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May 10, 2008 News
EKN.ca Trackside: Ontario Regional Karting Championship - Round #1 - Saturday Report
 

Rotax DD2 takes the green flag in the first ever ORKC race (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Rotax DD2 takes the green flag in the first ever ORKC race
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

The inaugural Ontario Regional Karting Championship arrived to its first race day at Goodwood Kartways today and the facility was primed and ready. Skip Barber banners were raised around the site, along with a number of others along the fence line that truly gave the track a major event feel. Among a few changes, the run-off area and tire wall exiting turn one looked impeccable and the scales and pick up area ran very well. All were impressed by the facelift given to the snack bar and parts counters, and the racing Di Leo’s had reason to be proud. As for the event itself: Practice started on time. Qualifying started on time. Prefinals started on time and Finals started on time. It was hard to find an indication that this was the first race in the ORKC.

Action on the track delivered as well, none more so than an 18-strong field of DD2 karts that headlined the Saturday lineup. Qualifying was dazzling as just after Frank Launi dropped a 37.318 second lap for top spot on his second rotation, Curtis Fox (Cameron/CRG) turned a 37.314 second lap on three to move to the top of the list. Michael DiMeo (Cameron/CRG) was next to fire and his 37.379 on lap four put him third, all three on the grid timing within a tenth! Eric Gerrits timed fourth in the morning, but lost the benefit of fresh tires while stuck in bad situations on the track. His quick lap came on six, and he had more to show. Reigning Ontario F1-K Champion Rich Hibbs rounded the fast five in his first DD2 run.

After a sloppy opening lap through parts of the field, Launi and Gerrits capitalized in the prefinal to secure the front row for the main event. Di Meo set the quick lap of the heat race to earn third, while Jason France came from ninth on the grid to take the outside of row two. Hibbs maintained his P5 from qualifying while Fox had work to do after backing up to sixth. When the green waved for the first main in Series history, Gerrits went around the outside from off-pole and secured a lead he would hold through the opening stages. Launi slotted into second through one while DiMeo took third once the line settled in followed by France, Eric Simon, Hibbs and Fox in the lead train. Launi took the lead back working seven, and DiMeo also got by Gerrits one lap later. Fox was on the move having dispatched Hibbs and Simon, but the action in this one was at the front.

Just after taking the halfway flags, Launi dropped his left rear exiting turn eight and Di Meo capitalized to take the lead running toward the final hairpin. Launi then countered on the exit with a scissor move, and contact between the pair led to locked wheels and a ride to the grass. Each resumed racing, but the order had changed with Gerrits jumping to second. Di Meo retired at the same spot with a stricken kart three laps later, while Gerrits set his sights on the win. The decisive move came working fifteen of twenty, and by the time checkers flew he was four-tenths clear of teammate Launi. Fox had moved to fourth with DiMeo’s retirement and he earned a podium position on the penultimate lap when he got inside France. Hibbs was once again fifth.
 

Marco DiLeo won in Honda Senior after a wild final lap (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Marco DiLeo won in Honda Senior after a wild final lap
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

The best finish of the day came from Honda Senior without question. Marco Di Leo was on pole position in a seventeen-kart field with Gary Klutt second, Keenan Harris third, Alex DiFrangia fourth and Frank Launi fifth. In the prefinal DiFrangia worked to the head of the line in edging Di Leo and was looking to do the same in the final racing under the Last-Lap Board. The Maple, Ontaro, teenager had led since lap two while Di Leo and Launi arguing behind him allowed Harris and Klutt back into the picture on the final tour. The five-strong train ran through one unchanged but Di Leo dove inside at four and one corner later Klutt decided he was going forward as well in what became a half-lap free-for-all. When the dust settled and the checker waved, Di Leo had the win, Launi was second, and DiFrangia was back from fifth to take the final podium step. Klutt was fourth in his first senior run, while Harris began his sophomore season with a solid fifth.

The back half of the top ten was fun-filled as well, especially among Mike Rogers, Keith Barrick and Sal Ditta. The trio had been locked since lap six, and when they took the two-to-go flags all cards were played. Rogers had the best hand in going from the back to the front to finish sixth, Ditta was seventh after beginning the day underweight at the back of the pack, and Barrick began his return to the Regional scene with eighth. Maroula Tassos continued her forward trend on the day to take ninth, and Jacob Ford rounded the top ten.

