Race action at the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship kicked off on Saturday at Goodwood Kartways as sunshine and cool temperatures provided a great racing atmosphere for the intense action that the ECKC continually provides.
For the Rotax Max racers it is the first of four race weekends this year to determine who represents Team Canada at the annual Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals and it was a great showing for the home squad as Goodwood Kartways/Intrepid drivers scored four victories. For the Saturday Briggs & Stratton report, click here.
After controlling Qualifying and the PreFinal, it appeared it was going to be Thomas Nepveu’s race in the Rotax Junior final as well. However Xavier Harris would have nothing of it and even after a slow start that saw him fall behind Gianluca Savaglio and Nepveu to break away, he charged his way back to the leader.
Dismissing Savaglio, Harris put down fast lap after fast lap to track down the leader. Finding his rear bumper with five to go, he made a move to the lead with three tours remaining. Nepveu went back to the lead the next time by only for Harris to counter the move in corner five.
The pass slowed up Nepveu enough that he was unable to mount another charge for the lead, allowing Harris to take the win, his first ECKC win as a Junior.
In the race for third, Savaglio was battling with Eamon Lowe, Patrick Woods-Toth and Mackenzie Clark.
After taking the third position for nearly a lap, Lowe fell to sixth and then a lap later retired in corner eight. Savaglio then controlled the spot to the finish. Kai Dalziel recovered to finish sixth in the final after spinning out in the PreFinal. He initially qualified P2 in the morning.
It was a quiet race in Rotax DD2 as Tyler Kashak led flag to flag. He was pressured all race long by Ethan Simioni, especially in the closing laps, but Simioni just couldn’t pull the trigger and make a move.
Justin Luik finished third.
The Rotax DD2 Masters race went to Joe Crupi who trailed Andrew Calabrese for the first few laps before taking the lead and never looking back.
Emmo Fittipaldi kicked the day off in Mini-Max by nipping Justin Arseneau by 0.001 seconds for the pole-position in Qualifying.
The Prefinal went the other way though as Arseneau took the lead early and never looked back.
The Final was much of the same as Arseneau converted his early lead into a big gap. Marcello Paniccia slid into second on the start and although Fittipaldi was able to get by and to post fast laps in succession, he couldn’t catch the leader in the second half of the race.
Crossing just under a second ahead at the line, Arseneau scored a big ECKC win ahead of American drivers Fittipaldi and Luca Mars. Andrew Maciel and Austin Boyle completed the top-five.
It was a hot start to the Rotax Senior Final as Marco DiLeo received a great push from Marco Signoretti into turn one with the two keeping off-pole driver Ryan MacDermid to the outside.
Through the first three laps you couldn’t fit a piece of paper between the lead three but that all changed when MacDermid made a move for second in corner three. It was enough to upset Signoretti’s kart and he was slow to exit the corner and was tagged by Cole Hooton as he went by.
This opened up a gap for Di Leo to break free.
MacDermid attacked the track, posting the fastest lap of the race with six to go, but Di Leo fired back and bettered the time a lap later to maintain his gap.
Managing it to the checkered, Di Leo took a hometown win after being shut out last ECKC season. MacDermid took second in his ECKC Senior Max debut while Hooton, who was also making his Senior Max debut, stood on the podium in third. Signoretti recovered to finish fourth with Ben Maxfield fifth, taking advantage of a spinning Michael Sputore on the final lap.
Race two of the weekend will take place on Sunday.