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June 25, 2012
Team News: Intrepid North America In ECKC Championship Hunt

Tyler Kashak was on the front-row at ICAR, nearly taking his first pole position (Photo: Cody Schindel-CKN)
Tyler Kashak was on the front-row at ICAR, nearly taking his first pole position
(Photo: Cody Schindel-CKN)

STOUFFVILLE, ONT. (June 24, 2012) - Team Intrepid North America brought its Eastern Canadian Karting Championship season to the halfway point a week ago as 13 members traveled to Le Circuit ICAR, just outside Montreal, Queb. Intrepid drivers made three more trips to the podium over the weekend, and as the group prepares for the second half, five drivers now sit inside the top three in championship standing.

“The championship has been going well so far, especially for some of the new guys to the team and some of our younger kids who are experiencing National competition for the first time,” said Team Manager Marco Di Leo. “It’s a big jump for them, with new tracks in Quebec and certainly a higher level of competition than they’ve ever seen. But now that they’ve got their feet wet, we’re really looking forward to the Mosport doubleheader this weekend and the second half of the schedule. With HRS and Intrepid support we’ve got a top-three runner in Micro, Mini, Junior, and Senior, and Enrico is fourth in DD2. We’ll just keep at it and see how many we can put on the podium this weekend.”

One driver who certainly has eyes for the podium heading to race four is lead Junior driver Tyler Kashak. After opening with nine-six in the Goodwood doubleheader, he qualified on the front row at ICAR and stayed there through a prefinal where he led a number of laps. He was fifth in the final after dicing from start to finish, and has been one of the breakthrough Juniors of the first half.

“It’s great to be in the top five in points, let alone the top three!” Kashak said following race three. “I am very pleased with my result from ICAR, unfortunately an incident with another driver prevented an even better one. Nevertheless, the event was an overall success and I was ecstatic being on the front row. I always knew the Intrepid could get me there, it was just up to me to find that little bit more. The main event didn’t start as planned, but I still fought my way through and back into the top three. It was such an intense race that racing incidents were inevitable, unfortunately I was involved, and had to settle for fifth.”

While cutting his teeth in Rotax Junior a year ago, Kashak scored top-10s at both Goodwood and PSL Karting before storming to second in the first Mosport race, one where he capitalized in changing weather. He’d qualified fourth in a dry start to the day, but was taken out in the prefinal and still working his way back forward when the clouds let loose in the final. He worked all the way back to fourth, and was promoted to the second step of the podium after post-race penalties were assessed. This year he’s put every finish of the season inside the top-10, and is once again heading to the track he knows better than any.

“Mosport is a track I know very well so better results are on the horizon,” Kashak said this week. “The Intrepid has definitely been a strong chassis, and with each event I feel more and more confident. I am looking forward to the second half of the schedule where I hope to challenge for steps on the podium.”

While not one of the five inside the top three in points, Enrico Menotti arguably faces the toughest competition of any Intrepid North America driver as he is the lone team man in Rotax DD2. The field boasts a pair of factory-supported reigning World Champions and is arguably the stiffest DD2 class anywhere on the planet. Eight drivers in the field have been to Grand Finals, and through three of six races, Menotti sits fourth among them.

“This field has to be the toughest DD2 field my father and I have ever competed in and we’re loving every minute of it,” Menotti said in summarizing his first half. “We’re absolutely ecstatic to be racing against such high calibre pilots. We are constantly being challenged to do more, and it’s that challenge we thrive on to become better both mechanically in the pits and as a driver on the track. Sitting fourth in points really shows that all of our hard work and dedication both on and off the track has paid off so far this year. The season has been going very well and we have been very consistent, which is half the battle. I’m looking forward to putting on a strong show in Mosport to shake off the struggle of ICAR and hopefully improve even further in the standings.”

Speaking of ICAR, things most definitely did not go according to plan, as Menotti was among those collected and discarded in turn one in both the Coupe de Quebec and ECKC races. He was thankfully able to race onward in the later start, and as a result maintained fourth in the championship.

“Unfortunately the starts did in fact hinder my races rather than help,” he said afterward. “On Saturday I got caught in the middle of a sandwich which resulted in a bent axle and rim, forcing me to retire, then on Sunday I thought I was making it out free and clear when my front bumper just caught a rear wheel and it sent me to the playground teetering on the outer curbing as I watched the field pass by. The concrete surface posed a unique challenge in finding the right setup, and though we got close in the end we could have been a little more competitive with the front runners of the day.”

Enrico Menotti scored the first DD2 win in ECKC history at Mosport (Photo: Cody Schindel-CKN)
Enrico Menotti scored the first DD2 win in ECKC history at Mosport
(Photo: Cody Schindel-CKN)

As the series now shifts to Mosport International Karting for races four and five, Menotti will in all probability be among those front runners once again. Arriving stone cold there after passing on practice when the series debuted in 2010, Menotti was P2 in his first session, took pole position in his second and won the first Mosport DD2 race in ECKC history later that afternoon. It was an incredible performance, and now the track brings nothing but fond memories as he returns each year.

“That day has been a hard one to forget,” Menotti recalled this week. “It was the day after my high school prom and I must have had about two hours sleep going into the first session. I definitely did not expect the result that came out of it. Then the victory on Saturday had me smiling ear-to-ear all the way home. Another real standout moment for me came during the Sunday race, as near the end I managed to snap the chassis almost in two! It split both bars right in front of the motor mount and to this day I don’t think I’ve seen a chassis as literally torn apart.”

Intrepid North America will now look to tear it up at Mosport once again, though not so literally. Along with Kashak and Menotti sitting third and fourth, Di Leo continues to lead the Rotax Senior standings, Austin Riley is third in the Mini-Max category, and in Micro-Max Matthew Barry is second in points after three strong runs to the podium and Xavier Harris is right behind in third with a pair. Practice will run Thursday and Friday with races four and five on the weekend. For more information on how Intrepid North America can assist you there, please visit intrepidnorthamerica.com

Intrepid North America has its American base in Miami, Fla., and its Canadian base at Goodwood Kartways in Ontario, where drivers can progress from turning rental kart laps to world championships. The Intrepid North America race team competes at National and International Championships like the Florida Winter Tour, Pan-American Rotax Max Challenge, Eastern Canadian Karting Championship, and Canadian National Championships.

It has also had drivers contest the SuperKarts! USA SuperNationals, the World Karting Association Manufacturer’s Cup, the Rotax European Championship, the Rotax International Open Championship, and the Rotax Max Challenge Grand Finals. Intrepid North America operates in conjunction with Intrepid Kart Technology, HRS Racing Engines, IMAF Racing Seats, VPD and Intremax.
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