With the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship kicking off this weekend, Rotax Max racers in Canada begin their campaigns to qualify for a position on Team Canada for this years Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, held in Portimao, Portugal this fall.
As the defending RMCGF Nations Cup Champions, Canada has some big shoes to fill to repeat the title but we are off to a great start with two drivers already confirmed.
Courtesy of their efforts at the US Open of Las Vegas last November, Ryan MacDermid and Zachary Claman DeMelo secured the first tickets available for Portugal. DeMelo delivered the victory in the Final of the Rotax DD2 race while MacDermid was runner-up in Rotax Junior. A unique situation moved MacDermid into the position for the ticket several months later. He will also compete in Rotax Senior at the Grand Finals after the age range change that occurred at the end of the 2016 season.
“Finding out that I had a ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals was one of the biggest surprises of my karting career. I did not find out until leaving West Palm Beach after racing the FWT. Knowing that I have the ticket going into the start of the Canadian season is a massive relief for me. Now I can race without worry of not earning a spot on team Canada.”
Last year, MacDermid qualified on the pole-position in Rotax Junior in Italy and his results in the heat races as well really helped Canada in the Nations Cup standings. It will be his second trip to the Rotax Grand Finals.
For DeMelo, who is now actively racing cars in Indy Lights, the Grand Finals is a chance for him to jump back in a kart and have some fun. He has been successful in the past, finishing third in Rotax Senior in 2014 when the race was held in Spain. 2017 will be his first attempt to race in Rotax DD2 at the Grand Finals.
Update 5:30PM: From the Florida Winter Tour, Jeffrey Kingsley secured the Rotax DD2 Championship and is the third driver to qualify for the 2017 Rotax Grand Finals for Canada.
Canadian drivers will have to race all three of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship along with the ASN Canadian National Karting Championships in order to qualify as only one ticket is up for grabs this year in Rotax Mini-Max, Rotax Junior, Rotax Senior and Rotax DD2 Masters. For those racing in Rotax DD2, the ECKC Champion and ASN Canadian National Champion will be awarded tickets. The highest ranking age eligible driver from Mini-Max will represent Canada in Rotax Micro-Max.
Canadians can also qualify via the joint event between the US Open and US Rotax Grand Nationals held from June 22-25 at the New Jersey Motorsports Park.