Intrepid North America wrapped up its Eastern Canadian Karting Championship campaign over the weekend as the team travelled to Quebec for the 14th Annual Monaco de Trois-Rivières. Kicking off race week at the famed Canadian street event, Intrepid drivers scored three more wins, six more podiums and qualified their first driver of the season for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals to be held in Portugal this November. The team had a number of impressive results as final points were tallied as well, and had four of its drivers involved in the final podium celebrations.
“It’s just been another great Eastern Canadian Championship for the entire Intrepid North America Team,” said team Manager Marco Di Leo, himself once again the champion in Rotax Senior. “Without question we’ve shown the Intrepid package is a frontrunner, and to be inside the top four in every Rotax category from Micro to DD2 is really fantastic. Also, for HRS Canada to win the two largest and most coveted classes of Junior and Senior really shows how hard we’ve worked on our engine program and that we can obviously provide the ponies to get the job done!”
Looking at those Championship tallies, Matthew Barry and Xavier Harris were second and third in Micro-Max, Austin Riley was second in Mini-Max, Tyler Kashak was fourth in Junior, Enrico Menotti was fourth in DD2, and Di Leo was Champion in Senior after emerging victorious from his third consecutive showdown at the series finale.
“It feels great to win the championship on the road for sure!” Di Leo said after scoring his eighth ECKC win, but his first outside the Ontario tracks he grew up on. “It was a hard fought championship with Steven Szigeti, just like it was in 2010 with Pier-Luc Ouellette and last season with Kevin Monteith, and to come out alive and on the top step again feels great. This year I will head to the Grand Finals more prepared than ever and after being a top-ten runner in Al Ain, this year I would like to break into the top five, where certainly with a little luck you can win it!”
Speaking of an ability to win it, a pair of Intrepid Quebec drivers showed the way on Saturday at Trois-Rivières as Francis Mondou scored a coveted Monaco win in Masters DD2 and was joined on the podium by teammate Dany St.Hilaire. It was the third time in five starts Intrepid Quebec has won this season, and the second time the pair have been on the podium together.
“After five podiums in five years, it feels very good to finally get to the right step!” Mondou said following the race. “It’s a very special win for sure, as I made my comeback to karting just because of these street races – this one and the one in Shawinigan, my hometown. Last season I made the podium in every race but Tremblant, but this season has been frustrating for me with making mistakes. I have stayed positive because the speed is always there, and winning Le Monaco is just a blessing for me! Also, the pressure of leading all 22 laps on that track with the walls so close is very good preparation for Nationals at the end of the month!”
Matthew Barry also crossed in third on opening day, and Tyler Kashak showed he would be a force in Junior after reaching the podium as well. The Intrepid Junior driver also impressed in Sunday qualifying, just missing pole position in what became an all-HRS Engines front row.
“I really enjoyed the Trois-Rivières track and hitting the podium was easily the highlight of the weekend,” he said afterward. “It was my first experience on a temporary track in Rotax, and I found with help from the team I was able to adapt to the new layout very quickly. I was pleased to be among the frontrunners both days, and to finish within the top five in final points after just my second year of Rotax is a great accomplishment in my eyes.”
A great accomplishment to be sure, and as Canadian Juniors start to qualify for Grand Finals and the trickle-down effect begins, being among the National frontrunners gives Kashak a shot at the ultimate Rotax prize heading to the upcoming Canadian National Championships – an invitation to join Team Canada.
“Anything is possible and I will be heading to the Nationals with a good head of steam after a great Trois-Rivières event,” he said in looking forward. “It would be like a dream come true to earn a ticket to the Worlds, and it is my ultimate goal heading to the event at Mont-Tremblant. I will approach the Nationals pushing the hardest I can.”
Along with the wins by Di Leo and Mondou, and podiums by St. Hilaire and Kashak, both Matthew Barry and Xavier Harris were on the podium Sunday, Barry after scoring his first National win. Jumping to the lead when the green flag waved in Micro-Max, Barry had clear sailing after most of the field collected in turn two behind him, and never put a wheel wrong over fifteen laps. The result helped him to second in the championship, and Harris was both third on the day and third in the championship, giving both young Intrepid drivers two trips up the podium to close the ECKC season.
Intrepid North America now turns its attention to the Canadian National Karting Championships in Mont-Tremblant where it will once again set its sights on the podium and adding to its Grand Finals roster. For more information on arrive-and-drive positions at Nationals or HRS Engine rentals, please visit intrepidnorthamerica.com.
*Team Facts: Intrepid North America is based at Goodwood Kartways in Stouffville, Ontario, Canada, where drivers can progress from turning rental kart laps to world championships. The Intrepid North America race team represents the facility at National and International Championships like the Florida Winter Tour, Pan-American Rotax Max Challenge, Eastern Canadian Karting Championship and Canadian National Championships.
It has also had drivers contest the SuperKarts! USA SuperNationals, the World Karting Association Manufacturer’s Cup, the Rotax European Championship, the Rotax International Open Championship and the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. Intrepid North America operates in conjunction with IPKarting SRL, HRS Racing Engines, IMAF Racing Seats and Intremax.
Intrepid North America Team Results, Coupe de Quebec Race 5, ECKC Race 6
Le Monaco de Trois-Rivières
Matthew Barry – 10th, 1st, ECKC Vice-Champion
Xavier Harris – 3rd
Austin Riley – 7th, 8th, ECKC Vice-Champion
Tyler Kashak – 3rd, 6th
Marco Signoretti – 16th, 25th
Marco Di Leo – 4th, 1st, ECKC Champion
Max Preston – 9th, 6th
Aleki Liverant – 19th, 12th
Enrico Menotti – 9th, 10th
Intrepid Quebec – Coupe de Quebec
Rotax DD2 Masters
Francis Mondou – 1st
Dany St.Hilaire – 3rd
Hugo Parent – 12th