This was it. This was the year for Matthew Taskinen to go for it and finally reach his goal of making it to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. It was his third season in Rotax Junior and everything built up to 2016.
In a breakout season for Matthew Taskinen, perseverance paid off as a near-perfect Rotax Junior season in the CAN-AM Karting Challenge to secure his first invitation to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, held this year in Sarno, Italy, just outside of Naples.
As one of only seven Team Canada rookies traveling to Italy this week to compete in the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, Taskinen is new shoes when he lands in Italy for his first European karting venture, but nonetheless he’s still excited just to be competing at the largest Rotax Max Challenge event in the world.
“It felt really good knowing that all the hard work and all the time that my family has put into my karting has been rewarded with a trip to the Rotax Grand Finals,” elaborates Taskinen who hails from Leduc, Alberta. “I feel proud to be a part of Team Canada and look forward to representing Canada as I compete against some of the world’s best drivers.”
Staying in the western half of North America for most of the season, Taskinen began his year at the Challenge of the Americas in the winter months, finishing on the podium in five of the six races, but finishing only third in the championship. With an added boost of momentum, Taskinen took on races in his home province of Alberta along with the CAN-AM Karting Challenge.
After a setback in the first race day, Taskinen went on a tear winning three straight races leading up the championship finale where a third place finish was more than enough to secure the title and take home the ticket to Italy. He also had a strong run at the Canadian Championships in Mont-Tremblant.
Staying in a kart as much as possible before the Grand Finals has been important for him as well to prepare for the biggest race of his career.
“I have been training hard with my team to prepare me for the challenges and the style of racing I can expect in Italy.”
And he has simple goals for his first crack at the Rotax Grand Finals.
“Obviously I want to do the best I can, winning would be my ultimate goal, but if I can put in a good performance knowing that I put in the best effort I could, I would be happy.”
Finally, with karting a family sport, travelling to Italy is an opportunity for more than just karting.
“As this will be the first time in Italy for some of my family, we have plans to spend a few days travelling from Rome to Naples for some sightseeing and to experience the people and food of Italy.”
The Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals runs from October 16 to 22 in Sarno, Italy. Team Canada has qualified 17 drivers to compete in the event and CKN is the official media partner for Team Canada covering every aspect of the event. Tune in often as we preview members of the team travelling to Italy.