We’re getting ready for the 2021 Canadian karting season with a number of CKN Chatter interviews.
First up we have Frank Launi of Innisfil Indy and the Canadian Karting Challenge. The track just north of Toronto is gearing up for a great season of racing with a number of special events planned. Frankie also breaks some news to CKN about a new chassis line he’s launching and the excitement he has for the MotoMaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship and the Canadian Karting Challenge.
Hey Frankie, good to hear from you. It appears you have stepped into a new role at the Innisfil Indy. Tell me a little more about what you’re up to for 2021.
Yes, I have been taking a more active role in the Innisfil Indy Karting business this year. I will be running the racing team and development. My sister, yes I have a sister, she will be taking a more active role in the administration, advertisers, and social media along with the race events. Together we will be making changes to bring racing into a new era at Innisfil Indy.
With this new role, what have you been working on during our painfully long winter?
Yes, it has been a long off-season with lots of news for Ontario karters. Here at Innisfil Indy Karting together with MRFKC, MIKA and HRKC have put together a very attractive series with some great prizing and competition for 2021 and going forward. If you look at the last 15 years of karting there has only been one person who has tried to give back to karting and that’s Ron Fellows. He has continued to promote the sport to bring more karters together. My family has been in the karting business since 1974, so I’ve seen it all, so I’m speaking from experience when I say I’ve seen a lot.
You also announced a few weeks ago that you will support the Gold Kart brand in addition to GP Karts. The brand has a great history in Canadian karting. What led you to work with the factory in Italy to import the Gold Kart and provide another option for racers to choose from?
It has always been a dream of mine since I was a kid to design my own kart. Together with Righetti, it is now becoming a reality. All of us at Innisfil Indy Karting will be introducing the 2021 FURIOSO Kart which is designed by myself, made by Righetti, for the Briggs 206 category.
As I got talking to Diego from Righetti he told me about the Gold Kart International Mini Academy and how he wants to work with kids and that was very attractive to me. We always say that kids are the future of the sport so it was a no-brainer for us to go this route. Also, the reputation they have had here in Canada was incredible and I’m very excited to start this journey. We are looking to send a driver or two to compete in their 2022 program.
GP Karting Italy has been our main chassis for the last 15 years and we have a great relationship with them and they have been great to us. We have had lots of success with them so we will continue to work with GP karting. We just wanted to be able to give our customers a little variety rather than just offer one kart. We always ensure that we offer great quality along with racing results.
Last year you jumped back in the race seat for a number of races. How did it feel to race again? Also, what were your impressions of the VLR 100cc air-cooled engine from Vortex?
Yes, it always feels good to get back in a kart and doing what I love not many people can, so I love every minute of it. The VLR was nice with the old-school look and sound. I would like it to be a bit faster but all in all, it was a lot of fun.
Will you try and do some more racing this season?
Definitely, for 2021 I will be racing Briggs, Senior, or Masters, but we’ll see when it gets closer to May. I really want to focus on growing Briggs classes and Furioso Kart. My son Angelo will be starting his own journey in karting, something I’m very proud of, and I can’t wait to do it with him, just as I did with my father, the famous Crazy Tony. Angelo will be driving the all-new 2021 Hurricane Gold Cadet.
The Canadian Karting Challenge has an exciting schedule of events this year, working with other clubs to help bring the competition numbers up. Do you have any more Canadian Karting Challenge news to share at this time?
The CKC has been around since 2013 and our prizing in the past has been incredible! We have sent drivers to Italy and SuperNats in Las Vegas. We have also given out Shifter engines, so trust me this year will not disappoint. Between MRFKC, MIKA, and HRKC along with other clubs and teams in Ontario and the rest of Canada, we have a very attractive plan to give back to karters in Ontario. News will be out soon I promise you will want to save the dates and not miss the CKC series this season.
I must say, the effort put into the Innisfil Indy facility was noticed during the KartStars race last year. It looked great and photographed well. Do you have any upgrades or plans for the track in 2021?
Yes, we all know that my Father “Crazy Tony” Loves to put money back into our beautiful facility because he loves the kids and loves seeing kids having fun, learning the art of racing in his backyard. This was his dream and he’s living it now.
My mother Rose Launi, if u don’t know I’m sure you can ask around, is one amazing cook and takes care of all the food inside. If you haven’t tried it already I highly suggest you come try it. Sometimes I think the drivers and families are more interested in her food than actually racing. Think you have had pizza and veal? LOL.
As for more improvements we always keep things in mind but hard to put in place with the impact COVID has had. We are strong and we never give up. We will keep pushing forward. This trait is something that is passed on from my dad. I have never met anyone who works harder or loves the sport more and his passion for the sport is why I love it so much.
Oh, we love Rose’s food! Finally, what is something you are most looking forward to for Ontario karting in 2021?
The thing I’m looking really forward to most is bringing the tracks back together and seeing some old friends. I think in order for our sport to grow we need to work together and 2021 looks very promising. So to everyone out there reading this, I hope you are staying healthy and COVID-free during this time. We will come out of this stronger and more appreciative of all we have to be grateful for. I can’t wait to see you all at the track. Get your engines and karts ready. Karting will be here soon.
Thanks for chatting Frankie. We can’t wait for our Canadian season to get underway in a couple of months!