Parkas over race suits, and toques under helmets were the order of the day as a cool, wet 5℃ greeted drivers during the first races of the Canadian Tire Eastern Ontario Karting Championship season held on Sunday, April 30 in Smiths Falls, Ontario.
The Lombardy Karting Association series was launched with the Spec Seniors races first. This low-cost class runs slick tires only. The drivers took turns delighting the spectators with plenty of spin-outs in the cool, light rain. After two qualifying races, it was James Smith of Perth, Ontario who prevailed with first place in the 18-lap feature. Trevor Ceasen was second. Todd Ceasen came third.
Eight Junior Class drivers ran three races on the 850-metre Eastern Ontario go-kart track. Alex Gutknecht of Greely, Ontario proved to be the rain master in the first two qualifying races, running away from the field of 11 to 15 year-olds, even lapping a few. In the afternoon feature, Gutknecht led from the pole but Zander Stevens of Perth, Ontario hung onto his tail and would not let go. The two drivers showed superb driving in the wet and were exciting to watch, swapping the lead several times and lapping back markers. Near the end, Gutknecht pulled out a well-earned victory ahead of Stevens. Nathan Glover of Richmond, Ontario was third.
Only three drivers entered the Novice Class races, ages 7-11, but what a perfectly-matched trio they were. The three stayed welded together in a synchronized rain dance for much of their qualifying races until spins would take one of them out. In the feature event, the three were glued again with average lap speeds over 70 kph on the ten-turn track. At the half-way mark, Linkin Stevens of Perth, Ontario and Harry Kirton from St. Lazare, Quebec dragged each other side-by-side down the Lombardy track front straight, chased closely by Kinburn, Ontario’s Jake McNeely. Neither front driver let up into turn one resulting in Kirton sliding into the weeds. McNeely grabbed the lead past Stevens and hung on for the win.
Tyson Stevens of Perth, Ontario, last year’s Eastern Ontario Senior’s Champion, demonstrated his skill in the wet by winning a Senior Feature race shootout over Yan Arsenault from Hawkesbury, Ontario.
Thank you to Series Sponsor Canadian Tire and Race #1 Sponsor C2 Karting, and to everyone who braved the rotten weather to begin the season.
Race Series #2 of the Canadian Tire Eastern Ontario Karting Championships will be held at the Lombardy Karting Association’s sweet little track on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14, 2017. Open practice is on Saturday, May 13. ASN license holders welcome. Bring your mom. Family fun is the norm. For more information, check out: www.lombardykarting.com.
Photos by Tina Stevens / Article by Garth Wallace