We were finally rewarded with some beautiful weather this past weekend as the second stop of the 2014 CKN Summer Tour positioned us just east of Montreal, Quebec. We stopped at the SH Karting facility in Mont Saint-Hilaire for the first race of the Coupe du Quebec Championship. After a couple practice days, racing action occurred on Sunday and although the growth is small, it appears that things are starting to turn in the Quebec region, especially with the strong support for the Briggs & Stratton LO206 package.
Recapping the weekend, here is our CKN News & Notes of the Coupe du Quebec event at SH Karting.
Plenty of change up front in junior divisions
As young drivers grow up and advance through each tier, there is a constant change of the guard. But this year in the Quebec region there seems to be a complete change of front-runners as both the Mini-Max and Rotax Junior divisions featured new faces atop their podiums at SH. The only exception comes in the Micro-Max division as Thomas Nepveu, who wanted to move up to Mini-Max, wasn’t old enough to change, forcing him to defend his Micro-Max title.
In Mini-Max, Alexandre Légaré was very impressive on his new PSL Karting CRG machine. Through his Facebook page, it was obvious that Légaré was excited for the 2014 season and his preparation was focused on hitting the ground running and he did just that by sweeping the days action.
Rotax Junior saw Cedrik Lupien step up and take charge. In his final season of Rotax Junior, he has shown the development we expected of him last year, but nonetheless, if he keeps it up he will be a threat all season long in both Ontario and Quebec.
It is good to see the change and like all of us, we are looking forward to the racing all season long and seeing who comes out on top.
Steven Szigeti Absent from SH Racing Team
Rumours began swirling Saturday at SH when Steven Szigeti, a long time SH Racing Team driver, was absent from the team tent and those in attendance found out he would not be racing. As the weekend progressed, plenty of information had toured the paddock as to where Szigeti was, why he wasn’t racing and who he would be racing with in the future if it wasn’t SH.
Turns out, Szigeti and SH Racing have decided to part ways, with Szigeti announcing Tuesday that he will race with Team Benik aboard a TonyKart at ECKC Mosport (click for article).
Where are all the DD2’s?
Only two seasons ago, Rotax DD2 was the premier division in Eastern Canada and it grossed numbers close to the 30 range for many races throughout the season. This past weekend, a dismal three drivers entered the Rotax DD2 class with a further eight in Rotax DD2 Masters. Very disappointing given the potential of the class and the fact that Canada has three Rotax Grand Finals titles in the past four years.
While things look a little better for the ECKC event this coming weekend at Mosport, there seems to something holding Canadians back from running the DD2 class and that is something that needs to be addressed.
Busy start to the 2014 season
One of the conversation topics this weekend at SH was the busy start to Canadian karting season we have. While things got underway a little later than usual, the regional schedule has things jammed up pretty good to start with three major races in three weeks, two Coupe du Quebec races (SH and KCR) with an ECKC event squeezed in the middle, and for some a ROK Cup Quebec race as well. While it has everyone on their toes, it appears that it could hurt the turnout at KCR in two weeks time.
Plenty of change in Chassis Brands for 2014
For both Rotax and Briggs & Stratton teams, there has been a bit of a silly season throughout the Canadian off-season. SH Racing has changed for the second straight year, departing from the Zanardi line and now racing aboard FA Karts. SC Performance, which used to operate under SH Racing, is now a TonyKart dealer and Derek Michaud Racing, a new team for 2014 is now a dealer for FA Karts as well. While PSL Karting and KMS North America kept their fleets the same, the changes in the paddock did shake up the look of the grids for 2014 as noted below.
A couple notable driver changes
PSL Karting was busy in the off-season as they worked to add a trio of new faces to their Canadian race team for 2014. In Rotax Senior, they added 2013 Coupe du Quebec champion Olivier Bedard along with Briggs & Stratton Senior Champion Tommy Lemaire-Ouellet, who will race in both Rotax and Briggs. They also added Alexandre Légaré in Mini-Max and have a stout lineup of future drivers developing under the PSL Montreal banner.
Andres de Alba purchased a Tecno Kart for his Mini-Max campaign, switching from Zanardi, while SH Racing added Francis Mondou in Rotax DD2 Masters as well as Jesse Lazare for the Coupe du Quebec and Canadian Championships. KMS North America didn’t necessarily add to their team, but have some new drivers who have developed with them, who have intentions to compete full-time in the Coupe du Quebec this season.
CRG and FA Karts Claim All Victories
In the manufacturer race this season, CRG and FA Kart jumped out to an early lead as the two brands claimed all nine victories this weekend.
CRG led the way with six wins, including all three Briggs & Stratton classes. They also won in DD2 and DD2 Masters as well as Mini-Max with all drivers sporting the PSL Karting banner.
SH Racing claimed the other three with their drivers on new FA Karts. Their wins came from Micro-Max as well as Rotax Junior and Senior.
Coupe du Quebec heads East for Round Two
In two weeks time the Coupe du Quebec will hold their second event of the season. The race will happen at Karting Chateau Richer which is east of Quebec City. KCR joins the Coupe du Quebec schedule for the first time in many years and offers a change in scenery as many of today’s current drivers have not competed at the track, while karting veterans remember some excellent racing at KCR.
CKN Plans to be there as part of their CKN Summer Tour!