Western Canadian Challenge – Chilliwack Report
The first day of racing action was completed under mixed weather that saw drivers and teams scramble all day to keep up with changing track conditions. Cold temperatures settled in on the area as dark clouds moved through dropping rain throughout the day. All qualifying sessions got through in the dry while most of the pre-finals were run in the pouring rain. The rain clouds headed west bringing in some clearing weather in the late afternoon allowing racers to run all the finals on a drying track. The changing conditions narrowed the racing line taking away some key passing areas in the early part of the final schedule. As the track began to take shape the action picked up and provided to some racing.
The highlight race of the day was the huge field of super talented Rotax Max Senior drivers sponsored by David Hogg from Parkshore BMW. Bryce Choquer (Tony Kart), the 2009 WCC Rotax Junior Champion, took top spot in timed qualifying to grab pole for the wet pre-final. In the pre-final Choquer was dominating in the rain taking the win by over 5.6 seconds over Chris Glover (Arrow) and Michael Hogg (Top Kart) who drove from the last spot on the grid after a penalty in qualifying. Brody Goble (Birel) and Tyler Wheeler (PCR) would round out the top five.
In the final it was again all-Choquer as the rookie grabbed the lead early and never looked back. Behind Choquer a hard battle went on between Glover and Wheeler took place as they traded spots throughout the race. Christophe Bosclair (Arrow) recovered nicely after losing several spots off the start, while Goble stayed with the chase pack to finish off the top five. Fast lap went to Wheeler as he battled with Glover for P2 for most of the race. Blair Gautschi (Arrow) would take the Masters top spot followed by Keith Miller (Maranello) and Bob Wakeling (CRG) to make up the podium.
“Racing Senior is a lot of fun. My kart was great in the rain and the dry,” commented Choquer following the race. “I really like the racing in Senior it’s really great.”
In Rotax Junior a solid field looked to get an early advantage, but it was Garett Grist (Birel) taking pole. In the wet pre-final Grist was able to get a good start out of the tricky turn one/two section to grab an early lead while the field streamed through behind him. At the flag it was Grist over Matthew Moniz (Mach 1) and Austin King (PCR) with Skylar Dunning (PCR) and Adam Dowler (Tony Kart) rounding out the top five.
In the dry final it was Grist getting the holeshot out of one as the field looked to sort themselves out in turn two. Grist was able to gap the field early as the chase pack began to set fast laps and eat into the Grist’s lead. At the stripe it was Grist followed by King with Dowler in third spot who would also set fast lap of the race. In fourth was Moniz with Gianfranco Sartor (PCR) making up the top five.
In Rotax DD2 action it was Scott Campbell (ItalKart) running as a DD2 Master taking fast time in the combined session with Kyle Stevens (CRG) setting the fastest time in DD2. In the pre-final it was Stevens over Travis MacDonald (Arrow) and Noel Dowler (Tony Kart), while Campbell would show the way for Masters followed by John Kwong (Intrepid) and Jeff Bachalo (CRG). In the final, with conditions on track getting better, it was Campbell taking to the flag first with Stevens, MacDonald and Dowler in close pursuit. At the podium ceremonies it was Campbell taking top step in Masters with Kwong and Bachalo rounding out the top three. In DD2 Stevens grabbed top spot on the box with MacDonald and Dowel rounding out the podium.
The final Rotax class was Mini Max where Mark Newson (PCR) took pole for the pre-final. In the pre-final a great battle would see Garrett Gulenchyn (Arrow) take the win followed through by Brendan Deibert (PCR) and Jordan Brown (MBA). In the final it was Newson with a great drive to grab the win and top spot on the box. Gulenchyn took second with Deibert in third spot. Tristan Merke (Birel) and Coltin McCaughan rounded out the fast five.
Running support of the Rotax RMC program are three four-cycle classes. In Jr1 it was Jessica Dezall taking pole in timed qualifying. In the prefinal it was Garett Gulenchyn taking the win followed through by Alan Haggerty and Stephen Bachalo. In the final race it was Bachalo with the victory sharing the podium with Gulenchyn and Ryan Mailhiot. In Jr2 it was Skylar Dunning taking pole while in the prefinal it was Dalton Hubred taking the win over Dunning with Bradley Dezall. For the final it was Dezall charging forward to take the win John Buzza and Hubred rounding out the podium. The final four-cycle class was Senior, which saw Chris Genge take pole. It was Ron Adams with the win in the prefinal over Genge with Greg Henderson crossing in third. In the final it was Genge charging back to take the win and share the podium with Adams in second and Egan Otto Rehn in third.
“We are really happy with the opening day of racing,” stated WCC Series Chairman Joey Guyon. “The weather was a real challenge and the track held up great. All the drivers did an amazing job.”
The paddock was greeted on the Sunday under sunny skies and warming temperatures. A full card of racing was on hand as drivers looked to defend race wins and others looked to make up some ground. Heading into the day the track was expected to get fast and it didn’t disappoint as lap times fell throughout the day. The paddock was soaking up the sunshine as they all looked west to see if the valley landscape would draw dark clouds into the area. With drivers from several provinces having traveled hundreds of miles to take in round one, the paddock had a great vibe as everyone looked to complete another full day of racing action.
The final was tough right from the start as everyone battled through turns one and two and kept up the action into the three/four/five combination. At the turn five hairpin several drivers got out of shape creating a log jam in the field. This allowed Wheeler and Choquer to stretch out an early gap and look to go one-on-one for the win. The duo swapped spots several times as the race went into the second half with Wheeler leading a half dozen circuits. With just a couple laps left, Choquer powered back to the lead with Wheeler on his bumper looking hungry for the win. On the last lap Wheeler would take the lead in the sweeping turn eight/nine/ten complex to hit the final corner twelve with the lead. The drag race to the line was won by Wheeler crossing just 0.094 ahead of Choquer. Hogg would manage to scramble back up into third spot with Boisclair in fourth and Noel Dowler (Tony Kart) rounding out the top five. In Senior Max Masters is was Blair Gautschi taking top spot with Bob Wakeling and Keith Miller rounding out the podium.