SH Racing, his efforts are focusing on a professional car racing career which will see him move to Europe in 2015 and unfortunately away from the Canadian karting scene.