The third annual Champion Ron Fellows Karting Challenge Briggs & Stratton SummerFest was another thrilling success as Sunday’s event delivered some of the best racing we’ve seen all season long. A unique race format, reverse track direction, big grids, cash prizes and no points standings implications all pushed drivers to put everything they had on the line and when it came to close out the weekend, five drivers took home the glory.
The race day was highlighted by stellar grids in Briggs Junior, 38, and Senior, 49, with a daily total of 140 drivers hitting the track across the five categories. Mother Nature was much nicer than the day before, threatening rain on a couple of occasions, but never dropping any more than a sprinkle on the competitors, leaving everyone to race on a fast and dry surface.
To challenge racers and provide plenty of opportunities to pass, the first two heat races featured inverted grids after a random draw for starting position. The points were then tallied before heat three and again the grid was inverted to put those with the best totals at the rear. Following the three heats, the points were again tallied and that set the starting grid for the Feature races, which included a competition caution at lap ten before setting up an epic 3-lap dash for the cash. For some, the format worked out very well. For others, not so much, but all in all, it was fierce competition on the track.
In addition, the reverse track direction really challenged racers to adjust their driving to a completely new racetrack without having to even move their trailer.
All eyes were on the Briggs Senior class as they rolled up the grid last to complete the day. Dark skies were looming over the forest next to the track and as a cool breeze was felt throughout the paddock, rain tires weren’t far away. The weather kept away and the grid of 49 took to the track led by Liam Ortlieb and Marc Stehle, one a first-year Senior and the other a seasoned veteran who stepped back from Masters for the weekend.
It took two starts to get underway and Stehle won the drive up the hill to lead through the first corner. Everyone managed to cleanly get through turns one, two and three. Around the bowl, the pack filed into line until everyone came down the hill to turn six. The leaders made it through cleanly, but mid-pack, a number of karts climbed on top of each other. Stehle paced the field, even as a number of drivers made their attempts for the lead, including Stefano Lucente, Jon Treadwell and Alex Da Silva. Quietly, Marco Signoretti and Cedrik Lupien made their way into the lead group as well and when it came to the competition caution, Lupien made his way to the lead ahead of Treadwell, Signoretti, Stehle, Hornbostel and Khloe Drummond.
After a lap to bunch the group back up, Lupien led the field to green and everyone was off to the races. His lead lasted only four corners as Treadwell got under Lupien entering the bowl, sending him wide and into the marbles. At the same time, Signoretti got under Treadwell and he erupted with the lead as mayhem erupted exiting the bowl, collecting a large number of karts. Signoretti held the lead with two to go until Stehle worked his way back to the lead as the field received the white flag. A five-kart lead pack had emerged with Energy Kart teammates Signoretti and Da Silva behind Stehle, followed by Hornbostel and Marco Di Leo all in contention for the win.
Signoretti made his move exiting turn three and got under Stehle with a push from Da Silva. Down the hill, Stehle recovered by Da Silva for second as the pack chased Signoretti up the hill. Chasing Signoretti back down the hill and through the final corner, no driver was able to overtake him as he went on to score his third straight SummerFest victory and take home the $1000.00 prize that came with it. Hornbostel came close at the finish, only 0.045 seconds back after overtaking Stehle, who settled for third.
The Junior Final saw Logan Ploder finally score the major victory he’s been chasing all season long. The young driver played it smart, staying with the lead pack in the first part of the race and then getting out front in the three-lap pursuit to the finish. Even as he was overtaken coming down to turn six, Ploder regained the lead a corner later and when Nicky Paladino, Jake Cowden and Gianluca Savaglio came together exiting turn eight, resulting in Cowden getting stuck on top of Paladino, Ploder went unchallenged down the hill to the finish line. Savaglio wound up second with Avery Miller accepting third on the final lap. Alex Drummond and Ryan Armstrong were also able to get by Cowden and Paladino in the final corners to make the podium.
When asked what he would do with his $1000.00 winnings on Sunday, Ploder quickly responded with “I’m going to pay for my entry to Nationals!” A very happy driver indeed, he will be one to watch out for at the ASN Canadian Championships in three weeks time.
Jamie MacArthur led the first five and the final two laps of the Briggs Masters Final to bring home his first victory in some time. Darren Kearnon overtook MacArthur at the midway point and controlled the race until the restart. Waiting for only one lap, MacArthur went to the point and he brought David Miller with him. Eli Yanko tried to follow as well, but couldn’t hold on through the third corner and had to shortcut, sliding back on track as the closing drivers scrambled to get around him.
Miller chased MacArthur all the way around the final lap but wasn’t able to find a way by and had to settle for second behind the K&K Kart driver. Kearnon settled for third while Rich Folino had a great final lap to jump to fourth followed by Levon Beaudin.
The first of the Briggs Junior Lite Final featured a multitude of passing as the class scattered for position. Jayden Elphage, Steven Navratil, Matte Ferrari and Quinton Murdoch all took turns leading the field until Ethan Donkers took control on lap eight. Even after bunching up the group at the competition caution, Donkers remained cool and kept his TonyKart at the front. Navratil and Nicholas Gilkes tried their best to get by, but to no avail, as Donkers celebrated the victory.
Gilkes posted the fastest lap of the race, a consolation prize after finishing second with Navratil, Brayden Lindgren and Elphage completing the top-five podium steps.
As he has done all year long, Ayden Ingratta dominated the Briggs Cadet racing, pulling out to a four-second victory while his fellow competitors battled it out for second place.
Carson Bartlett won that battle, edging Hunter Twyman at the finish line, followed by Scotty Watkins, Caden Drummond. A post-race penalty to Twyman saw him fall two spots in the results after making contact in corner one with another driver.