Months of planning and countless hours of on-location preparation were finally rewarded on the weekend as the first event for the new Western Canadian Karting Championship finally hit the track, and they hit the ground running.
For the last four years, since the ending of the previous Western Canadian Championship, drivers and teams in Canada’s western provinces have been begging for an inter-provincial series, with big prizes and equal opportunities, and their prayers were answered on the weekend at Northstar Raceway in Strathmore, Alberta where drivers from British Columbia to Manitoba were all on track together, again. 148 entries to be exact.
The Western Canadian Karting Championship will visit three provinces in 2018 and moves forward with great support from their two main platforms: Rotax Max and Briggs & Stratton. Two-cycle racers have that all elusive Rotax Grand Finals ticket to chase after again and we witnessed just how hard drivers want to represent their country at the event, by the efforts shown throughout the weekend. And off the track, as per usual, the paddock was buzzing with excitement but in the cool and relaxed vibe that doesn’t compare it to Eastern Canada.
In addition, the Rotax Max Challenge had two representatives on hand to support their products, provide insight and information, technical support, and to oversee the much-anticipated engine raffle, which took place on Thursday. It went off without a hitch and with support on hand when needed, there was no doubt, the racers were happy with the end product. Oh, and did it ever produce some great, close racing, regardless of whether or not a driver had a built engine, a lottery engine or an out of the box engine.
The playing field was leveled and that meant more drivers were in the running all weekend long, and I must commend Coltin McCaughan for pulling out two victories in Senior Rotax when the numbers were that close. Kudos also go out to American Diego LaRoque, the 2016 Rotax Grand Finals Micro-Max Champion. While he did showcase his talents, he also gave the young Mini-Max racers a goal to strive for.
If there was one thing from the event I didn’t like, it was the pushback from the hosting Calgary Kart Racing Club. In a conversation with a club rep, he mentioned how many racers decided not to race the WCKC event, which was also two CKRC club races, turning down the opportunity to race in larger fields of competition and support the new program. There was also the issue with two different sets of rules and registration options, but we will leave those topics there. Hopefully, these issues can be sorted out and solved for 2019 and beyond, because, in order for the WCKC and karting in Western Canada to grow and be truly successful, everyone needs to be on the same page and come together as one.
Unfortunately, I will not be in attendance for round two of the WCKC, but no doubt I will be keeping an eye on the action when the series rolls into Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on July 6-8. But I will be in Chilliwack, BC for the championship finale at the end of the summer and looking forward to it.
To learn more and to become a part of the WCKC, visit their website, http://wckc.ca.