Growing up in karting for me was definitely a different experience in comparison to today’s norm where all the races have primarily competed at two facilities in the Ontario region. While times might be different, the one thing I truly appreciated from my time growing up in karting was the number of tracks in Ontario I was able to race at including my personal favourite, the Canadian Mini Indy. This coming weekend CMI will be host to the second round of the Champion Ron Fellow Karting Challenge, marking the first time since 2008 the facility has hosted a regional karting event.
My first time going to the Hamilton-based facility was in 2003 when I was a Novice racing the Ontario Kart Development Group championship. From that first weekend to the last race I attended at the track I can confidently say it was one of the best flowing tracks in Ontario and the racing was on par as well. No matter what class was on track there was always a close battle for the win and the facility was also home to one of the most dominant teams in the paddock. In 2007 the then named Cameron Motorsports Park was also the host facility for the ASN Canadian National Karting Championship.
Unfortunately, after the Ontario Kart Racing Championship race in 2008, the facility stopped hosting major events. Quite frankly, in my eyes, it was truly unfortunate to lose such a great facility and a track that everyone enjoyed racing on.
Between that last race and now the facility has remained home to the original Canadian Rookie Karting Championship and has fed likes of Luke Chudleigh, Fred Woodley, Stuart Clark, and many others who have found success in the National ranks and have represented Canada at the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. Through the guidance and tireless efforts of Trevor Wickens, these drivers were able to come out of this facility and grow into Canadian karting success stories. While to many in the industry Trevor has been the face they have seen from the facility there is also Danielle Duffy who has been working tirelessly in the background in order to continue promoting the sport while growing the rookie series and eliminating the ghosts of the past.
“I do believe that by Sunday night there are a lot of people who are going to be glad they took a chance and traveled to Hamilton.”
For Trevor and Danielle, the opportunity to host this weekend’s Champion Ron Fellows Karting Challenge was a big deal. Without the help of outside funding, they have put in the investment to repave sections of the track in order to make the racing surface better for competitors. In addition, the duo has been making upgrades to the facility by sodding the track, putting in a new scale house, installing paddock-wide wifi and getting new timing system for scoring. Quite frankly with all the work, they have put into the facility I do believe that by Sunday night there are a lot of people who are going to be glad they took a chance and traveled to Hamilton for a new experience.
For me, what made weekends fun for so many was the extra activities that were at the facility for karters and spectators alike to be involved in. With racing over at 5:00 every night you would see groups of drivers and siblings head over to the amusement area of the circuit to enjoy a game of paintball or play in the arcade room. Also, the rental track would open up for racing to allow spectators to experience their need for speed after watching a day full of racing. In all honesty, I think it was also where I tried the Pepsi vs Coke challenge. In addition to the paintball and arcade the facility now also has a laser tag arena, bungee jumping, rock climbing, bubble soccer and many other cool attractions to make your weekend at the track a memorable one.
There is no other karting track in Ontario that can say they are on the same street as the major hotels and multiple restaurants, making it very friendly for out of town racers.
“So, for those who are making the trip, on the fence, or didn’t even think about racing at CMI on June 3, I say make the trip. It will be well worth it”
Your support will be greatly appreciated by two of the hardest working people in the industry. It pains me to be missing the event for a family wedding but I am excited for what is to see what’s to come for the facility and after attending the last weekend’s HRKC event, the racing will be amazing!