The conditions at the Canadian Mini Indy were perfect on Sunday for the first annual CKN Dash for Cash. Drivers were invited for a special one-off race before the big show rolls into town next week, with nine categories of racers taking to the track, all with the focus on taking the victory and driving home with some hard earned cash.
In addition to some of Ontario’s best Briggs and Rok Cup racers, some “retired” drivers dusted off their karts to join in on the fun and the product on track was nearly as exciting as the city of Toronto will be on Monday night when the country cheers on the Raptors as they seek the NBA championship. Races were unpredictable until the final laps, and in some cases, came down to who buckled first under pressure, while others just needed to look where they were going. Sure, the total number of entries could have and should have, been better, but it only takes two racers to make it a race, and no race was ever settled before taking the green flag.
The race of the day went to Briggs Junior. Marco Felice showed off his skills at his home track, but he was challenged by Jake Cowden. Nicholas Gilkes and Logan Pacza were also in on the race for the lead early, but the duo of Felice and Cowden broke free to settle it on their own. Every time Cowden made a move for the lead, Felice would quickly retake the lead, so it all came down to the final lap. Felice kept his kart on the bottom and defended perfectly into the tight turn four. Cowden swung out wide to get a better run but actually ran wide. This opened a small lead for Felice as the two raced up the hill to turn six. Cowden drove deep into the sweeping right-hander to make sure the leader was still on defence. Once again Felice stayed low entering the final passing zone on the track, turn eight, but this time he went too low and slid through the apex of the corner. Cowden pounced at the opportunity and slipped right on by and steered his kart through the final two corners to take the victory. Pacza tracked down Gilkes and overtook the third position at halfway and never looked back.
For his victory, Cowden scored himself a $1000.00 payday, while Felice is already looking for redemption. It was a great display of racing, that we’re expecting to continue next weekend at the MotoMaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship.
Honestly, we expected a big bang in the Briggs Senior final, but not quite how it went down.
Sixteen karts lined up for the final and immediately front row starters Jon Treadwell and Dale Bonham led the way. Spencer Todd and David Barnes slotted into third and fourth while Tyler McCullough and Jordan Prior jumped up a few spots from where they started after slipping back in the Prefinal. Owyn Thomas was also in on the race up front.
The big mover early was McCullough, who worked his way to the lead at the halfway mark, overtaking Bonham, while Prior also battled his way forward to third.
The lead three were able to separate from Treadwell and Barnes, while Todd and Thomas also fell off the lead train. Aside from Bonham going to the lead with two laps to go, all was calm until the final lap.
Approaching the last lap sign, Bonham led the train to the very inside of the track, looking back to see where his competitors were. Not quite looking where he was going, he had no clue a kart being lapped had pulled to the side of the track to allow the leaders by and just past the start/finish line, boom. At the last moment, Bonham caught a glimpse of the kart, but it was too late and they made hard contact, sending both into the grass and ending their races on the spot. McCullough and Prior saw the kart and jumped out of the way, leaving them to duke it out on their own.
From there, McCullough drove a perfect final lap of defence to earn himself $500 as Prior found no room to get by and had to settle for second. Barnes beat Treadwell to the line to complete the podium, while Thomas rounded out the top-five.
The unexpected continued on Sunday in the Rok Shifter Final and what became a race of survival.
Joshua Conquer got off the starting line well and led the group into turn one. A slow start for PreFinal winner Stefano Lucente saw him fall back to fourth behind Conquer, Zachary Shearer and Justin Luik.
It didn’t take long for Lucente to get back into second, while Shearer was forced to retire after contact with Luik in turn six on lap four. Preston retired a lap later as well.
At that point, the three remaining drivers were alone on the track and the race was a little stale. That is until the halfway mark…
Lucente had caught Conquer and began to pressure the leader. An attempt in corner five was unsuccessful, so Lucente made another attempt into six and contact was made and both karts spun. As the only other kart left on the track, both drivers were out of their karts when Luik made his way by and took the lead. Conquer was able to get his kart re-started, but Lucente’s day was done. With only two karts left of track from there, Luik was able to cruise to the win and a $250.00 payment ahead of Conquer and Lucente.
Rok Junior was controlled by Dale Curran as the driver who finished second last week in the Rok Cup Festival was once again dominant in his home province. Marcello Paniccia and Jacob Miles joined him on the podium.
Prime Powerteam’s Patrick Woods-Toth delivered a race win for his new team in his first race at their home track. He was able to overtake Nicholas Hornbostel for the lead and the win. Nolan Bower and Matthew Miles wound up second and third after Hornbostel had a pushback bumper penalty and Mark Davis and Eamon Lowe crashed on the final lap, giving up the final two steps of the podium.
Ethan Donkers went unchallenged in the Briggs Junior Lite Final, taking the checkers ahead of Cooper Simpson and Michael Bauer. Briggs Cadet saw Ashton Henckel take the race win over Pearce Wade and Nicholas Nicoletti. Finally, Zach Boam was the victor in Briggs Masters and Frankie Esposito topped the podium in Rok Mini after getting by Ashton Henckel and Michael Riccio.
Ontario racers will return to the Canadian Mini Indy in Hamilton next weekend for round two of the Motomaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship. The double-header event will feature two complete race days of action on the speedy circuit. Registration is open and can be completed before the event starts on the series website, http://kartsportcanada.ca.
DON’T WAIT, REGISTER NOW and we will see you there!