After nearly two months of extended lockdown measures in the province of Ontario, we were finally able to resume racing this past weekend. For the first time since last fall, competitors converged and the green flag waved to kick off the 2021 Canadian karting season and our CKN Summer Tour.
We travelled to Goodwood Kartways on Saturday, June 19 for the first TRAK club race of the year and weren’t disappointed. Over 136 entrants filled up the majority of the spaced-out paddock and while karts weren’t allowed to start their engines before 10:00 AM, music played over the loudspeakers to welcome everyone in and keep the mood light throughout the morning.
The day prior, Goodwood Kartways helped graduate 39 racers through their rookie orientation to prepare them for their first club races and with that, when the competition began, it was smooth sailing as karts took to the track through a full rotation of practice, Qualifying, PreFinals and Finals. Not a single red flag was required and only a handful of races required two attempts to get the green flag.
After taking in the race day, here’s a few headlines that stood out to us as we smiled to see karts on track again duking it out for victory.
Growth at TRAK
As we cruised throughout the paddock in the morning, it was very noticeable how many new faces there were. Aside from a club race leading up to a major event, it was the busiest we’ve seen Goodwood in a long time and a great feeling to start the year. As mentioned, 39 drivers completed rookie orientation leading up to the race as Goodwood noted 33 drivers are part of their scholarship team this season after moving up from Arrive & Drive.
Looking at the numbers on Speedhive, there were 140 entrants on Saturday, plus 6 kid karts. That is 36 more than the first club race last season at TRAK, with the biggest growth in Briggs Senior (plus 13), VLR Masters (plus 10), ROK Senior (plus 8) and Briggs Junior (plus 8). The only categories to shrink were ROK Junior (down 6) and ROK Mini (down 1).
“We have 41 new rookies to the club this season, and 33 of those come through our Scholarship Team program designed to help our Arrive-and-Drive members make the transition to our Club racing program,” said Daniel Di Leo to CKN after the race.
This is great news for the sport as we’re hearing about growth at a number of clubs across the province.
Christian Papp has Impressive day
Competing his second full season at TRAK, Leamington’s Christian Papp started off his season very strong. He raced in Briggs Cadet and Mini ROK on Saturday and secured both victories aboard his Intrepid karts. His efforts also earned him Cadet driver of the day honours from the club.
Solid start for sophomores
We couldn’t help but notice the ProSound Racing branding on a number of karts and team apparel and had to do some digging. Turns out, a number of families of last year’s Goodwood scholarship team got together to form a team and work together in their sophomore season of club competition. Not only did their karts look good on the track, but many of them were also competing for victory, including a trio in the Briggs Junior division. Michael Schwab put the team on the podium in third, while Ethan Pollack led the majority of the race, but had to settle for fourth, just ahead of Braedon Fowler, putting three in the top-five.
Kudos to Christian Savaglio who snuck through on an exciting final lap to score the win over Gavin Goldie.
Briggs Senior – Always exciting
It’s not too often you see 30 karts line up for a club race, but that’s how the season starts in Briggs Senior.
The battles on the track were fierce and while the race broke up into a number of mini races, the veterans up front put on just as great of a show as those racing in the twenties.
Taking home the win was Logan Ploder over Brennan Taylor (who grabbed our attention with an early helmet design of the year nominee) and Alex Murphy.
A major change at Goodwood over the winter was the moving of the corner one retaining wall. Pushed back nearly fifteen feet, it no longer sits just outside the runoff area and has absolutely changed the approach drivers have to the corner.
Drivers were much braver to push through the exit of corner one without the consequences of the wall being there but also when there were any incidents that sent karts towards it, the tech pro barriers absorbed the collisions into the buffer area. In addition, karts also didn’t bounce back into the runoff area and the extra space from the excavation created an easier exit to move a kart and driver away from the high-speed section of the track.
Kid Karts sneak into the show
As a small demonstration before the race day started, a half dozen Kid Karts took to the track for some hot laps and for some, their first-ever laps in a go-kart. These kids, some as young as four, will be great racers one day.
We will be back at Goodwood Kartways in two weeks’ time for round one of the KartStars Canada Championship on July 3/4.
For full results from the day, click here for SpeedHive.