We’ve talked about race winners and champions this week after what was a superb ASN Canadian National Karting Championships at Mosport Kartways. But what about those drivers who endured some awful luck that took them out of contention?
Here are six drivers who endured some of the most unfortunate events during the Canadian Championships.
Dave Anderson – Briggs Masters PreFinal
Anderson was a top pick for the podium and had a good chance of taking it all last week at Mosport but it all went wrong in the PreFinal on Saturday afternoon.
After starting the PreFinal on the front row, Anderson was running in third place on lap two when disaster struck for the driver directly ahead of him. His rear wheel came off as the drivers began to climb up the hill for turn two. That wheel bounced once and then onto Anderson’s kart. Continuing through turn three and four, something was wrong as Anderson rolled down the hill into turn five.
Pulling to the side of the track and out the race, Anderson’s engine had stalled. After a quick look, the tire had bounced onto his fuel pump and broke it. A true heartbreaker.
Anderson would go on a charge in the Final, finishing fifth and setting the fastest lap after starting twenty-third.
Jordan Prior – Briggs Junior Final
Prior has enjoyed a pretty good season in 2017 and coming into Nationals he was definitely a contender to take the title.
He played his cards well all week and led when it mattered most; the end of the PreFinal and from the drop of the green flag in the Final. He worked with Zachary Vanier to break away from the pack and never relinquished the lead until the very last corner of the very last lap. With the checkered flag in sight, Prior only needed to defend the final corner, but Vanier had different thoughts and was chasing his second straight title.
A dive to the inside of the tight final corner ended both of their races with Vanier ending on top of Prior in the middle of the corner and the two coming to a halt with the entire pack scrambling to avoid them.
Leading 99% of the National Championship Final may not count for anything if you don’t get the checkered flag, but Prior has to hold his head high after a stellar season.
Stefano Lucente – Briggs Junior Final
In that same Final, Stefano Lucente drove the best we’ve seen him do this year. Switching to Briggs full time in 2017 hasn’t been easy for Lucente, who’s height doesn’t do him any advantages. Joining in with a pack of more experienced and hungry Briggs racers has had its toll on Lucente, who’s finished all over the results sheet in 2017.
But Nationals was different.
After hanging on for dear life to stay with the lead duo of Prior and Vanier, Lucente was the odd driver out and lost the lead draft. Getting swallowed by the chasing pack was all but inevitable, but Lucente held on and battled to stay ahead of the group. Negotiating the final lap in third place, Lucente was presented a gift when he arrived at the final corner to see the two leaders stuck together and he drove the final 100 feet to victory.
An emotional celebration lasted less than half an hour as almost as soon as his kart arrived in tech, the Briggs & Stratton officials found something incorrect. His engine builder had used the wrong gasket and to no wrong-doing of his own, Lucente’s brilliant drive was all for nothing.
Marcello Paniccia – Mini-Max Final
The young guy in the Rotax Mini-Max class, Marcello Paniccia should still be in Micro-Max, if it were still available. But since it’s not, he has raced and impressed all year with these Mini-Max drivers and on Sunday he was in contention for a National Championship podium result. That is until two laps to go when he blew a chain just before entering the bowl section.
We’ve seen this heartbreak happen year after year, most notably last year when Briggs Masters race leader Marc Stehle withdrew with just over a lap remaining.
If only there was a way to stop it from happening…?
Tanveer Deen – Briggs Senior
We had a few notable drivers travel from Western Canada to take part in the Briggs Senior class and while we knew that Tanveer Deen of Calgary has been quick this year, we weren’t quite sure how he was going to do at Mosport.
He delivered in Qualifying, posting the quickest time of the drivers from Western Canada and advanced to SuperPole, earning himself a top-six start for the heats. But that’s when it became a new challenge.
Being an outsider, he had trouble getting drivers to work with him during the heats and thus constantly was just battling to hold his position instead of using his speed with another driver to draft together to catch others. He fell outside the top-ten in the first heat but recovered to ninth.
Deen said this after his first heat,
“Heat one we where starting from the second row in a super competitive class. The starts here are much slower because they have a speed trap here and you have to be under a certain speed before the acceleration line. Lost about 3 positions on the start and it all went down hill from there. Because we are out of towners it is hard to work with someone on track, everyone just wants to get by you because they do not trust you. Every time someone got by me and I would try and push them the guys behind would just try and pass me. The racing here is super tight and there is no room for mistakes.“
By the time the PreFinal came around, drivers had warmed up to him a bit and he maintained a spot inside the top-ten, but a crash at the start of the Final ended any chance of a good finish and ultimately came home fourteenth.
Gabriel Savoie – Briggs Junior PreFinal
PreFinals can be a driver’s best friend and their nightmare, all in the same race.
For Gabriel Savoie, ECKC Briggs Junior Champion, he worked hard to stay up front all week amid a big group of BirelART drivers at Nationals. While cruising in second and pushing away with the race leader, all but assuring a front row start for the Final, the red flag was brought out for a crash further down the running order.
After much delay, officials deemed the race would resume, even though it had passed the halfway mark. With plenty of time left to complete the race day and their discretion, officials opted to give the Juniors the laps they came for.
Suddenly, Savoie had a pack of drivers hunting him on the restart instead of the big gap he had gained and on the first lap back under green, he was hung out to dry in the hairpin, falling well down the order. As the odd man out, no driver would let him in line and he finished the PreFinal in twelfth.
For Savoie, the fact that this happened in the PreFinal meant he had a chance to recover in the Final and he did so, eventually taking second place on the podium after the events mentioned above to Prior, Vanier and Lucente.