I remember when I first learned of Richard Boisclair at the 2010 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals at La Conca in Italy. It was my first international race while working for another karting website and Richard, along with his brother Michel and Gary Lobough announced the introduction of GoRotax and the beginning of a major change for karting in the United States. While I didn’t formally meet Richard back then, it was a pretty big deal that drew a lot of attention.
With it now official that Richard is walking away from MaxSpeed Entertainment and the sport of karting, it is a very dark time for our sport as we have truly lost a man who pushed the sport in areas that many ignored.
As the leader of the MaxSpeed Group and MaxSpeed Entertainment, he brought the Rotax Grand Finals to North America for the first and only time. He purchased the prestigious Florida Winter Tour and took it to another level. He introduced a proper and professional video marshaling system for karting. He made sure the tracks looked the part when hosting his races and there was no shortage of expenses spent to do so. He hired racing parents who could use the additional work to keep their kids in the sport along with some very key members including the likes of Andrew Campbell, Josh Smith and Garrett Potter. He also earned the Rotax Distributor of the Year award twice, when Rotax was globally at it’s peak. Those are just a few of his successes that I bet most people have already forgotten.
A man who brought his success from outside of karting to our sport when it needed it most, only to be given a product that ultimately led to the demise of all the hard work he and his team worked so hard to develop.
As many know, Richard was one of the few industry members who didn’t grow up and develop from the karting world. While his brother Michel was heavily involved, Richard’s path was much different and in doing so, he brought a set of different visions to our sport, something very much needed with a demographic that hates change as much as it likes to embrace it.
The competition to host the biggest and best events in North America with the most attractive rewards and returns has claimed victim to a man who saw the sport as an opportunity to take it to the next level only to get taken back from issues well above his own head.
I remember the “Rotax for Life” campaign that Richard created. Drivers, families and the sport loved it. Kids rocking fake tattoos to show their faith to the product that was helping them progress as a kart racer. Parents posing for photos with their kids to show the bond they created because of karting. Running adverts in magazines, it truly was a piece of greatness that brought a big part of our sport together.
Although very much Canadian, he cherished the opportunity to bring Team USA to the Rotax Grand Finals each year and relished the Nations Cup victory in 2015. However he also supported Canadian karting when he could, taking over the microphone at multiple ASN Canadian National Karting Championships in Mont-Tremblant, utilizing the opportunity to learn more about the drivers that travel to compete in his Maxspeed events.
I also remember when I first got wind of Richard working with SKUSA to add two Rotax Max classes to North America’s biggest and most prestigious race; the SKUSA SuperNationals. It was a disaster of a week due some bitter cold and wet weather conditions, but the two classes attracted incredible talent and delivered two spectacular races. It wasn’t about the engines that year, it was about a great product on track and two of the sports biggest influences working together, but unfortunately that was the first and last time two worked together. It was also the beginning of a rivalry that our sport never needed.
Finally, I remember the look and reactions on Richard’s face whenever he was introduced to valued members of our sport. Particularly when he met Lake Speed at the Pan-American Championships in Mooresville, North Carolina, chatting with Rubens Barrichello at the Florida Winter Tour or earning the privilege to use Emerson Fittipaldi’s name on a Driver of the Year award. It was these moments that showed how much Richard respected our sport and how much he wanted to be known for doing great for everyone.
Unfortunately, if you ask many people now, I think they will only recall the demise of Rotax in the United States at the hands of a bad product. Something that Richard did everything to overcome, because you can’t blame the failure of the Rotax EVO on those who sold the engine and organized races.
Complain all you want about the changes, but Richard was never shy to listen and react accordingly.
He was a guy who really supported those who supported him and I’m going to miss him and all of Maxspeed Entertainment.
Thank you Richard. I wish you the best in your future endeavors.