As the opening act every weekend at the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship the Briggs & Stratton Junior class usually gets a little less attention from those in attendance even if they provide some of the best racing every weekend.
Entering the final weekend of the season, two drivers had broke free and were looking at the title as Braxton Terry (K&K Kart) and Xavier Dorsnie (BirelART) were gunning for the first major championship of their young careers while many others had intentions of stealing their thunder and taking home a victory or two.
A newcomer topped the charts in Saturday Qualifying as Megan Gilkes (BirelART) was making her first ECKC start of the season and posted the fastest lap in the quick 5-minute session. However it didn’t take long for Gilkes to get hung out to dry in the PreFinal as Dorsnie and Joshua Conquer (TonyKart) moved up the order with William Chayer (K&K Kart) and Natael Cantin (BirelART), a Rotax Junior regular making a one-off start, finishing third and fourth.
But everything the group prepared for went out the door only a couple laps into the Saturday Main. Droplets of rain turned into a decent drizzle just past halfway and instead of trying to stay in the lead draft, drivers were doing everything they could just to stay on track.
Dorsnie held on for as long as he could, but Cantin pressured him enough to overtake. Taking a much different approach then his fellow racers, Cantin mastered the challenging conditions to score the victory with Dorsnie second and Terry elevating back up to third to keep the championship points difference at a minimum.
Austin Bisschop (BirelART) and Nova Scotia’s Kelsey Hann (BirelART) completed the top-five.
The championship came down to a sunny Sunday afternoon in Mont-Tremblant.
As Zachary Vanier (BirelART) nipped Conquer for the PreFinal win, Terry gained 35 points on Dorsnie with a fourth place finish to Dorsnie’s eleventh, the result of a last lap battle for sixth with Chayer.
With only 15 points separating the two entering the Championship Final, Terry did exactly what he needed to do.
A four-kart pack emerged from the start with Conquer leading the way and Vanier, Terry and Cantin in tow. While Dorsnie regained all the ground that he could after starting deep in the field, with no shuffling by the leaders he was unable to make up the difference after advancing to fifth, instead watching from a distance praying for something to happen.
The leaders waited until the final lap to take action, with Conquer still out front Terry made a move for second down the back straight. Keeping the championship in his focus, Terry latched onto the bumper of Conquer and pushed through the remainder of final lap, taking a peek but nothing to risk losing and ground.
As Conquer erupted with the victory to conclude his roller-coaster of a season, Terry celebrated his second place finish. With a push from Chayer, Dorsnie was able to catch the leaders but an out of time on making a move for fourth before the checkered flag flew, settling in behind Vanier and Cantin.
By a mere 15 points, Terry was crowned the champion to keep the Briggs & Stratton Junior title in the hands of the K&K Kart team, with Dorsnie and Conquer completing the championship podium. Bisschop and Vanier rounded out the top-five that saw only seven drivers complete the entire championship.