Today we preview the second of four Canadian Champions who will be travelling to Valencia, Spain for the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, back-to-back Rotax Senior Champion Zachary Claman DeMelo.
For those who thought DeMelo’s 2013 season was impressive, his campaign in 2014 was nothing short of remarkable. DeMelo delivered a knock-out victory at the ASN Canadian National Championships, a championship in the Florida Winter Tour, stood on the podium in European competition finishing third at the Rotax Euro Challenge in Zuera, Spain and for the fifth year in a row DeMelo was crowned an Eastern Canadian Karting Championship Champion scoring an impressive five wins in the first six races en route to the title.
In every competition DeMelo entered in 2014, he was considered a threat while competing on an Intrepid Kart surrounded by OTK products around the world.
After globetrotting the world from January to November, DeMelo enters this years Grand Finals as the most prepared and confident he has ever been. He competed in races nearly every weekend in 2014 and while his focus shifts to an open-wheel car racing career after the Rotax Grand Finals, DeMelo aims to close out his karting career with a victory at the prestigious Rotax Grand Finals.
Name: Zachary Claman DeMelo
Division: Rotax Senior
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Years racing: 7
Race team: Intrepid Factory/Goodwood Kartways
Past invitations to RMCGF: UAE (did not attend), Portugal (2012), USA (2013)
Career highlights: FWT Champion (2014 TaG Senior), 3x Canadian Karting Champion (201o Mini-Max, 2013 & 2014 Rotax Senior), 5x ECKC Champion (2010 Mini-Max, 2011 & 2012 Rotax Junior, 2013 & 2014 Rotax Senior), Rotax Euromax Podium (Spain, 2014 Rotax Senior).
Like his fellow Team Canada teammate Gianfranco Mazzaferro, DeMelo was very relieved after confirming his ticket at the Canadian Championships. “After I got the ticket the feeling was great it’s like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I was finally qualified and had nothing else to worry about.”
“In the previous Grand Finals more than anything I just gained so much experience and I understand the race a lot more now. I honestly expect to go to the Grand Finals this year and be a contender for the win.”
Much of the success DeMelo has accomplished over the past five years has come from the support of those around him. For this years Grand Finals, he will once again have a great group of supporters helping him work towards his goal of becoming champion. “I will have my same team as always with me, working with the engines Nigel Horner from HRS who was been with me for about four years now and he is not only incredible at what he does but amazing off the track we have a strong relationship and that helps. For mechanic I will have Martin Reuvers who I have a very strong relationship with and we work well together. Last I have my coach Mike Wilson, who is a six-time karting World Champion and is also like a father to me which sums up our relationship.”
When DeMelo competed in Portugal 2012 he raced on a Birel chassis and while this years chassis is not the same model, the previous experience gives him confidence entering the Grand Finals. “I have tested the Birel before in past Grand Finals and I had good pace on it. I think everyone being on the same chassis is a very good concept as the driver has very little they can blame and the event really gives everyone a shot at winning.”
With all of his racing in 2014, DeMelo has even had the opportunity to test at the Kartodromo Lucas Guerrero, another step in his preparation for this years Grand Finals.
And finally, with two Grand Finals appearances in his pocket he has some advice for his fellow teammates who are making the trip for the first time. “If it’s your first time I would really just recommend going and gaining experience. You learn so much at the Grand Finals and to be racing with many very good drivers is a great experience, so just push to do your best and take in every learning opportunity you can.”
Through the month of November CKN has full coverage of the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals and Team Canada. CKN will be trackside in Valencia, Spain from November 23-30 to bring you all the action on http://canadiankartingnews.com and on our social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.