How good did it feel to be at the Canadian Mini Indy this past weekend? Won’t lie, to me, it felt great!
I love getting the opportunity to travel to new tracks and new photo opportunities, and yes, I’ve been to Hamilton before but that was a decade ago. So this one was long overdue. Don’t get me wrong, Goodwood and Mosport Kartways are two of Canada’s best karting tracks and facilities, with great management from the Di Leo family, but it was time for the CRFKC to travel to a new facility and Hamilton was the perfect host to 150 of Ontario’s best Briggs and Rok racers.
Anyone who knows Trevor Wickens knows he’s a guy who works to perfection and I know he spent every minute he had available in the months leading up to the race to ensure the facility was ready. The same can be said about Danielle Duffy, who works side-by-side with Wickens at the track, putting in countless hours, especially when Wickens is away with the race team, and helping ensure the success of the event. Duffy also managed all the admin in the office and handled the registration process, unfortunately meaning she didn’t get to spend nearly as much time she deserved observing the racing on her track.
Sure the track was a little bumpy, and the gravel was a little too loose to push a kart stand through, but I’ll ask again, how good did it feel to be in Hamilton last weekend? I know Wickens and Duffy were taking notes and making a list of things to adjust, but a major race needed to happen in order to find out what needed to change.
For those who remember racing in Hamilton ten years ago or more, it brought back many memories. For those who travel to race from the west side of Toronto, it was a little closer drive than normal. For those who love the challenge of something new, it was a track with very unique features and very little time per lap to relax.
So I jotted down some notes and, in no particular order, came up with six reasons why I loved the CRFKC Race at the Canadian Mini Indy, also know as Cameron Motorsports, this past weekend.
1. It had more than enough space to host a big event
The first thing to think about when a track wants to host a major event is parking. It needs to accommodate and Hamilton had plenty of space for trailers and cars. Nobody was crammed in and the front line of the paddock was lined with team tents. Walking around the paddock, it looked great. And the best part, there still more room for next year when more than 150 drivers come to race!
2. Bring the family, there was an amusement park next door
One thing that I think helps attract families to our races that last more than a couple days, is the chance to do some non-karting things, especially if a racer has siblings. Let’s face it, if your young and not racing, it’s painful and boring to sit on the sidelines while your siblings get to rip laps and enjoy every minute their helmet is on. The other half of the Canadian Mini Indy facility had paintball, rock climbing, rental karts, an awesome food truck, and much more, making the entire family happy.
3. Being so close to the city of Hamilton, it attracted actual fans to come out and watch.
Did you see the hillside? It was packed on Sunday afternoon, lined with lawn chairs and coolers. The parking area was also filled with cars and race fans walked throughout the pits, checking out the karts and the race teams. I witnessed one young future and his father pointing out every kart they saw and no doubt, they will be back to try out the Arrive and Drive karts in the future.
4. The track had character and new challenges that every driver needs to face in order to get better
For most racers, a track is a track. Some may have a favourite, but they are all challenges a driver must overcome and going to new tracks only makes racers better. Hamilton had a tricky layout that featured both fast and very slow corners and really pushed drivers to hold on and keep their foot on the gas through the turn 1-2 section. The lap time was pretty close to Goodwood, which meant the Finals flew by and racers had to be on a charge from the moment the green flag flew.
5. The Prime Powerteam make up a large portion of the paddock and entries at every single race in Ontario, it was time they got a home race.
Since I started CKN in 2012, I’ve watched Trevor and his Prime Powerteam grow from a 3-kart operation to what is now a 20+ kart conglomerate. He travels to all the major events with three huge Gatel tents and there isn’t any extra room in any of them, whether it’s at Goodwood, Mosport, Tremblant or the USA. As a race team that continues to bring new racers to big events, it was about time Trevor’s hard work was rewarded with a race at his track. For sure, this won’t be the last time we’re racing at Hamilton.
And finally, 6. The Di Leo family deserved the break
As I mentioned above, the Di Leo family do a spectacular job of managing Goodwood and Mosport Kartways and hosting all of the major events in Ontario. Dan’s son Jordan is now racing full time and it was about time he was able to enjoy all of the aspects of watching his son race as well as oversee the Intrepid Canada Race Team, without having to worry about all of the events and track management stuff. The Di Leo family lives in karting, so I’m okay with them being purely kart racers for a weekend and letting someone else take the reigns in Ontario.
And on that note, the summer karting season now shifts to Mosport in just about a months time. The track will host the CRFKC, the Pfaff Kartsport Cup, the CRFKC Briggs Summerfest and the all-important ASN Canadian Karting Championships, all between July and August. See everyone there!