Bringing all of the drivers in the province Quebec together for a year-end finale was the thought all along between the organisers of the APKLQ and the Coupe de Montreal and this past weekend more than 130 drivers, young and old, took to the track at the Jim Russell Karting Academy in Mont-Tremblant for a spectacular season finale. It was a brilliant sight to see, showing off a reinvigorated region of karting.
A few moments of the weekend really stood out and that was the attendance of new drivers and the impressive showing of karts in Rotax DD2.
More than 30 drivers were making their race debut on Sunday. The drivers ranged in category, from Briggs Cadet to Rotax DD2 and while some challenges were met when it came to getting the first couple race starts done, these fresh new drivers adapted quickly and were up to speed in no time on the procedures.
On the other side of things, it was miraculous to see 26 drivers in the Rotax DD2 class. Comprising of mostly DD2 Masters drivers, 26 is equal to the number of drivers the category had racing Nationally over five years ago. Since then the class has dwindled to single digit entries, but with the effort of many teams, tracks and organizers, new life was breathed into the two-speed category and on track, it was damn exciting! It was also great to see 20 Shifter Karts on track and healthy entries across the board in all categories.
Conversations all weekend long were positive views of how this weekend has breathed new life into karting in the province and opened up opportunities to not just drive, but to race again in many categories. The Shifter class especially has caught the attention of many drivers who will be looking to move up to the six-speed action in 2018.
Taking home the race victories on the beautiful Sunday afternoon were Adam Bellafquih in Briggs Cadet, Owen Clark in Briggs Junior, Simon Belanger in Briggs Senior, Mathieu Demers in Briggs Masters. The Rotax classes saw Emma Delattre win in Junior Max, Marc-Antoine Poirer win in Senior Max and Etienne LaSalle win in DD2 Masters while Gianfranco Mazzaferro and Christian Gysi brought home the Shifter and Shifter Masters race wins.
Returning to the podium to collect their championship trophies for the Coupe de Montreal were: Owen Clarke (Briggs Junior), Simon Belanger (Briggs Senior), David Godard (Briggs Masters), Emma Delattre (Rotax Junior), Marc-Antoine Poirer (Rotax Senior), Bruno Legrand (Rotax DD2 Masters), Gianfranco Mazzaferro (Shifter) and Christian Gysi (Shifter Masters). Mazzaferro and Gysi also won tickets to compete in the Rok Cup International Final in Italy.
It is also worth noting that after practice on Saturday, all of the racers were invited to the SmokeHouse restaurant for a complimentary dinner on behalf of the organizers. With such a large turnout, two dinner sessions needed to be arranged to fit everyone who came out and ejoyed a great evening away from the track.
Now with a relatively long off-season ahead, we know the organizers and racers in Quebec already cannot wait for winter to pass and the kart tracks to reopen for spring operations. The future looks strong in Quebec and that is something we’ve been hoping to write for a few years now.