Most people have their mid-life crisis in their forties or fifties, but for a then 26-year old Trevor Pace that was too long to wait. While working in Waterloo as an analog microchip designer he was made aware of a corporate sponsorship of a Formula 1 team and decided to try watching a race. Within a matter of weeks watching one series became watching 30+ different series, everything from touring cars to rally cars – if they turned right it was worth watching. Every single series had one thing in common: almost every driver had started in karts. This fact reminded him of his own childhood. A childhood of being too short to drive the karts at the really sketchy fun-land in rural Nova Scotia. A childhood of watching his older brother get to drive a kart by himself, at a blistering 25km/h. But that would soon change as he ended up competing in over 20 races with the Mosport Kartways Arrive & Drive Series (CRKC) in 2016. For the 2017 season, Trevor joined the Mosport Kartways Scholarship Team in the Rotax/Rok Senior class, getting his first club-level podium in the last race of the year. As preparation for 2018 karting season he competed in all three rounds of the Florida Winter Tour and now for the 2018 Canadian karting season, Trevor has joined with Racing Edge Motorsports.
Trevor Pace has joined CKN as a guest blogger with his “Pace Notes” series providing driver and technical insights for the 2018 Canadian karting season.
If you can only compete in one series this year it has to be the Champion Ron Fellows Karting Challenge (CRFKC).
When I got out of bed at 6:00 am last year to make the drive to Goodwood Kartways for my first CRFKC event I assumed it would be like any other club race; just with a few more people from Mosport Kartways joining in. But when I arrived at the track I was immediately surprised to see that no longer was the paddock a scatter of personal trailers, like neglected boats in the yard of a yacht club. Instead, they were now replaced with clean and shiny tents of varying size and colours; all packed next to each other trying to get as close to as possible to the action. This was clearly not just going to be a regular club race.
Or was it? As someone who performs the dual role of driver and mechanic, I need to manage my time, so the schedule for the day is extremely important. And this schedule didn’t seem that much different than a club race. Sure, the day started 30 minutes earlier than normal, but registration was 15 minutes after the gates opened. The drivers meeting was at 9:30 am, and karts hit the track at 10 am sharp in compliance with the local sound ordinances. In fact, the schedule of on-track sessions for the day was exactly the same as a club race: practice, qualifying, pre-final, and final.
So why was there so many team tents if it was just going to be a regular club race?
When I hit the track for the practice session I got the first answer to that question. Not only was there the usual drivers from TRAK and MIKA passing me like I was a human chicane (it was my first season after all). But there was a whole other group of drivers clearly in a league of their own for me to unintentionally impede. Drivers from Hamilton to Ottawa, and everywhere in between.
“…I was a human chicane…”
For many experienced karters, operating on a limited budget, the CRFKC is the perfect balance between cost and competition. Unlike National-level events, where tires are mandatory with registration and the total weekend can add up to between $1000-$5000, the CRFKC events are held on a single-day at tracks drivers are familiar with. You can show up with a used set of tires, pay the registration and just race. The tracks, while they do see some use in the days before the event, are not typically heavily rubbered in so inexperienced drivers will not have to make significant setup changes to “free-up” the kart.
You basically end up with the best of both worlds: tracks that everyone can compete on, at a cost which attracts experienced drivers. Attendance for the events is also probably the highest you will see all season, with more than 30 drivers in the junior/senior Briggs & Stratton classes, and the new Rok engine package looks to have leveled out the playing field and should hopefully attract even more competitors.
To cap it off each event of the four-round CRFKC series in 2017 had a great podium ceremony where prizes were raffled off to drivers, including, but not limited to, sets of tires, a new Briggs & Stratton engine, and registration fees for later events in the season. When specific details for the first event of the 2018 season are released I’m hopeful that we will see something similar!
For the 2018 season, the CRFKC has been expanded to add a fifth event, to be held in early June at the Hamilton Karting Complex, something which I think a lot of people are looking forward to it. It’s always fun to drive a new track and should make it extra challenging for those of us that spend the whole season lapping the same two tracks.
On a personal note, the first round of the CRFKC, to be held May 13th at Goodwood Kartways, will be the first real chance for me to test what I learned from the 2018 Florida Winter Tour against more experienced drivers.
I look forward to seeing you at the track!
– Trevor Pace
For further details and updates on the CRFKC check out the new series website at http://www.kartsportontario.ca.