Making it’s return to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec after a one-year hiatus, the ASN Canada FIA Canadian Karting Championships was a huge success last week as 191 entries invaded the Jim Russell Karting Academy in the picturesque region north of Montreal. The event was a major success with a new race format, events and excitement from start to finish while the weather stayed on the racers side with bright warm sunshine arriving in time for National Championship Sunday.
The event was highlighted time and time again and here is our News & Notes review of the weekend on Tremblant. And if you haven’t had a chance to check out our three action-packed photo galleries, be sure to click the links below.
New Teams Cup Trophy Puts Powerhouses vs Privateers; Rental-Kart Race is Pure Excitement
A new tradition was born at this years Canadian Championships as event organizers introduced the Team Cup. Separated for Briggs & Stratton and Rotax divisions, two trophies were up for grabs by those who help put racers on track.
Tallying points from SuperPole qualifying all the way to the National Finals, the Teams Cup is very similar to the Nations Cup trophy seen at the Rotax Grand Finals each.
However, a bonus points opportunity may have been the overall highlight of the weekend. Teams were able to nominate two drivers who currently do not have National license to compete in a 10-lap rental kart race. With the likes Mick Panigada (the owner of Energy Corse), Kyle Herder, Christophe Boisclair and Daniel Di Leo just to name a few, it was a star-studded lineup of racers. After a LeMans start, a pit-stop and driver change at the 5-lap mark and some excellent beating and banging, it was the KMS Team that came away with the victory over the Energy Kart Canada Team and Team PSL Karting.
KMS North America was able to convert the rental kart race win into winning the Briggs & Stratton Teams Cup, thanks to a perfect weekend by Jean-Francois Lafontaine, while Team PSL Karting took home the top honours in the Rotax Teams Cup with excellent results across the board including Mini-Max and Rotax DD2 National titles.
East Coast Karters Invade Tremblant
Nestled neatly adjacent to the PSL Karting team tent, the PSL Moncton karting team featured seventeen drivers, fifteen of them from east coast provinces such as Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The invasion of racers from the east coast was a very pleasant sight to see as much could be seen smiling from the start to the end of the week, just simply happy for being in attendance.
It is great to see programs like this help push their drivers to first succeed locally, then take a shot at the National Championships as a family.
Hats off to Gerald Caseley Sr. and his entire team for creating some memories for his drivers that will surely last a lifetime.
Very Disappointing Turnout of Rotax Junior Drivers
One of the best classes to watch year after year took a turn for the worst this past weekend. After boasting entries near 30 at the first two Eastern Canadian Karting Championship events as well as 15 at the Western Canadian Championships, nobody expected Rotax Junior to have a dismal 21 entries in Tremblant.
While the usual suspects were in attendance, the quality and quantity of drivers on the brink of cracking the top-ten were disappointingly absent. Hopefully this was just a one-off deal and we have our Rotax Junior drivers back on track at the ECKC/Coupe du Quebec finale.
Nine Champions Represented Through Seven Different Race Teams
There was plenty of parity this year as seven different race teams had drivers top the National podium on Sunday. Only PSL Karting (Kingsley and Legare) and KMS North America (Tallon and Lafontaine) were able to claim multiple titles as the remaining five included teams SH Racing (Mondou) and DMR Motorsport (Patrick), and privateer efforts from Ferrolati Corse (Mazzaferro), ZCD-Goodwood (DeMelo) and DeAngelis-Koene (DeAngelis).
Canadian Tire SuperPole Qualifying a Huge Success
Another new addition to the event this year saw officials introduce the Canadian Tire SuperPole Qualifying sessions. Following the round of qualifying for all nine classes, the top-six drivers from each class returned to the track for a two-lap SuperPole session where all the focus was on the driver to put in his or her best possible lap time without the help of another driver or draft.
The opportunity created a massive buzz in the paddock and quick sessions really challenged the drivers to perform. Some results stayed the same while others saw a big shakeup.
Overall it was a huge success and something we hope that is back on the schedule for next years Canadian Championships.
Championship Titles Determined on Track, Not in Stewards Office
We are very happy to report that all nine National titles were decided on track and that no penalties of technical infractions altered the results and the National podiums. After incidents in the past that have left a dark spot on successful weekends, this years event went off without a hitch with only one penalty being handed out on Championship Sunday.
This is a major thumbs up to the racers as well as the ASN officials.
Briggs & Stratton Numbers Continue Grow
Nearly 50% of the entries at this years Canadian Championships were powered by a Briggs & Stratton LO206 engine (92 out of 191). What’s impressive about that stat is that there were only three Briggs classes compared to six Rotax divisions.
It’s quickly becoming a changing of the guard in regards to competition and excitement in Canada as the Briggs & Stratton classes were the three highest entered classes, with a whopping 38 entered in Briggs Senior alone. While we initially expected Briggs Senior to be a little closer to 50 drivers, some opted to switch to Masters last minute or were forced to withdraw before the event started.
Briggs & Stratton Senior was by far the highlight of the weekend with big packs and exciting racing across the grid, featuring drivers with National titles all the way down to the recreational racer and drivers from coast to coast entering to race.
Rotax racing is still the top echelon of karting in Canada at the moment, but Briggs racing could be the solution to help grow our sport back to healthy numbers across board.
Hard Luck for Pier-Luc Ouellette Ends DD2 Final on Lap 1
It was shaping up to be a great closing race to this years National Championships. Defending class champion and two-time Rotax Grand Finals DD2 Champion Pier-Luc Ouellette had taken the lead over Fred Woodley, Bryce Choquer, Jeffrey Kingsley and Alessandro Bizzotto as the five drivers had enjoyed some very spirited battles all weekend long. Ouellette had the race craft while Woodley and Kingsley had the pace to win. But in a blink of an eye, Ouellette’s kart suddenly lost power, and both Woodley and Choquer had nowhere to go to avoid him while Kingsley snuck through.
With the competition so close between these front five, that sudden incident was the beginning and end of the race as Kingsley easily cruised to victory once out front and the cause for Ouellette’s sudden issue: the Rotax light weight battery.
BBR Racing Completes Longest Haul; British Columbia to Quebec
It wouldn’t truly be a National Championship without the support of drivers and teams from coast to coast.
With PSL Moncton taking care of the east coast, BBR Karting of Vancouver, British Columbia represented the west coast at this years Nationals. Making the 4400km trek, BBR Karting easily had the longest haul to the event with their tent featuring seven drivers.
We cannot go without mentioning George Buzza who also made the drive from BC to Mont-Trembalnt. Buzza finished off his sons campaign at the Rotax CAN-AM Karting Challenge only three days before the Nationals kicked off, then completed the cross-country journey, with a pit-stop in Winnipeg to pick up a few extra karts on the way.
Kudo’s to both the Choquers and the Buzza’s on helping represent the western portion of Canada at the Nationals.
CKN Predicts Five of Nine Canadian Champions
We have quite a bit of fun attempting to predict the National Champion of each class each year here on CKN. While this year we were really challenged with the Briggs & Stratton classes, we are very happy to report that the overall averages of our predictions saw the CKN panel correctly predict five of the nine champions crowned on Sunday in Tremblant, including a clean sweep of the challenging Briggs classes (we admit we did not post the Briggs Masters and DD2 Masters predictions, but the entries were still calculated). Rotax Junior and Senior were the other two classes we correctly predicted.
Finally, we want to confirm that no location was announced for next years ASN Canadian Karting Championships throughout the weekend in Tremblant. We are sure the ASN crew is hard at work determining where the event will take place next year and the announcement will come in due time as it has in previous years.
We already can’t wait for next years event!