It was a wonderful day for racing at SH Karting in Mont Saint-Hilaire on Sunday as the Quebec karting season officially got underway. It was a joint event between the Coupe de Montreal and the Championnat du Quebec, where an impressive 103 drivers from Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and even the USA took part.
The very seasoned SH Karting track took a little getting used to in practice for some drivers, as another wicked winter made the racing surface quite bumpy, but overall everyone was happy to be back at SH, a famous karting track with decades of history and the starting grounds for many of Quebec’s kart racers.
From Briggs Cadet to Open Shifter, the action on track was exciting and for many new drivers, they were welcomed with open arms from the organizers and fellow racers.
Here’s how the Final races unfolded on Sunday.
Bellafquih Leads Every Lap to Briggs Cadet Win
He was pressured early by his young rivals Zachary Hitchcock and Lucas Deslongchamps but Adam Bellafquih didn’t crack. Leading every lap of the Final, Bellafquih became the first winner of the Coupe de Montreal and Coupe de Quebec season, scoring the win in Briggs 206 Cadet on Sunday at SH Karting.
In the race for second, Hitchcock and Deslongchamps ran nose to tail until about halfway when Deslongchamps made a pass for second in turn one, but ran wide on the exit and found the tire barrier. While he was able to resume, he surrendered the podium result, which went to Victor Baril. At the finish Thomas Lemaire was fourth, followed by Delongchamps and Branson Heatherington.
A turnout of six drivers showed growth for the youngest category at the Coupe de Montreal, with a few more expected to join the action throughout the summer.
East Coasters Control Briggs Junior Final
Four Briggs Junior drivers from Eastern Canada made the trek to SH with Gerald Caseley Racing and they quickly found themselves leading the way. Kelsey Hann started from the pole position after winning the PreFinal, but she was under attack from Isaac Teed. Unfortunately for Owen Mahar and William Lowther, their chances at victory ended on lap four when battling for third, they both ran wide on the exit of turn one and found the tire barriers, ending their races on the spot.
Hann led until lap eleven when she and Teed came across lapped traffic. The two split the lap kart with Teed getting the upper hand and gaining the lead. With only two laps left, Teed then controlled the lead and managed to keep Hann behind, en route to the victory. Juliano Vinci had a superb final lap to vault up to third place and onto the podium, while Zack Lalonde and Nalin Shah completed the top-five.
Mathieu Demers in Mid-Season Form in Briggs Senior
Previously a Briggs Masters driver, Mathieu Demers decided to return to Briggs Senior in 2018 and in his first race, he did it with authority, controlling the pace all day long and coming home with the big victory, by a significant margin.
Mickael Aubin-Poirer initially challenged Demers after the green flag waved. The two karts broke free as tussles occurred from third place on back. However as the laps ticked off in the 15-lap sprint, Demers pulled away and scored the victory by 2.5 seconds. Poirer narrowly held on for second as the drafting pack closed in on the final laps. Sabrina Caron brought home her kart in third, Frederick Sylvestre was fourth and Genevieve Beland rounded out the top-five of the 22-kart entry list.
In Briggs & Stratton Masters there was a drag race to the finish line as Steve Desroches narrowly beat Simon Pepin by 0.073 seconds! Initially, that was a race for second, as Eric Danjou crossed the finish line just ahead in first. However, Danjou was excluded in tech, awarding the win to Desroches. Dave Goddard was third.
Sixteen Open Shifters Lead by Davide Greco
Ontario driver Davide Greco was the man to beat in Open Shifter as eight Seniors and eight Masters lined up in front of the crowd for the standing start. From the front row, Greco got away cleanly and from there, never looked back, as his PSL Karting-BirelART machine was lightning fast.
Four seconds adrift, second place went to Patrick Woods-Toth followed by Dominic Legrand, who was further down the road.
In the race for the Master’s win, Dany St-Hilaire was racing amongst some of the Seniors. He would take the category win over Christian Gysi and Martin Clair.
Marritt and LaSalle Lead the way in Rotax DD2
In a field full of BirelART machinery, Rotax DD2 and DD2 Masters displayed great racing throughout the entire pack.
But there were two drivers who stood out from the pack, as Isaac Marritt and Ettienne LaSalle pulled away and earned the victories in their respective classes.
Marritt made the drive from Toronto worth it as he would pull out to an 18-second victory over his closest rival in Rotax DD2. Second place would go to Alexandre Gauthier, followed by Raphael St-Pierre.
LaSalle was actually much closer to Marritt in his race, crossing the finish line six seconds behind the overall race winning and 16-seconds ahead of second place in DD2 Masters. Fabio Casanova did cross the finish line in second but earned a penalty for scrubbing his tires on the pace lap, so he surrendered second Vivien Chevallier in the final results.
Poirer Controls Rotax Senior Max; Perron and Perron win in Rotax Junior and Masters
Another driver to dominate on Sunday was Marc-Antoine Poirer. The driver Rotax Senior Max was unstoppable in his Final, lapping nearly a second a lap quicker than his rivals en route to the victory by ten seconds. The much more experienced Poirer was joined on the podium by Vicent Desautels and Freddy Dubuisson, who enjoyed a spirited battle all race long for the second position.
There was a last minute addition of the Rotax Max Masters category to the Coupe de Montreal and five drivers made the start on Sunday. Leading the way was Stephane Perron who finished just ahead of François Chamberland with Martin Demanche third.
Finally, the Rotax Junior Max category featured four karts on track and it too was won by a Perron. Alex Marcil Perron, the son of Stephane Perron, was the victor over Vincent Girouard, Tommy Robert, and Mikael Labelle.
The next round of the Coupe de Montreal will take place on June 3 at SRA Karting while the Championnat du Quebec will resume in two weeks time with a race at Saint Celestin on May 20.