The best of Western Canadian karting was on display in Regina, Saskatchewan over the weekend as the Western Canadian Karting Championship rolled into the WF Botkin Raceway for the second stop of the 2019 series campaign. After some thundershowers dampened the paddock throughout the week leading up to the action, it was nearly picture-perfect weather on the weekend for the competition. After Qualifying and heat races on Saturday, Sunday was for all the marbles with the winners taking home the trophies and separation in the points championships.
CKN was on site for the race weekend and here’s how we saw the action go down on Sunday.
Senior Max drivers save their best for the Final in awesome showdown!
If there was one class that drew the most attention over the weekend it was Rotax Max Senior. Only eight karts on the grid, but they raced incredibly tight, proving unpredictable all the way to the Final. The start saw the hometown kid Garret Britton (BBR/TonyKart) jump out to the lead from the outside of the front row. Adam Dowler (Apollo/TonyKart) slotted into second by corner two ahead of polesitter Griffin Dowler (Apollo/TonyKart) and the rest of the pack. Down the long back straight, nearly every position changed hands with Adam Dowler leading the first circuit. When Britton went back to the lead two laps later, Adam was caught outside in turn one and nearly the entire pack got by before he made it to three, hurting his chances up front.
At this point, Griffin Dowler was all over Britton and the front two had some separation. Griff went to the lead on lap four, but unlike the rest of the weekend, he wasn’t able to break free from the pack as Britton remained close to his rear bumper. Townes Allen (BBR/TonyKart) and Coltin McCaughan (Apollo/TonyKart) worked their way to third and fourth and while they were distanced from the leaders, they were comfortably ahead of fifth-placed Teddy Sin (BBR/TonyKart) by lap five.
The race calmed down through the middle parts on the 18-lap race until two laps to go. Britton was doing all he could to hang on to Griffin and finally got enough of a run to take the lead down the back straight. The race was on for first and for third as McCaughan and Allen were also swapping the final podium spot back and forth. Dowler hounded Britton but wasn’t able to get by down the back straight or through the second sector. Waiting until the third-to-last corner he dove hard up the inside of the hairpin corner and may even have caught Britton a little off guard. That was it, two corners later, Griffin Dowler was celebrating the win while Britton surrendered a win on his home turf. In the race for third, McCaughan held off Allen to stand on the podium and keep his championship hopes very much alive after taking the win in round one while Sin completed the top-five.
No stopping Leung in Junior Max Final
The young racer from BC was once again dominant in Rotax Junior. Jason Leung (AJR/Kosmic) was almost untouchable all weekend as he cruised to another weekend sweep of the championship on Sunday. He was challenged in the Prefinal by Diego Laroque (BBR/TonyKart) and Keifer Peet (Apollo/TonyKart), but in the Final Leung timed the start perfect, executed perfectly in the opening laps and never looked back all race long, saving his best for the penultimate lap to set the best time of the race.
Alexander Berg showed great pace in the Final to leap past Laroque early and then keep him at bay to secure a runner-up finish. His best lap time was only two-hundredths slower than Leung’s and ended his weekend with a great result. Third went to Peet, who charged from the back after crashing out of the PreFinal. Laroque and Jonathon Yettaw (SCR/Riccardo) rounded out the top-five.
Micro and Mini Max come down to the final lap
Kieran Hartley (Black/BirelART), round one winner in Mini-Max chased Ian Qui (BBR/PDB) all day on Saturday but turned up the wick for when it mattered on Sunday. He capitalized on a mistake by Qui, that resulted in him spinning out and surrendering the lead, to win the PreFinal. In the Final, Hartley led from the drop of the green flag and while Qui hounded him all race long, Hartley hit his marks and didn’t make a mistake. Qui tried numerous times to overtake for the lead but wasn’t able to and while trying with two laps to go, spun after making contact with Hartley’s rear bumper to end his chances at victory. It was exciting to watch and sets up a great showdown for the championship finale in August at Warburg. Third place went to Ryland Eagles (RaceLab/Atomica) followed by Connor Maddison (BRE/Ricciardo) and Wyatt Mitchell (SCR/Ricciardo).
