Happy New Year CKN Nation!
We hope everyone has enjoyed the holiday season and just like us, is excited about the upcoming karting season. The break won’t last long as we will be travelling south soon for the Rok Cup Florida Winter Tour, which kicks off in Miami in just two weeks. We’ve also got a good feeling we will be seeing the schedules for the 2019 Canadian season released in the coming days.
To wrap up 2018, we’ve compiled our annual CKN Year in Review Awards. While it’s impossible to include everyone, these awards are our way of noting the hard work, effort and performances of drivers that stood out from the pack to us, at the races we attended and/or covered.
We hope you enjoy them.
Young Driver of the Year
Aidan Carruthers, Jordan DiLeo, Frankie Esposito, Kieran Hartley, Zachary Hitchcock, Ayden Ingratta
2018 Winner: Kieran Hartley
While debating between Esposito and Ingratta for this award I sat back and added young Kieran Hartley into the equation and after reviewing his performance at the Rotax Grand Finals, as well as the Western Canadian Karting Championship, I really wished he made the trip to Mosport this summer for the ASN Canadian Karting Championships.
Hartley really impressed me in Brazil, racing his way into the top-ten against a field of competitors with so much more experience. He never backed down and was always pushing forward, even if the result from the Grand Final didn’t quite display his true speed. In the WCKC he added three wins en route to the Rotax Mini-Max Championship, which featured a lot more competition than what I witnessed out East.
There are six drivers on this list that I’m really excited to watch in 2019, and also hopeful that our clubs can really start to attract young drivers to the sport so that that by the time our young racers get to Junior, they are used to racing in grids with more than five or six karts.
2017 Winner: Justin Arseneau
2015 Winner: Dale Curran / Justin Arseneau
2014 Winner: Alexandre Legare
Most Improved Driver
Nolan Bower, Garett Britton, Jordan DiLeo, Kelsey Hann, Logan Ploder, Robert Soroka
2018 Winner: Robert Soroka
Making the switch to Senior can always be a daunting task for a Junior driver still learning the ropes, but it seemed that the jump for Robert Soroka was just what he needed. He excelled in Rok Senior and while he wasn’t able to stand atop the podium at the regional level, Soroka was a consistent front-runner and closed out the Champion Ron Fellows Karting Challenge season with three runner-up finishes to take the vice-champion honours.
On the club racing front, Soroka drove home both the MIKA and TRAK club championships and even took part in a couple international events to build up his experience level.
Soroka has signed up for a season a Formula 4 car racing in 2019, but hopefully, we will still see him in a kart throughout the summer chasing race victories and maybe even the Canadian National Championship.
2017 Winner: Ethan Simioni
2015 Winner: Stefano Lucente
2014 Winner: Fred Woodley
2013 Winner: Elvis Stojko
Up and Coming Driver
Daniel Ali, Danny Chisholm, Matte Ferrari, Kevin Foster, Nicholas Gilkes, Marcello Paniccia
2018 Winner: Matte Ferrari
Like the Young Driver of the Year category, these six nominees are drivers I’m pumped to keep an eye on in 2019. Each is full of potential and ready to really break out and make a name for themselves.
Matte Ferrari really came to life in the second half of the season. A young racer who is so passionate about the sport, Ferrari introduced himself at Mosport after having a tough race. He was down but quick to point out that he was already looking towards the next time he was on track and put the accident behind him. Fast forward to the season finale of the Champion Ron Fellows Karting Challenge at Goodwood Kartways and Matte drove to victory in Briggs Junior Lite.
2017 Winner: Jake Cowden
2015 Winner: Tanner Hamilton
2014 Winner: Xavier Dorsnie
2013 Winner: Matthew Latifi
Check back in tomorrow for Part 2 of our annual year in review awards!