The first day of competition for the 2020 MotoMaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship is in the books following a great day of competition at the Mosport Karting Centre. The anticipation for this race had been building for months as the COVID-19 Pandemic delayed the start of the season for one of Ontario’s regional karting programs. Under sunny skies and very hot temperatures, a great race day was run with nine categories taking the track.
Leading the way and taking victory in their respective classes to earn the honours of Pfaff Junior and Senior High Performer were Marcello Paniccia (ROK Junior) and Patrick Woods-Toth (ROK Senior), while the MRFKC staff presented Khloe Drummond with the Champion Fine Tuned Award for her winning efforts in Briggs Senior.
The day started off with Super Pole Qualifying, where the top-five pace-setters in timed Qualifying returned to the track for one hot lap. The pressure-cooker scenario showcased which drivers could perform with only one opportunity to put down a lap time. Posting the fastest times were: Ayden Ingratta (ROK Junior), Patrick Woods-Toth (ROK Senior), Ryan Maxwell (ROK Mini), Adam Ali (Briggs Senior), Darren Kearnon (Briggs Master), Logan Pacza (Briggs Junior), Joshua Conquer (ROK Shifter), Major Makovskis (Briggs Cadet) and Gavin Goldie (Briggs Junior Lite).
First to take the track for their Final was ROK Junior and it featured a three-kart breakaway. Ayden Ingratta (RedSpeed Kart) lept to the early lead, followed closely by Daniel Ali (Kosmic Kart) and Marcello Paniccia (Kosmic Kart).
Paniccia waited no time to work by his REM teammate to move into second by lap three. Quickly he was knocking on the door of the race leader and slipped on by before the race hit halfway. As the laps ticked away, the trio remained together, separated by only a kart length. Ingratta was able to close the gap in the middle sector but just didn’t have enough to pull off a pass.
Staying out front and making no mistakes, Paniccia scored the victory over Ingratta, while Ali surrendered the third position on the final lap when he locked up the brakes entering the hairpin after trying to pass Ingratta and spun. This moved three drivers from Prime Powerteam into the top-five with Callum Baxter (BirelART) up onto the podium in third, followed by Frankie Esposito (BirelART) and Marco Filice (BirelART), who recovered from a first-lap spin that knocked him back to fourteenth before charging through the field.
After setting the fast time in Qualifying, there was no stopping Patrick Woods-Toth (BirelART) in ROK Senior in the races. The only driver from Quebec competing in Ontario this weekend, Woods-Toth pulled away from his competition in both the PreFinal and the Final, eventually winning the main event by two seconds.
Behind, Robert Soroka (RedSpeed Kart) drove a great race to maintain second place from start to finish. After slotting in behind Woods-Toth on lap one, Soroka stayed ahead of the action that broke out in the race for third. While he didn’t quite have the pace to battle with the race leader, he solidly held on to the second position to score a trip to the MRFKC podium.
Third place went to Dale Curran (CL Kart), who had to work his way forward in the Final. Cutting his way through the field from eighth on the grid after a tough opening lap, Curran managed to get by the likes of Gianluca Savaglio (Kosmic), Nicholas Hornbostel (Kosmic), Ryan MacDermid (Kosmic). He did go in pursuit of Soroka in the very late stages of the race but ran out of time. Savaglio and Hornbostel finished out the top-five.
In the Briggs & Stratton categories, two classes stood out in terms of entries and competition. Briggs Senior was the biggest class of the day and featured 30 drivers.
After a lot of shuffling in the opening laps of the Final, three drivers were able to break free from the pack. Daniel Ali (Kosmic) and Jake Cowden (Awesome Kart) showed that they wouldn’t be pushed around since moving up from Junior, while Khloe Drummond (TonyKart) was slotted in the middle of them.
The three worked together for the entirety of the race until the final lap. Out front, Ali never surrendered the lead as he successfully defended the final lap with Drummond right on his rear bumper. However, Ali was accessed a one-position penalty for jumping the start, moving Drummond to the top of the podium with the big win. Cowden had to settle for third after losing the draft in the final laps.
In the intense race behind the leaders, early race leader Pearce Herder (Awesome Kart) arrived at the finish line in fourth, followed by David Barnes (BirelART). Defending champion Jordan Prior (BirelART) finished sixth after starting the Final from the rear of the grid due to a crash in the PreFinal.
With many Junior drivers moving up to Senior in the new season, the doors have been opening for some new competitors to take over.
Stepping up and showing he will be a driver to watch in 2020 was Logan Pacza (BirelART), who successfully topped every session throughout the day, nearly leading every lap in the process.
In the Final, Pacza broke free with Adam Ali (Kosmic). The two traded the lead around halfway, but Pacza returned to the top with three laps to go and managed to keep himself there all the way to the finish. Ali wound up second, while Steven Navratil (Awesome Kart) charged through the field to finish third after starting at the rear. Fourth went to Jordan West (BirelART), who enjoyed a great day running upfront, while Logan Ferguson (BirelART) recovered from a spin in the PreFinal to finish fifth.
Other race winners on the day were: Ryan Maxwell in Mini ROK, Major Makovskis in Briggs Cadet, Joshua Conquer in Shifter ROK, Darren Kearnon in Briggs Masters and Gavin Goldie in Briggs Junior Lite.
Returning to Mosport on Sunday to do it all again, race day #2 of the 2020 MotoMaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship will hit the track.