The Micro Max Final was a little dull in the first half of the race as Bowen Gilbert (CRG) had pulled out to a big lead over Keegan Matychuk (BRE/Ricciardo), while Emmett Mengel (SCR/Ricciardo) had faded back in third. But it all changed after halfway when Gilbert began to struggle with the endurance and was making mistakes before he eventually spun out in the hairpin. This allowed Matychuk to drive on by and open up a big lead. Looking to overcome his error, Gilbert threw down some fast laps to catch the leader by the final lap and while he had a few looks at a pass, he wasn’t able to find his way by and had to settle for second behind Matychuk, who celebrated the victory.
Dowler wraps up dominant weekend in DD2; Freeston takes DD2M
There wasn’t much anyone could do about the raw pace that Noel Dowler (Apollo/TonyKart) had throughout the weekend in Rotax DD2, but that didn’t stop Wyatt Gulash (BirelART) from trying his best in the Final. The local racer from Regina timed the start perfect to take the lead and for four laps, he did everything he could to keep Dowler behind. Eventually he surrendered the lead and watched Dowler drive off into the distance throughout the remainder of the 18-lap Finale. Whitney Stevenson (SCR/Ricciardo) held her own to take third while Alexis Budel (BRE/BirelART) and Oliver Wilson-O’Reilly (SCR/Ricciardo) drove home fourth and fifth.
In the race within the race, Jared Freeston (Apollo/TonyKart) worked his way by pole-sitter Jason McCumber (SCR/Riccardo) on lap one and simply checked out from his competitors to take the Rotax DD2 Masters race win. Cody Grimes (BirelART) was able to work his way by McCumber too, earning the second step on the podium, while McCumber had to settle for third.
Great action in Briggs and Shifter too
There was no shortage of excitement in the Briggs Senior class throughout the weekend, with a few drivers pushing a little over the limits, especially into the first corner on the starts, earning the drivers some words with the race director before leaving the grid for their Final.
Tanveer Deen (BirelART) jumped out to the early lead after overtaking Connor Peet (FA Kart) from the outside of row one into the first corner. As the dust settled behind him on the opening lap, Deen was able to build up a decent sized lead. Paul Galecki (Ricciardo Kart) worked his way to second and was slowly tracking down Deen when suddenly the leader was slowing ahead of him on lap nine. He went unchallenged in the overtake in the penultimate corner before Deen took the track exit and called it a race due to an issue with race gear. It was smooth sailing from there for Galecki, driving home the race win over Peet, who battled back from as low as eleventh at one point in the race. Whitney Stevens (TonyKart) had finished second on track, but slipped back to fourth in the results after pushing his nosecone back. Third went to Tyler Stevens (BirelART) with Thomas Dammers (Vemme Kart) taking fifth.
In Briggs Junior it was Andy Lloyd (BirelART) who struck victory over Enzo Sartor (BirelART) and Abigail Frost (BirelART).
Rounding out the classes on track at the WCKC was Open Shifter. Kyle Francis (Ricciardo Kart) steered to victory over Zack Sinclair (BirelART) and Chris Eagles (Atomica).
There were a lot of positive remarks about the WF Botkin Raceway, which hosted its first major karting event since it was built in 2016. The South Sask Kart Club and their supporters did a tremendous job supporting the entire event, from pre-race preparation all the way to Sunday’s podium ceremonies and without a doubt, the track will host another big race in future for Western Canadian karting.
Round three of the WCKC takes place on August 17-18 at the Rotax Mojo International Raceway in Warburg, Alberta. Rotax class champions will earn their way to the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals in Italy as members of Team Canada, while car tests with Exclusive Autosport and other prizes are also up for grabs. Learn more about the series on their website, http://wckc.ca.