It was another spectacular day to cap off a great weak of racing at the 2016 ASN Open Canadian Karting Championships in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.
The weather couldn’t have been any better with clear blue skies and picture-perfect temperatures that included a light breeze.
On track, there was a full day of action, featuring ten Championship Finals to determine this years twelve Canadian Champions. In every category we were impressed with the action with the majority coming right down to the wire. There was more emotions in todays races than we have seen in years, including heartbreaks and headaches for some and fist pumps and celebrations for others. All in all, it was a superb weekend.
It was also noted that the medical unit did not move once all weekend and from the start of qualifying all the way to the final Championship race, there was not one red flag, that being a feat of it’s own and credit going to the drivers.
Here is our quick breakdown of the National Final races. If you missed part 1, click here.
To see the results from the weekend check out our Competitions section.
Rotax DD2/DD2 Masters
It appeared to be a pretty straight forward Rotax DD2 race as Natael Cantin jumped out to an early lead with his new PSL Karting teammate Davide Greco on his heels. After a great start, Alessandro Bizzotto jumped up from eighth on the grid to third by the close of lap one, but the leaders had broke free.
Cantin managed his laps well keeping a gap out front, but Greco faded as the laps ticked away and Bizzotto was able to reel him and work by down the back straight. And that is how it should have finished.
But it’s not.
Coming to the last lap board, Cantin through his hand in the air as if he had won the race. Rolling through corners one and two, he slowed down on the back straight as if he was going to shake hands with Bizzotto, until Bizzotto blew by him. Realizing the race wasn’t over, Cantin tried to get back up to speed, but Bizzotto was gone and a handful of corners later, Alessandro Bizzotto completed an impressive comeback weekend to take home the victory while Cantin was left distraught, giving away the victory. Greco completed the podium is his DD2 debut while Tyler Kashak and Didier Carre rounded out the top-five.
In the DD2 Masters race, it was all Scott Campbell. Seeking his twelfth trip to the Rotax Grand Finals, Campbell overtook an opening lap battle and then ran down many of the DD2 Seniors to easily take home the victory.
For their efforts, Bizzotto and Campbell will represent Team Canada at the Rotax Grand Finals in Italy.
Briggs & Stratton Masters
The late-race heartbreaks continued in the Briggs & Stratton Masters Final.
It was a smooth sailing Final where Marc Stehle, Jamie MacArthur and David Anderson broke free early on. Tucking in behind each other the trio had no issues getting away with MacArthur seeming content on waiting until the final lap.
But as the laps ticked away, Anderson faded away from the leaders as his kart handling began to fade.
And with only four laps left, Stehle had created small gap from MacArthur, that is until two laps to go. Hitting the curb in the chicane section just a little too hard, Stehle quickly slowed and eventually pulled into the grass after blowing a chain, ending his chances at defending the Canadian title. On his knees in the grass, you could just feel the pain Stehle was going through.
A lap later MacArthur was rounding his final tour all on his own and easily scored the win, his third Canadian title to his credit.
Anderson was all alone in second with Mario Martin taking the final podium step in third.
Briggs & Stratton Junior
Like their older counterparts, there was a crash at the start of the Junior Briggs Final and a large pack that erupted to create a lead pack.
Joshua Conquer came out on top early and he benefitted from some excitement behind him to open up a small lead only a few laps in. But it was short lived as the group behind drafted together to close back in on the leader and race for the National title was back in full swing.
Conquer led until just after the halfway point when heartbreak struck again on Championship Sunday. Overrunning an exit curb and upsetting his engine mount, Conquer slowed as he approached the start/finish line with a chain issue, pulling to the side and retiring from the lead and ending his chances of taking the ECKC and National title in the same year.
Fast forward a few laps later and the Juniors were all over each other as six karts duked it out for victory.
With a big push down the back straight, Mackenzie Clark worked by William Chayer to take the lead into corner three, but he overshot his exit and Zachary Vanier snuck by both Chayer and Clark to gain the advantage. Holding off the hard charging pack, even through the tight final three corners, Vanier exited the final corner with his hand in the air to celebrate his first Canadian title just ahead of Clark and Chayer at the line. Zach Latimer finished up fourth while Gianluca Savaglio was fifth, earning himself two top-five finishes on the day.
It took eighteen laps, but the Rotax Senior battle we all were hoping for finally happened, albeit it was short lived.
Marco Di Leo broke free early in the Final putting down a blistering pace at the start of the race. Behind, Jeff Kingsley and Gianfranco Mazzaferro traded the second spot as the PSL Karting teammates tried to see who had the better chance at catching Di Leo.
Kingsley held the spot for the majority of the first half until Mazzaferro made a big move down the back straight to regain the spot. Closing in by a tenth of a second wasn’t enough until five laps to go when Mazzaferro really pushed to close. It became very noticeable and as the last lap board came out, Mazzaferro had found the rear bumper of Di Leo’s.
With Di Leo defending on the inside down the long back straight, Mazzaferro closed right in and slipped to the outside almost clearing Di Leo by the time they got to the corner. But Di Leo kept the inside line and the ran side-by-side through the apex and up to the apex where Mazzaferro the two ran wide with Mazzaferro getting the worst of it and going through the grass. Di Leo held on and Kingsley overtook a sliding Mazzaferro for second and that is how the show ended as Di Leo successfully defended his National title from a year ago over Kingsley and Mazzaferro.
The title also earns Di Leo another opportunity to represent his country at the Rotax Grand Finals in Italy later this year.
Open Shifter/Open Shifter Masters
Quite possibly the fan favourite category of the weekend, Open Shifter was the final class to hit the track in Tremblant for their Final.
Off the line at the standing start, Frank Launi launched when the lights went off and he napped the lead from Jean-Francois Lafontaine. Down the back straight Lafontaine dove to the inside of corner three attempting to recover the lead he lost, but Launi held on. That is until turn five when he ran wide, after making contact with Lafontaine, and through the grass on the inside of six, allowing Chad Campbell to overtake both and take the lead.
But that was short lived as Lafontaine regained the point a lap later and Dominic Legrand followed him through.
While Lafontaine opened up a gap, the long twenty lap race appeared to catch up to him as Legrand closed in on the final laps. Looking to make a move a few times, Legrand backed out and while he tried everything on the final lap he just wasn’t able to make a move work. The victory went to Lafontaine while Legrand settled for second. A spirited drive by Samuel Guerin earned him the final step on the podium after slowly working his way up to the position while Campbell and Launi completed the top-five.
In the Open Shifter Masters race, Dany St-Hilaire was the first to cross of the Masters and he added another Canadian title to his resume. Michel Legrand, father of Dominic, finished second and Tony De Marco was third.