Nestled deep in the woods of the small town called Saint-Celestin, this could have been the busiest weekend it has witnessed in decades. On the small side road that leads only to the SC Performance karting circuit, there was barely enough space to drive down, as cars lined both sides of the road by competitors, friends and race fans.
With just under 100 entries filling the paddock, which is still a work in progress for the Couturier family, it was a packed house for the first major event held at their track. It’s been busy before, but not like this, and it was awesome to see for a new karting track.
The product on track was great too. Exciting battles on a style of circuit that the majority if racers are not used to. It was a new challenge and from what we heard, the drivers took a liking to the tricky circuit too.
Mother Nature delivered a healthy downpour of rain Saturday afternoon and throughout the night. That meant a wet start to the day and some pesky puddles that needed to be pumped away. The very saturated grounds at SC Performance have seen plenty of rain this Spring and more than a few karts found out just how wet it was off track when big mistakes turned into soaking wet race suits and partially submerged karts. However, from Qualifying on, every session was on a dry race track.
Nine categories took to the track and once again, the main point of focus was on Briggs Senior, with 22 karts in class.
Round one winner Kelsey Hann led the way in Qualifying and the PreFinal and had her Gerald Caseley Racing teammate Aaron Kennedy to her right on the front row for the Final. Kennedy was challenged early by Maxime Couturier and Sabrina Caron and once by, they didn’t wait to attack the race leader too. Some great passing saw Hann holding on desperately to the lead until Kennedy made a move in turn nine. Couturier followed through on the exit of the corner and as they went two-wide through the following kink, Hann was forced onto the curb…until the curb ran out and she dropped off the track into a huge puddle. Instantly her engine shut off and while she tried to pull it back to life, there was no luck and her race was over.
Kennedy and Couturier continued all the way to the checkered flag, where the East Coast driver came out on top of the local. Caron barely held on to third as Mikael Aubin-Poirier made a late charge for the spot while Alex Rassi rounded out the top-five. From the rear of the grid, Eric Lessard had a great drive to take sixth.
There was a great head-to-head battle in Briggs Cadet as Lucas Deslongchamps and Zachary Hitchcock put their best efforts on the track. It took a couple starts to get the group to green flag racing, and that, unfortunately, saw the end of the race before it even started for Ethan Lowther and Louis David Boucher. Once green, Deslongchamps held the early lead with Hitchcock all over him. Hitchcock took the lead at halfway and Deslongchamps calmly waited until the final lap to make another pass. However, he just didn’t have enough for the race leader as Hitchcock scored his second win in a row.
Rotax Junior Max and Senior Max saw dominating efforts by the race leaders. Justin Arseneau was back for more Coupe de Montreal action before jetting off to Europe and he cruised to the Junior Max win over race one winner Simon Beaudoin and Callum Baxter. Senior Max featured a beautiful drive by Vincent Desautels to take the checkered flag four seconds ahead of Alexandre Couturier with Christophe Heront third. Stephen Potvin steered to the win in Masters Max.
Isaac Teed added to his championship lead in Junior Briggs as he jumped out to an early lead in the Final and never looked back, eventually winning by five seconds. Ben Cooper Racing teammates Mathieu Cousineau and Yu Chen Ye took second and third.
Serge Boisvert is now two-for-two in Briggs Masters as he overtook Eric Beltrami to take the race win. Steve Desroches was also in the mix and took third.
Rounding out the racer winners were Frederick Sylvestre in Rotax DD2, Etienne LaSalle in Rotax DD2 Masters and Nicholas Bedard in Open Shifter. All three were in their element on Sunday and showed great control en route to their victories.
With the first two races of the season now complete, the Coupe de Montreal has a one-month break until round three. Circuit ICAR will host Quebec’s best kart racers on June 23 for the first of two events at the fun airport circuit. More information about the Coupe de Montreal can be found on their website, http://coupedemontreal.com.