As close as the seniors were in Honda, the Juniors were anything but by the end of the day after Firstkart.com’s Kevin Monteith put on a clinic. Consistent laps and error-free driving created a margin of victory that only reigning National Champion Austin Milwain got within twelve seconds of. Another junior dazzled in qualifying as Ryan Klutt earned pole position in the biggest field of the day with a lap that cracked the 44-second barrier. Thirty-one others followed, led by Milwain, Monteith and Reid Arnold. The outside line was forced wide in turn one of the prefinal knocking Milwain down and Arnold out, and Monteith had the lead by turn four. Klutt ran with the leader race-long and the margin at the stripe was 0.064 seconds. Dylan Van Tienen was third, Milwain recovered to fourth and Taylor Gates was fifth.
 

Reid Arnold was the Junior Driver of the Day after going from 29th to 4th in the final (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Reid Arnold was the Junior Driver of the Day after going from 29th to 4th in the final
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

The final was academic after a few incidents led to Monteith being free and clear. Klutt was doing his best to hang with the leader before being tripped up attempting to lap a backmarker. The piggy-back delay allowed Milwain through to second and a train followed. Van Tienen also raced past and while the podium was set, the top of the field wasn’t. On a charge from 29th on the grid was Arnold, and by the final flag he was all the way to fourth. Klutt resumed fifth, Dimitra Tassos was sixth, Artem Korolev seventh, Cameron Morrison eighth, Michael Taibi ninth and Kevin Morgan completed the top ten.

While its field was scant, the battle at the front of F1-K senior was electric. Mark Woyslaw and Andre Bonaldo began their battle in qualifying when Woyslaw took pole by just 0.085 seconds. He then repeated in the prefinal when the pair worked sixteen seconds clear, setting the stage for the final showdown. In a 20-lap main event it became quickly apparent that Bonaldo had the quicker package but try as he might he couldn’t find a way to work past Woyslaw. The margin at the line was 0.098 seconds. Doug Boudrea completed the podium with Jesse Chiasson fourth and Brendan Cochrane fifth.

In F1-K Junior Kenneth O’Keefe swept the day. He earned pole position in a twelve-kart field with a 38.472 second lap that bettered Ethan Livingstone and Karl-Denis Allard-Turcotte. The lead pair repeated in the prefinal where O’Keefe cleared the field by six seconds. Livingstone was second, and Alex Aldred worked forward from fifth in the field to take third. The final produced much the same as O’Keefe ran over seven seconds clear of Livingstone and the rest of the field. Completing the podium in a strong run was Allard-Turcotte who recovered well from a spin in the prefinal. Aldred was fourth and Sasha Aleksic was fifth.
 

Artem Korolev won in 60cc Cadet (Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Artem Korolev won in 60cc Cadet
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)

Michael Taibi captured an impressive pole position in 60cc Cadet as he edged Harrison White by just 0.013 seconds. Kurtis Deboer was joined by Artem Korolev on the second row. Taibi was leading the prefinal when contact removed him and an ensuing penalty opened the door for Deboer to take his first Ontario Regional win. Korolev crossed second and Chase Pelletier was third. A similar scene unfolded in the main event as Deboer was removed from the lead via contact, and Korolev went from third to first. He held to the checkered flag with White taking second, Zachary Shearer third, Pelletier fourth and Taibi fifth.

Organizers from each hosting venue of the Ontario Regional Karting Championship are responsible for naming a Junior and Senior Driver of the Day. Daniel DiLeo did the honours for Saturday at Goodwood Kartways and Formula Atlantic Driver Daniel Morad made presentations to Reid Arnold in Junior and Eric Gerrits in Senior.

After trouble in the prefinal led to a starting position of 29th in the main event, Arnold stormed his way forward to 4th by the final flag. Gerrits didn't have the passing to do, but was equally impressive in capturing the first race in the history of the ORKC. He led early and was moved back as far as third before chipping back through in the late stages and taking the checker.

eKartingNews.ca's Jason Holland returns to Goodwood Kartways Sunday to continue Trackside Live Coverage. Stay tuned to the Official Discussion Thread for all the latest news and unofficial results.
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