Six Canadian race seasons are in the books for Canadian Karting News and we are excited to once again bring you our Year in Review Awards where we highlight many of the drivers and moments who have stood out to us. It’s not hard selecting the winners for each of our categories, so we hope you understand that we do these awards based on our trackside experiences and with only good intentions.
We enjoy the opportunity to bring the CKN Nation the news and information about the sport we love so much and take passion in doing it. So we hope you enjoy our awards and are already looking forward to 2018 and seeing what all of our Canadian racers have in store.
Our 2017 Year in Review Awards will be spread out over four parts, starting today with the awards for Young Driver of the Year, Most Improved Driver of the Year and Hard Luck Driver.
Young Driver of the Year
Nominees: Callum Baxter, Connor Pritiko, Justin Arseneau, Marcello Paniccia, Anthony Boscia
Winner: Justin Arseneau
We are very excited about the young generation of racers. After the merger of the Micro-Max and Mini-Max classes at the beginning of the year, we were given the opportunity to see all of our young two-cycle racers in one group. But we were surprised to see the talent in the still forming Briggs Cadet category as well as the Briggs Junior Lite class, which continues to grow race after race in Ontario.
Of all these young drivers, Justin Arseneau was by far the most dominating, only losing one race in Canada throughout the season, the final race of the ECKC season in which he had already secured the title.
Even in the combined class, Arseneau was one of the smallest competitors on track all year long, making his six victories that much more impressive and he capped it off with the Canadian National title in which he was untouchable at Mosport Kartways.
Arseneau also enjoyed success outside of Canada as well, winning at the Florida Winter Tour, qualifying in the top-5 at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Portugal and chasing the podium at the SKUSA SuperNationals in the USA.
He will move up to Junior in 2018, with his eyes focused on returning to Team Canada at an International Final.
Congrats to all of these young stars on their tremendous seasons and we look forward to seeing them back on track in 2018!
Most Improved Driver
Nominees: Davide Greco, Ethan Simioni, Avery Miller, Mackenzie Clark, Jordan Prior
Winner: Ethan Simioni
We love seeing a driver put in the effort during the off-season and come back as a contender for any class. These five drivers all showed that quality and while we didn’t initially notice it, but three of them raced out of the Prime Powerteam tent this year, which gives credit to Trevor Wickens.
Ethan Simioni raced is just about everything he could’ve in 2017 and his improvement was shown not only at the start of the Canadian season, but also the end.
He first jumped into a shifter kart at the Florida Winter Tour and by the Canadian Championships at Mosport, he was in the hunt for the win and finished on the podium.
Also competing in Rotax DD2, he pushed Tyler Kashak, a veteran in the category, in just about every ECKC race together. Finally, he closed out his season with impressive pace at the Rok Cup International Finals, Rotax Grand Finals and the SKUSA SuperNationals, where he qualified in the top-10 against the best shifter kart racers from around the world.
We’re excited to see Simioni back next year, immediately putting his name in the hat as a championship contender in the shifter ranks.
Hard Luck Driver
Nominees: Stefano Lucente, Jordan Prior, Stephen Goebel
Winner: Jordan Prior
We don’t ever want to pick a winner for this award, but each year there is one hard luck experience that stands out to us and we need to bring it back up one more time.
This years recipient led the entire Final at the Canadian National Karting Championships, except for the final corner. Jordan Prior came within coasting distance of the biggest win of his career in a standout season for the young driver.
A last second attempt to overtake Prior in the final corner by Zachary Vanier ended in the final corner with both drivers stopped dead in their tracks, giving up the massive lead they had built up and the elusive Canadian National trophy.
We’re sorry to remind you one more time about this Jordan, but all the best in 2017.
Tune back in tomorrow for part 2 of four where we highlight our awards Up and Coming Driver, Mechanic of the Year and our Favourite New Helmet Design.