The best was saved for last on our 2019 CKN Summer Tour and following our final road trip home from Quebec to Ontario, we’ve caught our breath enough to recap the excellent weekend of competition in Mont-Tremblant.
Instant Classic. The first time for the race under the title of Autumn Classic was a major success. Picture perfect fall weather in the gorgeous region of Mont-Tremblant was the perfect setting.
With the Championnat du Quebec joining up with the Coupe de Montreal the 186-entry count made it the largest karting event in Canada in 2019 and we’re so happy to see that in the province of Quebec, which only a few short years ago, was struggling to get even half of that.
The morale all weekend long was incredibly high as the Coupe de Montreal program continues to gain momentum and develop karting stars. That has been the goal of Michel Boisclair and his team; bring back the fun, family side of the sport and attract new racers by providing an enticing, yet still competitive race program. To that, we say mission accomplished.
Of the 186 entries, only two classes had less than twenty karts take to the track, Rotax Junior with eight and Briggs Cadet with a still impressive sixteen. Briggs Junior and Senior led the way with 32 and 31 drivers each. The competition variety was vast, from international experienced drivers to local veterans to fresh helmets in the paddock and they all fit in.
Following Saturday afternoons Qualifying sessions, the AKJR staff ensured those who stuck around were treated to a great meal, thanks in part to Maison du Roti, as well as some games and music before the sunset for the evening.
Returning Sunday, all eight categories took to the track for their PreFinal and Final races and with the exception of one red flag, the day ran perfectly. Race winners and champions were crowned, a great number of awards were handed out and even though a light drizzle fell during the closing ceremonies, the attendance was still very strong before the paddock cleared out and everyone began their travels home.
On the track, great battles were had all afternoon long.
Briggs Junior saw Yu Chen Ye lead every lap and hold off his Ben Cooper Racing teammate Mavrik Vermette and a hard-charging Callum Baxter to score the race victory. It was an important race win for Yu Chen, as it would score him enough points to overtake provisional leader Isaac Teed, who finished in thirteenth, and win the championship!
The Briggs Senior Final came down to the wire, where Brandon Stephens scored his second Coupe de Montreal win of the season over Mickael Aubin-Poirier and Mike De La Plante. Kelsey Hann was in the mix-up front, but slipped back on the final lap and finished sixth, which was enough to secure the championship for the driver from Nova Scotia, while the win for Stephens helped him jump up to second in the overall rankings, leaping over Sabrina Caron.
Zack Lalonde returned to action in Rotax Junior and won a spirited battle with Callum Baxter for the race win. The victory, along with a competitive weekend upfront in Briggs Junior caught the attention of the race officials, who awarded him with Driver of the Day honours, while Baxter was crowned the class champion in Rotax Junior.
Returning to the Coupe de Montreal after missing a few of the summer events was Marc Antoine-Poirer. Winner of the two races he attended earlier in the season, Poirer made it three-for-three, beating Vincent Desautels to the finish line. Desautels claimed the championship in a season that saw him miss the podium only twice. Third in the race was Freddy Dubuisson, while Jean-Philippe Raymond led the group of Masters on track.
Ontario driver Isaac Marritt worked his way onto the podium twice Sunday. He easily drove home the victory in the Open Shifter Final ahead of Charles Robin and Nathan Gilbert, then battled for the win in Rotax DD2. His bid for a double-victory came up short as Christophe Rizk topped the podium in the DD2, and Fredrick Sylvestre joined them on the podium in third place. The DD2 Master’s win went to American Derek Wang, while Christian Gysi won the Open Shifter Masters division.
Dave Laplante made the crowd go “aww” when he accepted his trophy for winning the Briggs Masters Final as he brought his newborn son Noah onto the podium with him. It was a wild race that saw Laplante move into the lead on the final lap. Mathieu Demers and Jessica Plante joined them on the podium steps, while Serge Boisvert was crowned the class champion.
Finally, Ethan Lowther capped off his championship season in Briggs Cadet with the win on Sunday, edging out Jackson Pearsall for the race win. Pearsall was hot on his rear bumper all race, while Lucas Deslonchamps set the fastest lap of the race en route to a third-place finish.
With the main events of the 2019 Canadian karting season now complete, most karting clubs will close out there season in the coming weeks. Here at CKN, we will wrap up our season with a number of international events to support our Canadian drivers competing in the Rok Cup SuperFinal, Rotax Grand Finals, Rok Cup USA Rok the Rio and the SKUSA SuperNationals.