The snow is gone, May is here and karting season in Canada is finally in full swing. Thank goodness!
After putting the finishing touches on my 2019 CKN Summer Tour Schedule of events to attend, once again it’s going to be an action-packed summer of races all over the country. Some of these races I’m really looking forward to and couldn’t help but highlight them in hopes of getting your attention to support them as well. There seems to be some good momentum across the country as I see the numbers growing in the smaller regions and the competition intensifying in the major arteries. This is great news and hopefully, we can all continue to work together and keep the ball rolling to support the sport.
In order of appearance on the calendar, here are five races I’m really looking forward to attending this summer, and hopefully this list can persuade you to attend some of them too!
Battle at the Beach – Rok Cup Festival in Biloxi
May 30-June 2 / Biloxi, Mississippi
Honestly, how cool does a battle at the beach sound? Everything that’s been promoted so far about this race makes it as enticing as Las Vegas. The kart track is literally one block from the Gulf of Mexico, there are miles of beautiful beaches and boardwalks, resorts, casinos and so much more to make this trip a little more than a just another kart race.
Rok Cup USA is fresh off another successful Florida Winter Tour and this will be one of the last chances in the USA to qualify for the Rok Cup SuperFinal (formerly the Rok Cup International Final) in Italy. It also has a schedule that is packed full of laps and racing, with four heat races leading up to the Finals on Sunday.
In addition, they have added the Briggs 206 classes to the Battle at the Beach, offering the race winners an entry fee and 100cc engine for Rok the Rio in Las Vegas.
If you’re a racer and you’re on the edge about this one, be sure to call your race team and make sure they save you a spot. It’s going to be a great one!
More info: https://rokcupusa.com/races/rok-festival/
CKN Dash for Cash – Canadian Mini-Indy
June 8-9 / Hamilton, Ontario
Last years CRFKC was a hit and many drivers expressed their interest in doing more races at the Canadian Mini Indy in Hamilton. So Trevor Wickens pitched the idea to me about doing a build-up race before the Ron Fellows Championship rolls into town and I couldn’t be happier to have CKN be a part of it.
The race weekend is going to be a blast, first with the HRKC club race on Saturday afternoon and then the CKN Dash for Cash on Sunday where at least $250.00 will be paid out to the winner of the each Final. For any class that has more than 10 entries, the payout increases to $500.00 to win, and it ups to $1000.00 for classes with 20-plus, meaning we could see some epic battles in Briggs and the Rok Cup classes too.
CKRA Summerfest – East Coast Karting
July 13-14 / Dieppe, New Brunswick
It’s the longest drive of the year for me, but every kilometre is worth it to enjoy this fun-filled event. Two days of racing action, utilizing both directions of the East Coast Karting circuit in New Brunswick, along with the best hospitality from our friends in the Maritimes, and it becomes serious fun. The short circuit is like a bullring and racers need to be savvy to work their way to the front and stay there to the finish. The weather can also be unpredictable, so you gotta be ready for anything.
I’m really hoping a few more drivers from Quebec and possibly even Ontario can add this race to their schedules this summer. Briggs Cadet, Junior and Senior hit the track for more than enough track time to make the trek east worth it and the competition may surprise more than expected.
Want to spruce up the experience? Stay at the Apothic Inn Bed and Breakfast. Owned and operated by Rhonda Kelly, mother of racer Nathan Kelly, history lovers will be amazed at the accommodations in their home that is more than 150 years old. And breakfast? Oh, that alone is worth the drive!
More info: https://www.ckranb.com/
Canadian Open – Jim Russell Karting Academy
July 18-21 / Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
There are only two Rotax Max races this summer in the eastern half of North America and both are on my list.
First, there is so much to love about Mont-Tremblant, Quebec and the Jim Russell Karting Academy circuit that adding a qualifier to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals is just serious icing on the cake. The event last year was put together a little last minute and it wasn’t as well attended as it should’ve been, but this year will be much better. I’m expecting the best two-cycle racers from Quebec and Ontario, as well as a number of drivers from the USA to be in attendance, boosting the competition level for those looking to represent the country at the annual Rotax Grand Finals, held this year in Italy!
Briggs 206 racers should know that this event is equally for them too, with great prizes available to be won. The schedule is a little more accommodating to the Briggs racers as well, with the organizers knowing that it’s difficult to take a lot of time off work to travel to this event. So just because the Briggs racers are on track for one less day, doesn’t mean you are less important. It’s all about the financials.
Finally, Kudo’s to the Jim Russell Karting Academy staff who worked hard to adjust the date of the event to ensure it didn’t conflict with any other major races this year.
Rotax Stars and Stripes Open – PITT Raceway
August 1-4 / Beaverun, Pennsylvania
The second Rotax Max Challenge race of the year takes place across the border in Pennsylvania, but don’t worry, PITT Raceway really isn’t that far from Toronto or even Montreal. So why not try your hand at Qualifying for Team Canada at the Rotax Stars and Stripes Open?
J3 Competition has been doing a great job marketing and rebuilding the foundation for the Rotax Max brand in the USA and is expecting a great turnout of racers, similar to the US Open of New Jersey last summer. Once again, two sets of Rotax Grand Finals tickets are up for grabs, one specifically for drivers from the USA and a second available to everyone.
I haven’t been to PITT Raceway in over a decade, so that also has me excited to get back to a venue with great history and an awesome layout that is sure to challenge the best of racers who want to Qualify for Italy!