Goodwood Kartways returned as the opening round of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship this past weekend and as hosts, they once again didn’t disappoint. On track we saw some of the best racing in recent ECKC seasons, while off track there was a very exciting and positive vibe felt throughout the paddock. The Di Leo family once again provided top-notch service to their guests from the moment they arrived until the final spray of champagne at the trophy celebrations.
American drivers a welcome addition to ECKC entry list
This past weekend, eight karters from the United States made the trip to Goodwood for the opening round of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship. Under the Ben Cooper Racing tent we found Dev Gore (DD2), Chloe Chambers (Mini-Max), Emma Dellatre (Rotax Jr) and George Stojakovic (Rotax Jr), while SH Racing housed Karsten Defonce (Micro-Max), Dillon Defonce (Mini-Max) and Carson Kapica (Rotax Sr) while Paige Crawford (Micro-Max) operated as a privateer.
It was great to see our cross-border friends in competition and we hope to have them return again this season for more ECKC races.
New race winners breathe life into atmosphere
There is no better sight to be seen in the paddock that the celebration of a hard working family who’s driver finally secured their first major victory. There were two particular instances at Goodwood last weekend. Joe Soranno has had his fair share of up’s and downs while competing in Rotax Junior but he has never given up on the challenge and on Sunday he was finally rewarded, scoring a convincing victory. As he celebrated coming across the line, the attention quickly shifted to the grandstands where nearly everyone had turned to congratulate Joe’s parents Rocco and Sonia, who had both become overwhelmed with emotion.
Only a few races later the situation was very similar when Stefano Lucente delivered his first win in Mini-Max after heartbreak only a day earlier, withdrawing from the pole-position on the pace-lap with a throttle cable issue. Stefano’s father Danny was in tear’s of joy watching his boy celebrate and the crowding at the scale line featured handshakes, hugs and messages of congratulation from so many to both Stefano and Danny.
It’s moments like these that breathe life back into the sport and while there is nothing against a driver who dominates week-in, week-out, the emotion of a first win is never duplicated.
In addition to Soranno and Lucente, five other drivers notched their first career ECKC victories at Goodwood as Dale Curran, Ryland Duesburry were winners in Micro-Max, Patrick Woods-Toth was the other winner in Mini-Max, Kyle Edgar got the monkey off his back in Briggs & Stratton LO206 Senior and John Cariati was a winner in DD2 Masters.
Will the Rookies control Rotax Senior this season?
There was a familiar face back at the top of the Rotax Senior podium on Saturday as Marco Di Leo won a very exciting scrap in the Final against a pair of young guns, Gianfranco Mazzaferro and Cedrik Lupien, along with long time rival Kevin Monteith. It was quite honestly the best Rotax Senior race we have seen at the ECKC and it came down to the final corner to determine who was going to come out on top.
But Sunday was a much different day as Mazzaferro swept all three competitive sessions and Lupien was second. These two rookies held nothing back against the class veterans and has us excited for the remainder of the season as the competition for the top-spot is closer than ever.
Getting races started an issue across all classes
We’ve seen it before and we will see it again, but this weekend it seemed like every class had a tough time getting the green flag. Time and time again starts were waved off and on multiple occasions Race Steward Bill Oakman was forced to remove the front-row starters. The Rotax Senior drivers even got an red-flagged ear full on Sunday when it took four attempts to get things going in their PreFinal.
Goodwood is a challenging circuit and we know drivers are anxious to get going, but the lessons will be taught the hard way until drivers understand to wait until the acceleration line to hit the throttle.
Quebec drivers make up only 16% of entries; a fear for concern?
With only 25 of the 154 entries on Sunday hailing from the province of Quebec it was just another sign of the tough times that Quebec karting is feeling. The province that used to be feared most for competition is really struggling to produce drivers and entries, with major teams primarily seeking out of province drivers to fill positions under their team tents.
Heading to ICAR we are a bit concerned what the turnout will be for the second round of the championship, especially since it falls on the same weekend as the Honda Indy of Toronto.
Round two of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship takes place in Mirabel, Quebec at the recently revamped ICAR Karting facility on June 13 and 14.