After having a look at our Canadian National Champions we now shift our 2014 Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals previews to those drivers who qualified on the regional level of competition. Although hailing from Chatham, Ontario Clay Van Eerd qualified for the Rotax Grand Finals via the Western Canadian Championship and is the first of six Team Canada rookies travelling to Valencia, Spain this year.
Through the two round, six race Western Canadian Championship Van Eerd was quite impressive, claiming three race wins and only missing the podium in one race en route to claiming the championship and the invitation to Spain.
“After winning the Sunday Race in Regina the pressure was on to be competitive in Chilliwack and win a ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals. It came down to the last race on Sunday to see who would win a ticket. When I saw the checkered flag, knowing my position earned me a ticket to the Grand Finals I was ecstatic! It felt great to have achieved my goal of winning a ticket!”
While his season in the East didn’t start out very strong at the Florida Winter Tour, Van Eerd stepped up his game in the two opening rounds of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship before heading out west. Van Eerd was also noticed at the ASN Canadian Championships where he ran within the top-5 all weekend long, until a clutch failure in the Final held him back from challenging for the National podium.
The Rotax Grand Finals appears to be Van Eerd’s final go-kart race as he has decided to move on from the sport following his race in Spain, however to go out looking the best, Van Eerd has commissioned world renowned helmet artist Lucky Design to paint him a special edition RMCGF lid to be used in Spain.
Name: Clay Van Eerd
Division: Rotax Junior
Hometown: Blenheim, Ontario
Years Racing: 8 years
Race Team: CVE Motorsports
Past Trips to RMCGF, years and locations: This is my first time!
Career Highlights (To date):
– Winning a ticket to the Rotax Grand Finals in Valencia as Western Canadian Rotax Junior Champion
– 2 time BSRKC Stewart Cup Champion
– 2 time BSRKC Ontario Grand National Champion
– Qualified 4th at the SKUSA SuperNationals (Rotax Junior, 2013)
As a rookie Van Eerd has been in touch with a few drivers with Rotax Grand Finals experience, including three-time champion Ben Cooper who will be his teammate in Spain.
With his rookie status he has kept his goals in check and hopes to qualify for the main event, something that has been a challenge for many of the Canadian Rotax Junior drivers in the past. “My goal for Spain is to make the main event and push myself to do best I can possibly do. As it is my first time I know that it will be tough, but I am ready for it.”
For his last hooray in karts, Van Eerd will work closely with Wesley Schindel, his tuner and driver coach of three years who has helped transformed him into the racer he is today. “Wesley Schindel has been my mechanic for the past 3 years and it only seems right if I take him. We worked through some tough times in karting but through the years it got better and better. We have a great sense of what we need to do and work on. He is like my big brother that I never had!”
And along with Schindel, Van Eerd will have his entire family there to support him at the ‘Olympics of Karting’. “I am really excited to be traveling to Valencia with my whole family. My Mom, Dad, two sisters and also my Oma and Opa will be coming with me to Spain. Valencia seems to offer really cool fun things to do and just getting to experience another culture is always exciting.”
Finally, after checking out the preview video of the track, Van Eerd feels the fast and flowing track should suit his driving style, “the track is very high speed which is a good fit for me. I think it will be super fun and challenging at the same time.”
Through the month of November CKN has full coverage of the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals and Team Canada. CKN will be trackside in Valencia, Spain from November 23-30 to bring you all the action on http://canadiankartingnews.com and on our social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.