The first race of the much-anticipated MIKA season hit the track on Sunday at the Mosport Karting Centre and even a brief but heavy rain-shower in the afternoon couldn’t slow down a great day of racing on track, featuring more than 140 entrants spread across nine categories.
Many racers took the day to shake off the rust from the longer than expected off-season and prepare for the MIKA Canada Cup on Canada Day, as well as begin their attack for the club championship.
Just like our first impressions last week at Goodwood Kartways, it was very refreshing to see so many new faces and karts throughout the paddock. The track has done a great job to graduate a number of their Arrive & Drive racers, as well as progress some Briggs racers up to the Rok Cup categories, and it was very evident in a number of classes.
By our calculations, the club had 41 more racers for their first race of the year than a year ago, with their biggest growth coming in Briggs Cadet (plus 11), Junior Lite (plus 6), Briggs Senior (plus 7), Briggs Masters (plus 8) and Mini Rok (plus 8) and Senior Rok (plus 5).
The race day also featured a demonstration during the lunch break to showcase some future stars of our sport, as six Kid Karts took to a shortened section of the track. It was great to see the passion these young drivers already have, and by their fellow racers, many of whom joined them on the grid to give some pointers and show support.
The Briggs Masters division caught our eyes on Sunday. The group seemed pretty heated after Qualifying and that carried over to their PreFinal, with multiple accidents and the need for a red flag. Mother Nature must have taken note as well, as only moments after they left the grid for their Final, the skies opened up and the group was challenged with racing in the rain on slick tires for the duration of their final.
In Junior Rok we got a taste of what could truly be a great season long battle for the top. Callum Baxter, Marcello Paniccia, Ayden Ingratta and Frankie Esposito are all in their second year of Junior competition and were very racy on track. With a the addition of a few more speedy Juniors, this could be quite the show this season.
The same can be said about Rok Senior as this group has grown, even without a big turnaround of drivers from last year. A number of Juniors have moved up over the off-season as well as a few Briggs graduates to feature 18 racers on Sunday. PRO, REM, KGR and VSR all have strong drivers capable of contending for major victories this year and that will make it interesting when you add those from Prime Powerteam and maybe a few privateers to the mix at the MRFKC events.
Finally, eight noted rookies in the Briggs Cadet division and seven in Junior Lite is another great sign for the future of our sport. Across the province of Ontario, we haven’t seen this many new racers in a season in a very long time. The efforts of our kart clubs and tracks cannot be forgotten as they push to grow from the club level up and we’re excited to see these racers work their way towards the front of the grids as their season progresses. Hopefully they develop the same passion for the sport that so many of us have and become life-long racers and supporters who simply can’t stay away from the track.
Next up for us and for MIKA is the Canada Cup on July 1. We hope to see a stout turnout of drivers from across the region celebrate our country in the best way we know how, by competing for victory. Pre-registration is available on the http://mosportkartingcentre.com website and for those interested in getting their photo taken during the event, we suggest pre-ordering our photo package from the CKN Online Store.
See you there to kickoff what is going to be a very busy week of karting in Canada!