The Rotax Max Pan American championships were held on October 10th to 13th at the beautiful NOLA Motorsports Park. This was the last chance for some drivers to get their ticket but for me it was just practice for the Rotax Grand Finals in November. Thursday was a day of practice followed by qualifying and heat one on Friday, heat two and three and Saturday and Pre-final and Final on Sunday. The weekend was filled with lots of excitement and great racing.
Going into the Pan American Championships I set goals for myself. These were just made to help prepare myself for the World Finals and to push me to work harder for good results. What I made for myself were two things; a top 10 result and be the best Canadian finisher. Succeeding with these goals would make me fairly happy and give me confidence for the Grand Finals.
NOLA Motorsports Park
NOLA was a very exotic track with lots of different corners, big curbs, and fast sections. It is one of the nicest tracks I have ever been to and I am very lucky to have the chance to race on it. The facility also had a nice little restaurant and lounge area for a nice place to relax in the air conditioning, away from the heat. It had a
large paddock as well as a lot of area for organization. NOLA is definitely a great place to have the Pan American Championships and the Rotax Max Grand Finals.
My mechanic Kyle Herder and I showed up to the track early Thursday morning to prep the kart and get everything organised. Thursday was our only practice day so we knew we could not have anything go wrong and miss a session because track time was key. Friday was qualifying and heat one. We did not do the best in qualifying ending up with 14th overall. The heats were split into groups of A, B, C and D of which each group would face one another in a heat. This group system meant that I started 6th every time on the outside row. We had a solid race keeping everything safe and ending up with a 5th place finish.
Saturday came and it was time for heat two and three. In heat two we stated 6th again and fell back to 9th at the start but battled my way back to a 6th place finish. Heat 3 was the final heat and it was my worst by far. I had a bad start and got caught battling with to many people. I finished 14th and that ruined my starting position for the Pre-final. The tally of points from the heats would force me to start 14th for the Pre-final on the outside again.
After having not much success on the outside row I had a talk with my mechanic Kyle and we created a plan for the start. This plan actually put me up to 6th after the first corner and that’s also where I would finish in the race. It was then time for the Final of which I was starting on the outside again in 6th. We had a good start staying in 6th but we just had to maintain it. I knew that I had to pass anyone who was in front of me or else I would get shuffled back. I got passed twice but passed right back and pulled away but the leaders made a gap on me. I ended up crossing the line in a solid 4th place finish which I was very happy with. I then got bumped up to a podium position of 3rd place after a driver refused tech.
Looking back on my results we have exceeded my expectations! We had a 3rd place finish and we were the top Canadian by quite a large gap. These results have allowed me to think strongly about the World Finals next month. I hope to have good results there as well just as I did in the Pan Am.
I’d like to thank Kyle Herder for has coaching and mechanic, Wrex Roth Racing Engines for the motor prep, Summit GP for there help this past weekend, and Pserra Racing for there help all year.