Thus far, the 2014 season has definitely been interesting and I’d say it’s also been successful. I spent a winter of intense physiotherapy to deal with injuries sustained in last year’s crash at the Nationals, which also prematurely ended my 2013 season. With Summit GP’s change to the Energy chassis, I tested for a day but decided I was happiest with the OTK products; As a result I have switched teams and am now racing with Kevin Glover Karting. After a brief test day to make sure the kart was still functional, I went to my first race at Goodwood and it showed us typical track weather; dry, wet, half and half. Basically it was crazy, but it was going really well. I’d been running in the top two all day, but the final brought a twist of events. This time it was absolutely torrential rain, to add to the fun. After stalling the engine on the start and crossing the line more than 3 seconds behind the leader, I had to work my way back to the front. I’d worked my way up to third and was running more than half a second a lap faster than the two karts ahead of me and had closed to within 2 tenths of a second when my chain simply snapped, so I couldn’t finish what I’d started.
After another test day I was back at Mosport for a double-header weekend prior to the first two races of ECKC the following week. Overall, I think it was a success. Competition was tough as everyone was practicing for ECKC with a larger field as some of the guys from Quebec had arrived early, which made it a better experience. The first day I qualified third, fell back to fourth in the pre-final but made that up and then some in the final to finish second. As it was only my second race, I was pretty pleased, but naturally I wanted more. Making some changes to see if we could make up a little bit of extra time, we learned a lot of things the following day and though it resulted in a fifth, it gave me more time to get used to the dynamics of KGK and get to know my new teammate Zach Scalzo so it was a lot more fun under the tent. It was a successful weekend overall.
ECKC was another great weekend, and even though I didn’t have final results to prove my speed, it was there throughout the weekend. Practice day ended well, sitting in a tie for P1, and that gave me confidence for the following day. The speed carried over, and I qualified fourth. The pre-final was going well; I’d gotten myself up to second when a racing incident sent me back to ninth. From there I kept on going forward, working back up to fourth where I’d started. Unfortunately the final didn’t work out as well; I didn’t make it past the third corner as I was hit from behind under braking, resulting in a DNF after what looked to be a promising day. The next day was a bit more of a struggle. Mechanical issues in practice and qualifying had me stuck mid-pack, and by the end of the day I managed a 10th place finish. It was still an improvement on the DNF from the day before, but disappointing nonetheless considering the pace I had.
Back at Mosport for a regional day, I was looking to turn my luck around. Taking my pace from the weekend before, I was on pole for the pre-final and looking to stay there. After one false start, the race was on. Contact from behind spun me around in corner one, leaving me with a large time deficit to make up. I got back up to third, so I still had spots to make up but it was better. In the final I did just that, and took the lead from the first corner and stayed there. Although it was very close at the end with a drag race to the line (0.031 seconds to the driver behind!), it ended my long winless streak and made me even more confident for the remainder of the season.
With ECKC Goodwood coming up, I then went to a regional race there where I was looking to continue the streak to two wins in a row. I qualified off-pole, but a pass with two laps to go in the pre-final meant I’d start from pole in the final. From there it was looking good with me running at the front of the pack, but it wasn’t meant to be as contact during a pass attempt on me resulted in another chain loss and a DNF after what had looked like a promising day. Regardless it was still good test for ECKC, which is coming up in a few weeks! I’m looking forward to getting back to national-level competition.