29 Jun MRFKC Briggs Report: Variety of Race Winners in Hamilton
Over the course of the weekend at the Canadian Mini Indy, only one driver was able to score two race wins in their respective category as round two of the MotoMaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship took to the track in Hamilton. That driver was Cooper Simpson in Briggs Junior Lite. In the eight other Finals throughout the weekend, drivers fought tooth and nail to score as many points as they could in the unpredictable conditions.
It was much cooler than forecasted and raindrops fell at many different moments throughout the weekend, however, only a couple official session used rain tires.
Here’s our round two race report for the Briggs and Stratton categories.
Briggs Senior: Prior and Herder display their best efforts to split race wins
Rain fell just as the first group took to the track for Qualifying on Saturday and that threw a wrench into the finishing order. Since the MRFKC doesn’t have a rule about split sessions, all drivers were categorized by their time, regardless of what group they were in, even if the second group got the chance to use rain tires. The mixup put Avery Miller (Energy Kart) and Brennan Taylor (Intrepid) on the front row.
After Zach Boam (BirelART) won the PreFinal, he was swallowed up quickly at the start of the Final, when Alex Murphy (BirelART), Pearce Herder (Awesome Kart), Jon Treadwell (Intrepid), Jordan Prior (BirelART) returned to the front after Qualifying deep in the field of 22.
Herder held control until three laps to go when Treadwell jumped out front. That only lasted a lap as Prior then jumped to the head of the pack, shuffling Treadwell back to third. Herder had a look into turn three and four, but Prior shut the door and it allowed Murphy to move Herder enough to get a run up the inside to turn five. Herder was able to defend it on the outside but lost the position in turn eight as Prior pulled a gap and took the race win. Unfortunately for Murphy, he was handed a one-position penalty for jumping the start, moving him back to third and Herder up to second. Treadwell took fourth with Boam holding on to fifth.
Sunday saw local speedster David Barnes (BirelART) take charge from the front row, with Herder slotting into second early on. Pole-sitter Alex Da Silva (Energy Kart) and Prior came together on lap two and that knocked both drivers outside the top-five, but not outside of striking distance.
Da Silva fought back to second with two laps to go and that’s when Barnes’ time at the top ended. Shuffling for the lead saw Herder jump from third to first before getting the last lap board. The battle continued, with Da Silva and Prior finding a way by Barnes on the final lap to earn themselves spots on the podium, while Barnes had to settle for a disappointing fourth. Murphy completed a good weekend with his second top-five.
It was a tough day for defending champion Jon Treadwell. He was involved in a crash early in the Prefinal and while driving back forward, he received a questionable black flag for having his race suit open. Starting from the rear of the grid for the Final, he was only able to recover to twelfth.
Briggs Junior: Felice finally gets his first big win while Ikram capitalizes on Sunday
Reigniting their awesome battle from the CKN Dash for Cash, Jake Cowden (Awesome Kart) and Marco Felice (BirelART) were the class of the field for most of the weekend at Hamilton. With 27 karts in the class, Briggs Junior was the biggest field to take to the track and it drew a fence full of spectators.
Felice and Cowden had Logan Pacza (BirelART) for company in the Final and the addition of a third driver changed up how the duo had to think about the final laps. Cowden went to the lead with two laps to go, only for Felice to regain the top spot before starting the final lap.
Safely through turns one, two and three, Cowden was both on offence and defence and he finally took a dive at the lead into turn four when Felice left the door open. Both exited the corner slow and raced wheel to wheel up the hill to five. Felice managed to hold the lead, only to leave the door open again into turn seven. Cowden dove into the hole, but backed out at the last moment and slowed up his momentum. This let Felice get away and allowed Pacza to make a pass into turn eight.
After knocking on the doors of a big race win for a while, Felice was finally a race victor and he had his Prime Powerteam teammate finish second. Cowden settled for third, while Zain Ikram (Kosmic Kart) and Steven Navratil (Awesome Kart) finished up the top-five.
Sunday’s race was a thriller and it all came down to a wild final five laps. Felice and Cowden were once again in control of the race, running 1-2, but they had Logan Ferguson (BirelART) and Pacza on their heels. Cowden passed Felice for the lead with three laps to go and that opened the doors for the action. Ikram was on the move and caught the leaders with two to go. He quickly got to third when the final lap started and when Felice passed for the lead in turn three, Ikram followed through and then dove to the inside of four to grab the lead. Ikram dove to the inside to defend from Cowden, only to see Felice roar up the outside and almost take the lead before getting to turn five. He didn’t quite pull it off and he slid through the marble as Ikram held the inside line. Callum Baxter (Ricciardo Kart) came storming out of nowhere and took advantage of the melee to move from sixth with two laps to go to, to second behind Ikram.
Exiting two-by-two out of the final corner, Ikram was the first to reach the final corner and he rounded it to take the win with Baxter a close second and Pacza third. Cowden and Felice were fourth and fifth while Ferguson was left with a sixth-place finish after running inside the top-three for much of the race.
By far the best race of the weekend, these Briggs Juniors are showing off their young skillsets that we can’t wait to see what they will do at Mosport this summer.
Briggs Cadet: New race winners as Henckel and Maxwell top the box
American Ashton Henckel (BirelART) nearly swept the weekend in Briggs Cadet, but he was penalized after taking a victory on Sunday for passing Ryan Maxwell (Energy Kart) under yellow. The two waged a great battle in the Sunday Final, only to have their finishing order swapped.
On Saturday, the two were also in a great battle for the race win, with Jordan Di Leo (Intrepid) also in on the fun early on. After Di Leo led the first five laps, he slipped back to third and eventually lost the leaders, who crossed the finish line 0.0178 seconds apart.
Briggs Junior Lite: Simpson the only driver to sweep the weekend
Cooper Simpson (BirelART) decided he wanted to work on his race craft this season and so he decided to race in Briggs Junior Lite in addition to Mini Rok competition. It is paying off for the youngster as he was in control of Junior Lite all weekend long. On Saturday it was a little more difficult than usual as he slipped from second to seventh on the start and had to work his way back to the front. In the short twelve lap run, he was able to get back to second at the finish and moved up to first when Ethan Donkers was disqualified for a technical engine infraction in post-race tech.
Sunday was a little smoother for Simpson, as he led every lap of the Final en route to the win. Taking second and third on Saturday was Elias McKenzie (Intrepid) and Ethan Demenna (Ricciardo Kart), while Scotty Watkins (Top Kart) and Demenna joined Simpson on the Sunday podium.
Briggs Masters: Shootout in both Finals sees Yanko and Walsh take victories
In both Briggs Masters Finals, groups of four formed quickly and waited until the final laps to turn up the wick and exchange positions for the win. Eli Yanko (TonyKart) pulled the trigger at the right time on Saturday and rounded the final corner in the lead to take the win in race one, while Corey Walsh (Kosmic Kart) was the man in control at the finish line on Sunday. Levon Beaudin (BirelART) and Walsh joined Yanko on the Saturday podium while Beaudin and Rich Folino (BirelART) stood on the box Sunday with Walsh.
Next up, the MotoMaster Ron Fellows Karting Championship heads to Mosport Kartways at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for round three, featuring races five and six on July 5-7.