Mother Nature greeted nearly 200 karters to Goodwood Kartways on Saturday morning with gloomy, overcast skies and the threat of a rainfall at any moment throughout the day as the first race of the Champion Ron Fellows Karting Challenge got underway. But remarkably, not a full rain drop fell throughout the day, even if a few times there was the feeling of mist in the air, meaning all of the races were held on a dry and fast Goodwood Kartways circuit.
Announced at the morning drivers meeting, it was the largest turnout of drivers the CRFKC has featured at their opening round, with a great draw of both Briggs & Stratton and Rotax Max drivers in attendance, traveling from many kart clubs across the region.
After a quick round of warm-up for all classes, the race day quickly began with Qualifying for all ten categories on hand to set the grids for the PreFinal and then Final races.
Here are our highlights from the days action just north of Toronto, Ontario.
Briggs & Stratton Junior featured a wicked 41 karts and enough action to keep everyone on their toes as the class continues to grow and showcase great promise for the future of our sport. Logan Ploder set the fast time in Qualifying as the top six karts were separated by less and a 0.15 seconds! But in the PreFinal it was the pair of Prime Powerteam drivers Jordan Prior and Liam Ortlieb who led the way and earned the front row for the Final. A great battle waged from the start as karts were pointing in every direction on the opening lap and Gianluca Savaglio made a hole to earn the initial lead. Great battling eventually saw Nicky Palladino cross in first, but he completed a pass under yellow and was demoted to second at the podium and Savaglio scored the win while Ploder took home third.
In the first feature race of the new Rotax Mini-Max class, there were 13 karts in attendance and that too shows great promise for the future of those racing in two-cycle and gives us high hopes for the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship opener this coming weekend. Marcello Paniccia and Austin Boyle went head-to-head with Paniccia posting fast time in Qualy only for Boyle to win the drag race to the line in the PreFinal. However in the Final, Paniccia turned it up a notch and pulled away to victory over Boyle with Justin Arseneau third.
There were a number of red flags on Saturday as the tight racing and big grids did create a few problems on the Goodwood circuit, especially in the first big race of the year and unfortunately that meant a premature ending to a few of the Finals including the 36-strong Briggs Senior class. Taylor Gates started the Final from the outside of the front row, but he quickly went to the lead and was pushed by Marco Di Leo. While the two began to break way and set up their moves for the final laps, the red flag flew on lap eight and didn’t give either a chance to really show off their moves, something we were quite amped up for. Gates scored the win followed by Di Leo and Alex Murphy, who started the Final from the pole-position. For his efforts on the day, Gates earned the Pfaff Motorsports Senior Driver of the Day award.
One issue that came into the eyes of the race stewards was tire scrubbing as drivers tried everything to gain heat on the short pace laps. A big no-no, many drivers were penalized and reminded that tire scrubbing is not allowed.
Another class that continues to grow is the newly minted Briggs Junior Lite category. On Saturday, 29 drivers lined up to race and when the checkered flag flew it was Connor Pritiko who stormed to the win, his first big race victory. Lily Fintoff was runner-up in both the PreFinal and Final to Pritiko as she didn’t make a move for the lead before a red flag flew to end the race early. Nicholas Christodoulou was third. Pritiko’s efforts were noted as he also took home the Pfaff Motorsports Junior Driver of the Day award.
Ryan MacDermid had a very busy winter season and his experience showed at Goodwood as he dominated the Rotax Senior class. He took home the Final win by more than five seconds over Davide Greco, who was penalized for contact and demoted to third after the race, moving Russell Boyle to second. With 18 Rotax Senior drivers in attendance, we’re hoping the majority of them return for ECKC to race for a spot on Team Canada this season. Alex Mankovski took home top honours in Rotax Masters.
In Briggs Cadet, Ayden Ingratta lapped more than a second quicker than his competition to take the win. The race featured Jordan Di Leo, son of Goodwood Kartways owner Daniel Di Leo, who was making his CRFKC debut and finished second with Kolbey Twa completing the podium for the youngest drivers racing on Saturday.
Other race winners on the day included David Anderson in Briggs Masters, Kai Dalziel in Rotax Junior and Tyler Kashak in Rotax DD2 with all three drivers leading flag-to-flag in their respective categories.
Round two of the Champion Ron Fellows Karting Challenge takes place at Mosport Kartways on Saturday July 8 while Goodwood Kartways will host the first stop of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship this coming weekend.