The big show has rolled into Goodwood Kartways as season eight of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship kicks off this weekend. Drawing some of the best drivers from Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Alberta and the USA, the competition will be fierce on the tight and twisty Goodwood circuit and we here at CKN are as excited as ever.
Many of the local drivers got to prepare for the race by taking part in last weekends CRFKC regional event at Goodwood and now welcome those from out of the region to challenge them. And with only three events on tap for the 2017 ECKC season it should entice a few more drivers to compete in the full season.
In the first part of our 2017 ECKC Season Preview, we take a look at the Briggs & Stratton categories, including the new kids on the block in Briggs Junior Lite.
**Note: The majority of our analysis comes from those drivers who have pre-registered. Competing but not in our preview? Sorry you missed out, but head over to ECKC.ca now and submit your entry.
Rotax Senior Max
Defending Champion: Gianfranco Mazzaferro
There will be a changing of the guard in Rotax Senior this year as defending champion Gianfranco Mazzaferro along with championship podium finishers Cedrik and Samuel Lupien have opted to skip out on this years ECKC. Not to be left out, Marco DiLeo is a 4-time ECKC Rotax Senior Champion and instantly becomes our perennial front-runner.
Ryan MacDermid comes in as last years Rotax Junior champion and is full of enthusiasm. He is already qualified for the Rotax Grand Finals, therefore his pursuit of the ECKC championship is simply for the bragging rights. Newcomer Ben Maxfield is flying in from Alberta to throw his name in the hat as well and should mix it up with the leaders.
We cannot count out Logan Cusson, Davide Greco, and Marco Signoretti who have all steadily improved season after season. We are a little puzzled as to why Greco and Signoretti have opted for Senior Max over their regular DD2 rides, but it could simply be about competition and having a few more drivers to race against. Cole Hooton also comes in as a rookie.
Rotax Junior Max
Defending Champion: Ryan MacDermid
Like Senior Max, there is a whole new group of Juniors to watch this year. The championship podium has all moved on with MacDermid up to Senior, Matthew Latifi moving on from karts and Andres De Alba unknown if he is racing. Looking at last years standings, only one of the top-seven is back and that is Patrick Woods-Toth.
However our eyes are on Thomas Nepveu. After a standout year in Mini last year that featured the ECKC title, a SKUSA SuperNationals win and a podium at the Rotax Grand Finals, he has moved up to Junior and has hit the ground running after competing in the Florida Winter Tour and SKUSA Pro Tour and taking home and FWT win.
Xavier Harris and Zachary Vanier join Woods-Toth as returning Juniors while Mackenzie Clark and Kai Dalziel come in from Mini-Max and pose possible threats.
Rotax DD2/DD2 Masters
Defending Champion: Jeffrey Kingsley (DD2), Paul Carvalho (DD2M)
With two Rotax Grand Finals tickets available to Canadian drivers in Rotax DD2 this year, it baffles us as to why there are only a handful of drivers entered in this weekends ECKC race.
Jeff Kingsley is off racing cars this coming weekend so he will not be able to defend his title, although he is already qualified for the Rotax Grand Finals via the Florida Winter Tour championship he earned, as is Zachary Claman DeMelo courtesy the US Open of Las Vegas.
This opens it up to Tyler Kashak, Enrico Menotti and Justin Luik. Taegen Poles made her DD2 debut at the CRFKC race last weekend and has also thrown her hat in the mix, but at this point, this is all we have to talk about.
Here’s hoping some more DD2’s show up at Goodwood before the weekend kicks off.
Defending Champion: Thomas Nepveu
On the flip side to Rotax DD2, we are beyond excited to see the promising new look of the Rotax Mini-Max class. Back to the small chassis, combined with Micro-Max age eligible drivers and a great engine offer from SRA Karting has breathed some new life into the class.
We’re expecting at least 15 drivers to line up on the grid this weekend and considering only 16 drivers entered the series in total last year in Mini-Max, this is a big plus!
With Nepveu graduating to Junior, Justin Arseneau steps into the spotlight, especially after scoring a big international victory at the Florida Winter Tour. Austin Boyle and Marcello Paniccia step up from Micro-Max and with Goodwood as their home track, will tough to beat.
Add in international stars Luca Mars and Emmo Fittipaldi and locals Ryland Duesburry, Lorenzo Morsillo, and Anthony Sardelitti and there’s the chance for some spectacular racing this weekend!
– Practice is open at Goodwood Kartways on Thursday (10:00AM to 5:30PM) and Friday (9:00AM to 5:00PM) for those hoping to get on track before race one kicks off on Saturday morning.
– Registration will officially close on Friday at 5PM.
– Saturday and Sunday are separate race days, with both days featuring a Qualifying session, Prefinal and Final.
– The event schedule and event supplementary regulations can be downloaded here.