With the debut of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship growing closer by the day, teams continue to take shape for the season ahead. The rotax finale of the Florida Winter Tour saw increased numbers of Canadian entries over the weekend, and many of those karters will be on hand at Goodwood Kartways in just over a month when the ECKC takes its first green flag. The championship has certainly created a buzz in the Eastern Canadian market, and in following up the chatter, eckc.ca tracked down a couple of veterans of the sport who have pretty much seen it all in North American karting and beyond.
Mike Roth is team manager for GreenSpeed Karting/TonyKart and Brian Bettencourt is heading up the new PSL Ontario team based out of Mosport International Karting. The pair have been working in the industry for years, and done so at the highest of levels: CIK European Championships, Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals, SuperKarts! USA SuperNationals, Stars of Karting, and on and on the list goes, right down to Quebec and Ontario Regional Championships and Club racing. The experience more than qualifies each as having an educated opinion, and in seeing the formation of the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship, they both see something they like.
“I think that the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship is the best thing to hit Ontario karting since Sunoco and Ron Fellows’ departure,” said Bettencourt, referring especially to the heydays of the Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship. “And if it is developed properly, I foresee it even surpassing that level of excellence in the years to come. The lineup of tracks looks awesome, and for the first time in years I am actually excited to go racing in Ontario!”
Roth was very much in agreement, especially noting the RMC component and the fact that the championship is raced across provinces at top notch venues. “I love the rotax aspect of the series, and that it is travelling to Quebec,” he said prior to heading to Florida. “A true rotax-only series would have been even better, but that might not be realistic just yet. The schedule, however, is amazing, and is what would make me personally lean toward this series if I were competing. Goodwood is a tight track with low speed corners, but that makes positioning for the drivers very important. There always seems to be ten or more drivers within a tenth or two at Goodwood, as we saw at Nationals last year. Drivers will really want to be at the front because with the field so close it’s hard to pass unless you are super aggressive.”
“Mosport is an amazing track and a driver’s track that is great for racing,” he continued. “There are lots of places to pass and different setup choices can lead to karts passing at many different spots on the track, it just depends on where the teams decide they want to be fast. And SRA is even better than Mosport for passing! It might not be as technical, but its big straights lead to a huge draft and lots of passing. I love this track. It is similar to Grand-Mere for the drivers who haven’t been, just a lot faster; a lot like New Castle in Indiana.”
The sentiment was echoed by Bettencourt, who picked up at SRA. “It’s one of the only CIK certified tracks in all of Canada, and hosted a round of the CIK World Championship back in 2001,” he said. “I believe it is just a top track, period. And Trois-Rivières is one of the most talked about races of the year across the continent. Last year everyone was telling me how awesome it was, even US drivers from New York, Connecticut and California. This is one of the only schedules, ever, where personally I’m not groaning about a sub-par track. The Eastern RMC races are going to be like mini-Nationals four times a year!”
The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship is getting set for its inaugural schedule. After debuting at Goodwood Kartways, home of the 2009 ASN Canadian National Karting Championships, it will continue on to Mosport International Karting; home of the 2010 ASN Canadian National Karting Championships SRA Karting International; and conclude at one of North America’s largest and most celebrated street races, the 11th Edition of Le Monaco de Trois-Rivières. Online registration remains active, and series information can be found at eckc.ca