Article By: ECKC
Photo By: Cody Schindel, CanadianKartingNews.com
When the Eastern Canadian Karting Championship rolls into Mosport International Karting next week, a spattering of new entries will begin to blend with a traditional cast of characters, one of which is Mosport's own Brian Bettencourt. Team Manager of PSL Ontario and jack of all trades at Mosport International, the fifteen year veteran might just as well be the unofficial welcome wagon as he's seemingly omnipresent at the opening venue and more than happy to help guide you on your way.
“My place is third in command behind Ken and Robyn Flute, but Manager doesn't sound right so I sometimes go with, Executive Vice-President in charge of Executable Operations,” he said over the weekend from trackside. “Basically I do all the hands-on stuff at the track, and if you don't know the answer to something then I'm more than happy to help you out!”
Mosport International Karting is getting set to host the first event of the 2013 ECKC schedule beginning May 31st, and just like the rest of the track staff, Bettencourt is excited about both the arrival of a new season and the opportunity to welcome some of Canada's best karters and teams when the new season breaks.
“It's a nice change to host the opener this year,” he continued. “Mosport is a great track that borrows from other tracks without outright copying them, and it takes great advantage of the natural landscape of the area, something the drivers really enjoy when they come to race. And the ECKC is getting better and better every year. There's always a buzz surrounding the first event as everyone's wondering what chassis and team changes they'll see and which classes drivers have decided to run. It will be good to have that buzz surrounding our event this year.”
Speaking further on the aforementioned Eastern Canadian Karting Championship, the veteran of every major North American series over the past decade said the series is definitely on the right track with regard to Canadian karting.
“In the past, Ontario and Quebec might just as well have been on opposite sides of the world,” he said, referring to the practice of each province touting its own provincial championship. “The ECKC has finally united the two regions and if nothing else, the increased competition has made the drivers better. I think from a competitive standpoint it's the best series we have ever seen in the area.”
And karting competition is something Bettencourt knows more about than most. He's a walking trivia centre for the sport and his own personal experience is quickly evident when he begins to reel off some of his favourite events.
“The Rotax Grand Finals in UAE 2007 and Egypt 2009 are up there for me because the events were cool, although the non-track portions of those events were pretty terrible,” he recalled. “Vegas SuperNats any year since the Euros started coming over are also great events. One year in Vegas there was 117 in TaG alone, that was pretty cool. The Oklahoma Stars of Karting event in 2006 was awesome as well, 72 karts in ICC was the largest grid of shifters I had ever seen.
“As for the history and trivia of karting, nowadays you can stump most karters with anything. The new generation doesn't really follow the Euro karting scene like we did back in the day, even though it's 4000 times easier to access the information. Back then I had to rely on Vroom issues I could find laying around.”
The veteran tuner and two-time 'World Tire-Changing Champion' is set to once again oversee PSL Ontario this season and work alongside Rotax Senior driver Johnny Flute. A year ago his charge progressed into the top ten in Canadian driver rankings before heading to Nationals, and qualified P4 in the Rotax Senior field at the Jim Russell Karting Academy.
“The key is seat time,” Bettencourt immediately replied when asked the secret to driver progression. “I tell everybody that practice is the key, but nobody believes it. They all think you have to have some rocket engine or a special chassis, but practice, practice, practice, is they key. Johnny is obviously more than willing to do this, and last year it was great to see all the hours we put in finally start to pay off.”
In just a matter of days the karting community will see which drivers and teams will get the ultimate payoff at event one – their names added to the history books as ECKC winners. After what seemed a very extended winter season in Ontario, familiar faces will meet again as the fourth championship season finally gets underway.
“Just like every other season I'm excited to get started,” Bettencourt concluded. “I still get pumped up for the Canadian karting season to get going, even after 15 years. When I stop getting pumped up is when I'll have to look for something else to do.”
The Eastern Canadian Karting Championship begins next week at Mosport International Karting. For all the latest news and updates, please visit eckc.ca often. For weekend photo galleries and results as they happen, please visit canadiankartingnews.com and follow @CKN_Live on Twitter.
2013 EASTERN CANADIAN KARTING CHAMPIONSHIP
Round 1 - Mosport International Karting, Bowmanville, Ontario
Friday, May 31, Practice
Saturday, June 1, Race One
Sunday, June 2, Race Two
Round 2 - Goodwood Kartways, Stouffville, Ontario
Friday, June 28, Practice
Saturday, June 29, Race Three
Sunday, June 30, Race Four
Round 3 - Le Monaco de Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
Friday, August 2, Practice
Saturday, August 3, Coupe du Quebec*
Sunday, August 4, Race Five
Round 4 - Jim Russell Academie de Karting, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
Friday, September 13, Practice
Saturday, September 14, Coupe du Quebec*
Sunday, September 15, Race Six