The end of a calendar year gives us the chance to not only enjoy a short break after a very long season, but also look back and celebrate the year of spectacular kart racing. For those of us at CKN, we really do enjoy selecting these award winners each year but we do ask that you keep in mind that these are still just for fun and a way for us to give back, noting some significant achievements along the way.
Before we close out our final article of the year and announce the winners of our Driver of the Year categories, we want to take a moment and just debrief on our mission here at CKN. We are here for the sport and we love nothing but the sport of karting. Some take CKN a little more serious than others and that is okay, however with it being a full time business and the lifestyle we live, we are a little offended when people see our content for a little more than what it is. We get it. We can’t impress everyone, but we also do our best to be as honest and truthful as possible. And sometimes, the truth hurts and is quite hard for some people to swallow. But at the end of the day, it is still just a sport that we all love. So let’s try and keep it that way.
Without further adieu, here are our final four awards from 2015, Western Canadian, Atlantic Canadian, Junior and Senior driver’s of the year. Enjoy :)
Western Canadian Driver of the Year
Winner: Kellen Ritter
We had a hard time determining our Western Canadian driver of the Year given that we didn’t attend nearly as many events in the west than we had hoped. So we turned to some of our friends in the regions to give us some advice and upon review it was Kellen Ritter than stood out. The Junior driver from Vancouver, British Columbia competed in a lot of races in 2015, building up experience and continuing to grow as a driver under the guidance of BBR Karting. He competed in both Rotax Max and Briggs & Stratton LO206 races and was crowned the West Coast Kart Club Rotax Junior Champion. In international competition, Ritter was strong in the CAN-AM Karting Challenge events and also competed in US Open races along with a Rotax Euro Challenge event across the pond.
- Honourable Mentions:
- Allen Haggerty
- Mark Newson
- Marco Kacic
- Jason Leung
- Evan White
Atlantic Canadian Driver of the Year
**Special contribution by Nathan Kelly.
Winner: William Lowther
From 2014 into 2015 karting in Atlantic Canada saw a strong increase in membership and development of young drivers. Programs put together by Gerald Caseley is giving further access to karting families across the maritimes and developing the sport. Caseley’s race team did not skip a beat with a smooth transition to the Birel Art chassis. With minimal background information, Caseley was able to build competitive packages through driver development and boost the Birel Art Briggs and Stratton package.
With the introduction of the Birel Art chassis and multiple programs to get new competitors into the sport created by Caseley, this has created a larger pool of drivers in the maritimes and younger talent is emerging. This leads us to the announcement of the 2015 Atlantic Canadian driver of the year.
In only his second year of Karting, nine year old driver William Lowther has turned some heads in the Atlantic Canadian karting scene. With his father turning wrenches, the driver was able to secure the 2015 AMKA Championship as well as earn a respectable second place in the CKRA Championship. Lowther fell only three points short from clinching the CKRA Championship and has his eyes set on 2016. Off the track Lowther shows academic interested in the sport as the nine year-old notably finished top five in the PEI provincial grade 4 science fair. His project was focused around the Briggs & Stratton L206. This drive both on and off the track ensures that the young athlete is headed towards a very successful future and is definitely a name to keep in mind.
- Honourable Mentions:
- Kelsey Hann
- Isla Kants
- Brett Miller
- Isaac Teed
- Steven Oliver
Junior Driver of the Year
- Roman DeAngelis (Rotax Junior)
- Xavier Dorsnie (Briggs LO206 Junior)
- Samuel Lupien (Rotax Junior)
- Tyler McCullough (Briggs LO206 Junior)
- Joe Soranno (Rotax Junior)
- Braxton Terry (Briggs LO206 Junior)
Winner: Samuel Lupien
There was no better junior driver in 2015 than Samuel Lupien. In his second season of junior competition, the Montreal, Quebec driver was superb all season long, claiming the Canadian National title and the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship in Rotax Junior. Racing with SH Racing aboard an FA Kart, he was also a front-runner in the Florida Winter Tour, finishing inside the top-10 in points to start the year, had a podium in the US Open of Las Vegas, finishing second, and had it not been for a hiccup in qualifying, Lupien was destined for a strong result at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portugal to finish the year.
It was a superb season for Lupien who could very well have another year of Junior left in him with his team and chassis commitment for 2016 looming after the closing of SH Racing earlier this year.
Senior Driver of the Year
- Simon Belanger (Briggs LO206 Senior)
- Marco Dileo (Rotax Senior)
- Kyle Edgar (Briggs LO206 Senior)
- Tyler Kashak (Rotax DD2)
- Cedrik Lupien (Rotax Senior)
- Jonathon Treadwell (Briggs LO206 Senior)
Winner: Cedrik Lupien
While our Junior driver of the Year was quite obvious, Senior was much more difficult to determine. The pickings from Briggs LO206 to Rotax Max and DD2 were large and narrowing it down to just six was a challenge. But after looking back at the entire season from start to finish, Cedrik Lupien stood out from the rest. At home he was Eastern Canadian Karting Championship Champion, Lupien was in contention for a shot at the National title until a mechanical failure sent him hard into the tire barriers. Internationally, he scored a win at the Challenge of the America’s in a one-off start way back in January, finished in the top-10 at the Florida Winter Tour and US Open of Las Vegas and just narrowly missed the cut at the Rotax Grand Finals in Portugal.
Given the way his season in 2014 ended, with a broken arm and a missed opportunity to join Team Canada, and moving up to Senior in 2015, we did not expect these kind of results from Cedrik so early in his Senior career, making it that much more impressive for him to win Senior Driver of the Year.
Happy New Year CKN Nation, see you in 2016!